Fall Home Projects 2020: Get Your Maintenance On

Tudor Style house with yellow, brown, and red leaves in a large front yard

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Remember how long March was this year? Well, guess what? It’s already fall! As more homeowners are improving their homes this year, we wanted to help by giving you the prime fall home improvement ideas for 2020.

We reached out to Matt Van Cleve, a home improvement contractor who has been helping homeowners enhance their homesteads for more than 35 years. Read on to find out what should be on your fall home improvement checklist this year!

Take it outside

“Homeowners are interested in putting money towards exterior projects,” says Matt. “This includes patios, decks, and landscaping due to spending more time at home during the pandemic.”

an outdoor porch with sliding and a black front door
Enhance the exterior of your home.

While the fall real estate market is hot, homeowners who are staying put are less interested in adding to their homes. Instead, they’re looking to use all the space available to them, including their outdoor living space.

To enhance your outside area, Matt suggests focusing on these fall home improvement projects:

Give your home’s exterior a fresh coat

a blue paint can with the roller laying across it
It’s time to spruce up your home’s exterior.

Get out your paint brush! Fall is a great time for exterior painting. With only a few rainy days, less humidity, and minimal temperature fluctuations, the mild autumn weather allows your paint to spread smoothly and cure properly, the latter which can take several days.

Replace deck boards

a well-maintained deck attached to a green house in the middle of a woods
Give your deck some much-needed attention.

It’s been a long summer, and this year, you’ve likely enjoyed your deck more than usual by grilling weekly and remote working outside. So give your deck the attention it deserves and replace any wearing boards. If you’re not extremely DIY inclined, hire a professional to complete this task for you.

Beautify your outdoor space

orange, purple, and yellow flowers bloom in a garden
Perennials and other flowers flourish in the fall.

Autumn is one of the most visually appealing seasons, and you can enhance your yard with the usual cleanup duties – raking leaves and trimming trees. However, now’s also the time to remove any vegetable plant debris, plant spring bulbs, or add some additional accents to your landscape, such as chrysanthemums, pansies, and aster. (If any trees are too high to trim and threaten your roof’s structure, make sure to contact a lawncare and tree specialist to take care of them.)

Fall home improvement tips and maintenance projects

a living room in the middle of a renovation with paint brushes and ladders
Renovate rather than add on.

Rather than adding more room to their homes, homeowners are working with what they have.

“I’m seeing that people are less interested in additions and are more interested in reworking the confines of existing walls,” says Matt. “Homeowners are looking to improve upon what they have already – particularly with kitchens and bathrooms.”

Now is also the time for homeowners to tackle practical improvements and maintenance.

“Heating has got to be the first thing to address if your system needs upgrading, followed by electric,” says Matt. “The glitzy bathroom and kitchen can wait.”

When getting ready for fall and winter, it’s important to focus on these key maintenance projects:

Check and add insulation

pick insulation lays in the wall studs while the left hand part of the wall has no insulation
Insulation can help prevent chilly toes.

“It’s a good idea to fix any insulation concerns,” says Matt, “particularly in attics and by windows. This ensures that the heat is not escaping too quickly, which would drive your bill up.”

Weather stripping around doors and windows takes only a few minutes with window film or caulk. You can also install new door sweeps, which can keep the cold outside and warmth inside. For quick upgrades, hang insulated curtains and plug up any holes at the bottom of your door with a door snake.

Also, head up to your attic to make sure you have adequate insulation. If you see that your insulation is below your attic floor joints, your home probably suffers from air leaks and needs more insulation. Also, if you see low spots in your insulation, you’ll need to add more as insulation should be even across your attic.

Not sure if you need more insulation? Call an insulation and drywall specialist to assess.

Clean your gutters

a homeowner cleans out the gutters of a brick home in a flannel shirt
Get up on your ladder twice a year.

Everyone’s favorite pastime – cleaning the gutters!

“If your gutters are clogged due to leaves, you can have a blockage,” warns Matt. “The downspout (part of the gutter that brings water to the ground) needs to be operating in top condition to take water away from your house.”

In the wintertime, blockages in the gutters or downspouts can create ice dams and damage at the structural level.

icicles drip from a gutter in a winter scene
Prevent ice dams from forming by cleaning the gutters.

“It can cause water to leak inside the basement,” says Matt. “It’s not good for a house foundation either and can cause it to crack if the damage gets too great. You always want to get the water flowing away from your house, especially in the cold winter months.”

Unsteady on a ladder? Hire a roofing professional who will not only clean your gutters but also inspect your roof for any potential damage.

And of course, heating maintenance

a homeowner wears gloves and changes the HVAC air filter
Don’t neglect your heating system!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that fall is a good time to get your heating system serviced.

“In the fall and winter homeowners typically address heating concerns for practical reasons with the cold weather coming up,” says Matt.

This includes getting your HVAC unit or furnace serviced to make sure it’s working properly. You should also replace your furnace filters or HVAC filters, as this helps with air quality and energy efficiency.

Air filters need to be cleaned or replaced as frequently as every month or as rarely as once a year. (Most require replacement every season or every three months.)

Prepare your home for every season

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Get more home tips on the vipHomeLink app!

Every season poses unique threats to your home, and vipHomeLink’s home management app helps get your home ready. Our expert-backed vipTIPs help you prepare your snow blower for the upcoming winter storms, and push notifications remind you to check smoke detectors before cooking your Thanksgiving feast. Learn how to prepare your home for fall and winter, and the spring and summer as well, with vipHomeLink.

Sign up today with a monthly or annual membership and download the app now on Google Play and the App Store.

Does your home need professional attention? Learn more about Van Cleve Home Works and how they can assist with your next home improvement project.

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