Fall Cleanup

Just like Spring Clean-up, your house needs attention before the onset of winter.  Winter presents its own set of challenges to your home and the freezing temperatures can be just as damaging as "Spring Showers!"

The first step is to get all of the junk around the yard cleaned up.  When it's cold and rainy outside you don't want to be out in the yard cleaning up frozen leaves. 

The second step is to inspect the area around your foundation for missing or damaged grilles and windows.  These will allow cold air under or into the house.  That's bad news as it could allow your pipes (or you!) to freeze.

The third step is to inspect your roof, gutters and flashing for damage.  Any gaps in these areas will allow water or ice to penetrate your roof.

The fourth step is to check any exterior woodwork for damage or maintenance needs.  Cracking paint or caulk will allow the weather to ruin your expensive woodwork and cost you in heating bills.


Turning leafs - that beautiful fall color

Level of Difficulty

Time Required:
 4 hours
Roof cement
Window glaze
Trash bags
Safety Precautions
Follow ladder safety rules.

Clean up the Junk

The first step is to clean-up all of the junk around your house and foundation.  This stuff can hide bugs and keep your foundation from drying thoroughly and is generally unsightly.  If you have a basement, make sure that you clean the accumulated trash in window wells and stair wells.  Some walk-in basements have drains in the landing before the door and if the drain gets clogged, your basement could flood!


Make sure that all openings through the foundation are in good shape.  If you have a crawl-space, make sure that the grilles are in-place and in good shape.  These should remain open to allow everything under the house to dry.  Failure to do so can lead to rotting structural members or mold.  If they are missing, animals could setup housekeeping in the crawl-space.

Clean up the junk around outside of the house

Clean up the junk around outside of the house

Opening in foundation is missing grill

Opening in foundation is missing grill

Roof and Gutter

You need to inspect your roof and gutters for any problems.  Start from the ground first and check out the gutters. You should be looking for gaps between the gutters and the house and loose gutter spikes.  Loose gutter spikes sometimes cause these gaps and can allow water to run through the gap and freeze, causing further damage.  Sometimes you can simply bang these back in and they'll stay but other times you may need to drive in a new gutter spike.  Here's how

The next step is to get up on the roof.  First a Safety note:  FALLING OFF THE ROOF CAN KILL OR INJURE YOU.  Be careful on the roof and use a safety harness with an appropriate connection to a chimney or something.  The OSHA web page has some suggestions for appropriate equipment.  If you are uncomfortable working on the roof, find a contractor.  If you are not, read on.  Get on the roof using an appropriate ladder or through a window.  Setup your safety equipment and check the flashing around the chimney and where walls meet.  If the sealant around the chimney is damaged, you need to reseal the flashing.  There is a special sealant you need to use, so ask the salesman or go to the DAP or GE web page.  Also check the caulking around windows or siding.  This stuff usually lasts forever but sometimes needs maintenance. 

The next thing to check is the roof itself.  Make sure that no shingles are missing or damaged.  Damaged shingles should be replaced and is fairly easy to do.  If you're not sure what you're looking at, find a contractor. The final item on the roof are the gutters.  If you noticed and gaps or loose gutter spikes from the ground, now is the time to fix them.   Be careful while trying to fix gutters as they are right next to the edge.   Drive any loose gutter spikes in.  If they won't hold you'll need to replace them.  Also make sure that the gutters are clean.  If you noticed any drip lines from the ground, you'll need to re-seal the joints between the pieces of gutter.  You may need to install new rivets.

Gap between gutter and facia board

Gap between gutter and facia board

Gutter spike

Loose gutter spike

Damaged shingle

Damaged shingle

Inspect the Woodwork

Just as important as in the spring, you need to ensure that your exterior woodwork is in good repair.  The cold temperatures and precipitation will take their toll on your woodwork.  As part of this inspection you should inspect the weather stripping on your doors and windows.  If the weather stripping or glazing is in bad shape it can allow cold air to seep into your house.  Inspect the windows and re-glaze/repaint/repair where necessary.   If you have double-pane windows or better, this is a bit more complicated as there is usually some sort of rubber gasket.  Single pane windows are very easy to re-glaze

Window desparately needing attention (glazing)

Window desperately needing attention (glazing)

Foundation door

Foundation door needing weather stripping