The majority of Americans living on the Pacific Coast typically enjoy sunny blue skies and warm weather for most of the year. Even so, it’s also important for west coasters to prepare your outdoor spaces for winter, because for you, winter weather means lots of wind and heavy rain.
1) Seal and Protect
It’s smart to reseal and protect your deck before the winter rains arrive. Restaining your deck or any wood furniture, especially any spots that are cracked or worn, will save you the trouble of dry rot later down the road. Even after reapplying a sealant, all outdoor furniture should be protected with a cover during the rainy months. Not only does it keep your furniture looking great for years, but on nice winter days, you can quickly pop off the furniture cover and have a nice dry seat for you and your guests.
2) Give The Exterior of Your Home A Check-Up
Roofing and siding are your home’s first line of defense against the rainy weather. So before that winter rain hits, it’s time to have a professional roofer come out to inspect your home’s exterior. The home exterior inspectors will check for missing shingles, gaps in siding, or any cracks. Repairing these minor issues before rain damage occurs will save you a lot of time and money.
3) Get Your Trees In Shape
The California droughts we have been having are leaving trees especially dry. Cracked, dry branches combined with sudden, heavy rain is a terrible mix. Check the trees in your yard for loose or damaged branches. Winter winds can easily pull these down, which can wreak havoc on your home and become a potential safety concern.
If this feels out of reach for you, you can always contact a tree specialist such as a tree trimmer to deal with loose branches, or an arborist who can tell you how to care for your trees and prevent cracking and breakage. It’s also a good time to line trees with mulch to keep them from soaking up too much moisture at once.
4) Clean Your Gutters
If your gutters and downspouts are clogged with dry leaves and twigs, they won’t be much help in dispersing that rain, which means it will run over your gutters at entrances, fall on lower patches of your roof, or end up all in one spot of the yard — all of which will create havoc.
5) Assess Your Yard
Do a walkthrough of your yard. Look for small items that could be easily picked up by heavy winds such as small potted plants or yard decorations. Lightweight plastic chairs should be stacked, covered, and if possible placed in a shed or garage to prevent them from becoming brittle and cracking.
Check areas that could be flooded by rain. If rain fills in holes, the damage will worsen, and if those holes are too close to your home, it could flood your basement or crawl spaces. You can quickly and easily fill holes in your yard using an inexpensive topsoil from your local hardware store. To keep the existing plants in your garden safe, create a build-up of pebbles, mulch or extra topsoil around them which will work as a barrier to keep heavy water from soaking them all at once.
6) Prepare The Pool And Jacuzzi
Even if you’re able to use your pool and hot tub all winter long, it’s best to use a custom-fitted pool or hot tub cover to keep out falling rain and other debris. This will save you the hassle of tedious cleaning later.
7) Fireplace Check-Up
A dirty chimney can quickly become a major fire hazard. Winter is prime time to make use of that cozy fireplace, so give it a quick check-up and make sure it’s clean and free of debris. You can DIY this or bring in a professional chimney sweep to take care of it for you.
8) Windows and Doors
Make sure all outer screen doors are secure at the hinges and that they fully close. If not, a big gust of wind can quickly peel them from your home. Check that all windows are sealed in properly and that there aren’t any cracks that could create a draft. If you do find that you have a drafty window, it’s luckily an easy DIY fix with some weather stripping from the hardware store.
9) Prepare Your Vehicle
Whether you have a car, bike, or a motorcycle they will all need a little extra TLC and protection for the winter months. Check for any rust spots which will only worsen with the rain. Take your car or motorcycle in to a professional for essential maintenance and have them check all fluid levels, wired connections, and your battery.
10) Safety Comes First!
In the winter months, we are more likely to be using our indoor stoves, fireplaces, or heating systems so it’s the perfect time to do a check-up on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Stay safe and warm and dry this year!