By STEVEN TORRES | Moonshine Ink

Hello friends! Spring is almost here and your home is likely to need love. As a contractor, I see lots of homes that need attention. Exterior items that usually need work as spring arrives are doors, decks, and roofs. 

Doors are often affected by winter: They need to be refinished; they can begin to scrape; the weather stripping can wear out. Look at the door from the inside. Do you see daylight? Do you feel a draft? Does it latch easily? Does it make funny noises? Fortunately, most of these problems can be fixed easily by either a talented homeowner or a licensed home care professional. Breathe. It’s going to be OK! 

Decks take a lot of stress. Walk around your decks to look at the post/ground interface. If soil is in contact with wood, it needs to be removed. Snow frequently pushes against railings. If they wiggle, you need to tighten up the fasteners. Look at where the deck connects to the house and see if it has been displaced. Water frequently gets into the house at this junction and causes problems. 

In general, be wary of aquatic points of entry to the home. Water intrusion is bad in two ways: First, it can lead to dry rot. Secondly, it can be the precursor to carpenter ant infestation. If you have those big black ants coming from a particular spot, you likely have a water problem. Be aware that it might not be visible on the outside, but instead damaged internally. I’ve seen this problem often and the fix can get quite costly. Don’t despair, your home has probably appreciated 10 to 20k over the last year; rates are low; your kid can get a student loan. Remember, retirement often leads to premature death. I recommend calling a trustworthy local building professional and begging them to go easy on you. 

Lastly, check the roof. Are any of the shingles missing or displaced? Vents crushed? Rafters cracked? Oh, the joys of home ownership! These problems should be fixed before next winter, and spring is a great time to get started. Also be on the lookout for holes that might be access points for squirrels. Over time, the amount of damage that critters can cause is huge. I would treat a rodent infestation as an emergency. If you see/smell/hear evidence of this problem, you may want to pray/swear/enjoy several adult beverages — or cry. Just don’t go into denial. This problem will not go away by ignoring it. The elemental battle of man versus nature rages on. Support your local economy. Be a warrior. 

~ Steven is a trained engineer and has been a general contractor for 30 years. He lives in Truckee with his wife and two cats. His daughter is in college studying architecture and engineering. He is currently working on his autobiography, Scarred for Life, while recovering from double knee replacement surgery and perfecting his golf swing. 


Main Image Caption: Decked: We’ve all seen that poor, dilapidated porch that couldn’t handle winter. Now’s the time to repair doors, decks, and roofs as spring arrives. Photo by Carly Poole