exterior cleaning checklist

It looks like it is that time of the year again! The quintessential season where winter begins to fade away, the weather begins to warm up, and you sure are excited to start it off on a new leaf, a new leaf of becoming aware of the things you should have been aware of forever ago! Let’s be honest, it happens sometimes. 

If you haven’t caught on, Spring Cleaning is what I’m talking about! During this period of time, it is important to be vigilant in being aware and understanding your exterior part of your property, and the last thing you want to do is have to open up your wallet and shell out hundreds of dollars in preventable damages. 

That being said, listen up!

Today, we are going to give you an exterior checklist to ensure your spring cleaning in a productive, cost-effective way that’ll save you time, money, and a whole lot of heartache! 

Spring Cleaning Exterior Checklist

roofing and gutters near me

Here are 5 things you can do to make your Spring Cleaning productive as can be! 

1. Check Your Roof (or get someone too!)

Your roof is a very delicate part of your home’s exterior, which means that it is vulnerable to a whole host of problems! However, just to get up off the ground to check it is a safety risk in itself, so proceed at your own risk with a well-hinged double ladder firmly planted on the ground and angled on the side of your house. 

CAUTION!: The risk of falling and potential death is associated with this checklist objective, so we would recommend calling a professional to properly inspect and diagnose the health of your roof. No need to take unnecessary risks! 

Here are a few things to check for:

  • Broken/Missing Shingles 
  • Algae/Moss
  • Mold

If you see any of these on your roof or are not sure and need an extra pair of eyes to confirm your suspicions, it doesn’t hurt to get in contact with your local power washing company to check it out. You’d rather be safe than sorry! Soft-power washing is usually the desirable cleaning method.

2. Check Your Gutters and Downspouts! 

One of the things you want to make sure to do is to get up on a ladder and check to see the condition of your gutters! Overtime, your gutters can get clogged by fallen debris including, but not limited to, sticks and leaves. Pests, such as rodents and bees can make their home in your gutters, so being aware is key! 

A clogged gutter can wear down the foundation of the gutter itself, causing water damage to the foundation of your house! Ouch! Depending on your situation, should be an easy fix by hand and only requires to be checked 1-2 times a year (may vary).  

Also, you want to be sure your downspout is not clogged as well, don’t be afraid to check it often. It ensures rainwater to pour down instead of building up in your gutters. Safely detach the downspout to check if any blockage is present and remove it at once. Clear ‘em both out and you’ll be in the clear! 

Read more about the most FAQ gutter questions to help you here!

3. Remove Weeds from Mulch Beds and Yard! 

Landscaping is on everyone’s spring Hunny-do list, sorry for bringing it up again!

But… weeds are the type of pests that just keep coming back year after year and don’t give you a break. However, there is a quick fix to it!

You can use a shovel and/or rake to pry them out of your lawn to allow your plants more breathing room. Afterward, feel free to apply a safe weed killer and top your mulch beds off with a new layer of fresh mulch to be able to prevent weeds from popping up down the road.

These strategies are amazingly simple, and with some concentrated effort on the front end, you’ll be able to save time doing it down the road! 

4. Clean your Exterior Siding! 

Since Winter, the elements sure have not graced the siding of your house one bit! Since we usually are not out and about too often, it is easy to miss the build up of organic matter like mold that can wreak havoc on the exterior foundation of our house.

One of the things that is recommended is to give your house a nice, soft-wash along the exterior to get all that gunk off and protect its health. Contacting a professional is the easiest way to go than going out of your way to buy/rent a power washer, and plus you only have to clean the siding only a handful of times depending on your situation. 

However, take note of the safety risks, a power washer is heated and is highly pressurized, so it can cause harm if it hits your skin! Always use low pressure when cleaning siding (unless it is a brick/stone surface) or you’ll damage the exterior material. You can also contact a power washing company.

5. Check Lawn Equipment! 

Routine maintenance is necessary for lawn equipment such as edgers, lawnmowers, weedwackers, and so forth. When spring hits, so does the growth season of grass and you don’t want to be caught off guard when it gets crazy! 

First and foremost, make sure all are starting and running properly, with blades that are sharpened, and adequate levels of oil and functionality of levers, buttons, and chains. Prepare even though you may not need it now, so you don’t have to repair it when you can’t afford to do so! 

Exterior cleaning checklist:

Real quick, here is a quick exterior cleaning/spring checklist you can use to make sure you’re on the right path:

  1. Check all outdoor mechanical equipment (AC Unit, Pool Pump, Light fixtures even)
  2. Make sure lawn equipment is working & check oil
  3. Check your gutters, roof, siding, windows for leaks, caulk issues, soft-spots or missing shingles
  4. Consider power washing if needed
  5. Edge and cleanout mulch beds, lay down 1-2″ of new mulch
  6. Trim bushes
  7. Deadwood trees every other year
  8. Fertilize preventatively

Final word:

Spring cleaning is coming around sooner than later and although it may not be the one thing that’ll get you fired up and out of bed, but it’ll sure motivate your wallet who won’t have to take a beating because you decided to prepare in advance. 

Take some time out of your day to assess your situation, bring attention to issues that you’ve noticed, and never hesitate to reach out for help, especially if you’re not a professional (think getting on your roof). Small steps do make an impact if we are willing to work toward the future. 

gutter repairs near me

What to Know About Gutter Repairs – Woodbridge, Va.

When it comes to the exterior of your home, there are a few things that are integral to making sure it’s well protected. 

The roof, the siding, the windows, the doors, and last but not least – the gutters – all work cohesively together to make sure your home is protected from the elements. Are there other elements of your home that are important? 

You bet, the foundation is vital so are aspects of a home such as HVAC units, wiring and plumbing that are important. However, one thing that can undermine the functionality of your home’s resistance to weather and issues is something we often overlook – our gutters!

In fact, improperly installed and/or broken gutters are one of the leading reasons why people experience leaks and foundational issues. That is why today we are going to cover the topic of “Gutter Repairs,” and everything you need to know. 

We will cover:

  • Signs you might need a gutter repair
  • Our gutter repair process
  • Gutter repair options
  • Gutter repair costs

Warning Signs You Might Need Gutter Repairs:

Typically, your gutters are not something you give much thought as it pertains to being a homeowner. This is both a good and bad thing. 

Since gutters are higher up, it’s hard to assess if they’re working properly and if they’re clean. Clogged gutters are the leading cause of gutter repairs, and typically, most gutters go unnoticed until there is a problem

Unlike our car that has icons on the dashboard that make us aware of potential issues, our gutters are not so communicative. That being said, there are signs that can be noticeable and can perhaps indicate your home is in need of gutter repairs: 

Signs you might need a gutter repair include:

  • Noticeable gaps between your gutters and fascia boards
  • Gutters sagging in the middle 
  • Water flies off your roof during rainstorms
  • Mismatched gutter elbows, downspouts, pieces. 
  • A tree branch or wind has visually damaged your gutters
  • The wind has displaced your seamless gutters completely (missing) 
  • Your fascia boards are rotting 

These signs above can indicate whether or not you need a gutter repair. 

When it comes to assessing whether or not your home is in need of a gutter repair, the best thing to do is simply call and have a gutter company (like Top Dog Home Pro) come out and assess the situation, but more on that later. 

(Always keep gutters clean)

Our Gutter Repair Process

So let’s hypothetically say you determine you need to have your gutters repaired, or at the very least have your gutters inspected by a professional gutter company. 

What you want to first do is get an honest opinion and transparent pricing from the company. Here is our stance on most gutter repairs:

  1. Typically, we assess the situation 
  2. We determine if a repair is possible, but also is the repair a long term solution
  3. If the repair is possible, we give a pricing estimate

Let’s take a deep look at point number two above. If a gutter repair is possible is not the determining factor in getting your gutters repaired. As we uncover the different gutter repair options below, keep in mind that the most important item to consider is will the gutter repair last. 

Something can always be repaired, but what if the repair lasts only a matter of weeks or months? In that case, it’s most likely better to consider replacing those gutters. 

However, if a gutter repair is necessary, typically the process involves sealing a leak, reinstalling a gutter section, correcting a small issue. On the other hand, if the gutters are falling off because the old gutter spikes are old, well in that case it’s worth exploring options. 

Gutter Repair Options

In all our years of experience, the best bet for a gutter repair is almost always a gutter replacement. Let us touch as to why. 

First, if your gutters are in need of repair, most of the time the problem has gone unnoticed for some time. Remember the signs of a repair from above? Usually, those signs mean the problem is pretty large, and the damage is often been done. 

Now don’t get us wrong, there are simple fixes like unclogging a gutter, adding some sealant, or correcting a drainage issue. However, in most cases, a rain gutter system that is in dire need of attention is simply corrected with replacing. 

Brand new, seamless gutters are relatively inexpensive when it is all said and done, and when the price of a repair starts to get over $400, it is typically worth simply replacing your gutters. 

New gutters come with a gutter warranty (when we install them) and they often have updated features like the screw-in hidden hangers. Most homes with older gutters have the classic, long gutter spikes that overtime become ineffective in keeping your gutters mounted to your home. 

Also to point out, when gutters are replaced with new 5-inch or 6-inch gutters, what typically occurs too is an inspection of the fascia boards and their condition. This is KEY to replacing gutters because we never put new gutters on damaged fascia boards! 

And as you will see in a few, gutters are not very expensive, however, the value they had is superior. 

>> Check out our New Gutter Warranty info here. 

Best way to find a gutter repair company near you:

The best way to find a gutter repair company “Near Me” is to simply choose one of the following options: 

  1. Search online for a “Gutter Repair Company Near Me,” followed by checking their reviews and website content
  2. Ask a friend who knows someone in the industry
  3. Log on to Facebook and look for a recommendation 

Gutter Repair Costs

As we mentioned earlier, gutter repair costs can vary!

Typically, for something small like finding a clog, we don’t charge necessarily if we find it. If we need to seal something or replace an elbow or miter, it could be $75 to $150. If the costs start to exceed over $400, then we typically recommend replacing gutters. 

Why?

New 6-inch gutters cost just $6.50 per linear foot. So if a home needs 100 feet of new gutters, that is just $650. If a repair is $450, the long term option is to go with new gutters. To learn more about gutter pricing, check out this video here and also these resources:

Final thoughts on gutter repairs:  

When in doubt… get it checked out! 

If you have a hunch that is something is wrong with your gutters, don’t wait around. Most gutter companies will give you a free estimate/look, and if they find something they will let you know. 

A gutter repair can be simple, or it might just be worth replacing your gutters! That being said, the last thing we will point out is that gutter guards are worth it.

>> Just check out our review here of the Raindrop Gutter Guard system and learn about the lifetime, the no-clog warranty they come with!

fall roof maintenance

Fall is here, even though just like yesterday, it felt like summer. 

Each year, after the Labor Day Holiday, it’s as if summer comes to an abrupt end and all of the fall delicacies like apple spice flavors, pumpkin this, and orange leaves flood our life. Pools are drained and the mornings are cool.

There are tons of reasons why fall is the optimal time for completing things like cleaning your gutters, having fun, watching football, doing some roof maintenance, and landscaping. The cool weather makes it ideal to get outside. 

And while fall marks football season, it is still important to stay on top of your home maintenance with all the foliage falling. This includes inspecting your roof this autumn can help catch issues before winter kicks in and makes matters worse.

Here are a few things you should check off your list this fall to ensure your roof stays in tip-top shape:

1. Clear Gutters and Downspouts

With leaves falling this autumn, it’s important to keep your gutters and downspouts clean and clear to prevent issues like buildup, leaks, and more. And – with regular maintenance – you’ll be more likely to catch any current issues like pooling water or weakened brackets before they become a bigger problem.

To clean your gutters is pretty simple: 

Option 1: Call someone to do it for you

Option 2: Install gutter guards

Option 3: Do it yourself 

If you go with option 3, just be sure to practice ladder safety and do some research prior. Most accidents occur because of ladders, so please be safe! 

2. Aerate & Overseed Your Lawn

While you won’t be able to do every single thing on this list in one hour, heck even one day, September/October in Northern, VA is the perfect time to aerate your yard and overseed it. 

Lawns in Northern Virginia are “Cool Weather” grasses and this means peak growing season is spring and fall. It’s best to aerate each fall to help recondition soil and make new grass growth possible. 

You can rent an aerator with your neighbors, or simply buy a handheld aerator if your yard is small online or at a hardware store!

  • Rake your lawn some
  • Cut it
  • Aerate it
  • Seed it
  • Don’t mow for 4-5 weeks while the grass grows! 

3. Install Gutter Guards

After ensuring your gutters are clean, installing a self-cleaning gutter guard isn’t a bad ideal at all! 

In order to reduce the amount of work required to keep them clean each year, gutter guards are an easy way to minimize maintenance and ensure the longevity of your gutters – both of which will be much appreciated as more leaves come down throughout the season.

However, that doesn’t mean EVERY gutter guard is created the same. Here at Top Dog Home Pro we recommend checking out the Raindrop Gutter Guard because it is “Self Cleaning.”

In fact, we are so confident in the Raindrop Gutter Guard we offer a lifetime no-clog warranty. 

4. Schedule a Roof Inspection

Above all else, now is the prime time to inspect your roof, and you can have it done while you watch college football! 

If your roof needs replacing or even minor repairs, you want to be sure to catch it now before the snow, ice and cold temperatures make it more difficult to address. Typically, what happens when snow accumulates on a roof, it can make problems worse or roof leaks bigger. 

You can do this yourself with a pair of binoculars, simply look for loose or missing shingles. That being said, it’s best to have a professional give you a second set of eyes too! 

Schedule an inspection today and get the peace of mind you need to enjoy the rest of the season! 

5. Trim Trees & Bushes

Do you see a theme with leaves and trees? Their leaves can cause issues.

Trim back branches that seem to be getting too close to your home to keep your roof safe. This also helps avoid extra leaves clogging your gutters. Additionally, “Dead-wooding,” is a good idea to do later in fall. 

Removing the dead branches, clipping ends, trimming ornamental grasses, and cutting back your bushes will add curb appeal and prep your landscaping for the spring season! 

Adopt the mindset, less is more, and spend a few hours each spring in fall in your yard and you will avoid having to completely overhaul your landscaping every few years like your neighbor! 

6. Service Your Lawnmower

Inspect your lawnmower to ensure it is in proper working condition. 

Once you’re done mulching the leaves and grass in late October, get your lawnmower ready for spring by shutting it down for the winter! 

Clean undercarriage, sharpen blades, and ensure gasoline is drained! The former is especially important because gasoline left in the tank can get stale and a bit gummy in the winter, which can damage the carburetor. 

Refer to the owner’s manual for additional instructions!

7. Prepare Outdoor Water Spigots

As winter approaches and after you know you won’t need outdoor water anymore, be sure to prepare your water spigots. 

Typically, this takes all of 5-10 minutes. Find out where your outdoor water cut-off valves are (near furnace usually) and turn them off. Go outside and turn on spigots to let water drain out. Keep them halfway open for the winter to prevent freezing and bursting pipes (lingering water). 

It doesn’t hurt to also get a cheap $2 cover from the store to go over your spigots that are outside! 

8. Consider the Rest – 

Just because it is not on this list, doesn’t mean it’s not important. 

Some homeowners prefer to paint in the fall (though we say wait until after winter) or make crafts and decorate for Halloween. That being said, if you like to do other things each fall, go for it! 

Just be sure to complete what we call the “Big 3” for the fall homeowner: 

  1. Check gutters and clean them after leaves fall
  2. Aerate your lawn and seed it (helps property values when you have a lush lawn)
  3. Check your roof for any issues before harsh winters come! 

what is curb appeal

The definition of curb appeal is pretty straight forward: the attractiveness of a property (typically for sale) and its surroundings when viewed from the street.

Curb appeal can be accomplished in many ways.

Homeowners can keep their lawn short and aesthetically pleasing. They can make sure their mulch beds are edged and re-mulched annually. Front doors and shutters can be painted every few years. And while the list goes on, something that is often overlooked is the roof of your home!

When it comes to curb appeal, the biggest factor after your front door the meets the eye is… your home’s roof!

Believe it or not, a clean, new-looking, and sometimes updated roof adds a ton of curb appeal (and a great ROI). Today, we will look to answer the “What is curb appeal question,” and ways to improve it!

First Things First, What is Curb Appeal?

Curb appeal refers to the appearance of a home from – you guessed it – the curb.

More importantly, it’s the first impression someone gets by viewing your home from the street.

Is it eclectic? Modern? Classic?

There are quite a few factors that can affect your curb appeal, from your roofing to your color palette of choice.

When it comes down to it, you want the first impression of your home to be a positive one – and a lasting one. Every aspect of your home’s exterior should be well-designed and maintained to impress neighbors, family, and any prospective buyers, either now or in the future.

As previously stated, the condition of your home, the landscaping, the roof, the gutters, all of this matters.

Why Does Curb Appeal Matter?

So, now you know what curb appeal really means, but why is it important?

\Making the exterior of your home eye-catching and well-groomed is a great way to beautify your neighborhood and encourage others to upkeep the aesthetic standards that have been set.

Beyond that, standing out from other homes in your neighborhood just the right amount gives you a competitive edge in a seller’s market.

While there are a lot of different factors when it comes to the listing price of your home, curb appeal is definitely going to be one of those factors. Think of the outside of your home as the hook that will pull people in to learn more about the interior and other features of your home.

How Can You Up Your Curb Appeal?

Start with the basics.

Cutting your grass, fertilizing so weeds are gone, and giving your landscaping a trim/mulch will add some instant curb appeal in a matter of minutes.

Simple ideas to quickly add curb appeal:

  1. Move trash cans from front of home
  2. Cut grass and fertilize it
  3. Get aeration in the fall
  4. Plant some new flowers
  5. Trim your trees and bushes
  6. Pick up any junk laying around

Next, we suggest evaluating the exterior of your home itself.

  • Is your siding stained or out-dated?
  • Does your roof need new shingles?
  • What about the quality of your windows?

Plan out a color scheme for your roof and siding and maybe even install an updated front door to really capture attention.

Basically, you should be asking yourself if your home is creating a cohesive story from just a glance. Not only will these basics help bring a vision together for your home, but getting new roofing and windows is a great way to keep your home maintained if you aren’t quite ready to sell.

Whether you’re interested in transforming your house into your dream home or your planning on selling before the new school year starts in the fall, putting some time and effort in the details of the exterior of your home will make a huge difference.

Focusing on curb appeal can take your home to the next level.

Curb Appeal in Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia real estate market never goes into hibernation. And while the market stays hot almost year-round, curb appeal still matters.

You have probably seen a house that has no occupants and it’s quite amazing how fast that house falls apart and gives the appearance of not being maintained.

For those looking to relocate or sell, you’ve probably heard the term curb appeal in your recent research, but it’s not just reserved for those in the market to move.

Curb appeal can certainly make a big impact when it comes to selling your home, but it can also affect the ambiance of a neighborhood and, simply put, the overall value of your home, whether you’re interested in selling now, or later down the line.

Keeping property values high isn’t too hard in NOVA, but it helps when you care for the exterior of your home. This includes keeping up with seasonal maintenance, preparing your home for winter, keeping up with landscaping, and checking the condition of your roof annually.

If you have any exterior remodeling projects that go beyond the scope of landscaping – like a roof replacement or new gutters, let the professionals at Top Dog Home Pro inspect your exterior to give you the best input!

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