DO AN INSPECTION:

 

THE EXTERIOR WALLS:

If you have a home in the Tampa Bay area, four times a year, it is good practice to walk all the way around your home and examine the exterior from top to bottom, paying particular attention to the window and door openings. Feel the painted surface, does a chalky residue come off in your palm? Are there obvious signs of settling or cracks that are more than hair line type cracks? Look close to the walls near the ground and move any mulch away from the wall. Is there any evidence of a termite infestation (Look for small tunnels running up the wall)? In a future blog, I will share with you some photos of a home here in Tampa that was just about destroyed by termites. (We’ve been hired to repair the damage, which the word extensive doesn’t begin to describe fully.)  Just try and pay close attention to anything that has changed since the last time you did your inspection. Be observant of wasp nests in the upper corners and underneath the roof overhang (soffit). You can spray wasp killer at the nest and come back later to knock the nest from the wall or overhang using a power washer or long pole.

Read More

THE OPENINGS IN THE WALLS:

Inspect closely around all of the window and door openings. Is the paint cracked, the caulking pulled back from either the wall of the frame of the window, or cracks where the sill meets the wall? These small cracks will, at some point if not addressed, allow water to intrude into the wall, probably behind your drywall. That can lead to mold. Scrape off any dried caulking or cracked paint with a paint scraper. Then buy the very best painter’s caulk that you can find. Reapply caulk to the cracks, filling the space completely and then reprime and repaint with a good acrylic paint. Removing mold and repairing drywall and other water damage is expensive. 

Around door openings, do the same as for the windows, but pay very close attention to door jambs and door sills. If you have a block home, there will be a wood board vertically next to the block called a jamb. As the door is used and abused, this jamb has to take the closing force of the door. It can separate from the block. Odds are, that you won’t notice this because the board is usually covered by stucco or trim. Push on the edge of the jamb – does it move? If it does, then you need to remove the trim, reattach the jamb to the block and then caulk the trim plus, of course, reprime and repaint. Door sills take a lot of abuse. They can twist, separate from the jamb on each side or come loose from what is supporting them, usually the slab or floor adjacent to the interior of the door. Around my home turf, here in Tampa Bay, we get horizontal rains many days in the summer.  All that rain, hitting the door will be driven under the door itself or under the sill if it isn’t attached well to the slab and if it isn’t caulked./span>

THE ROOF:

Look for fallen or loose shingles, loose eave drip or or missing shingles if you have a shingle roof. Look at the ridge (top flat part of the roof). Is it missing shingles or has the ridge vent come loose? If you have a tile roof, look for broken or missing tile. Typically any problems with roofing needs to be repaired by a professional roofer.

While you are there, look closely at the fascia board (flat smooth painted board vertically attached to the edge of the roof). This area can easily dry rot if not kept painted and caulked. Usually there is a metal drip edged which helps keep water from running down the face of the board, but it can get really wet in a rain storm. If you have gutters attached to the fascia, check them closely to make certain that they are not loose or filled with debris. Any debris in the gutters will cause rain water to back up and saturate the edge of the roof and the fascia board. Constant wets will eventually cause this part of your home to dry rot and decay. It is expensive to repair. Keep it painted and caulked!

MORE LATER ABOUT MAINTAINING TAMPA AREA HOMES:

I’ll cover some other important topics like heat pumps, water hose attachments, other openings, etc. in a later blog.