An amazing home renovation can only go so far - maintaining your home’s cleanliness and decor is the best way to let your new-and-improved home look its best.
Or, if you’re not ready to renovate - smaller DIY projects are a great way to make a space look new. Now that the kids are back in school and summer vacations are over, you might be wondering which projects are best to tackle before winter hits.
Doing these projects now before the temperature drops is the best way to ensure your outdoor spaces look nice and new when next spring rolls around.
“Fall is the best time to work on home renovation tasks,” says Paul Stein, CEO of Trusted House Painter.
“Not only does the cooler weather compel us to spend more time indoors, but it’s also the ideal time to wrap up loose ends before the long winter ahead."
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Here are 10 must-do projects before winter, according to the experts:
1. Perennial Prep
Depending on the plant, pruning and cutting back perennials can be performed in the fall. It’s also a good idea to cover or flip over any outdoor plant containers; otherwise, they can fill with water, freeze, and crack, says Joe Raboine, former contractor and Director of Residential Hardscapes with Belgard.
- Materials Needed: Gardening tools, gloves, trash bags.
- Cost: $0
- Benefits: You’ll save yourself lots of time and clean up if you do this prep now, so that you can be ready to go next spring/summer with your planting.
- Why best in Fall: It’s best to get this done before the first snowfall so that you can avoid extra work for yourself.
2. Control Your Weeds
During the fall, weeds are taking all the sunlight, water and nutrients that they gather and converting it into energy that they then store to help them compete and survive the winter season. So, take advantage of this natural system and apply any weed killing compound like glyphosate.
- Materials Needed: Gardening gloves, trash bag, weed killer.
- Cost: $30
- Benefits: Killing weeds can improve your curb appeal and help your yard thrive.
- Why best in Fall: It’s a lot easier to get this done now - rather than wait for them to grow larger and put more effort into removal in the spring.
3. Clean and Cover
Moisture and dirt left on outdoor items can cause mold or mildew to grow in the winter months. Mold can grow and spread quickly, leaving your furniture in bad shape by the time you are ready to use it again.
- Clean and seal your pavers: which will protect the surface from the harsh winter snow and ice.
- Clean your barbeque grill thoroughly: this is often why it looks terrible when spring returns.
- Cover outdoor fire pits and fireplaces (especially gas versions with ceramic logs): constant freeze- thaw can cause issues over time with fire brick, refractory panels and ceramic log sets. If you have a fireplace, it is better to check its condition before the long winter months arrive. You may not have much work to do if you maintain your fireplace regularly. When fireplaces aren’t properly maintained, they can be extremely dangerous, and you’ll want to make sure your winter is both warm and safe.
4. Gutter Cleaning
This is a necessity in preparation for the winter. Cleaning your gutter can prevent clogging which can lead to damaging your roof and flooding your basement. “Be sure your gutters aren’t overflowing with leaves,” says Paul. It’s also a great time to install gutter guards - which is usually just a one-day job. Depending on the product chosen, it will cost between $10 to $40 a linear foot.
- Materials Needed: Ladder, hose, gloves, gutter cleaning tool.
- Cost: $70
- Benefits: This can prevent water damage, flooding, and gutter/roof damage.
- Why best in Fall: In many climates, fall = leaves. This is the top time of year when your gutters will get flooded with debris.
5. Putting away Patio Furniture
Clean the patio furniture thoroughly before putting it in storage. Check for any cracks or dents in your deck or patio. Prioritize fixing it as it will be a bigger problem especially when water gets into the cracks and freezes. Make sure to store any patio cushions as well so they aren’t damaged by weather. Check out this idea for a patio furniture refresh if you live in a warmer climate.
- Materials Needed: None
- Cost: $0
- Benefits: Even if your furniture is built to withstand colder temperatures or is water-resistant, extreme snow and hail will cause your furniture to deteriorate much faster.
- Why best in Fall: It’s best to put away patio furniture at whatever point the weather gets too cold to sit outside, or before any major weather events.
The weather is warm, so now is the perfect time to redo the exterior of your home with a fresh coat of paint. “The days are normally dry and you can seal in any exposed areas before the winter, which can make any apparent damage even worse,” says Karen Lee, Founder of Smart Robotic Home. However - we don’t recommend doing this yourself unless you’re experienced and have a lot of stamina!
- Materials Needed: None (if you’re hiring someone)
- Cost: ~$4,000
- Benefits: This is the #1 way to boost curb appeal and change the overall look of your home.
- Why best in Fall: There’s less humidity in the fall months, so your paint will dry well.
7. Replacing Windows
Making windows better insulated can decrease the energy bills or maintenance cost. But changing every window of the house may be costly. If you have any old single-pane windows in your home, it is better to replace them. These windows are poor insulators and get poorer over time. You should depend on a service to ensure a professional installation.
- Materials Needed: Sandpaper, putty knife, glazing, glazing points, pliers, caulk and carpenter’s knife.
- Cost: The average cost of a single-pane window is $62.5, including labor.
- Benefits: Poor insulation is a barrier to keep the home warm. So, assuring insulated windows can make the home more comfortable.
- Why best in Fall: The season will switch to winter right after fall. So, it is required to take necessary steps before winter comes and it becomes difficult to deal with fog.
8. Cleaning Carpets
Cleaned carpet gives you a healthy living and eliminates soiling coming into the room. But it takes a lot of time for them to dry. Carpets are dirtiest after summer activities.
- Materials Needed: Carpet cleaner, vacuum cleaner, stain remover, air scrubber, defoamer, carpet rake, rubbing alcohol and steam irons.
- Cost: The average cost of cleaning a carpet is $187.
- Benefits: Clean carpet ensures hygiene in the home. It will not expose the households to impurities. It also gives your home a fresh look.
- Why best in Fall: If you want your carpets clean to enjoy indoor activities in winter, fall is the best time to clean them. It is easy to dry your carpet in friendly weather.
9. Power Washing
During spring and summer, the heat and humidity rise. As a result, your home can easily accumulate dust and dirt. Make sure to learn the right power setting and solutions for your house. Using too much power can result in paint damage, and using too little power will result in difficulty removing grime.
- Materials Needed: Power washer rental
- Cost: $100 for one day rental
- Benefits: Power washing increases the lifespan of the exterior of your home, your driveway, and any decks and patios.
- Why best in Fall: It’s important to get this done before winter - and often summer and spring rain can cause dirt buildup.
10. Fixing Your Asphalt Driveway
How long it takes depends on how much prep work is needed to make a new asphalt driveway. Here’s a quick guide to DIY asphalt driveway repair.
- Materials Needed: Garden hose with a strong spray attachment, or a pressure washer, small trowel or shovel, steel tamper (for larger areas), cones or tape (for larger areas), weed killer, sand, asphalt patching compound, asphalt sealant, crack filler (for cracks less than 1/2 inch wide).
- Cost: $20-$50
- Benefits: Cracks in your driveway can decrease curb appeal, become a safety hazard - and will only get worse, meaning you might have to pay for a fully new driveway.
- Why best in Fall: Freezing temps and snow can drastically increase the size of cracks in your driveway.