Your Guide to Good Home Maintenance

home maintenance guide

When it comes to home maintenance and preventing building defects, a little maintenance can prevent a host of major issues that may crop up later on down the road.

Discover some of the most serious home maintenance issues that a homeowner may encounter, and you’ll be able to prevent or mitigate several troublesome issues.

A well-maintained home will protect your family from the elements and it also provides a good investment in your future. Understanding the risks associated with home ownership can help you to avoid the most common issues that are typically resolved with a little maintenance.

1. Roof Leak Prevention

Roof leaks are the kind of issue that never exist until the rain starts coming down inside your home. They’re not just a minor inconvenience, they can also cause significant damage to your home.

Additionally, dampness caused by a leak is an ideal breeding ground for termites and other critters to make a home in your roof.

While some roof leaks are due to defects in manufacturing, this is not the primary cause.

In most cases, a lack of maintenance and cleaning are the real culprits. By planning and creating a maintenance schedule, you are better able to detect roof leaks before the rainy season. This can save you from a tremendous headache further down the road.

2. How Often Should You Clean Your Roof?

By cleaning your roof annually before the wet season, you’ll be able to catch most small issues before they become cascading catastrophes. Clean twice per year, and you’ll likely never experience any serious problems.

Inspecting your roof for leaks may also reveal other issues that need to be taken care of to maintain the integrity of your home.

Clean up any fallen leaves, remove debris and clear the gutters and downpipes to ensure your system works smoothly. When these elements build up, they can create blockages and corrosion.

This may lead to leaks that make their way through the ceilings, walls and floors. Dampness is also a major issue since termites are attracted to damp places, and these little critters can wreak havoc on your home’s internal structure.

3. Termite Management Options

If you’ve ever had a termite infestation, you know how much damage these buggers can cause. Check out one of our termite inspection videos here. Timber is not the only material they consume. Termites are also known for attacking buildings made out of steel, concrete and brick.

While these materials are traditionally effective barriers against termites, no barrier can completely reduce the risk of infestation. This is why it’s so important to hire competent professionals to inspect your home on a regular basis.

When termites target your home, they work fast. By the time you’re aware of their presence, they may have already caused significant damage to your home.

If you’re building doesn’t have a physical termite barrier installed, then you’re at even greater risk of getting done. Even a home with a barrier still isn’t risk free, but a barrier can go a long way toward preventing damage in the early stages of a fledgling termite infestation.

4. Termite Prevention Tips:

  • Chemical Solutions: Use a chemical treatment that is designed to thwart termite attacks and prevent destruction.
  • Licensed Inspections: Hire a qualified termite inspector annually to inspect the home. Up this to a quarterly visit if your home is in a high-risk area.
  • Learn the Signs: Earth tubes, which are veins of tubes running up the side of the house, are signs of termite infestation. Also, check for any disturbances in the soil or gaps.
  • Check Surroundings: An invasion begins outside the home so make sure to check the area surrounding the home for any trees, timber-sleeper walls or tree stumps that termites have built a nest in. Additionally, keep the garden mulch and wood beds a good distance from your home. Small ventilation holes between bricks should be sealed, and make sure they don’t extend to the soil.
  • Other Items: Pergolas, timber floors, steps and verandas should avoid contact with the ground. Additionally, inspect any stump or brick piers to ensure there aren’t any earth tubes that have been built around the ant cap.
  • Damp Spots: Damp areas are a haven for termites and they’re most likely sites for the early stage of a termite infestation. Check hot water systems, air conditioners and taps for any signs of activity.

5. Pre-Purchase Inspections For New Homes

Before you go out and invest in a new home, it’s important to have an appropriate building and pest inspection that will assess the current condition of the house. Hidden problems may not always be disclosed by the homeowner.

Termite infestations may not always be apparent until you get an inspection by a licensed professional.

Putting on a new coat of paint and fixing up the sides of a home are not very difficult or expensive.

Just because a home looks like it’s in good condition, it doesn’t mean that it’s free and clear of all issues. Ask about the condition of the home and find out if the home has termite resistant materials built into it.

However, even in the presence of termite resistance materials like concrete floors doesn’t mean there aren’t termites.

6. How To Check For Termite Activity:

  • Schedule a time to get a building inspection report that details the state of the structure. The report should place an emphasis on the termite termite preventionbarrier system, and it should also focus on any signs of dampness.
  • Arrange for a licensed professional to create a termite inspection report that details any current or past termite activity.
  • Determine the dates that the house received its last treatment for termites. Also, find out when the next treatment needs to be completed.
  • Assess the risk level for the building and find out about the likelihood of another termite infestation.

Conduct additional research on how to deal with termites and take a proactive approach to protecting your home from damage.

7. Maintenance of Timber Decks

Get an inspection of your timber deck by a qualified pre-purchase building inspector or engineer.

Checking with timber experts can help you determine the type of maintenance that is required and they can also give you recommendations for dealing with specific climate and location considerations.

Many timber decks use paint or oil for appearance purposes. Re-coating may be required periodically especially in tropical climates. Generally, make sure to get your decks re-coated once or twice per year. Follow any guidelines set out by the manufacturer or builder.

8. Reducing Subsidence (Wall Cracks)

Building foundations move over time. The type of soil, location of the building and the soil’s water content are all mitigating factors. When this occurs to your house, it’s known as subsidence.

It’s also possible for tree roots to contribute to subsidence. This happens because the roots interfere with the moisture content of the soil near the footings of the building.

When you cut down a well established tree that has grown next to your home, a subsidence problem can be an unfortunate consequence. The same is true of planting a new tree near the building. Trees can absorb a lot of water and this can create a subsidence issue.

Use a fact sheet on how to maintain your footings to ensure that you don’t experience problems with subsidence.

9. Maintaining Sealed Driveways and Pathways

Re-sealing your pathways and driveways on an annual basis can help maintain their foundations. Make sure to use clean-sealed concrete and strive to only use products that have been approved for use by the manufacturer.

This is the best way to make sure your driveways and pathways will last a long time and avoid cracking or corrosion.

10. Self Renovation Tips

When you’re renovating your house, take precautions to prevent the change of any crucial building components and elements.

As an example, you want to protect any existing termite barrier systems during a renovation. If the renovations impact the quality of the barrier, seek the help of a professional to reinforce it.

Avoid placing excessive weight on any plasterboard ceilings. This may occur from the addition of insulation, electrical work or air conditioning. It’s also possible that your neighbour may share a fire separating wall with your home.

Check to make certain that any electrical wires, television or internet cables don’t extend through and penetrate the firewall safety barrier.

Check with a licensed builder to check before making any structural changes to your home. By taking the necessary precautions, you can keep it in optimal condition and prevent the possibility of purchasing a home that needs significant renovations.