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9 Must-Do Fall Home Improvement ProjectsSeptember 16th, 2019 by
Home improvement and maintenance is a year-round endeavor, but there’s no shame in admitting that some seasons are more conducive than others to puttering around your house and yard. Those of us who live in the South, for example, know that summer is ideal for plenty of things, but a labor-intensive house project is not one of them.
Autumn, on the other hand, is a great time of year for tackling fall home improvement projects. Temperatures are perfect—not too hot and not too cold—and the humidity no longer feels like a hot, damp blanket tossed on your head as soon as you walk outside.
The weather is just right for taking on nine home improvement and maintenance activities that will add value to your house and increase its curb appeal. Make sure every project on your list is done right by hiring an experienced contractor to do the work.
9 Fall Home Improvement Projects
1. Get rid of single-pane windows
When the winter season arrives, you want to keep the cold air outside, but that can be difficult to do if you have outdated single-pane windows. These windows don’t keep homes well insulated.
Double-pane windows are a better solution because they’re designed to retain your home’s warmth (and prevent cooled air from escaping in the summer). Prepare for the winter and hire a licensed window installation company to ensure your new windows will be installed correctly.
2. Replace missing shingles
Strong storms or winds can dislodge shingles or even blow them away entirely. If you’ve already lost a few shingles here and there, or if your roof is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, hire a roofing contractor to inspect the roof and make any necessary repairs.
Roof repair and missing shingle replacement are important maintenance tasks if you want to avoid roof leaks and water damage from winter precipitation. A well-maintained roof also takes your home’s curb appeal up a notch or two.
3. Trim foliage
Overgrown bushes, trees, and shrubs can wreak havoc on your house during a storm. One rogue branch or limb is all it takes to cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The best way to avoid this type of damage is to have a professional landscaping or tree services company prune the trees and shrubs on your property—especially those near your house or overhanging the roof—and remove dead or low-hanging branches.
This type of yard maintenance also helps ensure that the rest of your grass and landscaping elements receive the sunlight and nutrients they need to stay healthy.
4. Restore your carpet
Keep your carpet fresh, clean, and looking as good as the day it was installed by scheduling a fall carpet cleaning service. Regular vacuuming is important, too, but the average residential vacuum cleaner can’t deliver the results of a professional cleaning.
The pros have the equipment and solutions to remove the embedded dirt, debris, and stains that accumulate with everyday life. Clean carpets are also an important part of maintaining good indoor air quality and keeping dust to a minimum—just what you want as you prepare to spend more time indoors.
5. Unclog your gutters
From late winter to early summer, your gutters get clogged with everything from leaves to dirt. Get your gutters ready for winter rain and snowmelt (and keep them functioning properly year-round) with the help of a professional gutter cleaning company.
Cleaning gutters on your own puts you at risk for bodily injury, and with the wrong equipment, you can do significant damage to your roof. Let a pro scale the ladder and tackle the job for you.
Aside from cleaning your gutters, an expert gutter contractor can recommend gutter guard options. A few common types include the following:
- Curved mesh. Ideal if you live in a rainy climate. Curved mesh handle downpours and heavy runoff well, and leaves and other debris slide off into the yard.
- Micro mesh. Micro-mesh guards keep tiny debris out of your gutter, such as shingle grit, as well as preventing wet leaves from building up..
- Foam filters. These porous filters are placed inside your gutter troughs and do a good job of keeping solid debris from impeding the flow of water.
Your gutter cleaning crew will be able to recommend the best gutter guard options for your home as well as alert you to any roof and siding maintenance issues they see over the course of their service.
6. Protect your perennials
Perennial flowers and plants give your landscape a pop of color and visual appeal—and since they return every year, perennials are a great, low-maintenance option if your thumbs aren’t exactly green.
Although perennials are beautiful, harsh winter weather can ruin them. Don’t let this happen. Hire a landscaper to spread mulch in your flower beds so the plants are well protected. With the right amount of mulch, perennials have a much higher chance of surviving the icy winter temperatures. Plus, the mulch keeps hungry critters away.
7. Clean your fireplace
There’s nothing as cozy as lounging in front of a fireplace during the chilly winter season. And the good news is that as long as they’re well maintained, fireplaces can be a cost-efficient heat source.
Your chimney and fireplace should be cleaned by a chimney professional at least once per year. Early autumn—before the cold temperatures arrive in earnest—is a great time to have your chimney and fireplace serviced. Your chimney sweep will inspect the chimney and fireplace for signs of cracks or deterioration and will remove debris, soot, and creosote buildup.
Don’t use your fireplace before have a pro take a look. The National Fire Protection Association reports that 27 percent of home heating fires are due to dirty chimneys. Stay safe (and warm) with the help of a chimney expert.
8. Seal attic air leaks
Warm air rises, so if your attic isn’t well sealed and insulated, you’ll likely pay more than necessary to heat your home through the winter. Old attic insulation or insulation that has been compressed or damaged by water intrusion or nuisance wildlife doesn’t do its job very well.
Have an insulation professional assess the current R-value of your attic insulation and recommend the best course of action. Depending on the condition and type of your existing insulation, the solution may be as straightforward as layering in additional insulation.
9. Upgrade your furnace
An average natural gas furnace has a lifespan of approximately 20 years. Regular maintenance will help a furnace reach that 20-year mark, but that doesn’t mean that it will operate efficiently the entire time.
Energy efficiency technology improves virtually every year, and federal efficiency standards often become more strict as a reaction. This helps our environment and ultimately saves you money. The more efficient your furnace, the less you pay for utility services.
If your energy costs have increased recently, an outdated furnace may be partially to blame. Have an HVAC professional inspect the unit and recommend a solution. If your furnace isn’t too old, a parts retrofit can improve its efficiency; however, if your furnace has reached the end of its expected lifespan, your best (and most cost-effective) bet is to replace it with a newer model.
How To Find a Reputable Contractor
The burden of taking care of home improvement and maintenance tasks doesn’t have to fall solely on your shoulders—and in many cases, it really shouldn’t. Your house is one of the most significant investments you’ll ever make, so it’s in your best interest to rely on the pros to ensure that important projects are completed the right way.
That being said, finding a reputable, experienced contractor can be half the battle. For most home services, there’s no shortage of contractors fighting for your business, so you need to have a game plan for narrowing your list and hiring the best.
- Start your search with a trusted source. Best Pick Reports evaluates companies (including existing Certified Best Picks) on an annual basis to ensure that they provide the excellent work and customer service homeowners like you expect.
- Research your favorite options. Request an estimate from your top contenders, and ask them about their professional memberships and experience with the work you want done.
- Check reviews and references. Read through online reviews from verified customers, and contact company-provided references.
Once you settle on a company, make sure that all the details of your project—including any verbal agreements—are captured on the contract you sign. Sign the contract only after you’ve read through it thoroughly and asked any questions you have.
Choosing the right contractors to take care of your fall home improvement projects will ensure that your house is ready to weather the upcoming winter.