I’m not a huge fan of home maintenance and sometimes even dread it, but I can tell you that it really pays off in the long run! Purchasing a home is easy, but maintaining and keeping it in tip top shape to avoid expenses down the road is a whole other story.
Even the most modern and sophisticated of homes require basic exterior maintenance to preserve the condition of the home and its ability to protect those living within it from pests, environmental dangers and the weather. Here are some common exterior problems that can be quickly solved to keep your home in tiptop shape:
Drainage problems can affect the house from top to bottom and should be dealt with as quickly as possible to prevent damage to the structure. Begin at the top with the roof; the roof needs to be well covered, either with roofing paint, shingles or tiles. Ensure that worn areas of the roof are properly patched and sealed before their coverings are replaced.
Roof shingles should be securely nailed to the roof, and tiles should have their valleys cleared of any debris, with sound mortar holding them in place. If the home has a chimney, the flashing around the base of the chimney should be firmly attached and it shouldn’t have any holes or tears to ensure that water will not leak in around the base.
Gutters and downspouts can become easily clogged with leaf debris, especially in the fall. While a clogged gutter or downspout may not directly cause a leak inside the house, they will result in poor drainage below them. As water pools up against the house, it will begin to erode the foundation, and a leak in the basement will likely follow. Standing water also increases the risk of drawing certain insects in close to the house, such as mosquitoes, silverfish and centipedes, which will quickly find their way inside as well.
Whether the finish is paint, stucco, or brick, it needs to be properly maintained and not just to keep the home looking nice. The exterior surface is the last line of protection for the interior; it insulates the home from exterior elements and keeps the interior warm or cool, depending on the season. Painted surfaces should be free of peeling and cracking; stucco should also be free of cracks and the surface treated before painting to prevent mildew; brick homes should have no holes or gaps between the joints, and the mortar should be filled and maintained as well.
One of the biggest dangers that a home faces is from wood rot. Even homes made of brick or stucco have at least some wood on the exterior, and any wood exposed to the elements is subject to rot. Keeping surfaces clean and protected, as well as doing regular inspections to check for damage can easily prevent it. Take note of small water leaks, tiny insect holes and repair it early on. Be sure to feel the wood, as some damaged wood looks fine but then falls apart or feels soft when touched.
Set Your Budget!
It’s important to have some money available for home maintenance and you should clearly outline a budget. The most maintenance-intensive seasons will be the fall, when preparations are made for the winter weather, and spring, when damage from the winter will be identified and repaired. Aim to have the money for basic maintenance issues, as well as a bit extra for emergency problems, saved for these times.
Many home exterior maintenance issues can easily be sorted out yourself and are a great way to start on some seasonal DIY projects. Some projects, however, will require outside assistance to clear up such as termite or other insect infestations.
Keep Your Home Healthy
Safety comes first! Following these easy steps will not only keep your home healthy but also the health and well-being of your family. Mold, mild-dew and dampness are serious issues that shouldn’t be tackled but prevented early on. So remember not to skimp out on these tips and you are sure to enjoy your home comfortably and safely for many years to come!