Main­te­nance saves in the long run

Matamata Chronicle - - Advertising Feature -

Many mod­ern homes are de­scribed as ‘‘low main­te­nance’’, but this does not mean ‘‘no main­te­nance’’.

There is no such thing as a main­te­nance-free house.

Prac­ti­cal, easy-to-fol­low in­for­ma­tion about home main­te­nance is avail­able at con­sumer­build.org.nz – a web­site jointly owned by the Con­sumers’ In­sti­tute and the Depart­ment of Build­ing and Hous­ing.

Whether you’re liv­ing in your home or rent­ing it to ten­ants, there are four main ap­proaches to main­te­nance.

Carry out reg­u­lar pre­ven­tive main­te­nance to pre­vent some prob­lems from oc­cur­ring.

Carry out re­pairs or re­place items as needed, pre­vent­ing small prob­lems from turn­ing into big ones.

Plan ahead for ma­jor main­te­nance tasks, such as re­paint­ing or reroof­ing, so you have the money and time avail­able when the work is needed.

It helps to be pre­pared for emer­gen­cies – know where and how the wa­ter, gas and power sup­plies turn off, and if you have ten­ants make sure they know too.

By law, some jobs need to be done by a pro­fes­sional, such as gas, plumb­ing, drainage and some elec­tri­cal work.

If you live in an apart­ment or town­house with a body cor­po­rate you are likely to be lim­ited in what, if any, ex­ter­nal main­te­nance you can do your­self.

Mod­ern homes with mono­lithic fi­bre-ce­ment claddings are of­ten sold as ‘‘low main­te­nance’’ homes, but most of th­ese spe­cial­ity claddings need more main­te­nance than a weath­er­board house.

Al­ways fol­low the man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions. If your home was built af­ter the early 1990s and has any risk of be­ing a leaky build­ing, you need to be es­pe­cially vig­i­lant in your main­te­nance checks.

Damp homes are un­healthy and harder to heat.

You can com­bat per­sis­tent damp in your home with in­su­la­tion un­der the floor, in the ceil­ing and walls, ven­ti­la­tion and heat­ing.

Ex­ces­sive mois­ture can be caused by leak­ing pipes, con­den­sa­tion or flood­ing around shower or baths.

It might also in­di­cate that your home is a leaky build­ing, which could in­volve ex­ten­sive re­pairs.

Mould, wa­ter stains and musty smells in houses that have been built or ren­o­vated since the early 1990s can be the first signs of a leaky house – they need to be thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated.

Prac­ti­cal ad­vice on iden­ti­fy­ing and ad­dress­ing weath­er­tight­ness prob­lems is avail­able at con­sumer­build.org.nz.

It is im­por­tant that leaky homes are re­paired promptly and prop­erly to stop fur­ther dam­age.

Good qual­ity early re­pairs or re­place­ments mean home­own­ers avoid ad­di­tional costs and in­con­ve­nience from fur­ther dam­age.

Vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas to pay at­ten­tion to:

Weatherseal coat­ings that need re­pair or re­newal.

Check­ing around the house to make sure the cladding is at least 175 mm above the lawn or gar­den, or 100 mm above paved sur­faces.

Check­ing per­go­las, can­tilevered decks, poorly formed flash­ings that do not pro­tect doors and win­dows, and me­ter boxes which are not sealed or flashed.

Check­ing any ar­eas where bolts, screws, handrails, or TV ae­ri­als pen­e­trate the cladding.

Most brick houses are brick ve­neer, with a cav­ity be­tween the tim­ber fram­ing and the brick­work.

You need to keep the drainage cav­i­ties at the base of the walls clear – check reg­u­larly that soil and plants are not block­ing them. Most solid con­crete block homes rely on the ex­ter­nally ap­plied wa­ter­proof coat­ing for weath­er­tight­ness and this must be main­tained to keep wa­ter out.

En­closed or sealed decks should be built with a slope to al­low wa­ter to run off to a col­lec­tion point such as a down­pipe.

Once a year you should check your roof cladding, chim­neys and flash­ings to en­sure prob­lems are not de­vel­op­ing.

Things to look for in­clude flash­ings that have cor­roded or lifted, and crum­bling chim­ney mor­tar. Over­hang­ing branches can dam­age roof­ing ma­te­ri­als, so it’s im­por­tant to keep trees next to your house well trimmed.

Check with the man­u­fac­turer of your roof­ing ma­te­rial to find out about any spe­cial main­te­nance re­quire­ments.

Paint-on mem­branes, for ex­am­ple, must be reg­u­larly re-coated ev­ery 6-8 years. Drains and gut­ters Blocked and dam­aged drains can cause se­ri­ous flood­ing so it’s im­por­tant to con­tact a pro­fes­sional drain cleaner as soon as you be­come aware of any prob­lems.

Tree roots can cause clay drainage pipes to crack, so take care where you plant trees with ex­ten­sive root sys­tems. Gut­ter­ing needs to be cleaned out at least once a year as leaves can eas­ily col­lect and block them, par­tic­u­larly in au­tumn.

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