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May Home Maintenance Tips; Exterior Maintenance

Exterior maintenance

Maintaining the exterior of your home is very important to not only keep it looking well. You need to keep the exterior in good shape to prevent moisture damage to the exterior and moisture intrusion into your home. 

General maintenance

No matter what the walls of your home are clad with, you should do the following every year:

* Visually inspect for gaps, holes, or damage

* Trim back or remove any vegetation that is touching the house

* Clean any areas that are dirty or stained with water and soap

Stucco - Look for any physical damage to the stucco such as cracks, chips, and missing chunks. Hairline cracks are normal in stucco, especially at window and door corners. They are usually not structural and you can patch hairline cracks with elastomeric caulk and paint. 

Stucco can also experience more significant damage. For example, from hail, tree or bushes rubbing against it, animal activity, careless human activity, etc. Depending on the extent of the damage, you might have to involve a qualified stucco specialist for repairs. Be sure to also check the parapet walls if your home has them. 

Every five to ten years, depending on the condition and quality of the existing paint, repaint the stucco. 

Siding - Siding can last a long time, but only with proper maintenance. Siding is very susceptible to moisture. If moisture gets into it, it deteriorates quickly. Specifically, it swells up and starts to rot and fall apart, leaving replacement as the only option. 

Ensure that there is a gap of several inches between the ground and the bottom of the siding. This prevents moisture from soaking in from the bottom. Seal any gaps in the siding and adjacent trim that could allow moisture intrusion. Every three to five years, depending on the condition and quality of the existing paint, repaint the siding. It is much easier and cheaper to repaint the siding than having to replace it. 

Brick - Examine the brick for damage and replace any damaged bricks. Check the mortar between the bricks. Replace any damaged or missing mortar to maintain the brick wall integrity and prevent moisture intrusion. 

Adobe brick - There are many older homes in Tucson with adobe brick walls for that authentic southwestern look. Adobe brick is soft and crumbly. It is easily damaged and can deteriorate quickly. Examine the adobe brick for damage and replace any damaged bricks. There are specialists for adobe brick that can help with repair and maintenance. To preserve adobe brick and slow down deterioration, you can also apply a spray coating. 

Exposed wood - Any wood that is exposed to the elements requires regular maintenance such as painting or sealing. If left unattended for too long, it will require repair or replacement. This includes fascia, bird blocks, vigas, beams, joists, and posts at the exterior of the house, patio, car ports, pergola, etc. Examine all wood at the exterior for peeling paint, wood rot, or other damage. 

Proactive annual maintenance

Put an annual reminder on your calendar for May to inspect the exterior of your home:

* Visually check for any damage, deterioration, or failing paint

* Repair or replace any deteriorated or damaged components

* Paint or seal to prevent premature deterioration

Home maintenance tips courtesy of Desert Diamond Home Inspections. For the full-length version of these tips and more important home maintenance recommendations, visit

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