Fall Maintenance Projects to get the Outside of Your House Ready for Winter

Summer is officially over and we are in the early stages of Fall. I notice the sun is going down sooner and it’s cooler at night. The leaves are turning color and the boys are back at soccer. I’ve also started a few projects outside to get ready for the winter.

I’ve always liked this transition from Summer to Fall. Time to reflect on the summer that was and prepare for winter. We usually get nice sunny days in September and the last month has been exceptionable. I’m sure the local vineyards will have a great crop of grapes this year.

Here are a few of the projects I’ve been working on the last few weeks:

Gutter Cleaning – Inside the Gutters

This is always an unpleasant job, but it does feel good once it is complete and you can hear the rain free flowing down the pipes. Last year I cleaned our gutters out in the late Fall when it was wet and nasty outside. This year I tackled the project a lot earlier and used a leaf blower for most of the job.

This was a lot easier and I was able to cut the time in half to get the job done.

Repainting the Trim On the House


Painting the trim on our house to match our new garden shed.

Painting the trim on our house to match our new garden shed


Our house has a walkout basement, so the front of the house is one story high and the back of the house is two stories high. A few years ago I repainted the trim in the lower areas, but I never got to painting the trim in the higher area. I can easily reach the lower trim with a ladder, but to reach the higher trim I need to climb up on the roof and the edge of the roof is only a few feet wide so I was a little nervous.

As with most projects the hardest part is getting organized, picking a time to do the work and getting started. This can also be complicated if you have an active house like I do with two boys that are in lots of sports. Last weekend I decided no matter what I was going to paint that trim and set aside Saturday to get the job done.

In the morning I organized my painting equipment, ladders and paint. I planned to use the paint that we used our garden shed so the shed would match the trim on the house. I decided it would be a lot quicker to use a small roller to paint the trim instead of a brush. This would also reduce my time on the roof and I could attach the roller to a stick if the I needed to reach a high section.

Off I went to Home Depot and I found the perfect trim roller with a tray for five bucks. If you don’t have a specific stick you can attach to the roller you might be able to use one from another tool you have around your house like a broom that detaches. In the end I did not need the stick but it is pretty handy to have one for other painting projects <look at a picture of roller>

Steps to paint the trim:

  1. Setup the ladder get on the roof and check out the area you are working in – this is for safety to make sure you can get up on the roof without any of the painting equipment and understand where you are working.
  2. Assess the trim to understand what was required to do a good job – from the ground it looked like I was going to have to scrap old paint off of the trim but on a closer inspection it was just dirt on the trim and I wiped it off with a cloth.
  3. Get your equipment and paint ready – stir your paint if it hasn’t been shaken, get your roller ready and put the paint in the tray. It is also good to have a small brush in case there are any spots the roller can’t reach.
  4. Carefully move all of your equipment – get some help if necessary getting everything on the roof.
  5. Start painting – Inspection pays off – once I finished painting I got on the ground and had a look at my work and noticed a few spots that I missed. It was easy to get back on the roof and finish the job. It would have been a pain if I noticed later once I had put everything away and cleaned up all of my equipment.
  6. In the end it was very satisfying getting this job done. It was one of those projects I’ve wanted to do for a few years and it is good knowing that the trim looks good and it is protected from the elements this fall.

Gutter Cleaning – Outside the Gutters

While repainting the trim I noticed how dirty our gutters are. Since I already had the ladders out and it was a sunny day I decided it was a good time to start cleaning the outside of the gutters. I’ve cleaned the outside of the gutters before and it is pretty straight forward. Hard work but straight forward.

Steps to clean the outside of the gutters:

  1. Get a bucket with warm soapy water. I use laundry detergent in the bucket.
  2. Get some sort of bristly brush, preferable on the end of a stick. I use an old boat brush we have.
  3. Spray down the area to get it wet.
  4. Put your scrub brush in the warm soapy water and start scrubbing.
  5. Spray down the gutter again and if it is still dirty keep scrubbing.

I also have a telescopic brush that attaches to the a hose. It has lever you can use to turn the water on and off. It is great for this job, but the brush isn’t as stiff as the boat brush so not perfect if you really need to scrub the gutter.

You can modify these steps based on the equipment you have on hand. I also use the same technique to clean our vinyl siding. Some people use a pressure washer to clean the vinyl siding, but I’m worried about forcing water underneath the siding or possibly damaging it if there is too much pressure.

I hope you find these tips useful. If you have any tips or stories on fall maintenance, please leave a comment below.

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