Although we may pay attention to maintenance and safety needs inside the house, outside hazards such as falling tree limbs, mold, infestations, and foundation issues can get overlooked, leading to costly repairs and possible injury. Here are some common risks to look for and tips for keeping your exterior property safe.
Wear and tear on wooden structures and supports—Wood that is split and rotted on decks, porches, or steps can splinter or crack can create hazards. Check for signs of moisture or brittleness and replace as needed. If you notice swaying or shifting, your support beams could be damaged and may need to be shored up or rebuilt. Inspect for loose nails and handrails; remove and repair as required. Consider a professional inspection. You don’t want to have an incident where your porch or deck gives out during heavy snow or outdoor gathering on the deck.
Overgrowth—Falling branches, overgrown bushes, and climbing vines can damage siding. Older trees with low-hanging branches should be monitored and removed if needed. Roots can dig along the foundation, putting pressure on foundation walls or penetrating and expanding cracks. Do not plant trees too close to the house; regularly manicure hedges and other growth. This practice will also help minimize insect, bird, and animal infestations.
Standing water—Water that pools around your foundation can breed mold and or cause structural issues. Makes sure water is draining away from the foundation including runoff from downspouts. Grade all areas around the property to ensure water not running along the foundation. If the property slopes towards the house, consider adding a swale or French drain to direct water away.
Smoke and Flames—Your grill and firepit can contribute to fun pastimes on your patio or backyard but can also be dangerous if too close to the property. Keep these items at least 10 feet from your home, shed, and other structures. Check local codes to ensure you are meeting all local requirements.
Poor lighting—Dim or no lighting invites falls and other mishaps. Make your exterior well-lit or install motion lights to avoid accidents and make movement easier for residents and guests.
Chemical spills—Gasoline, pesticides, and other chemicals must be used, cleaned up, and stored safely out of reach of children and pets. Check your garage or other storage area and remove any spillage, leaks, or stains that could cause harm or ignition. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe storage.
The outside of your home should be kept as safe and well-tended as the inside, especially since it is constantly exposed to the elements. Take the time to survey all exterior areas at least 4 times per year to stay ahead of any issues to ensure you can safely enjoy your home inside and out.