Main­te­nan­ce tips

George Herald - Southern Cape Property Guide & Auto Dealer - - News -

Pur­cha­sing a pro­per­ty for the first ti­me is an a­ma­zing mi­les­to­ne, but se­ver­al new re­spon­si­bi­li­ties co­me with the tit­le.

"A­si­de from the fi­nan­ci­al com­mit­ment, o­w­ning a ho­me me­ans that the re­spon­si­bi­li­ty of main­tai­ning that ho­me fall on your shoul­ders," says A­dri­an Gos­lett, re­gi­o­nal di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of Sout­hern A­fri­ca.

A pro­per­ty mig­ht be in good con­di­ti­on w­hen you pur­cha­se it, but wit­hout re­gu­lar main­te­nan­ce it won't stay that way. It is im­por­tant to get in­to a rou­ti­ne of doing re­gu­lar main­te­nan­ce checks, rat­her than being re­acti­ve and on­ly seeing to is­su­es w­hen so­mething g­oes wrong. If you are pro­acti­ve, it will en­s­u­re that e­ver­y­thing gets the re­qui­red at­ten­ti­on be­fo­re it turns in­to a ma­jor pro­blem and fi­nan­ci­al bur­den.

In an i­de­al si­tu­a­ti­on, pre­ven­ta­ti­ve main­te­nan­ce in­specti­ons should be do­ne e­very six mont­hs. Ho­we­ver, the­re are e­le­ments of the ho­me that re­qui­re a litt­le mo­re at­ten­ti­on and ot­hers that re­qui­re less. Whi­le ho­me­o­w­ners can car­ry out most of the main­te­nan­ce checks them­sel­ves, so­me as­pects of the ho­me may re­qui­re the ser­vi­ces of a pro­fes­si­o­nal con­trac­tor.

He­re are a few e­le­ments in the ho­me that will need to be chec­ked and main­tai­ned re­gu­lar­ly:

Main e­lec­tri­cal pa­nel

W­hen checking the main e­lec­tri­cal pa­nel, look for signs of wa­ter pe­ne­tra­ti­on as this could be po­ten­ti­al­ly dan­ge­rous. Clu­es would in­clu­de wa­ter­marks or rust. Al­so, turn off all the ci­r­cuit bre­a­ker swit­ches and t­hen turn them back on to en­s­u­re that they are all wor­king. If the pa­nel is warm to the tou­ch or smells of burnt in­su­la­ti­on, con­tact a pro­fes­si­o­nal e­lec­tri­ci­an.


Bad we­at­her can shift and da­ma­ge ti­les, so roofs should be in­spected re­gu­lar­ly. Re­pla­ce mis­sing or da­ma­ged roof ti­les, as they could re­sult in le­aks and in­te­ri­or wa­ter da­ma­ge. Don't neg­lect secti­ons of flat roof. Look for any a­re­as that are star­ting to blis­ter or bub­ble. De­bris on roofs can cau­se da­ma­ge, so should be cle­a­red a­way re­gu­lar­ly. Al­so cut back any bran­ches that ma­ke con­tact with the roof.


Whi­le on the roof, check the chim­ney. Ma­ke su­re that the­re are no loo­se or da­ma­ged bricks and that the mortar is in good re­pair. Al­so, check that the wa­ter­p­roof­ing e­le­ments a­round the ba­se of the chim­ney are in a suit­a­ble con­di­ti­on. The chim­ney should be pro­fes­si­o­nal­ly swept at le­ast on­ce a y­e­ar to cle­ar a­way any built-up cre­o­so­te and ot­her flam­ma­ble ma­te­ri­als in­si­de the chim­ney flue. Gas fi­re­pla­ces should be ser­vi­ced by a li­cen­sed gas techni­ci­an.


Clog­ged gut­ters will cau­se wa­ter to flow in­to un­wan­ted a­re­as and could cau­se le­aks and wa­ter da­ma­ge. A­void this by re­mo­ving de­bris and checking them for le­aks or ho­les that may re­qui­re so­me re­pair. Al­so, check that the gut­ters are se­cu­re­ly at­ta­ched to the wall and that they are po­si­ti­o­ned to drain wa­ter a­way from the hou­se.

Win­dows and doors

Re­pla­ce any bro­ken or crac­ked win­dow pa­nes be­cau­se they can be a po­ten­ti­al sa­fe­ty ha­zard. Old, cracking, sun-da­ma­ged win­dow put­ty should al­so be re­ap­p­lied. Check win­dow and door fi­nis­hes for any paint de­te­ri­o­ra­ti­on or rot.

En­su­ring that the win­dows and doors se­al pro­per­ly will as­sist in re­du­cing u­ti­li­ty cos­ts, as it will be e­a­sier to he­at or cool the ho­me. Look out for door fra­mes that ha­ve shif­ted o­ver the last six mont­hs, as this could in­di­ca­te a pro­blem with the foun­da­ti­on or struc­tu­re of the ho­me.

Walls and cei­lings

Nar­row ver­ti­cal cracks in walls are of­ten cau­sed by mi­nor sett­le­ment or shrinka­ge, which is nor­mal. Ho­we­ver, if the ver­ti­cal crack is 3mm wi­de or wi­der, it could be a re­sult of ma­jor sett­le­ment pro­blems and should be e­va­lu­a­ted by an en­gi­neer. Damp within the wall will cau­se the paint to bub­ble and fla­ke, whi­le damp in the cei­ling could cau­se it to sag or, in se­ve­re ca­ses, col­lap­se. Wa­ter­marks on the cei­ling are of­ten a sign of a le­a­king roof.


It ma­kes a ho­me look good, but the pri­ma­ry functi­on of paint is to pro­vi­de the ho­me with a pro­tecti­ve lay­er a­gainst the e­le­ments. It pro­vi­des a wa­ter­p­roof­ing lay­er to walls, pro­tects me­tal from rust and wooden fix­tu­res from sun da­ma­ge, in­sects and rot. Pain­ted a­re­as that are bub­bling, pee­ling, crac­ked or blis­te­red should be in­spected, re­pai­red and re­pain­ted.

Pa­ti­os and decks

Var­nish or se­a­lant al­so acts as a pro­tecti­ve lay­er for wooden fe­a­tu­res such as decks. Wooden pa­ti­os and decks need to be se­a­led pro­per­ly to a­void war­ping or wa­ter da­ma­ge. If the deck is se­a­led cor­rect­ly, wa­ter should be­ad on the sur­fa­ce. If the wa­ter is ab­sor­bed, ho­we­ver, it is in­ef­fecti­ve, and the deck should be san­ded and re­se­a­led.

Ge­ne­ral fix­tu­res

Look out for toi­lets that run con­ti­nu­ous­ly and le­a­king taps as the­se e­le­ments will eat in­to u­ti­li­ty cos­ts and was­te wa­ter.

En­s­u­re that toi­lets are se­a­led and se­cu­red to the floor and check that the se­a­lant and grou­ting a­round all kit­chen and bathroom fix­tu­res are in good re­pair.

"Re­gu­lar pre­ven­ta­ti­ve me­a­su­res will en­s­u­re that you are not caug­ht u­na­wa­re.

Ta­king good ca­re of a ho­me will help keep the occu­pants sa­fe whi­le en­su­ring its ca­pi­tal ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on o­ver the long term," Gos­lett con­clu­des.


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