TOP 5 HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS
A home is one of the last products in the world to be built entirely by hand. Although quality materials and workmanship went into your home, this does not mean it does not require care and maintenance. A home requires care and attention from the day you move in. General homeowner maintenance can provide a quality home for a lifetime.
Periodic maintenance is necessary because of a number of factors, such as normal wear and tear, climactic conditions, the inherent characteristics of various materials used in your home, and normal service required by the mechanical systems. Over time, natural variations in temperature and humidity also impact your home.
Many times a minor adjustment or repair done immediately by you saves a more serious, time consuming, and sometimes costly repair later. Also note that negligence of routine maintenance can void applicable limited warranty coverage on all or part of your home.
1. Brick and Rock Masonry
Over time, face brick and/or stone may require “tuck-pointing” (filling in mortar between bricks and/or stone). You can also use concrete caulk to cover cracks, allow it to dry and then lightly sand to blend it into the existing mortar. Also, the bottom course of brick or stone on your home will have regularly spaced gaps called weep holes. These weep holes allow moisture that has seeped through the mortar a place to run out. Do not allow landscaping to block any weep holes around your home or moisture can build up behind your masonry.
2. Ceramic Tile, Tumbled Marble, Slate Tiles
The ceramic tile installed on floors, walls, and/or countertops may be washed with any non-abrasive soap or detergent. Abrasive cleaners may dull the finish.
Tile around bathtubs or countertops may appear to be pulling up after a time. This is caused by normal shrinkage of grout or caulk. If this occurs, the best remedy is to purchase “tub caulk” or pre-mixed grout from a hardware store. It is important to repair any of these separations to protect the underlying surfaces from water damage.
Any natural stone tiles such as tumbled marble or slate has been sealed as water can damage the finish of these stones. It is important to re-seal these tiles on a yearly basis to prevent stains or damage.
An occasional wet mopping with warm water is usually sufficient for ceramic tile. Do not add detergent to the water. If you need a cleaning agent, use a mild solution of warm water and dishwasher crystals (which do not result in a heavy, tough to remove lather on the grout). Rinse thoroughly when finished.
It is normal for slight separations to appear in the grout between tiles. Grout is for decorative purposes only; it does not hold the tile in place. A flooring or hardware store can match your specific grout color.
Grout that has become yellowed or stained can be cleaned with a fiber brush, cleanser, and water. Grout cleansers and whiteners are available at flooring and hardware stores.
Flatwork and Cracking:
To properly care for your exterior concrete known as flatwork, be aware of any standing water on your driveways or walks and adjust watering or drainage to prevent this as much as possible. Surface cracks can also appear in your foundation and are often seen in garages and smooth wash patios and porches. These surface cracks do not indicate any type of structural problems and can be filled with concrete caulking.
Maintaining good drainage away from your home will protect your home’s foundation. Do not make any additions or changes to the landscaped area around your home that will cause water to stand or settle against your foundation. Doing so may cause foundation failure and cab void your warranty.
Expansion joints in your flatwork have been used to help control expansion, but concrete is still susceptible to shrinkage. When this occurs, gaps between the concrete and expansion joint can allow water to penetrate under the concrete and lift the expansion joint above the level of the flatwork. These gaps should be filled with a gray silicone sealant to prevent this lifting from taking place.
Do not wash flatwork or patios with cold water from an outside faucet when temperatures are extremely high and the sun has been shining on the concrete. The abrupt change in temperature can damage the surface bond of the concrete. Sweeping is the much preferred method of cleaning, wash only when temperatures are moderate.
Slight cracking, nail pops, and/or seams may become visible in walls or ceilings. These occurrences are caused by the normal shrinkage of the wood and normal deflection of rafters to which the drywall is attached.
Most drywall repairs are easy to make. To correct a nail pop, re-set the nail with a hammer and punch or nail set. Cover it with two or three thin coats of spackle. When dry, sand the surface with fine grain sandpaper and paint. Small indentations or holes can be filled in the same manner with spackle. Hairline cracks can be repaired with paint, larger cracks with spackle or caulk and paint.
5. Granite Countertops
Granite is heat, cold, and virtually scratch and stain resistant. It is located next to “Diamonds” on the hardness scale. All natural stone should be cleaned with a mild non-abrasive glass cleaner. Avoid acids (vinegar, etc.) and oils (butter, salad dressing, etc.) as no natural stone likes these items. All natural stones are porous and your countertop was sealed during the construction process. You will need to re-seal the tops in about 2 years after you move in. Sealer can be purchased at a hardware or home improvement store.