Winter Prepping our Fixer-Upper

We got our new driveway this week!! As you can see the caution tape is still up.

Our old driveway was old. See #6 of this article for more info!

Since the door was rotted out when we purchased the house, we also had a new garage door installed (from Home Depot).

I know we’re in the throes of Autumn, but around here most of our glorious burning leaves have fallen off the trees and are shriveled and brown all over our lawn. (This is the best time for leaf crunching.)

The last month we’ve put all of our focus on the EXterior of our house to prepare for winter. We’ve already had our first snowfall (and a big one at that) but fortunately it melted quickly, therefore giving us more time to prep outside before the long and snowy winter arrives.

1. Gutterball

Our colonial-style house has a traditional crown molding trim on the outside, which apparently most people didn’t put gutters on back in the day. We had gutters installed about a month ago – greatly decreasing the chances of flooding our basement, yard and garage. This is something you will definitely want to get a few estimates for – we had some people estimate our gutters as high as $8k! It definitely pays to bring in the competition. Although this was not a cheap (or DIY) project, it will be worth the investment as it should help prevent any kind of flooding in our yard that has deteriorated the foundation of the house from 60 years without gutters.

2. Screen it

We had a screened porch on the front of our house that leads to our front door. The screening was pretty old, full of holes and needs to be replaced. A few weeks ago I ripped out the screen and coinciding 100000000 staples. Now I just need to repaint the porch with exterior paint and then we will rescreen in the next few weeks. We are also going to install a new light and a beadboard ceiling.

3. Energy Audit

Last weekend we had an energy audit in our home – sounds exciting, eh? eh? A local representative came to our house (for FREE) and spent about 3 hours going through our home. He was able to tell us where we were losing energy efficiency and how to fix it. He also replaced all the lightbulbs in the house with the new CFI bulbs. The best part is, the government subsidizes a huge portion of the updates we can make. For example – the energy auditors will set us up with someone who will blow more insulation into our house. Most of the cost is subsidized and the amount we spend will pay itself off in our first winter in this house! Plus, being green is cool these days. Haven’t you heard?

4. Driveway

Somehow we didn’t think shoveling our 30 year old, crackling and crumbling driveway would be that fun in the winter. This was obviously not a DIY project, but another project you should definitely get multiple quotes for. We actually have 2 driveways to our house – one in the front and one on the side. We decided to redo the one on the side (that leads to our single car garage) and we widened it so we can park 2 cars side-by-side in the winter and not need to worry about the huge one in the front yard!

Also, you can’t really tell from the photo, but we had a drain put in the driveway so water will be drained away from the house and not into the garage!

5. Yardwork. My new least favorite word.

We have been preparing the yard as best we can for winter’s harsh friends called ice and snow. We’ve been trying to blow our leaves every weekend – because the last thing you want to deal with in the spring is a yard full of sopping leaves that have been buried and frozen for four months. We’ve filled in a few ditches with excess dirt and, as you saw in my post last week, we’ve been trying to turn our fallen trees into firewood as quickly as possible.

6. Concrete work

Moose has been patching up the concrete sidewalk to our deck and we also brought in a professional to help of resolve some foundation issues on the exterior wall of our walk-our basement (this was something we knew we would have to fix when we purchased the house).

7. New Windows

Okay, so we haven’t really done this one in the last few weeks, but when we moved into the house in June we had all the windows in the house replaced. The old ones were NOT efficient. Most of them couldn’t even open. Our new windows will be keeping a lot of heat on the INSIDE of the house. This was not a DIY job nor was it cheap, was it has definitely been a worthwhile investment.

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