The winter months bring with them some of the most cherished holidays, but they also herald frost, wind, hail, winter storms and even snow if you are unlucky. All this winter weather is tough on equipment, tough on vehicles, and tough on your exterior fixtures. Winter is the perfect time to address some essential home maintenance checks to minimise the damage and maximise your peace of mind. We’ve selected some critical winter home checks that don't take long but make a big difference down the line.
The very first check you should perform is inspecting your property’s roof inside and out. This check is the least intensive task on this list and hardly puts a dent in a Sunday afternoon. If you have an attic or loft, grab your torch - ideally a proper work light - and check for any leaks between the layers of your roof. If possible, do this when it’s raining, which will make any leaks easier to spot. Besides actual water damage and finding active leaks, you can also be forewarned of lack of ventilation by large amounts of condensation, mould, and other tell-tale signs that your attic needs repair.
Over the year, your property’s gutters are going to fill with leaves, twigs, dirt, silt, and other pieces of debris that will eventually cause them to clog. Eventually, as these gutters fill with this debris, the chances that water will overflow and damage your walls increases, becoming a certainty if not dealt with. Thankfully, aside from the actual hassle of getting to the gutters themselves, cleaning them out is about as simple as it gets. You can get your gutters cleaned professionally if you’re unsure of yourself around heights or if it’s not practical to use a standard ladder. However, if you are confident that you can do it safely, a simple ladder, bucket, pair of rubber gloves, and some elbow grease is all you need to clear out even the grimiest, leaf-choked gutters. You can also make use of a pressure washer to tackle this difficult job, and some models will have specially made attachments for cleaning gutters, and universal attachments are available too.
For your garden plants, trees, and, bushes, the winter isn’t a time for growth. Chances are, your garden will be looking and feeling a little lacklustre at this time of year, which is only natural. It might seem like there’s little to do around the garden, but the cold weather is the perfect time to trim hedges, bushes, and trees in anticipation of spring. With some basic garden pruners, long shears, hedge trimmers, and a sturdy bow saw for tough branches, you can make short work of even a relatively large garden and save yourself some work when winter turns to spring.
In winter, maintaining proper insulation in your home is most likely taken care of with the layers of foam or other materials that help trap warm air within your walls and roof. However, where windows meet other fixtures, such as walls and doors, there is a risk of that seal breaking somewhere. One relatively easy winter weather check is to inspect the seals or ‘caulking’ between your window frames and your walls. Inspecting these frames is a quick and easy task. Simply check that the caulking medium (which can vary in type but is invariably a form of silicone or acrylic latex) isn’t rotten, broken, or warped. If damaged in some way, all it takes is a little time with a putty knife to remove the caulking and some patience to reapply the caulk. If you are going to replace it, you’ll need some hot soapy water to clean the frames before applying it, a caulking gun, and of course some new window caulking. Lock and load your caulking gun and carefully reseal the frame where the old caulking was, making sure the frame is clean and dry.
The winter months can also bring high winds, storms and, of course, plenty of frost. Your garden furniture, BBQ, or patio set that served so admirably during the summer should be protected as much as possible. If you have a shed, summerhouse, conservatory or garage, then this is as straightforward as stowing them there and removing any fabric covers/seats. However, if you can’t spare any space save the garden, we’d absolutely advise investing in some protective covers. These covers will protect your furniture from frost and rain, and whilst many covers are made specifically for certain furniture suites (with many sets coming with custom covers) there are also generic versions for patio furniture and BBQs. Likewise, if you have a particularly large piece of furniture that could blow over, securing them with some bungee cords for the winter storm season is certainly advisable.
So, with a few easy checks around the home and garden, you can save yourself some trouble or damage down the line. For peace of mind, and to get everything you need to keep your home and garden in tip-top shape all year round, check out our selection of DIY essentials, garden tools, and patio protection.