IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Prepare for fall: 5 home improvement projects

Before you give up swimming pools for rain puddles, consider tending to your home's needs! HGTV's Steve Watson shares smart tips on getting your house ready for the new season.
/ Source: TODAY

The end of summer, a time to get out and enjoy those precious moments of fun in the sun we have left. But while you work in that last trip to the beach, it’s important to remember to set aside time for repair projects around the house! If you don’t get to them now, you could end up regretting it when the chill of the winter sets in. Steve Watson, host of HGTV’s “Don’t Sweat It,” walks us through the five projects:

The leaky roof
You can’t afford to wait until the winter to take care of this one. A lot of leaky roofs can be fixed in an afternoon. Plus, if you can do the work yourself, you could end up saving thousands of dollars!

The first thing to do is find the source of the leak. The easiest way to do this is wait until it rains because you will be able to trace the water to the original source of the leak.

What you’ll need:

  • Extra shingles
  • Ladder
  • Crowbar
  • Roofing nails
  • Roofing cement
  • Paintbrush

What to do1. Carefully climb onto roof and locate the trouble spot.2. Using the crowbar, gently remove shingles around the area to be repaired. (Tip: Always repair at least a 3-foot radius area around the damage.)3. Apply roofing cement around the entire area where you removed shingles.  Be sure to apply at least a 1/8” coating.)4. Replace the shingles. Start at the top and work your way down, putting the top edge of the shingle under the edge of the one above it.5. Hammer in roofing nails on the top edge of each shingle to hold them in place.

Clean those gutters
As long as you are up there, clean out the gutters. The winter months are not the time to be messing around on the roof. Plus, when the snow and ice come, you’ll be happy it all has a clean area to run off to.

What you’ll need:

  • Extension ladder (never use a folding ladder to work on gutters; extension ladders are much sturdier.)
  • Work gloves
  • Garden hoe
  • High-pressure washer or hose with spray nozzle attachment

What to do
For starters, always do the cleaning from the ladder. You do not want to be leaning over the edge of the roof with nothing between you and the edge but the ground below!

Use the garden hoe to scrape the debris toward you, and then simply drop the debris into a trashcan waiting below you. Tip: The leaves in the gutter do not make good mulch!)

To make certain the gutters are clean, use the washer/hose to spray down the gutters. Be sure to check the downspouts as well. If they are clogged, it won’t matter how clean the rest of the gutters are.

Check those windowsIf you’ve opened and closed the windows a lot this summer, chances are they are filthy. We are not talking about the glass, but the seals! Dirt and debris can gather over the course of the summer months and prevent a tight seal from forming. This might not seem like much, but over the winter plenty of heat will escape through those gaps. Take the time to go around the house and inspect/clean each window. If you notice the weather stripping has worn down, now is the time to replace it.

Winterize your pipes
Ready or not, now is the time to winterize your pipes. Yes, the cold weather is months away, but it’s a lot easier to do it now!

What you’ll need:

  • Water pipe insulation (should be pre-split down one side)
  • Razor blade

What to do1. Inspect the pipes under your home to find the ones that need insulating. (Don’t forget to inspect all pipes. If they already have insulation, it could need replacing.)2. Simply measure the section to insulate, cut that length insulation and wrap it around the pipe.Check the deckAfter you’ve taken all the patio furniture in to store for the winter, give the deck a good inspection. If it has never been treated, do it now. A simple afternoon of work will add years to the life of your patio.

What to do
1. Pressure-wash the entire deck.2. After spraying it down, let it dry for at least three hours.3. Rub on water sealer/protectant and let it dry.

For more home improvement tips and information, visit HGTV's