When you own a home, it can feel like something is always going wrong, especially if you purchase an older home and inherit the problems that go with it. There are a few things you can let go, and there are others that, with a quick fix, will allow you to breathe a sigh of relief in the long run. So in the spirit of Black Friday, here are my top tips for big home improvement savings.
This autumn the leaves fell late, which means your gutters might be filled to the brim with debris. Clean them out before the snow comes or you might be looking at thousands of dollars in water damage. If your gutters are clogged up, the water from the snow has nowhere to go – so it will either seep into your roof or pour down into your foundation. Either way, a season of repetitive flooding might be too much for your home to handle. Call a professional for a gutter cleaning, or if you’re comfortable on a ladder you can do it yourself with a scoop or lawn blower.
If you’ve been out on your deck all summer, you may have noticed a few loose, soft or sagging boards. To check the damage, poke the boards with a screwdriver and see if the wood feels spongy. If it does, you could have rot. Rather than spend thousands to remove the whole deck, pull off the damaged boards and replace them with new wood before giving the deck a fresh coat of paint or stain to protect it before winter.
Mold can be a fairly straightforward problem to deal with, unless you have it growing on your foundation. If you have plants and shrubs along the base of your house, the water you use to keep them hydrated and happy could be seeping down into your home, causing mildew and eventually rot. Check the perimeter of your home for any signs of mold, and take a look to see if plant roots are starting to crawl around your foundation. A good rule to follow is to keep shrubs at least three feet from your house and choose plants that are compact growers. A quick check and some pruning could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage repair.
Worn Wood Floors
If you have old wood floors, keeping them fresh with a protective layer of topcoat can prevent them from splitting, splintering and drying out. If you are starting to detect signs of wear, sand down your floors and apply a new coat of polyurethane. You can also opt to rent a floor polisher from your local hardware store. Some simple upkeep every few years should save you from replacing the entire floor, and from the bill that goes with it.
If you notice paint peeling on the outside of your home, now is a great time to scrape, sand, prime and re-paint the exterior. Not only will it make a huge difference cosmetically, it will also protect your home from seasonal rain, snow and wind damage. If the paint is only peeling in certain areas, it might be because that area is prone to flooding, so take care and inspect any wood for rot, especially around window sills and door frames.
Home maintenance can be a pain but spending thousands on unnecessary replacements is a whole heck of a lot worse. If you’re not sure where to start, a home improvement specialist can give you a thorough inspection to identify potential problem areas before they become a major headache. Enjoy your leftovers everyone and Happy Thanksgiving weekend!