Proper maintenance of your home’s exterior will help you avoid costly repairs. The good news is, it doesn’t take a lot of expensive tools to keep your house in tip-top shape.

There are several useful, and readily available, tools to help maintain your home’s exterior. Some of them are fairly common; you probably already have them in your garage. Some of them are less known but will be a big help in making sure your home is prepared for the upcoming seasons.

1. Pressure Washer

One common tool that most people either own or have easy access to is a pressure washer. This versatile tool can be used for regular cleaning and maintenance of the home, from decks to siding and even some outdoor furniture.

Depending on the residue left on your home from the previous winter, you’ll want to ensure you have your pressure washer set to the correct PSI. If you aren’t sure on the correct PSI, consult the owners manual or website. And remember, you can always increase the PSI slowly.

2. Caulk

Routine inspection can go a long way to keeping small problems from becoming big ones, especially once the colder months creep up. As the weather warms up, inspect your windows and doors for any small holes or cracks.

If you find any small cracks or holes, seal them with caulk to them from growing, which would then result in water leaks and a higher energy bill. Caulk can easily be found at any hardware store, and most caulk comes in a wide variety of colors. If you can’t find caulk in the color of your siding or trim, use a neutral color like white, or even clear, and then paint over it in the correct color.

3. Concrete Repair Products/System

If you have a minor crack or slight unevenness in your concrete, you can easily fix it yourself. Basic concrete repair kits, made up of cement crack fillers or similar polymers and mixes, can be found in most hardware stores. If you aren’t sure what kit to buy, bring a picture of the crack and usually the employees can suggest the best option for your situation.

However, if you have a very large crack or a large amount of unevenness in your concrete, it could be better to hire a professional. A pro will know exactly how much concrete is needed for the fix and can handle any jackhammering and removal of bad concrete as needed. This way you can be sure that the problem concrete won’t get worse when cold weather arrives.

4. Use A Garden Trowel to Clean Your Gutters

A garden trowel is a great way to clear out your gutters, something that should always be on your spring cleaning list. During fall and winter gutters tend to collect leaves and other sediments, leading to clogging. If not addressed, the clogs could not only crack and break your gutters, plus the backup could get into your roofline, resulting in costly repairs.

Prevent this disaster by regularly inspecting and cleaning gutters, either by hand or, if you don’t want to get messy, with a garden trowel. Be careful which type of trowel you use though- you could accidentally dent or scratch gutters with a steel or sharp trowel. Use one that has a rounded front, made from a softer material like plastic.

If your gutters have sustained serious damage during the winter, call a professional. They may need to be replaced with a more durable, heavy gauge option.

5. Window and Screen Cleaner

After severe winter storms, your screens and windows will need to be cleaned and inspected for damage. First, remove your screens and clean using a mild detergent. Never use a pressure washer to clean your screens, as they can easily tear under the pressure.

Once washed, lay out to dry on a flat surface, such as a driveway, before inspecting for any holes or tears. If found, either repair using a screen mend kit, commonly found in hardware stores, or if the damage is large, replace the screen entirely.

While your screens are drying, clean the outside of the windows using either store-bought or homemade cleaner (one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup of water and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar) and a squeegee or soft cloth. Don’t use harsh or abrasive surfaces as it can scratch the glass or damage the caulking.

Once your windows are clean, inspect for any cracks or chips in the glass, cracks or holes in the caulking or damage to the weather stripping. If the caulking is damaged, remove the damaged section and replace with new caulking in a matching color. If the weather stripping is damaged, remove and replace with new stripping. Small scratches to your window can easily be repaired in a number of ways, but large damage may mean your window needs to be replaced.

6. Siding Repair Kit

When it comes to siding repair and maintenance, what you need depends on the type of siding you have. Wood siding requires more inspection and tools for repair than steel or aluminum siding.

Wood Siding Inspection

If you have wood siding, make a very thorough inspection for any cracks, peels or insect holes. If it’s a small imperfection, fill it with caulk before applying a protective coating, paint or stain.

If it’s a large crack or hole, you’ll need to remove the entire siding board, inspect for any damage behind the board and then replace it with a new board that also needs to be sealed, painted or stained. Depending on the stain or paint used, you can wash the excess off with soap and water.

However, for stubborn dirt or mold, you’ll need to pressure wash which will remove the paint and/or stain as well as the dirt, and you’ll need to reapply that paint or stain again once the wood is cleaned.

Aluminum Siding Inspection

For aluminum siding, it’s best to inspect after major storms for any dents or cracks. Sometimes dents can be popped out, but any boards with cracks should be removed and replaced to ensure no water or insects get inside your home. Any dirt or mold can usually be removed with water and soap, though sometimes pressure washing is needed for stubborn residue.

Steel Siding Inspection

Steel siding should also be occasionally but requires only water to clean any residue from the previous season, as it doesn’t rot and resists dents, scratches and insect damage. Make sure to always check the manufacturers' recommendations for maintenance, and your steel siding will stay beautiful and maintenance-free for many years.

Proper maintenance of a home’s exterior is essential to keep your home healthy and damage-free for years. However, before starting with any home maintenance, make sure you are familiarized with the proper procedures and have all the tools you need. And if you come across a big problem, be sure to consult a professional.

If you need some more ideas for maintenance and beautifying your home exterior and yard, check our blog on 5 exterior improvement projects you can tackle this weekend.