Caring for an older property can be a lot of work. The key to looking after a period home is regular maintenance, here are some tips to help you to ensure that you stay on top of your home’s upkeep demands.
Older homes often have character and old-world charm that new constructions just can’t match. However, brand new homes have the advantage of needing very little maintenance – at least, in the beginning. If you buy an older home, you need to be prepared to put in extra care and attention to keep up with the inevitable difficulties that come with age. Here are our top maintenance tips for older homes.
Start out right
If you’ve just bought an older home, you don’t know how much work the previous owner put into the house. They may have let small problems compound, or they might have delayed essential repairs, leaving you with urgent problems that you will need to take care of immediately. Start out right by getting a building inspector to check out your property’s roof, foundations, wiring and plumbing to make sure that everything is in working order. They will also check for any moisture or flooding concerns. Even if a building inspector discovers costly concerns, it’s still going to be better to be aware of these issues and be able to have them repaired as soon as possible, rather than let ongoing issues develop.
Keep a running list
Older homes will usually always have work that needs to be done, but that doesn’t mean it all needs to be done urgently. Small maintenance jobs like repairing the fence, nailing down the decking boards, patching a hole in the wall or repairing a leaky tap in the bathroom will need to be attended to eventually, but there’s no reason to put yourself out trying to get everything done at once. All you need to do is keep a running list of repair and maintenance jobs so that when you have a spare Sunday afternoon, you can knock one or two jobs off the never-ending list. You can prioritize items on the list according to how urgent they are and act sooner if the problem is likely to cause further damage to your home.
Make necessary repairs as soon as possible
A leaky tap isn’t likely to cause serious ongoing issues for your home, and will probably not need your immediate attention, but it should still be addressed as soon as you’re able to. A cracked pipe behind the wall, on the other hand, will lead to significant water damage if you don’t get to it quickly. When you do see something that needs to be repaired before it causes further damage, get onto it as soon as possible to prevent problems worsening.
Survey the roof annually
Keeping up with roof repairs is one of the most important jobs the owner of an older home can do. It keeps the rain out, after all! Depending on what material was used to build it and how long ago it was constructed, your roof may be in danger of slowly falling apart. The best thing you can do is ensure you have a roofing specialist assess your roof every 12 months to keep on top of any potentially costly repairs.
Check the electrics
Some of the most dangerous aspects of an older home are the electrics. Whether they are working inefficiently or causing hazardous problems, you will want to have them professionally checked as soon as you can. Have an electrician come out and assess your wiring to ensure the system can cope with the number of appliances you’ll be running and that there have been no DIY wiring jobs done in the past. While rewiring can be expensive, it will cost far less than repairing the damage of a devastating electrical house fire.
Keeping up with home cleanliness is important for the health of any homeowner, but when you own an older home, regular cleaning serves another function. It’s when we clean that we really look at things that in our day to day lives we might overlook. When you’re cleaning the bathroom, you’re more likely to notice water stains on the walls. When you’re dusting the ceiling for cobwebs, you’re more likely to see mould patches. By cleaning your older home regularly, you’ll be more likely to notice problems early before they get out of hand.
Watch for cracks in the seams
Another big issue that older homes can face is structural problems. Significant cracks can be a clear indication that something is awry and needs your attention. Perhaps your floorboards are lifting, or the ground beneath the foundation of the home has shifted, causing your plasterboards to separate. While these are problems in themselves, they also open your home to bugs, rodents and critters who need no more than a crack to get inside your property to cause damage. You can mitigate this problem by having your floors repaired or replaced, plastering over any gaps in the walls and assessing your skirting boards and cornices for any potential openings.
Perform preventive maintenance
Regular maintenance is a must in older homes. Your house will slowly deteriorate, so it’s best to stay on top of it. Preventive maintenance stops large problems from developing by taking care of the smaller problems as they come up. Consider such preventative measures as:
- Regularly servicing your water heater to keep it running smoothly;
- Repainting your weatherboardsto protect them from the elements;
- Re-grouting cracked or chipped bathroom and kitchen grout;
- Resealing your window frames with silicone; and
- Repairing any broken gutters.
By performing regular preventative maintenance, you could save money by not risking small issues turning into big, expensive problems.
Trim the trees
When you buy an older home, it will likely come with an older, more established garden. Lucky you! But when you have an established garden with mature trees, it’s important to consider these trees as much a part of your regular maintenance job as anything within the house. Big trees have big root systems that, when planted near a house, can cause issues for the foundation or can grow into cracked underground pipes. And when a mature tree reaches the end of its life cycle, it is likely to start dropping branches or fall down entirely, putting your home and family at risk. If you have mature trees on your property, it’s vital to bring in a tree care professional once a year to assess potential issues and trim down trees.
Take care of your period home by being diligent about regular maintenance. If you’re smart about it, you can keep your home in top condition and keep your costs low by identifying problems before they become an emergency. Need assistance maintaining your older home? With teams located all over Australia and New Zealand, we’re able to offer high-quality and environmentally-conscious tree removal and tree maintenance services to thousands of communities. All of our franchisees are fully licensed and insured, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your property is in safe hands. Get in touch with Jim’s Group on 131 546 (Australia) or 0800 454 654 (New Zealand) for an obligation-free quote and opinion.
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