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8 Things To Do To Prepare Your Home’s Exterior For Fall

Enjoying the waning days of summer? Don't forget to work in these do-before-fall tasks!

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Gutter Downspout with water - side viewIcemanJ/Getty Images

Repair Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters can’t do their job if they aren’t properly installed. Fix them now, before water damages the roof, fascia boards or your home’s foundation.

If gutters are sagging, install gutter brackets to secure them at the proper angle — at least 1/4-inch of slope for every 10 feet of gutter. Then run water through them with a hose, looking for clogs and leaks. To repair leaking end caps, clean them thoroughly and apply a gutter seal product like Flex Seal Brite Liquid Rubber Sealant Coating.

Check your downspouts, too. Connections should be secure and water should drain away from the house. If necessary, install gutter extensions.

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man applying caulk sealant to window frame in houseAndreyPopov/Getty Images

Seal Holes and Cracks

As summer winds down and outdoor temperatures cool, insects and rodents get busy looking for a cozier place to reside. Don’t invite them in by leaving openings in your siding or foundation. Seal them now, before uninvited guests start hunting for new digs.

Fill concrete cracks with a sealant, like Quikrete Polyurethane Self-Leveling Concrete Crack Sealant. Plug holes in wood or vinyl siding with caulk.

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woman fixing outdoor light fixture of houseAnthony Tahlier/Getty Images

Repair Outdoor Light Fixtures

With fall comes the dreaded decrease in daylight. To compensate for the darkness, make sure the exterior lights on your house work. Replace burned out bulbs.

Dusk-to-dawn LEDs feature built-in light sensors, so they’ll automatically turn themselves on and off. Replace broken fixtures. Make sure they’re rated for the outdoors and install an eco-friendly motion-sensitive fixture. You’ll have light when you need it and save some dough.

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man painting the side of his houseHill Street Studios/Getty Images

Schedule Painting Projects

You’ve made plenty of excuses to avoid those painting projects — it’s been too hot, too wet, or you’ve had too many other things to do. But now’s time to get them scheduled and completed.

Make a list of what needs painting on the outside of your house and prioritize what to do first. Look for exposed wood on trim and siding. You can paint well into fall so there’s still plenty of opportunity. For long-lasting results, don’t skimp. Choose the proper painting tools and materials and the best painting techniques.

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house chimney against blue skyanthonysp/Getty Images

Check the Chimney

You could do this from the ground, using binoculars. But you’ll need to climb onto your roof for a thorough chimney inspection.

Repair loose bricks and places where mortar is missing. This can take some time and patience, so start now. Also, check the crown, the concrete surface that surrounds the top part of the chimney. Small cracks are easy to repair with a sealant. Left untreated they could become larger, leading to more extensive problems.

If the crown has deteriorated, hire a pro to replace it. And schedule an inspection of the flue now if it hasn’t been done in a year or more. If it needs cleaning, you’ll beat the fall rush for chimney sweep services.

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Tab styled asphalt roof shinglesDouglas Sacha/Getty Images

Inspect the Roof

While you’re inspecting the chimney, eyeball the roof shingles. Any cracked or missing? What’s the overall condition of the roof?

You can easily replace missing shingles yourself, and this is a great time of year to do it. The still-warm temperatures keep the shingles more flexible so they’re easier to work with, and the less intense heat makes it more comfortable to be on the roof.

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fogged up window panes in houseMint Images/Getty Images

Repair Damaged Windows

Do you have broken panes, fogged-up insulated windows or deteriorated glazing? Start now to give yourself ample time before the heating season arrives. It can take days or weeks to get replacement glass, especially if it’s insulated.

You can replace the glass yourself. You can reglaze windows, too, but that requires extra time for the glaze to cure — one to several weeks — and then time to prime and paint. Choose oil-based glazing compound or latex. Oil-based paint takes longer to apply but latex cures faster.

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front door of house showing outdoor trim around windows and doorMelissa Ross/Getty Images

Fix Outdoor Trim

Deteriorated trim around doors and windows doesn’t just distract from your home’s appearance. Loose, missing or rotted pieces can let in moisture and pests.

Fasten loose pieces and replace any missing sections. If you repair rotted wood, you don’t have to replace it. Instead, rebuild it with polyester filler. Tackle these repairs now, then caulk the gap between the trim and siding and paint the trim.

Kathleen Childers
Kathleen Childers, a Minnesota-based writer, covers topics about home and life for a variety of clients.