With the COVID-19 pandemic still in progress, it is likely that you are spending most of your time in your residence, and your schedule is different than how it used to be. You might or might not be going in to work, and you may be wondering what to do with your spare time. The good news is that all this free time can be spent constructively, and dedicated to investing in your property, especially if you are a homeowner. With all these spare hours, why not try some exterior home maintenance, and make your house look (and function) its best? Perhaps you already had a list of interior and exterior home maintenance ideas in mind, but until now, you didn’t find the time for this work. Now the time is here, and you have all kinds of options for remodeling and fixing up your home, even without the aid of professionals. All of this work will make your property look its best, and that is doubly important if you are planning on putting your house on the real estate market within the next few years.
Glass Doors and Windows
What can you do about your doors and windows? These hardware features are easy to take for granted, and they can border between interior and exterior home maintenance. But be sure to constantly check them for any outstanding issues, since a faulty door or window can be an expensive hassle to deal with. Old, shabby windows and doors are warped from age and probably do not fit well in their frames, which may result in air drafts that disrupt your home’s climate control. That, in turn, will strain the heating and cooling utility, using up extra electricity the entire time. Also, these old windows and doors might be unattractive, since they may have cracked or cloudy glass, chipped and faded paint, termite damage, or other issues. Very old windows and doors can be replaced when you hire professional crews, but you can also get some work done yourself if the windows aren’t that badly damaged.
This is a good time for a paint job, and your window frames can get a fresh coat of paint of any color you like. That, or you can strip off the paint and apply varnish instead, and use the wood’s natural colors instead. No matter what products you use, though, it is a good idea to opt for low-VOC paint and varnish, so you do not expose anyone in the household to harmful airborne particles or fumes. Painting means having not just the paint and primer, but also paintbrushes, a tray, and newspapers or other covers for the floor so no paint will get onto the carpet. Don’t forget to use special tape that can be applied to some surfaces, to protect them from excess paint. Professional crews use that kind of tape too, and you can easily remove that tape when the paint job is done. This can be a fun family activity, and everyone can agree on what color paint should be used on the windows. Doing this can make the window look fresh and new.
On a side note, don’t be afraid to seal up air drafts with caulk or similar products if you won’t or can’t hire professional window crews to swap out the window. Sealing up air drafts will help keep the electric bill under control and prevent uncomfortable air drafts at any time of year.
What about the plumbing in your house? Unclogging the sewer main requires the aid of professionals, but there are minor plumbing repair jobs that you can do on your own, too. This is a matter of interior work, not exterior home maintenance, but it’s no less important. In fact, having smooth plumbing means saving money on the water bill, since a leaking faucet or pipe will waste much more water than you might realize. Some leaks can waste 90 gallons of water per day, and leaking water is not just noisy; it can spur mold growth anywhere, stain the drywall, pool on the floor, and warp any wood that it touches. A fine example of minor plumbing repair includes the kitchen sink, and a basic home tool kit should be all you need to tighten a leaky gasket. You can also use special tape or adhesives to seal up a leaky plastic pipe, too.
Don’t forget the basement, which may be highly vulnerable to water damage. Pipes in the basement’s ceiling can leak water and cause it to pool in the basement, which can cause all kinds of damage over time. And if your home floods during heavy rain, that is even worse, and some basements end up with several inches of standing water. So, you can inspect your basement for any points where intruding water can leak in, and you can look for any pipes or other features that are leaking water. Bear in mind that correct basement waterproofing does not just save you money on the water bill; it also protects your home’s very foundation. If any major leaks or problems make themselves apparent, be sure to note them, then prepare to hire professionals who can help.
Exterior Home Maintenance: the Roof
When it comes to the topic of exterior home maintenance, you have all kinds of options, especially if you have the right tools, physical strength, and expertise. You might be surprised by what you can do, even without hiring professionals (be careful, though). Proper roof care, and indeed all exterior home maintenance, begins with routine inspections, and don’t forget the gutters, either. Gutter cleaning is best done twice per year, and if your gutters are clogged with dead leaves or other debris, spotting that mess earlier is better. The same is true for missing or damaged tiles on the roof, or animal damage: don’t let outstanding repair issues linger for long without your knowledge. Proper exterior home maintenance begins with early diagnoses of the damage.
The problems with damaged roofs or gutters can be serious, to say the least. Even if n major trauma happens to your roofs, such as a falling tree or a lightning strike, constant expansion, and contraction over the years can warp your roof and cause cracks and holes to appear, allowing rainwater and melting snow to leak right in. Leaking water will damage the wood inside, cause mold to grow, and stain your house’s drywall. Not to mention how a roof riddled with holes admits air drafts that interfere with your home’s climate control. Meanwhile, clogged gutters allow far too much water to pool in one area of your roof, and all that heavy water can easily leak into the house through even the smallest cracks and holes.
With a ladder, you can conduct regular gutter inspections and clean out any clogs, and exterior home maintenance doesn’t have to stop there. If you are able, climb onto the roof (carefully) and replace the damaged or missing tiles. At the very least, you are encouraged to keep track of your house’s roof’s age, and if the damage up there is starting to look serious and extensive, it is time for professional exterior home maintenance; that is, hiring a roof replacement company to update the entire thing. A damaged roof that is 20 years old or more is probably beyond your ability to fix in a DIY project; it’s time for the expert to come in, and this can prove a great investment. A new roof will not leak, and it’s very tough, too. And, of course, this will greatly boost the house’s market value when and if you put it on the real estate market.
Other Home Repairs
Performing exterior home maintenance is vital, but then again, some of the interior systems will need help, too, and not just the plumbing. What about your home heating system? Many American houses make use of electric heating systems, and some use heating oil as an alternate method. You will have to call upon professionals to fix or replace the heater or boiler in your house, but at the very least, you can be vigilant for any issues in the heating and cooling system of your home, and this allows you to find and hire professionals to fix the issue before it becomes any worse. Here again, diagnosing a problem early is the best route, since faulty hardware might damage itself if it keeps running, and your home will be uncomfortable the whole time. Repair crews might even use burnishing tools or the like to fix up damaged components when you hire them.
An electrician can do you a lot of good for interior repair, but for minor jobs, you can use your own expertise to fix up the home wiring. For example, you might already have an access hatch in your drywall, which allows you to view and access the wall’s interior without having to cut the wall wide open every time. Often, drywall repair jobs include the installation of an access hatch, and this is something that you can do yourself if you have the expertise for it. Just be careful as you do so.
While you are in quarantine, you could also look into your home audio solutions and fix up your home entertainment system or PC gaming center. Many homes have at least one or two rooms with a lot of electronics in them, and the wiring might be getting faulty, or it may be time for an upgrade. It may be the case that years ago, you set up a home entertainment center, and now, it’s getting faulty, and the wires in the back are a chaotic mess. Now is the time to move around the furniture, get a flashlight, and see what is going on back there. And if your home entertainment center is old, and you have the cash to spare, splurge a little and upgrade the entire thing.
Creating a home entertainment center is great fun and quite rewarding, and there are all sorts of features you can mix and match to create the perfect setup. You can use anything from a flat-screen HDTV to a 4K TV model, and either place it on a TV stand or mount it on the wall if you so choose. You can also improve or replace your sound system, and get a surround sound system that is wired all across the room. DVD players, game consoles, and the like will complete your system, and you must make sure that every component involved is compatible and hooked up properly. Often, the most limiting factor is cable compatibility; even in the modern age, cables are not obsolete, and you’ll have to plan ahead when it comes to cable arrangements. Make sure that there is no risk of a cable getting yanked free by accident, and don’t let any of them become a tripping hazard.
Your kitchen is a ripe target for some minor remodeling work, and if you cannot afford a remodeling crew or don’t need one, then this can be a great way to spend an afternoon productively. You should have all the right tools on hand, not to mention some simple instructions. Fortunately, when it comes to home DIY work, you can look up anything you need online to find video and text instructions, such as “how to remodel kitchen cabinets” and “how to replace a drawer handle.” Minor remodeling jobs like these are fairly easy to do without expert help, and your local hardware store should stock any of the materials, tools, and other supplies that you need. Be sure to look online and get a total list everything you need before visiting the hardware store, and ask the staff there for suggestions when you explain to them what you are doing.
For example, suppose there is a drawer in your kitchen that has always gotten stuck or doesn’t slide well. Hardware stores sell the metal parts needed to get drawers moving right again, and you can look up the instructions online for reference. The same is true of replacing drawer handles or refinishing a cabinet door. This will take some work, but you can sand down a cabinet door, put on primer, then paint it any color you like. Actually replacing the hardware on the cabinet requires expert help, but superficial work is easier, and you can make your cabinets look like new. Over time, your cabinet doors will get dirty from grime, suffer scratches or dent, or have their paint peel. Refinishing them can change all that.
Home remodeling is mostly superficial work, and it won’t totally transform your home. But then again, it is much cheaper and faster than hiring experts, and in some cases, some touching up is all you need to refresh your home’s interior and exterior, anyway. All this makes your home a much more comfortable place to be during quarantine.