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The Top 10 Fall Projects

Fall renovations

Like the spring, autumn is a time for change and fall projects prepare the home for the cold weather. In the spring the biggest projects include cleaning up from the winter as well as getting ready for the summer. When summer finally arrives the whole home seems to be in cruise control.

Fall is the same. There is cleaning up around the yard but there also is the preparation of the home for winter. This attention to detail can help make this long, cold season more comfortable.

1. Weatherproofing

Caulking: It is said that average home has enough tiny holes and cracks that if all placed together they would be the size of a basketball. This is because exterior wood shrinks with age and exposure to the elements so checking around window sills and door frames for old, cracked caulking can save heavier heat bills in the cold months. And it is better to "tighten up" the home when the days are mild than to squeeze a caulking gun during a snowstorm.

Weather-stripping: Most weather-stripping material is self-adhesive foam strips that fill the small spaces between the door and the door frame. After a few years door weather stripping gets brittle and tends to break off. In addition, a wood door exposed to the elements may shrink and exposing a gap larger than the present door seal can handle. To check the effectiveness of the seal, get a partner to move a fan around the inside perimeter of the door while you hold candle on the other side of the door. If the candle flickers then there is a weak spot in the protection. In the daylight you can check the garage doors by shutting off the light and checking for any light around the door frames. If so get a qualified garage door technician to make adjustments for a better garage door weather-stripping.

Outlets and Lights: Electrical outlets on the exterior walls and ceilings can be portals for cold air. You can get foam wall outlet insulators that fit perfectly over the outlets. Check the ceiling fixtures for enlarged holes that can allow cold air to come down from the attic.

2. Attic Insulation

Insulation is measured in r-values. This is the measurement of the resistance of a material to letting heat pass through it. Older homes may only have as much insulation in the attic that there is in the walls, which is around R-15. As heat rises and tries to get out thought the ceiling this minimum r-value will let heat escape. Most new buildings are required to have R-45 either in fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose insulation. Since these materials have an R-3 rating per inch this would require fifteen inches. If this is not the level in your attic you can easily top it off in a few hours on a Saturday.

3. Garden Clean-Up

While insulating may be a one-time effort, and weather-stripping may only need attention every few years, gardens need cleaning every fall.

Vegetation: Gather up the vegetation and mix it in with the compost. Heavier stalks and leaves should be placed in a separate pile for mulching.

Garden Accessories: Tomato cages, bean poles, boards and other garden materials should be cleaned and stored in a "first out in the spring" order so you don't have to dig through your shed or garage storage.

Turning Beds: Using a spade or rototiller turn the beds mixing in old compost if you have it.

4. Bulbs

Spring-flowering varieties like the crocus, daffodil and tulip should be planned out for planting in the fall. Plot the empty spaces in your garden - where they are missing spring colours - and go for the right variety that will compliment this section of your garden.

5. Shrubs

The early fall days are great for planting shrubs. Watering is only needed for the first few days because the cooler weather will prevent dehydration. Wrap all shrubs with burlap to avoid branch damage from heavy snow and ice.

6. Lawn

Spring and fall are the best times for planting grass. The summer sun has long gone so that there is no need to protect the seedlings from drying out. In Canada there is usually plenty of rain in the fall so frequent watering is not needed. However, the seeds should be rolled and covered so that a heavy rain won't wash them away.

7. Painting

September and October are great months for exterior painting. The air is cool and refreshing unlike the hot summer days. Besides, summer is for relaxing and in the fall there are plenty of sunny days to get small to medium-sized jobs completed. In addition, paint supply outlets usually have sales in the fall on their exterior brands.

8. Window Plastic

There are few things you can do to your home in the fall that will have the dramatic effect on your heating bill as plastic window coverings. Inexpensive and almost transparent, plastic is a great thermal barrier and will prevent any cold air leakage though the window from coming into the home.

9. Waterproofing

Exposed wood decks, decorative concrete and wood fences should have weather seal to extend life. Wood sealer can be sprayed on with a pump-type sprayer. Concrete is sealed with resin that can be rolled on. It also gives the concrete a great satin sheen.

10. Furnace and Chimney Cleaning

Although not a do-it-yourself job there should be a cleaning for wood-burning and oil burning appliances. This includes the chimneys. A certified professional will check for any problems that might lead to a fire or malfunction during cold weather.

For all types of contractors that can assist you in getting your home ready for winter simply post your projects online at www.trustedpros.ca.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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