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Q: What should be on my home checklist this month?

A: With longer days and warmer temperatures, summer is the perfect time to take stock of the condition of your home’s exterior. Here are some maintenance tips that are perfect for the season.

Give your home a fresh coat of paint. New exterior paint can improve a home’s overall look, as well as add to its value. The warm weather makes summer the perfect time to do it. Homes made with cedar or wood siding typically need to be repainted every three to seven years, depending on the severity of the climate, while newer siding materials require fresh coats every 10 to 15 years.

Before you paint, walk around the house and examine it carefully. Even a small crack that may not pose a structural threat can let water and pests into your home, so you’ll want to take care of it before beginning to paint.

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Check and clean your gutters. It is a good idea, especially following the wet spring we’ve had, to look for signs of bending or damage and replace any gutters that are leaking.

Check your foundation for standing water. Soil should slope away from your foundation at a rate of 6 vertical inches over the first 10 feet. If you do have puddles around your home, consider consulting an expert about installing a drain to keep the water from weakening your home’s foundation.

Check your roof. The storms of winter and spring can take a toll. Check for loose or broken shingles, and loose chimney bricks and mortar. Check your skylights from inside the home for any stains, which could indicate water leakage.

Clean your windows. On a sunny day, take a towel and eco-friendly cleaner and wipe away those smears and smudges. A simple cleaning solution can be made with one part vinegar to eight parts water, along with a few squirts of dish soap. You may want to consider hiring a professional company to clean the outside windows, especially if your home has second and third floors.

While you’re working on the windows, check your screens for rips or holes. Most screens are relatively easy to replace, and good screens on windows and patio doors let in warm summer breezes while keeping out flies, wasps and other flying pests.

Clean your deck. If you didn’t get around to it this spring, now is a good time to clean your deck or patio space and make any necessary repairs. And don’t forget to repair and seal fences and garden structures. A fresh coat of paint or clear wood sealant can help keep wood fences, gates, arbors and pergolas in good shape for years.

HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to

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