April showers bring May flowers, which is all well and good for the flowers. Those rainstorms, however, can also point out the flaws in your home -- like leaking windows, faulty doors, and sagging gutters.
You probably want to wait until the summer sun is shining to take on major roof repairs, but if your home is feeling a little soggy, these do-it-yourself tips can prevent further water damage.
Drafts are nice only when the window is open
Small gaps or cracks in your window sills aren't just bad for your heating and cooling bills. Broken seals can also allow water to creep inside your home, damaging wood window frames and floors.
To test your windows, examine each frame carefully and use your hand to feel for drafts. "If you see any cracks, buckling, warping, or if you feel a draft, this could be a sign of leak areas," says Tomas Lelczuk, owner of 911 Restoration of Miami, a home restoration company that specializes in water damage and disaster recovery solutions.
To reseal windows and stop the leak, add small beads of caulking to any cracks or drafty seals on the window frame, then run your finger across the frame to smooth out the caulk and "find all of the microcracks," Lelczuk says.
Your doors may need an attitude adjustment
"Door leaks are common where the door swings into the house rather than outward, because an inward-swinging door tends to funnel water in," says Lelczuk.
If your door fits that description, Lelczuk recommends checking around the threshold for cracks, splits, and early indications of wood rot on the door or frame. Small cracks and splits can be repaired with caulk, but large damages and rot may require a replacement door.
Once it's repaired, keep an eye on your exterior doors.
"To prevent rainwater from entering your home, make sure the threshold is functioning properly. It may need to be adjusted periodically," says J.B. Sassano, president of Mr. Handyman, a home repair company with franchises in the U.S. and Canada.
Are your gutters not as perky as they used to be?
Your gutters take a lot of abuse, especially if you're in an area prone to heavy snow or rainfall. Now that snow and ice have made way for rain, you'll need to make sure your gutters are in good working order.
Start by checking your downspouts.
"Downspouts easily clog if your home has a lot of trees," says Sassano. For loose clogs, running a garden house into the downspout may be all you need to clear the debris. For tighter clogs, a plumbing snake can shake the debris free.
Next, check along the gutters for sagging areas.
"Sagging ends up allowing for debris to get lodged and create blockages, which may allow for leaks," says Lelczuk. If the same spot keeps sagging, you may want to call a professional, but you can handle smaller issues yourself.
"A fix for sagging gutters is to bolster them with gutter hangers so there is a peak in the center of the roof line, which will allow for water to drain to both sides and into downspouts," says Lelczuk.
Once everything is flowing nicely, check for small cracks in your gutters. If you find any, fix them with a patch kit.
Repairing leaks and other issues in your windows, doors, and gutters will help your home get through those spring showers smoothly, but don't forget to check for new damage periodically. If any of these problems crop up again, use the same tricks to repair them and keep the inside of your home nice and dry while you work on those bigger summer DIY jobs -- like tackling the roof and the basement.
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