2017 is right around the corner. It’s probably a good time to set some maintenance goals for the year. If you’re part of an HOA or own an apartment complex, there’s no better time than now to set some resolutions on what you’ll work toward fixing this upcoming year. Not sure what to start with? Check out some of our suggestions, below.
Review Your Sprinkler Systems – Your system’s main purpose is to keep your property or facility’s landscaping alive by focusing water in a specific area. If your system is not properly maintained or is in disrepair that can lead to excessive water usage (a non-no on the West Coast right now), unsightly property, health and safety issues, and property damage. That means higher costs for you or citations from your local government or water company. Make sure you have your system inspected during the Winter and Spring, when your plants and landscaping need less water. Also, have your system reviewed for efficiency. It should be free from design and mechanical issues. Outdated hardware and inefficient water delivery can cost a property owner quite a bit over the long run.
Examine Your Gutters – If you’ve installed a gutter system on any structures that reside on your property, be sure to have them inspected for damage. Your system should include gutters along the roofline as well as downspouts leading away from the base of the structure and toward a lower elevation. Damaged gutters that point toward a building can lead to water intrusion. If your area is hit with a severe rainstorm, you may be facing more water inside your property than you may have expected. You could be looking at water damage to the walls and flooring. Cleanup will be costly.
Check for Ground and Surface Water Issues – While you’re having your gutter system inspected, also have your property’s grading inspected. Proper surface drainage should begin with grading the affected area so that water collects and flows to a lower elevation away from the property. The grading should feature a slope that is one to two percent. It’s important not to build a slope that’s more than two percent, otherwise your property could begin to have erosion issues.
You can slope areas that are to be paved to move the water away from the property’s structures toward a street gutter or sewer. If the area is not paved, for instance a lawn or grassy area, you should build a swale through the area (be sure to stabilize the area with sod or rocks to avoid erosion) that collects the water and then moves it toward lower elevations. It may also be necessary to install a catch basin, drain and pipe to facilitate the drainage to a sewer system or other outlet.
Inspect Your Weep Screeds – Make sure that any weep screeds affixed to your buildings are not covered with dirt. The weep screed is designed to keep water away from your foundation. If it’s been covered with dirt along the length of the exterior wall, it will allow water to penetrate the exterior facade of the building and can lead to rotting of the insulation and other materials found behind the exterior facade.
Look for Dry Rot – Rotten wood caused by moisture and fungi can be easy to miss, especially when the seasons have been as dry as they have been over the last 10 years. Water-caused rot develops when moisture lingers on wooden surfaces that are unprotected. The lack of protection happens when wooden structures are not repainted regularly or resealed after a period of time. There are several kinds of fungi that contribute to wood rot.
You can do your own inspections for wood rot, but an expert should verify your results. If you do decide to do your own inspection, get out your binoculars, a flashlight and a screwdriver – you’ll be hunting it down using good old fashioned detective work. You’ll be looking for wood that is discolored or soft. Your wooden structures should not be soft to a firm press of the thumb. The wood should not be crumbling. If the paint is peeling, investigate that area with your screwdriver. Keep an eye open for any areas that seem to be constantly exposed to water, say from an air conditioning unit placed in a window. Windowsills, doorframes and decks are notorious for harboring wood-rot fungi. If you find any signs of dry rot, repair it quickly to prevent major structural issues that could lead to serious injuries or lawsuits.
Did we miss anything that should be a part of your maintenance goals? Let us know in the comments, below.