You want to have good walls; you want to have good floors. You want an interior that reflects a positive nature and gives you a sense of calm. The indoor, the floors and the walls are, after all, what you will see the most of. But they arenít the only things that need taken care of. You need to pay attention to the exterior, too, particularly the exterior you see the least. Protecting your roof, chimney and gutters will guarantee you have a home that is stable from the top down.
Begin with your roof. It takes up nearly half of your homeís exterior and acts as a shield for the rest of the house. Without it you would have an extremely damaged and unlivable interior and crumbling, abused exterior walls. So, monitor its condition regularly. Inspect the shingles and flashings every few years, replacing them as needed. If your shingles are strong, your flashing should be, too. Flashing is the point where roof surface, walls and chimney meet, so obviously itís vital that it remain in good condition. Every 20 years, or following a particularly harsh season, you may want to replace the roof entirely. This is a large chore, however, so donít do it unnecessarily. If you replace the shingles as they are damaged, do the same with the flashing and keep your attic well ventilated to avoid excess heat and moisture, you should be fine for a few decades at a time.
Once you have the roof secure, move on to the gutters. As annoying as the task may seem, you have to keep them clean. There should not be, under any circumstances, an excess amount of leaves or debris in your gutters. This will cause water to back up, which can cause leaks, which can destroy your house. Therefore climb the ladder and clean your gutters - once in late autumn, when the leaves have finished falling, and once in the spring to get rid of leaf buds and seedpods.
If you have a lot of difficulty keeping the gutters clean, try a blowevac. Many come with gutter attachments and clean gutters easily, if the gutter can be reached. Additionally, a gutter protection system could keep maintenance to a minimum and turn your bi-annual chore into a quick and easy task. There are a number on the market that are definitely worth investing in.
Finally, with a sturdy roof and clean gutters, turn to your chimney. A decrepit chimney could send bricks tumbling, injuring a passerby. A clogged chimney could ruin your first winter fire, sending smoke tumbling through your home, clouding the atmosphere and leaving a lingering smell for days to come.
For the chimney, hire outside help. Get someone to come in and inspect and sweep the chimney, at least once a year if you use it regularly. Make sure the chimney sweep looks for cracks, flue problems and anything else that could go wrong, like a family of squirrels setting up their nest in the top. Be sure all repairs are done properly and with great care. Afterward, take over responsibility for the chimney. Keep the damper shut when itís not in use, clean it regularly to avoid unintentional fires and consider a chimney cap to keep out those pesky rodents and birds. If you do all this, your chimney should stay standing and working properly for some time to come.
And if you pay attention to all three aspects of your homes exterior - the roof, the gutters and the chimney - you should be able to sleep easy at night, knowing that overhead is a structure that wonít let you down and wonít come down on you.
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