ROSIE ON THE HOUSE
Here’s a list of tasks to get done around the home before it’s too late
May 25, 2023, 3:00 PM
Has the phrase, “I wish I would have…” ever crossed your mind?
Well, Rosie calls it the “woulda, shoulda, coulda syndrome!” Most commonly, we face this reality when we don’t prepare. Preparation is the act of putting in proper condition or state of readiness an event, or in this case, your home.
Seasonal preparation is a common and important topic at Rosie on the House. Each season has chores specific to that time of year. Let’s do a quick review of the most common chores and look at some tell-tale signs that need to be addressed.
Before the monsoons
With the monsoons just around the corner, these areas need preparation:
- Drainage. No matter where you are in this great State of Arizona, you are susceptible to copious amounts of water coming your way. Check your rainwater drainage systems, including gutters and downspouts. Make sure they are not clogged with debris and are ready to keep the water moving away from your home. If you have drainage swales on your property, make sure they are clear, too. The goal here is to keep the water away from your home.
- Wind. Along with or even without the water, comes the wind. Y’all know how wind bursts can achieve tornado-like effects. Every year roofs are damaged, and the coverings outside our homes can be affected. Making sure there are no loose tiles on your roof is a good start. We often overlook other items such as yard or patio furniture. Not having these secured can pose a real hazard if they become airborne in a strong wind. Store them in a garage or shed, or if you can’t do that, try to tie them down.
Winterizing is another annual chore that takes on different meanings in different parts of Arizona. The valleys that aren’t subject to sustained freezing typically don’t have the same scope of tasks as our mountain-dwelling homeowners.
- Water pipes. Are they insulated from the freezing temperatures? Faucets and valves should be checked as well.
- Heating system checkup. Do this in September in the colder climates and no later than October elsewhere. This is definitely one of those “before it’s too late” tasks.
- Window and door seals. Weather stripping and caulking go a long way in keeping the indoor air climate controlled. Infiltrating air can make a cold winter feel a lot colder.
To Do Anytime
Aside from the seasonal preparation, some issues arise at any time of the year. Those need to be addressed “before it’s too late,” too. Survey your home for cracks. A crack in the surface of any material indicates a problem. These problems can multiply and become costly fixes if they are not addressed promptly. Let’s look at a few cracks and what they could mean.
- Concrete. Whether a driveway, walkway or retaining wall, cracks in concrete could be serious. Concrete, by its very nature, cracks. Expansion joints and score lines are put into both flat and vertical surfaces to tell the concrete where to crack. These joints, when done properly, are treated to prevent any associated damage when they do crack. Horizontal surfaces such as sidewalks, will allow for the minor infiltration of moisture to flow through, which will not cause damage. Vertical surfaces will typically have expansion joints that are designed to allow for movement but not moisture to penetrate. When cracks occur in unplanned areas, you need to pay attention. Cracks in your driveway cause heaving and irregular surfaces. Cracks in your foundation or retaining wall need a professional’s attention.
- Pool decks. If the pool area has a surface treatment on it, cracking can lead to an eventual failure of large portions of that surface. It can also be a tripping hazard.
- Pavers. One of the beauties of this product is that a cracked paver can usually be easily replaced. It’s the cause of the crack that is the real issue. Failure of the subbase is a common reason for a paver to crack. Look at surrounding drainage and consider burrowing animals as a potential cause.
- Tiles. Most tile systems, inside and outside, are set on a solid subsurface. If the tiles crack, it is almost a given that the subsurface has failed or is failing in some way. A small crack could be masking a much larger one if on concrete, or a structural flaw in a framing system.
- Stucco. Regardless of the specific stucco system used, a crack is not good. Some systems will incorporate expansion joints or planned and treated cracks. If a crack occurs in any other area of the surface, moisture can infiltrate and potentially cause significant leaks, or even a dreaded build-up of mold.
- Wood. Our Arizona sun is usually not kind to untreated or poorly treated wood surfaces. Cracks or “checking” in a wood product typically indicates a need for better treatment, or in some cases, replacement.
- Glass. Any crack here is not a good thing. Minor cracks in the seal of a double-paned window (usually indicated by a fogging effect between panes) mean the window is not functioning as designed.
- Caulking. Inside and outside, caulking is used to seal two dissimilar surfaces from some form of moisture infiltration, such as a counter from wiping it down or a doorjamb from allowing water through. It is also used to unify the continuity of two surfaces, as in painting. When the two materials move differently, the caulking can crack.
Cracks are caused by differential movement. Finding out and fixing that cause is in your best interest. Rosie says, “I can’t recall any crack fixing itself.”
Pay attention to any crack or any other damage or potential damage in and around your home before it’s too late!
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.