Winter Time Outdoor Home Improvement Projects

Most of the projects around the outside of your home will likely have been done before the onset of winter but there are several things that can be done after winter has started. Some repair projects are easier to spot after a rain or wind storm and need to be taken care of before they get worse as winter comes on full blast.

Check around the inside of your windows with a candle or lighter as well as visually inspecting the outside. Pick up rope caulking and a caulking gun at Home Depot, etc. The rope caulking is easy to use as you can tear a piece the right size and mold it in place with your fingers. A caulking gun is also a handy tool for not only the windows but can be used to repair siding also. Look at the siding while you’re inspecting the windows and fill any holes you find. If you have other types of weather stripping take a piece to the hardware store and match it. Most of it has adhesive backing and cuts with scissors. Just follow the instructions on the package and its an easy project.

Exterior storm windows are a good project especially if you have older windows. Rather than replacing them you can install permanent storm windows. If you would rather take them out during the summer and don’t want to spend a lot of money you can make your own. Make a frame by cutting 2′ x 2′ lumber with 45 degree ends to make a frame approximately 1/4 inch smaller than the window opening size. Cut a groove in every side on the inside of the frame. Use Plexiglas or Lexan glazing from Home Depot or a hardware store. Be sure this is cut a little larger than the inside dimensions of the frame. Put the glazing in the slot using silicon sealer. Glue and screw the ends together. Paint and you’re finished. Insert the windows by putting weather stripping all around the frame and pushing into place. Make a groove in the bottom for any condensation to run out. A table saw will make this job a snap. A drill to make pilot holes for the corner screws, 4 deck screws, a screwdriver, tape measure and wood glue are about all the tools you need.

After a rain or wind storm check the exterior doors including the garage door to make sure the weather stripping on the bottom and sides is keeping the weather out. Check for air leaks with a candle or lighter. You can purchase weather stripping for the doors with adhesive backing at Home Depot, etc. Measure it and cut it, strip the backing off the adhesive and apply to a dry surface. If the weather strip on the bottom of the floor is worn you can replace it with a sweep that you screw on. The tools for this project are scissors, scraper (to remove old stripping), tape measure and screw driver.

Don’t forget to winter proof your driveway before you get snow or it starts freezing at night. Inspect it carefully for any cracks and make sure you fill them with crack filler from Home Depot, etc. Don’t miss any because they will be much larger by spring. Once the filler has dried you can seal the entire drive with asphalt sealer. It can be sprayed or rolled on. This is a messy job so wear gloves you can throw away. Look at the edges of the drive to see if the wood is still in good condition. If not replace it to make sure the asphalt doesn’t start chipping away. Use the asphalt sealer on the wood and the asphalt and get as tight a fit as you can.

Now that the leaves have fallen off the trees it’s an ideal time to prune your trees and bushes. It’s also a good time to cut any dead wood or branches that look like they could damage your house if they were to break from the wind or snow. A chain saw will make this job easier but if you don’t have one then a tree saw or hand saw, a large and a small pair of loppers, a pole lopper and gloves should be all you need to take care of the job.

These projects are for areas that have a real winter. In areas where the weather is less severe then any project can be done in the winter without too much worry that weather will be a factor. In the desert winter is the best time for many projects as its too hot much of the rest of the year.

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