Winter can bring out the worst in your house, leaving you with a long list of repairs. It's easy to let that leaky roof slip your mind until May showers arrive, but now is the time to focus on getting these DIYs out of the way before they get any worse. Fend off procrastination by creating a prioritized list while your home's needs are still top of mind.
Trim Broken Limbs: Trees
Icy winter storms and heavy snow can leave your yard full of broken branches and twigs. That doesn't mean you're off the hook when it comes to pruning. Bad snaps can do serious damage, so find the breaks on your trees, then find your clippers, or hire a tree company to address the offending breaks.
Trim Broken Limbs: Shrubs
Taking a pair of clippers to your shrubs after winter is a must—even if they came out on the other side of blizzards and harsh winds looking healthier than ever.
Spiff Up Damaged Gutters
Winter can take a toll on gutters, and putting off repairs can lead to bigger headaches once the snow melts and spring rains come. Get a closer look at any damage. Then take note of the type of gutter clip you need, buy one, and reattach it.
Seal Water Out of Your Basement
Your roof isn't the only entry point for water that can severely damage your home. Short of installing a new drainage system, there are certain measures you can take to keep your basement dry. Seal your basement walls with waterproof masonry paints like BEHR PREMIUM Basement & Masonry Waterproofer (left) or ZINGER WATERTITE-LV Waterproofing Concrete Masonry Paint (right).
Keep a wet/dry vac on hand—just in case—for cleaning up wet messes.
Tackle Basement Puddles With a Portable Pump
A sump pump is a basement staple for many homeowners, but installing one may take more time than you can afford if you're dealing with a basement leak. Instead, find a utility pump and hook up your garden hose to salvage a wet basement mess. Remember: Water left standing for more than 48 hours can lead to mold or other damage.
Level Grade to Avoid a Swampy Yard
An uneven grade can mean a yard full of puddles and mud once snow begins to melt. Don't forget that standing water can attract mosquitoes when temperatures rise.
Repair and Clean Screens
Let in the breeze without the critters by bringing out your screens now for cleaning and repairing. If mesh needs replacing, pry out the old spline and screen with a narrow screwdriver. Align the new mesh on top of the frame, keeping the grid straight. With scissors, cut the replacement screen to the size of the outer edge of the frame. Cut a small square from each corner (about the width of the frame) to prevent the material from bunching where the edges meet. Starting in one corner and working your way up one side, push the screen into the channel with the convex end of the spline-rolling tool. The goal is to achieve a slight indentation; no need to jam it in. Before moving on to another side, insert the spline. Use the concave end of the spline-rolling tool to push the cord into the channel over the top of the screen; hold the screen as you go so it won't bunch. Repeat these two steps for the remaining sides. Push the spline into the corners with a screwdriver. Cut the spline overhang with scissors. Use a utility knife to trim the excess screen around the frame. If screens are intact but dusty, simply use a rag and a bucket of water with dish soap for cleaning.