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Maintaining Outdoor Structures
By Mike Holmes
Friday, June 15th, 2018 @ 11:57pm
Most people don’t realize that maintaining outdoor structures, like decks, porches, garages and sheds is important. Many people think that these kinds of structures are replaceable, so if they get some wear and tear it’s not a big deal; or they don’t need to be maintained since they are outside anyway. But proper maintenance on these structures is crucial to increasing and maintaining your property value, as well as protecting whatever is stored inside or on top of them.
At the end of the day, walkways, driveways, fences, decks and sheds are part of your property. If your house looks great but you have a shabby looking shed right beside it, or a worn out or overgrown walkway leading to the entrance of your home, it can really hurt the overall curb appeal.
And if you haven’t kept up with the maintenance on a shed or fence—which is usually much easier than maintaining a house—most people will assume that the maintenance on your home hasn’t been kept up either.
Bottom line: if you’re thinking of selling your house, repairing any outdoor structures on your property is a smart selling tool and a good investment.
Keep Percipitation Out
Protecting outdoor structures from precipitation and moisture is crucial since they are constantly exposed to the elements—it’s unavoidable. Unfortunately, this can wear them out prematurely if they are not properly maintained.
You can usually tell if moisture is coming in by looking on the inside the structure. If it’s made of wood look for water damage on the ceiling and in corners, if the roof is metal check for rust around nails.
Do a Water Test!
You can verify if water is getting into a shed by spraying the roof with water and then checking inside for any leaks. If you see that water is getting in, you need to make the proper repairs, like sealing around screws with an exterior silicone.
Also check for:
- Peeling paint & insect damage. Get rid of any wasp nests.
- Animals. Some love to make dens underneath sheds. The burrowing can undermine the soil, which can cause the structure to tip or slant.
- Worn out doors. If they’re falling apart replace them, and make sure the hinges are tight. You don’t want the doors flinging open during a storm.
- Loose windowpanes. If your shed has windows, check for loose panes and gaps in the window frame.
- Gaps. Any gaps should be sealed with caulking—rubberized is best because it lasts longer and it’s flexible. Also seal around the bottom edge of the structure, where the siding meets the concrete pad.
- Loose shingles. If the shed has a shingled roof makes sure that any loose shingles are properly secured.
- Overhanging trees. Too much shade can lead to things like mould, rot and algae. Overhanging branches can also cause extra precipitation to run off onto the roof, or if they break during a storm they can damage the roof.
Is It Wood?
Did You Know?
Nowadays you can get hot water tanks made specifically for outdoor structures, like garages, sheds and barns. These have a super thick layer of insulation, so the water doesn’t freeze in the winter. There are also frost-free hose bibs you can have installed.