If you are going to go the effort of doing or hiring out some major outdoor cleaning jobs, you might as well do them at the right time of the year, and Spring certainly is the best.
The first rule of thumb for outdoor cleaning is that you always want to start from top down. It can be quite defeating to get a particular area looking great, just to have debris and grime from a surface above come down on in when it is subsequently cleaned.
This quick checklist of spring cleaning jobs will help remind you of chores that sometimes go too long between cleanings.
After being used during fall, winter, and early spring, most fireplaces sit idle the rest of the year. But when autumn rolls around again, it is nice to know that you have a safe and functional fireplace and chimney to use for that first fire. Creosote buildup can be dangerous, causing thousands of household fire every year. That makes spring the time to get your chimney swept and ready for immediate use when the desire strikes next fall.
In the Portland Metro area, roof cleaning can be done year round. However, if it is in need when spring rolls around, it should be near the top of your list. Cleaning a roof can bring down a lot of debris to the surrounding areas, and even though it can be cleaned up, it can be disheartening to have a recently cleaned patio, deck or flower bed covered in moss, leaves and needles. Nowhere else is the need to start at the top and work down more noticeable and important than with roof cleaning.
Sure, fall is obviously when most of the debris comes down from the trees, but there are still reasons why to clean gutters in spring. First, some tree types drop debris continuously. Second, some environments have so much debris fall that gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year, especially if they were cleaned prior to the fall leaf drop in order to make available capacity for the upcoming debris coming down. Of course, if your roof is cleaned, then your gutters will need cleaning regardless because much of the roof debris ends up in the gutters. Plus, spring is a rainy season in Oregon and plenty of gutters still drip and overflow from being full.
Intake Vents Clearing
There are generally two sets of intake vents on homes – those in the eaves to allow proper attic ventilation and those in the foundation, to allow proper crawl space ventilation. A well vented attic is critical to avoiding mildew infestations, keeping heating and cooling costs minimized, and maximizing your roof’s life as much as possible. Crawl space ventilation helps ensure a clean, fresh source of air that eventually ends up as the majority of the air you breath inside. It also helps assist in preventing excess moisture buildup in the crawlspace. Review both sets for blockage caused by out of place insulation, clogging caused by pests such as birds, rodents, or squirrels, as well as missing screening, also the result of pest activity. If pest control in needed, prompt attention always pays off.
Awnings are certainly not as common as many other home components, but if you have one, they do need periodic cleaning. Winter is the time of year when awnings are used the least. It is also the time of year when most grime and mildew may start to collect and form on them. A clean awning not only looks nicer, but also transmits more light. This hold true whether is it one of the wonderful retractable awnings that we install, a fixed patio cover or even some gazebos.
Siding gets painted and that’s all, right? Wrong. While nothing makes siding look better that a fresh coat of paint, siding washing can often be a close second. Sometimes just a little mud splash up needs to be rinsed off while other times, mildew and pollutants needs to be washed off as much as possible. Regardless of the condition of your siding, washing will always make it look better. There are some siding types, such as vinyl and aluminum, which don’t typically get painted and cleaning is the primary maintenance option. These siding types tend to clean up the nicest. More porous materials, such as cedar or hardi-plank, may still retain a remnant of heavily embedded stains, but will still look much nicer.
Sometimes, winter might be so dreary that you prefer not to look outside. But when spring bursts wide open with sunlight and bright colors, seeing the outside clearly becomes important. While you might assume that siding washing also cleans windows, it does not get them as clean as expected. Glass is a unique material, drastically different that any of the materials used to side your home and for the crystal clear vision that you want, a dedicated window cleaning is needed. Ask five people and you’ll get five opinions on window cleaning tricks – sponge and squeeze or crumpled newspaper, pure water or mild ammonia solution, side to side or up and down pattern. Regardless of the method, the outdoors will seem much closer and alive to you through clean windows.
Decks bring give us a lovely place to relax, cook, entertain and dine while outdoors. They are expensive additions to any house and are worth maintaining. Plus, there is a drastic difference between tired, weathered wood and newly stained wood. A pretty deck just calls out for you to get out of the house and be on it. Decks might require any where from a simple off-season light washing to clean off the winter’s pollutants to a full fledged stripping and refinishing. Regardless of which your deck needs this year, deck maintenance is always rewarding and you will enjoy it more if cleaned and maintained.
Landscape, Flower and Vegetable Beds
Weeds grow constantly, and despite possibly having weeded last fall, by spring there will be a new crop ready for pulling and spraying. Sometimes, laying down weed barrier can provide a longer-term solution. Additionally, Bark deteriorates and decomposes, losing the luster it has when first applied. Fresh bark for looks tidy and smells great. Compost needs reapplication to provide more nutrients as last year’s application has been depleted. Be sure to have a wheelbarrow and buckets handy – hauling of one item or another is almost always involved.
Driveways, Walkways and Patio Power Washing
Aside from making them looks clean and tidy, there is a practical side to cleaning these surfaces in spring – they can get dangerously slippery over winter. Aggregate concrete, with its exposed pebbly finish, can particularly become slippery from moss and mildew accumulation. Additionally, sloped walks and drives, even if mild, can cause slips and falls. Power washing these surfaces will typically make a remarkable difference and keep you and your family safe.
Swimming Pools/Hot Tub Water Changing
Even if you cover your pool or hot tub/spa, water needs to be changed out periodically. Sometimes you can only net so much debris and it is worth it to just start fresh. Plus, despite the necessary water supplements, the water can still get old and musty. Best to have this done before the weather gets nice and you want to take a dip.
Sprinklers Lines Flushing
While this is not a typical cleaning project, per se, it is a spring choir nonetheless. Lines that have been flushed thoroughly keep your in ground sprinkler systems working best and help avoid nozzle clogs.
Septic Tank Pumping
This is certainly not a “Do it yourself” job. A common option is to wait until your tank alarm alerts you to high levels. But like many tasks, periodic maintenance, regardless of whether or not an alert was received, helps keep systems working their best and continuously. Additionally, backflow testing often required yearly.
Admittedly, this is a large list. But don’t let its daunting size keep you from starting. Getting started on what you are able to do or able to afford will still pay you dividends regardless of whether or not every item on the list is able to be done. Of course, if you want a pro to help you with some of these, we are always ready to help with the respective services that we perform. Let us help you whittle that list down to size today – 503-590-9274.