Although nights are drawing in, autumn can still present us with mild sunny days that make us want to spend time outdoors. Which is just as well. With those wet, windy days of winter creeping closer by the day, autumn is the time to ensure your home’s exterior is up to the job. Here are four autumn home improvement ideas, to help keep your family comfortable through the winter months.

Clean and inspect your guttering.

This job should be right at the top of your autumn home improvements list. Many homeowners don’t appreciate the long-term damage done to their property by leaking or damaged gutters. The volume of water cascading over blocked or broken guttering through a UK winter can lead to water seeping into foundations and damp penetrating interior walls. If you have old cast-iron or asbestos gutters and downpipes with leaky joints, it might be best to replace them with new GRP or plastic gutters.

While cleaning your gutters of debris, check to ensure joints are sealed, brackets are tight and undamaged, and downpipes are secure. It’s also a good time to visually inspect your roof for missing or broken roof and ridge tiles. If your home is surrounded by high deciduous trees, try to wait until the majority of leaves have fallen before undertaking your gutter clean.

Still living with single glazing? Autumn’s a good time to change it.

Are you still living with single glazing or old double glazing with thick frames and reduced viewing area? Having the latest double glazing technology fitted not only improves your home’s insulation, but can dramatically improve the look of your home and increase its curb appeal. For instance, in a street of semi-detached homes, having a bay window added, with square or diamond leaded windows, can make a house stand out from the crowd. By installing new double glazed units during the autumn, you can look forward to a warmer winter, as well as beginning to recoup the cost through lower energy bills.

Even if your double glazing is new, giving it the once over now, will save problems through the colder months. Make sure none of the seals have blown (condensation between the panes). Make sure hinges are screwed firm on the frame and operate freely, and check all window latches, to ensure they seal and lock the windows when closed.

Upgrade your conservatory for winter use.

Do you have a conservatory you inherited when you bought the house? One that’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, because of old-style single or double glazing panels. There are several ways you can improve the efficiency of your conservatory. If you don’t want to replace the whole unit, most double glazing companies will measure up and provide new panels to replace the old ones, allowing you to utilise the existing framework.

You don’t have to replace all the panels at once. If you’re upgrading your conservatory in sections, begin by replacing the roof panels first, then the sides, then the front. As with a house, they lose most of the heat through the roof area. Failing that, there are a range of clear and tinted films available, which can be fitted on the inside or outside of your glazed units. On the outside, they reflect the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere. On the inside, they reflect the heat back into your conservatory.

Autumn can be a busy time for gardeners.

Whether you are an avid gardener or someone who feels the garden is just somewhere for the kids to play, there are several jobs which should be undertaken before winter closes in. Autumn home improvements should include giving any woodwork such as fencing, garden sheds, pergolas, and decking a good coat of weatherproof paint and sealant. Perhaps a change of sealant colour will brighten up the garden ready for spring. Gather up the kids outside toys, give them a wipe down and store in the shed or garage. Likewise, the lawnmower could do with a service and put in store mode, ready for the first cut of the new year.

Enthusiastic gardeners will still be dead-heading later flowering plants like roses. Raking up leaves as they fall makes the job less arduous than waiting until the end of autumn. Autumn is also a great time for planting early flowering bulbs, to allow the root systems to establish themselves. Shrubs, bushes, and perennials should be cut back, and hedges given their final trim of the year. Delicate plants need lifting and taking indoors, while the bulbs of summer flowering plants like dahlias need to be lifted and stored.

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