Home exterior repairs: When is it time to hire a professional?

When it comes to remodeling, there are a lot of home exterior repairs that can make a plain house look...

When it comes to remodeling, there are a lot of home exterior repairs that can make a plain house look brand new. Many people are choosing to give their current home a facelift versus buying a new home. Let's take a look at what exterior projects are worth tackling on your own, and which ones are best left to the pros.

Inspect, clean and paint your deck and porch

Why: Unlike interior areas of the home, your house's decks and porches are exposed to a wide variety of temperatures and weather conditions that take a toll on the wood. You'll want to check the framing, posts and floors of porches and decks for wood rot, cracks, loose boards or handrails. If everything is in good repair, a thorough deep cleaning and a fresh coat of paint or stain can revitalize an old, worn-looking porch or deck without a lot of effort. However, if you find wood rot or boards that are bowed or have significant cracks, it's probably time to call in some professional help.

Who to contact for help: If you are unsure if your deck or porch is safe, a general contractor or building inspector can help you determine needed repairs. A licensed carpenter will be able to help you repair problem areas or replace your porch or deck completely.

Leave roof care and repair to the pros!

Why: One of the most dreaded home exterior repairs is the roof. It's true that replacing a roof can be a time-consuming and costly venture. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can prolong the life of your roof. Your roof should be inspected by a professional once per year. This should include inspecting gutters, drains and your roofing substrate for problem areas, along with checking for open seams, problems with ductwork or other areas that may keep your roof from being water and airtight.

Who to contact for help: Because roofs are costly to replace, your yearly roof inspection is best left to a professional, reliable and reputable roofing company. An experienced roofer can spot problems long before they require expensive repairs.

Siding: Fix it or forget it?

Why: Choosing whether to fix or replace your current siding is not a decision to take lightly. There are a few situations where replacing your siding is a must. For example, if you see significant wood rot, mold, cracking or improper flashing, it's time to consider new siding. If your siding just looks dull, and you have the time to invest, a coat of sealer or paint might do the trick.

Who to contact for help: A professional siding company will be able to troubleshoot your existing siding and find the best options for your situation. Luckily, there are many affordable and very low-maintenance siding options on the market today.

Are your windows and doors costing you money every day?

Why: If your windows and doors are outdated, they could be costing you money every day as well as being an eyesore. In Georgia, the summer's high heat and humidity can be a drain on your home's air conditioning unit. When your windows are single pane or your doors not sealed properly, they make keeping your home's interior cool a challenge. Replacing single pane windows with storm windows can cut your heat/cool loss by 25 to 50 percent.

Who to contact for help: You won't regret upgrading your home's windows and doors, but leave the hard work to a professional home exterior repair company.

Don't forget the importance of gutters!

Why: Most people don't give much thought to their home's gutters; however, gutters have a very important role in your home's structure and soundness. Gutters are the rainwater management system of your home, and when properly installed and maintained, they channel water away from your home's foundation. They also help prevent mold, damage to siding, destruction of landscaping and infestation of termites, rodents and other pests.

Who to contact for help: There are many Atlanta-area home maintenance and handyman companies that offer gutter maintenance plans, or you may choose to clean your gutters yourself.

Do your concrete driveways, sidewalks and stairs need repair?

Why? If you have concrete, you will inevitably have cracks. However, not all cracks indicate a problem that requires repair. Small cracks, if they are unsightly, can typically be patched up with materials from your local hardware store. If the entire concrete area is unpleasant to the eye, resurfacing can give concrete areas an entirely new look. However, a professional should evaluate deep cracks, sunken concrete or frost heave, as they may indicate a bigger safety issue.

Who to contact for help: If your problem is too big or too difficult to tackle alone, a concrete contractor will be able to help you troubleshoot and repair your concrete driveway, sidewalks and stairs.

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