Spring cleaning is a yearly ritual.  We think of it in terms of things to be done inside the house.  But it’s just as important to address outside issues that may have developed over time.

A good way to begin is to take a walk around the yard and examine your home’s exterior.  The eaves -even on new homes for sale in Florida – eventually serve as hiding places for insects and cobwebs.  So you’ll need to hose them off.  Look for areas on walls or trim where paint may need to be touched up.  Pay special attention to door and window frames, your driveway and walkways, the foundation and fencing and retaining walls.  Make a note of anything that will require professional repair or restoration.

Here are some specific tips for making the most of your outdoor Spring cleaning so you can enjoy your outdoor space to the fullest in warmer months to come:

Front Porch

Remember that your front porch creates the first impression that visitors get of your home.  Once you’ve removed plants and other items, you should sweep and rinse it.  The concrete base and walls can be scrubbed with a brush or cleaned with a power washer.  Pay special attention to details such as flower pots, furniture and decorations, which can be wiped down with a damp cloth.  Get rid of any cobwebs in the upper corners and around light fixtures.  Be sure to wash the front door, too.

Speaking of lighting, new homes for sale in Florida often feature LED bulbs, which are a wise investment in terms of power bill savings.  When it’s time to take your outdoor fixtures apart for a thorough cleaning, why not upgrade the bulbs at the same time?

Now that the entrance is looking its best, be sure to complete the picture by weeding and raking the front yard, adding fresh soil, compost, and mulch to any flower beds, and trimming your bushes. 

Roof

Few of us are experts when it comes to roofing, but there are signs of trouble you can look for after Winter weather has passed.  Minor problems can become major, so a little inspection time spent on your ladder is certainly worthwhile.  If you see shingle damage, issues with the flashing around the chimney or vent pipes or any other indication that deterioration has occurred, you should call a professional who can give you a more thorough evaluation.

Check your gutters and downspouts, too.  They may need cleaning, unblocking or repair.

Garage Door

No exterior spring cleaning is complete without giving this very visible part of your house some attention.  Whether it’s made of wood, fiberglass, steel or any other material, use either a power washer or a long-handled scrub brush for best results.  It’s a simple matter of mixing cleaning solution and water in a bucket, washing the surface and then rinsing it.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the improvement.

Siding

Pressure washing is also the most efficient way to remove dirt and mildew from siding.  But be sure to keep the washer’s setting low to avoid damage.  Never pressure wash tiled siding or steps, because the force can loosen the tiles.  It can also break windows and cause injury, so always use a pressure washer with extreme care.  In many cases, you can get satisfactory results with the spray nozzle of a garden hose.

Deck

Once you’ve swept any debris off of your wood or composite deck, you can use a power washer to get rid of any ground-in dirt and grime.  Address any really bad spots with a long-handled scrub brush.  Rinse the surface, allow it to dry and then look carefully for signs of wear, warping or nail pops.  When you’re satisfied that repairs or re-staining are not required, apply a coat of sealer to protect the surface from sun and water damage.

Pool Patio and Enclosure

Because of our ideal Spring and Summer weather, pools are a popular feature of both old and new homes for sale in Florida.  So at Artisan Homes, we’re accustomed to the annual cleaning and maintenance they and their surroundings require for maximum enjoyment.

Start by looking for tears or wear in the enclosure screening, and clean the supports with gentle dish soap or a vinegar and water solution.

Remove any furniture and plants and then sweep up sand, leaves, and debris.  Rinse the entire area and look for cracks or mildew.  For problem areas, apply a 10:1 solution of warm water and Simple Green or any other environmentally safe cleaner.  Leave it in place for 15 minutes and then scrub the surface and rinse thoroughly.  If that doesn’t produce the results you want, add some bleach to the solution and repeat the procedure.

Outdoor Furniture

Powder-coated aluminum furniture offers built-in resistance to rust and mold.  Avoid scrubbing it.  Instead, use a garden hose to rinse it off and then clean it with mild dish detergent and water, using just a soft brush, cloth, or kitchen sponge.  Be sure to remove any soapy residue from nooks, crannies, and joints.

Teak requires very little care and also resists the buildup of mold and rot.  But it will mildew over time, so give it a mild soap and water wash with a soft brush that won’t damage the surface.  Add a little bleach to the solution to remove stubborn stains.

An old toothbrush is the perfect tool for cleaning the crevices of wicker and rattan furniture after you wipe the surface with a mild soap and water solution.

Watch for algae growing on wrought iron and remove it with a stiff brush and strong disinfectant to prevent rust from developing.

How do you clean an outdoor umbrella?  Hose it down first to remove superficial grime.  Then, run a wet, soft-bristled brush over a bar of laundry soap and use it to scrub the canopy surface, working from top to bottom.  Rinse and leave the umbrella open until it’s completely dry.

Like everyone else in Northeast Florida, we look forward to the return of Spring each year.  At Artisan Homes, we’re proud to provide houses that offer master craftsmanship, timeless design and energy-efficient construction for those who choose to enjoy the good life in this very special part of the state. 

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