SIX COMMON HOME MAINTENANCE MISTAKES
By Wayne Chaulk
Your home requires a certain amount of maintenance over the years to ensure that it will properly withstand varying weather conditions, general living wear and tear and help keep up the home’s value. And this year we are experiencing an above normal amount of rainfall which can cause havoc with houses. Without proper ongoing care of the basics, it is easy for a home to deteriorate and result in costly repairs that could have been avoided if handled as they come up.
Here are the top six common home maintenance mistakes that many people make.
Home Maintenance Mistake #1: Forgetting to Unclog Gutters.
Gutter maintenance is a really common overlooked maintenance task for many homeowners. It’s out of sight and out of mind for many. Gutters should be always channeling water away from your home’s roof and foundation. Also repair any gutter leaks which can cause water freezing winter hazards near walkways. If you neglect to properly maintain your gutters, it can lead to roof leaks and problems with the foundation. It’s important to clean out your gutters for any clogs or backups at least once a year. Also ensure extensions at ground level always move water away from your foundation at all sides of the dwelling. If you don’t want to do this on your own, hire a professional to help you unclog your gutters and check for any leaks, deterioration and drainage issues.
Home Maintenance Mistake #2: Neglecting Thorough Dusting Duty.
Another common home maintenance mistake that people make is neglecting the battle with the combination of dirt and dust. Many people will take care of the obvious dirt or dust that they see visibly on a table or counters, but what about the dirt you can’t see? It’s important to change your air conditioning and heater filters regularly as they can build up excess dirt and dust, preventing proper air flow and energy efficiency. Additionally, cleaning the coils on the refrigerator is also advised to prevent premature breakdown and help keep down energy costs & keep your food as cool as possible. Dirt and dust also breaks down carpet fibers, causing increased wear and tear. You can help the battle with the dirt by placing doormats outside all doors and vacuuming carpet once or twice a week, especially if you have any pets. Cleaning baseboards periodically can avoid that worn look that happens over time when dust accumulates on the top of baseboards.
Home Maintenance Mistake #3: Ignoring Leaks.
Plumbing leaks are probably the costliest of all of the mistakes, because ignoring even the seemingly smallest and “most harmless” water leak can eventually compound over time and result in a very expensive repairs (or replacement) costs. From damage to laminate flooring, carpets, roofing, drywall, cabinets, insulation and unseen structural supports (such as wall studs or floor joists)—water leaks and damage caused by water needs to be addressed right away. Slow leaking taps, toilet bowls, hose bibs leave stains and can result in very large amounts of water wastage. A dripping tap can lose as much as 1 Litre of water per hour (24 Liters per day, 720 Litres per month!!). Ignoring these leaks can also prove deadly if mold and mildew start to develop.
Home Maintenance Mistake #4: Improperly or Not Filling Grout Gaps.
The purpose of grout isn’t just aesthetic. The purpose of grout is to securely seal gaps between floor tiles. If you have any small gaps in grout, you shouldn’t ignore them or simply patch fill them. Gaps in grout means moisture is likely already starting to get through the grout openings creating mold or mildew growth, plus potential water damage is already a risk. The best way to handle any gaps in grout is to clean out and remove all old grout and seal the gap with brand new grout. This should not be rushed but requires diligent, thorough application to be effective.
Home Maintenance Mistake #5: Letting Paint Chip and Peel Off.
Neglecting paint that is chipping or peeling is never a good idea. Cracks in the paint expose drywall or exterior wood surfaces. This means that water is penetrating the surfaces underneath the paint, which will cause further damage and only worsen the cracking and peeling paint. If you spot any paint peeling or chipping off, thoroughly remove any loose paint from the surface, repair any damage, prime with a coat of primer and then repaint. Never paint over damp wood that has been exposed by scraping. Ensure all surfaces are thoroughly dry before any new applications. Use proven quality exterior paint.
Home Maintenance Mistake #6: Disregarding Foggy Windows.
If you ever notice foggy windows, it’s a potential sign that the seal of the window is broken and will need replacing. Disregarding foggy windows may result in added heating and cooling expenses, so be sure to replace the seal as soon as possible. This is one of the most commonly detected items in home inspections when selling and often leaves buyers with an uneasy feeling about the conditions of other windows and window frames and the overall maintenance regimen of the home.
Owning a home is a big responsibility and it doesn’t make sense to not do ongoing maintenance of basic areas. Some owners neglect their homes to save money, but as you can see, some of these maintenance mistakes result in added expense (and headaches!). If you properly maintain your residence, you will help save on a lot of unnecessary repairs, frustration and expenses. Additionally, a well maintained home will mean a greater return on your investment when it comes time to sell.