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Small Fixes That Will Save You Big Money on Home Maintenance

Extend Downspouts

Downspouts funnel runoff from your roof to the ground. But too often, the spouts just go down, and not out, increasing pressure on foundations and causing cracks and leaks.

Do yourself a favor and attach extensions to your downspouts that will lead water at least five feet away from your house. Extensions come in rolls of plastic or tubing that attaches to the spout and unfolds or expands when it rains.

Some extensions are perforated to prevent gushers at the end of the run; some swivel so you won’t saturate the same spot all the time. Most easily fasten to downspouts.

Putty Time

A little wood putty goes a long way to prevent holes, nicks and a little rot from destroying door and window trim.

Source: Home Depot

A couple of times a year, walk around and inspect trim for damage. Fill with wood putty and sand. Neaten and protect the job with touch-up paint.

Power Wash

Pressure washing  can take years off the look of your fence or deck, and extend their good-looking lives. You can rent power washing machines at your local home center, or invest in one. Better yet, get the neighbors together and split the cost.

After the wood is clean, seal it with a waterproof protector.

Don’t go power washing crazy. Pressure washing wood siding can throw water under slats, which could increase the chance of rot.

Don’t Baulk At Caulk

When it comes to making little repairs to prevent big damage, a caulk gun is your best (and least expensive) friend. Not only will fixing caulk keep water out of window and door frames, it will prevent heating and cooling from escaping, saving you money on energy bills.

Don’t forget to inspect the caulk around kitchen counters and bathtubs. Damaged caulk there can let water pool next to drywall (not a good thing) and seep under tile, which can loosen it.

Mulch Landscaping Beds

Trees and shrubs are expensive to replace, so take the time to protect them with three inches of hardwood mulch. This will help keep moisture in the ground and weeds out of beds.

Mulch in fall and spring. An added benefit: Natural mulch will decompose eventually and add nutrients to the soil, feeding your landscaping and saving you money on fertilizer.

With the money you save doing these little things, you’ll have a bigger fund to pay for large maintenance jobs — like replacing your roof — that are on the horizon.

By: Katie Bernard

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