What Home Maintenance Measures Should I Take?
Take Steps To Preserve The Fabric Of Your Home
'Safe As Houses'
Maintaining a home so it provides a safe and comfortable environment for your family is an ongoing yet necessary task. You will be wise to take preventative steps to avoid deterioration in all seasons whether your home is a new build or not. If you are a tenant you can perhaps allow yourself to become complacent and say to yourself: 'Oh well the landlord will take care of it,' but who's going to get a rent increase if you cause avoidable problems due to your sheer apathy? Do your bit to preserve your home whether you own it or not. It's you who's living in it and you'll be paying someone for the privilege whether it's a landlord or a building society.
The number one problem that causes significant internal damage to properties and contents and poses health risks is mould growth caused by condensation issues. However homeowners and tenants alike often make the mistake of thinking their home has a serious damp problem and are too quick to blame the structure of the building when it's really a lifestyle problem.
A Seasonal Dilemma
From October to March, this can cause no end of problems inside a home when wintry conditions (largely in northerly regions) encourage occupiers to "batten down the hatches" and draught proof the entire house so it is virtually hermetically sealed. Where do you think all the moisture in the home is going to go? It doesn't just dissapear into nothingness with all the magic of Harry Potter - it's still going to be there on the window panes and seeping into your clothes and soft furnishings..
Everything in your home creates moisture from drying washing indoors to taking a bath or even breathing. Your very presence is adding to the moisture in the air and if this moisture has no means of escape it will settle on the coolest surfaces and cause condensation and the black mould commonly associated with it. Changes in temperature further aggravate this so set your room thermostat at a constant level during the cooler months. Take preventative measures by installing air bricks and ventilation grilles if there are none. This will cut down considerably in having to deal with condensation and mould issues and is especially important in cupboards which are opened infrequently where there is little or no movement in the air.
The biggest mistake you can make regarding condensation is to leave windows permanently closed and block off all ventilation during the winter. You may fear that all that expensive heat is escaping but exchange of air is needed to be rid of excess moisture. You’ll need extractors in the bathroom and kitchen and vents for your tumble drier if it is not the self-condensing type. This will help you maintain the good condition of the plaster in your home so it does not become a breeding ground for mould and will help to preserve the life of wallpaper and prevent mould from growing on natural fabrics such as suede and leather.
Many home occupiers often forget that guttering needs cleaning and regular maintenance. In order to carry out the valuable task of protecting the fabric of the building from ingress of water, gutters must be clear of debris and not leak water so it cascades down the walls and causes penetrating damp.
Home-owner mistakes are also made regarding proximity of trees and shrubs. Even miniature bushes can grow overly large if soil conditions are favourable and this can cause all manner of problems to nearby buildings. Tree roots can create havoc with paving and even damage foundations if their root system is strong enough. Ivy and Virginia creepers can get under the eaves if left to their own devices and ‘Mile-a-minute’ will live up to its name and get a strangle hold on your entire property in no time at all causing damp problems and cracking in mortar as it forces itself into every crevice. When planning your garden make sure you take into account the growth patterns of the trees and shrubs you choose and assess whether they may become a threat to the fabric of the building in years to come.
Buy some mould spray for God's sake - don't phone your landlord!
Ongoing Repairs And Upkeep
It’s wise to remember that deterioration of anything external will soon have a detrimental effect on the internal structure of your home if problems are not addressed swiftly. For instance just one displaced roof shingle can be the cause of costly damage if unnoticed so don’t make the mistake of omitting these useful checks round after periods of strong winds and heavy rain for signs of missing roof tiles, flashing etc and subsequent rain water damage.
Any installations in your home that contain moving parts will require regular overhauls, servicing and replacement parts when required but it’s often easy to forget those fixtures and fittings that don’t have moving parts but are just as important. Going round with a check-list periodically is the best way to see that nothing is missed in any programme of ongoing maintenance.
Responsible Mould Removal
Your House Doesn't Have To Look This Spooky!
Know Your Limitations
Other aspects to consider regarding home maintenance mistakes is to know your limitations when it comes to DIY tasks. Always wear the recommended safety gear such as goggles and dust masks when appropriate and never tamper with gas or electrical installations as this could seriously jeopardise your safety and the structure of the building or even that of neighbouring properties. If in doubt, always call in the professionals and never cut corners to save time or money or you will be back to square one if the job needs re-doing.
Money, Money, Money
Saving money is not always the wisest choice and is false economy if you make the mistake of opting for less costly but inferior products and cheap labour in your programme of home maintenance. Always buy the best materials you can afford and hire a reputable workman to carry out the task in hand.
Preparation is the key to any home maintenance tasks but a common mistake is not to allow enough time to prepare beforehand. For instance before you decorate you need to ensure you have plenty of dust sheets and that all surfaces to be painted are clean and free of dirt and debris. Make sure you have available the correct tools for the job and sufficient materials to complete the task.
A Modicom Of Common Sense Always Helps
Adopting a common sense attitude towards any programme of home maintenance will always pay off. Never make the mistake of overlooking the mundane or the routine tasks that all contribute in some small way to the smooth running of your home - even something as simple and straightforward as regularly remembering to replace batteries in smoke alarms can save lives.
Draw up your own monthly home maintenance check-list to help you care for your home so it will remain your best asset and investment for many years to come.
Get The Low-Down On Houses!
Home Maintenance Issues
'There's No Place Like Home'
Safety issues cannot be emphasised enough; tenants and homeowners alike only have one life. Make sure smoke alarms are installed on every level and are maintained with new batteries on a regular basis if not wired into the mains, They can and do save lives for very minimal outlay and can even be supplied for free by the fire service in the UK.
Gas and electrical systems should all be serviced periodically to ensure optimum function and to maintain safety so that all occupants have a safe roof over their heads.
Is your house 'as safe as houses?'
© 2015 Stella Kaye