Some of us are more reluctant than others to do those home maintenance tasks we know will keep are homes in good shape. But when we neglect regular upkeep, a lot of things can happen even in just few months. Now that we’re heading toward the upcoming holiday season (and winter), there are some home maintenance issues you shouldn’t ignore.
Mold, whether it’s inside or out.
When gutters, the roof, or pipes leak, the resulting excess moisture can encourage mold or mildew to grow inside/outside of a gutter system, on siding, or underneath roofing shingles. You can generally clean mildew on your own, but mold might be more problematic. If it’s growing on interior walls or exterior walls next to windows that are open constantly, mold may pose a health issue. Consult a home inspector or general contractor to see whether you can deal with mold or if someone should be hired to remove it. Hire a professional if the mold growth is in hard-to-reach places; on the roof; or very dense on the siding.
See evidence of pest invasions.
If you discover droppings in corners of the basement or ants on the countertops in the kitchen or bathroom, it is often a sign that they’re entering through a gap somewhere in your home. Check areas such as exhaust vents, pipes, ducts, and garage doors for critter activity. Obvious signs of pest invasions include:
- Chewed wires, edges of cabinets, food containers/packaging, and rugs
- Ripped screens
Call an exterminator – pests such as beetles, rats, and mice can contaminate the air, food stuffs, and water sources.
Also check your home exterior, particularly in and around the gutters including the roof, for nesting birds and squirrels. Bird droppings can be especially harmful to you and your family’s health.
Drafts come in from windows and doors.
When windows and doors are closed but you can still feel a draft you’re heating or cooling the outdoors, not your home. In addition to not being earth-friendly, drafty windows and doors increase your energy bill. Caulk inside and outside your home. Replace any broken window panes. Inspect siding for cracks and loose nails, the trim around windows and doors for wood rot, and baseboards for gaps.
Foundation looks a little worse for wear.
Cracking, pitting, gaps, shifting, or buckling are all situations that can weaken the foundation of your home. Hairline cracks in a foundation are a normal part of its exposure to the elements. However, when previously small cracks widen (more than half a centimetre or 3/16 of an inch) or cracks appear that are visibly noticeable, it’s time take charge. While most general contractors offer affordable rates for foundation repairs, it can give a homeowner sticker shock. But it will be a bargain if it prevents the structural integrity of your home from being compromised – foundation issues only get worse if ignored.
Floors sag, windows don’t open easily.
When floors sag or boards become warped in an area next to the kitchen or close to a bathroom, damaged flooring could be because of leaks due to undetected water seepage rotting out subflooring. Investigate the basement or crawlspace for possible sources and fix the floor and leak as soon as you can.
Floors that shift, sag, or warp and windows that don’t open easily are often signs of structural damage or foundation problems.
You notice your roof isn’t all there.
Shingles are the only visible part of a roofing system – decking, beams, and rafters are just a few essential elements of your roof that are hidden from sight. When shingles become damaged or have been blown away by the wind, it makes the roof vulnerable to leaking ceilings, ruined insulation in the attic, and wood rot. Roof damage, even “just” a handful of missing tiles, should be repaired immediately. If your roof is 15 years old or younger, get a professional roof inspection done every two years; annually if the roof is older.