We get it: sometimes being a homeowner can feel like a full-time job.
Yes, your house is a source of pride and joy. Chances are, if you’ve made the investment to live somewhere, you’ve thought long and hard about transforming that space into an abode you can cherish.
You probably care deeply about how your home appears on the outside and inside. That being said, keeping your home in tip-top shape can require a whole lot of effort. You may even occasionally find yourself putting in hours just to make your home exterior look clean.
However, the cleanliness of your exterior is much more than maximizing “curb appeal”. If you don’t give your home the care and consideration it deserves, it can lead to costly damage that could end up draining more time from your day and money from your pockets than consistent upkeep.
Consistent home maintenance can also fill your pockets in the long run. A clean house is a surefire way to help increase your home’s value. Not only does exterior maintenance send the right message to buyers; it lowers the risk of long-term damage and helps squash potential issues before they become urgent. This can seriously pay off when it comes time to sell.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons you should take exterior upkeep seriously. When you set your mind to cleaning up your home’s exterior, be sure to heed these four tips that can maximize results and get the most from your efforts.
Prep Before You Clean
An exterior cleaning session is not something you can just jump into any day under any circumstances. To get the best out of your efforts, it’s essential to take necessary precautions to avoid any frustrating obstacles in the future.
This starts with picking the right day. Severe weather conditions do not lend themselves well to cleaning, but something as understated as a gentle breeze can make your life harder. To get the best out of your cleaning efforts, pick a warm, dry day with no wind. This is easier said than done when you have a busy schedule, but the right weather can save you from a cleaning nightmare.
If you’re preparing for a deep clean, it’s important to make sure the area around your house is secure and safe. Close all your doors and windows. If any of them are faulty or have a tendency to open on their own, go the extra mile and secure them with tape. Vents, outlets, plants, and lights should be covered with plastic sheeting, while outdoor furniture or decorations should be moved out of the way.
Before you start cleaning, commit to an inspection so you can get your tasks in order. Prioritize more pressing damage. Some stains don’t need to be hosed down or pressure washed, so be sure to understand the gravity of what you’re dealing with. Take care of smaller blemishes with a brush and some soap.
Tackle Damage the Right Way
If you’re committing to a deep clean, there’s a chance you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. A cleaning session is the perfect time for damage to rear its ugly head.
If you’re unlucky enough to have to deal with this, it’s important to take the right approach depending on the type of damage you are facing.
A big thing to look out for is exterior paint damage. This type of damage can have many causes; if you see tiny bubbles or blisters sprouting through the paint, it might mean the paint dried too quickly. Other issues could include what is known as “alligatoring,” when the cracks in the paint start to look like alligator skin, or efflorescence, when a powder like white salt appears on paint film.
It’s tempting to turn a blind eye to these pesky issues, but if they sit for too long, you could find yourself facing much more pressing damage. Don’t think a new paint job is too ambitious; if it’s been a few years since your last one, it could be what you need.
If the damage seems drastic, it might be time to consider a refinish. For example, if your exterior is made of wood, there is a chance the wood is quietly rotting under the paint. If you’re considering a new paint job or hiring a professional for a refinish, any damage to the wood should be repaired. Additionally, the wood must be sanded so that you have an even surface to work with.
Consider A Pressure Wash
If your cause for concern is your driveway, the best thing you can do is power or pressure wash. While the two processes differ in how much heat is used, they fundamentally achieve the same result: a clean, fresh-looking driveway, patio or brick walkway.
While the “point and spray” method seems simple enough, there are some important precautions to take before you start washing. Before you wash, make sure you spray detergent onto the surface you are cleaning, letting it settle before you start.
Once you start, spray in horizontal strokes, focusing on small areas at a time. The ideal pressure and spraying distance will vary depending on the model you’re using, so make sure you do your due diligence to see what technique is best for you.
This is by far the most efficient and effective way to clean many outdoor surfaces. However, it can be a tedious process that might call for a professional. That being said, there are other ways to get the job done with less effort, such as spraying the surface down with a hose and scrubbing bleach mixed with water onto it with a brush.
Don’t Sleep on The Gutters
Not every essential outdoor chore will have an immediate impact on your home’s aesthetic. You must remember that functionality is just as important. For example, cleaning your gutters is a potentially daunting, but ultimately imperative, cleaning task.
While it’s easy to forget what gutters do, their job is crucial to the maintenance of your home and its foundation. Gutters are how water flows off of your roof, and if this process gets compromised, you could be in for some costly damage. Debris can clog your gutters, setting the scene for water to damage your house when it gets stuck on your roof. When this happens, you will need to call a water damage restoration professional to address the damage.
This can be a lengthy process that involves climbing onto your roof to clear it before you go to town. When working from heights, you should always take extra precautions to ensure your safety.
As you can see, cleaning your exterior can be daunting. Often, the results are more preventive than aesthetic, but defending against potential damage should be a priority for every homeowner.
If clogged gutters or cracks in your foundation have caused Austin water damage or flooding in your basement, make sure you call a professional that can clean up the flood damage and restore your property.
About Luke Armstrong
Expert in emergency fire and Austin water restoration services, fire cleanup and Austin water damage cleanup, mold removal, as well as carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Contributor to several restoration and cleaning blogs.