Wow! Winter has been tough this year! As I stated before, I am new to Northern Virginia. I have spent the last seventeen years of my life between Tucson, AZ and Savannah, GA. So the 18” of snow we saw in Berryville was both miraculous and terrifying! Savannah all but panics if the snow lasts more than an hour, and everything (and I mean the whole city) shuts down. Then everyone sits on their porches in 45 degree weather wrapped in sweatshirts and slippers, and sips hot cocoa and chats it up with the neighbors. There is none of this slogging about with salt buckets and shovels!
Hot cocoa, 45 degrees. Front porch. Winter in coastal Georgia.
Getting homes ready for spring is a little different too. On those odd days when it’s over 60—or you have too many people in the dining room, and the fireplace burning– most of us Geechee brats open the windows. Coastal winters allow for the airing out homes. Winter is the rainy season, which means resetting fences and flower beds. If the pansies or marigolds haven’t survived the winter, and all the tulips have already bloomed, the neighbors are considering what impatiens to plant. At this time, veggie gardens with “cold” veggies have already been turned over and new compost is being laid in the hopes of an early summer crop. Strawberries can be ready as early as late April or early May.
I swear I am not waxing poetic here…well, maybe a little. Spring is gorgeous in the coastal south. Summer is a slogger…and fall and winter blur together with very little color, and a drab bit of charm that cries out for the colors Christmas, and then falls silent until the first whiffs of spring saunter in. I complained and lamented for years about missing the vibrant colors of a Shenandoah fall, and the detailed settings of a Blue Ridge winter. But this winter?! Maybe I wished a little hard this year!
As you can guess, I am learning the ins and outs of caring for a house in this climate. Some things are the same: preparing HVAC units for the upcoming summer, and making sure the filters are changed. Some things are very new: those little cracks that show up in drywall and paint from the house expanding and contracting all winter. So here is my little list of “needs to be done” for spring in Northern Virginia, please feel free to add to it!
- Roofing: The roof needs to be checked for missing shingles and other forms of wear caused by ice and snow load. Ice dams can cause shingles to lift, and that can lead to leaking.
- Clean out the gutters: This may seem a no-brainer, but detritus left over from fall and the weight of snow and ice can cause damage to your gutters. Get them ready for spring with a good clear out!
- Painting and resealing: Often, expansion joints around windows and siding need resealing after the harsh weather of winter. The freeze and thaw cycles take a toll on these areas. Refreshing the paint helps to seal your house against spring and summer weather as well as sprucing up the exterior of your home. Also, don’t forget the inside! Spring is the time for new beginnings and fun colors! Repairing those previously mentioned cracks can start as a good reason for that kitchen remodel you have been thinking about!
- Drive ways: Your driveway suffers from the freeze and thaw cycle too, and can also need mending in the spring. Salt and other de-icers can damage concrete, brick, and stone leading to effluence with spring rains. Having concrete and stone surfaces properly cleaned and sealed can extend the life of your driveways, walkways, steps and patios.
- Foundations and Basements: Both these areas can succumb to the freeze/thaw cycle, too. Always have cracks checked, and always abate standing water. Capillary action in wood can carry standing water in a basement to the roof of the house very quickly, causing rot and mold. Standing water in a basement can be very detrimental to a house.
- Landscaping: The driveway isn’t the only area around your home that is subject to damage by de-icing. The chemicals, even naturally based ones, can be harmful to turf, plants, and walkways. Always be careful using these products, and be ready to offer your landscaping a helping hand as it moves into the season.
Some of these tasks can be daunting (I’m slightly terrified of heights, and will leave that roofing stuff to the brave and expert!) or cumbersome and time consuming as families are gearing up for the spring season. Carpenter Beach Construction offers a Home Repair Service that can help our neighbors and clients navigate the change of seasons. Or, as we all watch the winter melt away, if you are dreaming of a new deck or outdoor kitchen—just like I am!—we can help you with those projects too! All I can say is…Is it spring yet?!