Maintain your home this summer

By Staff Writer
With summer on our doorsteps, bringing with it warm, humid and dry weather, for the most part, it serves as a perfect opportunity to focus on home maintenance.
“Maintenance is important as it keeps your home in great condition. Never getting to the point where you have way too much to maintain at once. If you are looking at ever selling your home, you will find that keeping it in a good condition will get you your asking price. Maintenance upkeep also leads to saving costs,” said Angela Kewney, Durr Estates Property Consultant.
Some of the best places to start, according to Kewney, are as follows:
  • Check for grout in the bathroom and kitchen areas, etc., and repair as needed - “This will prolong the life of your tiled surfaces and just looks better,” explained Kewney.
  • Take time to inspect plumbing and aerators - Check all faucets and toilets for any leaks that could affect your water pressure.
  • Address any insect problems experienced – “Summer is their playground. You probably won’t have to look too hard to notice any insect problems such as ants, spiders, moths, etc. and fairly easy to take care of. Keep cobwebs clear, have ant poison handy, make sure all doors are tightly closed, etc.,”remarked Kewney.
  • Pay attention to your deck or patio - As the winter season comes to an end, the deck/patio usually just requires a good wash down, re-staining and varnishing. It is also always a good idea to check for and repair any loose boards.
  • Check and clean any air vents on the exterior –This may require you to enlist professional help.
  • Tackle and clean the garage – “Keeping it clean and tidy will extend its life, and it often gets neglected of regular care. With all the extra dust it gets from the manly projects you’re working on, you should actually clean it even more. Once a year, however, give it a thorough going-through,” added Kewney.
Water damage
Water damange is another maintenance area that you should be aware of.
“Some of the most common insurance claims come from leaks – be they from worn roof tiles or from geysers,” highlighted chief executive of distribution, PSG Insure, Bertus Visser.
He advises that one should always start by adequately waterproofing your home, as summer brings rain for some parts of the country.
“Check your roof, outside surfaces and walls. Replace fractured or broken roof tiles or slates, and fill any cracks in concrete. Use an appropriate sealant to seal off repairs and always apply good quality waterproof paint to repaired surfaces,” advised Visser.
Cleaning and clearing your gutters are also an essential. “You could also consider installing PVC or aluminium gutters if you currently have asbestos guttering (generally found on older properties). Asbestos gutters are prone to recurring leaks. PVC or aluminium gutters offer better quality, and generally do not need to be replaced,” suggested Visser.
Make full use of the warm weather and take time to paint where necessary, using additives that ‘neutralise rust.’
Be safe outdoors
“The warmer months are often spent outdoors. Be safe by making sure you have adequate security features in place when it comes to your pool or braai. Installing a fence around your pool or a safety net makes it safer for small children. It can also help to avoid accidents that may trigger liability claims, such as guests falling in and injuring themselves or damaging expensive accessories,” stated Visser.
He suggested always making sure outdoor ‘braai’ fires are distinguished properly and cutting away old branches on trees on your property that may present as a fire hazard.

Inexpensive tips for home maintenance

Maintaining a home is an expensive activity, but if one does the necessary checks and repairs during the year, Kewney suggested it needn’t be.
Here is a list of ways you can maintain your home and save yourself some money:
·  Keep track of the paint you use and store leftovers responsibly.
·   Regularly removing any debris from outdoor drains to ensure they remained unblocked.
·    Sealing your wooden window sills with a good varnish to prolong their lifespan.
·     Use baking soda to keep ants and other pests at bay. Simply place on the affected area and vacuum 24 hours after, advised Kewney.
·     Raid your pantry and cupboards for cheap ingredients that can double up as effective cleaning products. These include things like fresh lemons, course sea salt, white vinegar, soda and even shaving cream.
·      “ Go green – install a JoJo rain water tank to water the garden, re-use pool water or Jacuzzi water to water your garden too,” said Kewney.
·       Cultivate your own small compost heap and use it in the garden and for your top grass.
·         Checking your bolts and screws throughout the year is vital, especially if you live near the coast.

“At the end of the day your home portrays you and if you want to sell your home and expect to get your asking price, it is important to ensure that whoever walks in will see it as a home, not a “fixer-upper”,” concluded Kewney. 

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