Living under the safety and comfort of our home’s walls and roof, we often forget that the exterior of our house faces the brutality of the elements almost constantly. Rain, sun, wind, snow and more constantly batter your home’s protective shell all year round. To ensure that the outside stays outside, and to keep your family warm and dry, regular inspection, maintenance, and replacement of exterior materials are crucial.
Here’s a quick guide to caring for your exteriors.
The best way to know if your roof needs to be fixed is to check it regularly. Ideally, your roof should be inspected once or twice a year. Signs that a roof needs to be repaired include:
- Mold and rot
- Missing shingles
Determining the lifespan of a roof is tricky– it depends on the material and climate. For example, a wood-shingled roof can last 25 years, but a metal-shingled roof can last 75. Frequent inspection and good research can help you know when your roof needs replacement.
Siding, like roofing, has a variable lifespan depending on the material. Vinyl siding can last up to 60 years without much maintenance, while wood or aluminum siding may last less time. Still, there are pros and cons to each siding type. Regularly checking your siding at different locations around your house is the best way to notice problems early. Watch out for:
- Missing panels
Any of these signs may indicate a section of siding, or the whole surface needs to be replaced.
Unlike your roof or siding, your door is used directly by people almost every day. Though they are swung and slammed frequently, doors can still expect a lifespan of about 30 years. Keep an eye on your door for these warning signs that it needs repair or to be replaced:
- Rusted handles, hinges and edges
- Gaps between the frame and the door
Your door may also need to be replaced if it’s just not doing its job. If you have to put blankets in front of the door to keep out cold air, if you need a towel to mop up puddles, or if you have to pull and push hard to pass through, it’s time for a new door.
Quality windows bought new can be expected to last anywhere between 15 and 20 years. However, at around the 15-year mark, windows will begin to show signs of wear and will likely need regular maintenance and repair. Caulking, new insulation and retightening can all temporarily fix windows, but eventually, they will need to be replaced. Signs your windows may need to be replaced include:
- Fogged glass
- Cracks in the frame/glass
- Difficulty opening or closing
- Poor heat retention
- Soft wooden frames
- Dampness near edges
By inspecting your exteriors regularly, maintaining them often, and replacing them when necessary, you can protect the rest of your home from outside damage for generations to come.