Every property has what’s called a building envelope, which keeps the outside out and the inside in. The envelope consists of the roof, walls, insulation, doors and windows, and breaches in the envelope can result in catastrophes inside the home, like water damage and excessively energy bills. Thus, maintenance of the envelope is imperative.
However, if you are just learning about your property’s envelope, it’s likely that you aren’t sure how to maintain it properly. Here are some maintenance tips and tricks to keep your envelope shut tight.
Because your roof isn’t just outside but above your line of sight, you might forget about your roof on a daily basis. However, your roof could be the most important element of your home; it what keeps off the pouring rain and the beating sun so you can live comfortably inside. Because your roof endures near-constant wear-and-tear, you need to be diligent in your roof maintenance to avoid completely redoing your roof (one of the most expensive home projects) before it should be necessary.
Roof maintained is mandatory for two reasons: It helps you identify small issues with your roof before they become catastrophes, and it helps you strengthen your roof to reduce the chances of deterioration or decay. At least once per year but ideally after every major weather event, you should climb onto your roof and perform a visual inspection for broken or missing shingles, exposed underlayment or water accumulation. You should also clear away debris, which can penetrate the envelope and cause problems.
Door and Window Sealing
Your windows and doors are the biggest breaches in your exterior envelope because they are built to permit passage from the exterior to the interior. Still, when your windows and doors are securely closed, you don’t want them to continue to leak air, which wastes energy and potentially introduces allergens into your home. The seals around your doors and windows should extend your envelope — but only if they are working properly.
Again at least once per year, you should walk around your home and check the seals around your windows and doors. You should check the caulking around your windows for cracks or holes and fill any you find. The same goes for the weatherstripping around your doors; if you notice any wear, cracks, deformations or drafts around your weatherstripping, you’ll need to install some brand-new, which you can DIY or hire a handyman to do.
Tuckpointing and Caulking
You might be wondering: What about the walls? These need routine maintenance, too. Even if your walls appear firm and sturdy, you should spend some time walking around your home’s exterior and taking note of its condition.
- If you have wooden siding: Look for signs of water damage, which might appear as cracked paint, swollen panels or soft, rotten areas. You should also look for signs of pests, like termites and bees, which like to live in siding.
- If you have metal siding: Look for rust and bent or deformed panels. Metal siding is a bit hardier than wood, but it can and does fail.
- If you have masonry: Look for cracks in the bricks, stone or mortar and patch them. You might want to get more serious-looking cracks professionally inspected; sometimes, cracks can be a sign of serious foundation problems, but often they appear due to a home settling or aging normally.
Admittedly, your lawn isn’t an immediate part of your exterior envelope, but it can impact how the envelope functions. When properly maintained, lawns reduce the air temperature around them, which can improve the functionality of the envelope during warm seasons. On the flip side, a poorly maintained lawn might leak water that pools around a home’s foundation, compromising the envelope. You might search the web for “lawn care near me” to find professionals to help identify your lawn’s precise needs.
Other elements of your landscaping can also impact your exterior envelope, especially when they are especially close to your home. Flower beds attached to your walls should be fitted with some kind of waterproofing against your home’s walls; otherwise, water could seep into the siding and cause problems with your envelope. It’s also wise to keep any shrubs or trees near your home well-trimmed, so they don’t scrape any part of your home or drop debris that could wreak havoc. Again, you might call in yard care professionals if you lack the time to maintain your landscaping properly.
Your envelope is all that stands between you and a drafty, uncomfortable, overly expensive home. Fortunately, maintaining your envelope doesn’t require much time and effort, so by developing a habit of envelope care, you can enjoy your home longer.