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How do I prepare outside my home for winter?

gutter-frozen-ayla87-mKlNq9kWith fall quickly vanishing, you may only have a few more weeks to care for the exterior of your home before winter sets in. In particular you want to look after your deck, patio, gutters and downspouts because they are all expensive items to repair or replace.

What do I look for on the deck?
Check annually for damaged boards on your deck. Over time the wood cracks or rots and replacing the damaged boards is the first step in maintenance care.
Decks often discolour and get coated in mildew and fungus. Once a year you should power wash your deck and scrub away mildew and fungus. You might need to use warm soapy water to attack mildew with a scrub brush. Once done, rinse the deck.
When the deck is dry remove any remaining finish or sealer. Sand the deck until smooth and then refinish it. Apply with grain of wood and leave to dry. Add a second or third coat to protect your deck.

How do I maintain a patio?
A brick paver patio is attractive but not maintenance free. It requires some work to keep the patio looking brand-new. Weed out any grass growing between the bricks. Sweep away any debris and wash bricks with mild detergent. If you have any oil or grease stains, you may have to use a household degreaser.
Finally, use a sealant on brick pavers. As if you were painting, use a roller to paint on the sealant. Brush sealant on all sides of the bricks and apply a second coat.

Are gutters and downspouts maintenance free?
Maintaining your gutters and downspouts is about preventing damage to your foundation.  When downspouts drain improperly, the water settles around the foundation and can cause mould, settling walls and other kinds of foundation damage.
Inspect gutters and remove any debris like leaves, which can accelerate the development of rust. If you have a lot of trees near your home, check gutters frequently to keep them clear of debris. Or you can install leaf guards to keep the gutters leaf free.
Make sure your gutters are angled to the correct slope so that they drain properly. If needed, adjust the slope by bending the gutter hanger. If you find a leak in your gutter make sure to replace that piece with a new piece of material.

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