Worth The Work: DIY Home Projects To Tackle This Spring
Everyone knows spring is the time for cleaning and sprucing. But these projects take a little extra planning, so now’s the time to begin!
Here is your tried-and-true spring DIY home projects!
1. Caulk windows and doors
Winter is an excellent time to spot drafts in your home because it’s easy to feel the cold air entering your home. Seal up gaps with caulk and use insulating foam sealant to fill any small holes or larger cracks. Give your exterior door frames a once-over as well to make sure you can’t see light filtering through. If you’re fighting an uphill battle against single-pane windows, it might be time to set up a savings plan to update to more energy-efficient dual-pane windows.
2. Check for leaks
We’re not talking about leaks around faucets and pipes (although those are important too). The water supply lines to washing machines can crack and leak, which you may not notice for weeks — a prime breeding ground for mold and water damage. Inspect hoses for signs of wear and, if you find leaks, swap out for new. Do the same for your dishwasher. If you have accordion-style plastic plumbing anywhere in your house, now is the time to upgrade. Not only is the style against code in many states, but these pipes are also notorious leakers.
3. Service HVAC systems
In the winter months, your focus is likely on keeping all of the heat inside your house. But soon enough, you’ll be desperate to keep that heat outside. Check and, if needed, replace filters, inspect drain pans and hose connections, and test system function overall.
4. Consider adding a canopy
A canopy of trees, that is. Strategically placed trees can help you save money on heating and cooling bills by throwing your yard some shade. Hire a landscape company to help you decide what type of trees would be most beneficial (and easy to care for), as well as where to plant them. On a budget? Contact local universities to be matched up with landscape architecture students looking for practicum experience. Either way, be sure to consult with local utility agencies before breaking ground — you don’t want to disrupt buried gas or sewer lines.
5. Plan a vegetable garden
While you’re planning major landscape updates, why not start your garden prep? Now’s the time to decide what types of produce you’d like to grow, order seeds, figure out whether raised beds or vertical gardens will work better in your space, and monitor the sun exposure. Most fruits and veggies need lots of sun to grow, so you’ll want to choose plants that will grow best for the amount of sun (or shade!) you’ve got to deal with. Free vegetable garden planning software can help you maximize your veggie production.
6. Prep the lawn mower
Your lawn mower is probably stowed in a shed during the colder months, but now’s the time to sharpen the blades, clean out any stray clippings, and make sure that it still starts up. It’s also a good idea to have your gas/oil mixture (if your machine uses this) on hand so that when you set out to do your first mow of the season, you don’t have to hit the hardware store first. If it’s time to upgrade your mower, April and May are the best months for scoring a deal on a new one, according to Consumer Reports. Start a savings plan now so that you can purchase this spring.
7. Wash and re-stain your deck
If your deck is starting to look a bit shabby, you’ll want to give it a face-lift by cleaning and re-staining it. Stock up on your materials now: Choose an oxygen-bleach wood cleaner, which won’t harm plant life — or you! — and a wood brightener, then rinse thoroughly. Be sure the deck is completely dry for a day or two (or as long as the label on your stain advises) before staining.
8. Clear yard debris
If you didn’t rake leaves in the fall, this is the time to do it. Not only do wet leaves breed mold (and smother any dormant plantings), but they can also clog gutters — leading to possible water damage during the next big rainstorm. While you’re up on the roof, check to see that there aren’t any holes or dents in the gutter that might prevent water flow.
9. Paint the house
Nothing brightens a house better than a fresh coat of paint. But painting the exterior of your home is time-consuming — and expensive. Budget for this warm-weather project now by using an online estimating tool, like this paint calculator from Sherwin-Williams. Another cost-cutting tip? Pick your colors from the designer paint swatches but have the paint department staff use more affordable paint when they custom-mix the colors to match.
10. Paint metal lawn furniture
If you have metal lawn furniture, check for signs of rust or chipping paint. Use a metal-bristle brush to remove debris and then freshen up those chairs and tables with a new coat of enamel paint so that your outdoor furniture set will be ready to weather another summer. (Just be sure to take the project outside; enamel paints can be toxic in small spaces!)
11. Update exterior light fixtures
This is one home project that will pay off right away — as the dark nights slowly stretch into longer days. Installing new exterior light fixtures (or upgrading the numbers on your house) can also give your abode a boost of curb appeal. If you live on a dark street, try a motion-sensor light for added safety.
12. Shampoo the rugs and curtains
Whether you take an expensive hand-woven carpet to a pro or rent a DIY carpet cleaner, now is the time to get those floor coverings cleaned up. Salt and de-icing solutions may help keep roads clean in the winter, but the chemicals can wreak havoc on your rugs and carpets. Launder dusty curtains as well. Bonus: Clean rugs and upholstery last longer.
13. Inspect the attic and basement
We saved the creepy-crawly project for last. Rodents tend to find their way inside your warm, cozy house during winter months — and they love to make their nests in your home’s plush insulation. Inspect the attic for signs of invaders (droppings and torn insulation are good indicators) and take steps to vanquish your new rodent roommates and repair any damages. In the basement, you’ll want to look for signs of water damage. If your water heater or furnace is located in the basement, be sure to check for leaks there too.