"Our home is newer and does not need maintenance yet!"
If this is your opinion, you are sorely mistaken. ALL homes need maintenance. Even those sold as maintenance-free. Yes, the exterior of some homes requires less maintenance than others due to the nature of the exterior finishes. The only true homes that are maintenance-free for the homeowner on the exterior are those maintained by a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or Property Maintenance/Management Company.
Just because your home was recently built within the last 4 years (for the sake of argument) does not mean that you can ignore the exterior for several years. Unfortunately, some home builders advertise their homes as maintenance-free or low-maintenance. If someone is trying to sell you or already sold you on that, you need to ask some more questions. Specifically, ask for a list of products used on the exterior, AND, their specific maintenance requirements.
Some exterior finishes that are lower in maintenance include:
- Metal Roofing
- Concrete or Tile Roofing
- Vinyl Siding
- PVC Trim
- Metal Siding
- Fiber Cement Siding & Trim (requires paint, however less frequently)
All of these items listed need to be inspected periodically as issues can develop over time.
Many newer homes today are being built using fiber cement siding. Allura and James Hardie are examples. These are excellent products, are durable and require less maintenance than fiberboard/MDF/OSB siding products. Fiber cement siding will typically need to be repainted every 7-15 years, depending on your weather. Conversely, fiberboard/MDF/OSB siding products will need to be repainted every 4-8 years (given proper installation, annual inspection, and maintenance).
Another misconception for homeowners is when a builder mixes the type of siding materials. We have seen homes with fiber cement lap siding, however, fiberboard/MDF/OSB trim boards were installed. Consequently, many homeowners believe they have fiber cement exterior siding so they don’t have to worry about painting for years. At least not until they notice paint peeling off the trim. By then it may be too late. Moisture is very damaging to fiberboard/MDF/OSB products. When it soaks up the moisture, frequently it swells up and then needs to be replaced. It is the moisture absorbed in to the product that causes the cracking and peeling.
What is a Homeowner to Do?
Failure to Maintain the Exterior Could Result in This!
At least once a year, you should perform an inspection of the exterior of your home, including the roof. Inspect all your exterior veneer looking for signs of cracking, movement, blistered/peeling paint, or discoloration. Anything that does not look normal should be questioned and inspected further. This includes looking at all the wall penetrations, for example, doors, windows, hose faucets, vents, etc.
For wood products, the way moisture/water is kept out is by the paint and sealants. See the links at the bottom of this article on sealants/caulking.
Many homeowners are not familiar with what to look for but they can develop questions. This is where Neater Nest can help you. If you have questions, please get in touch with us. Your home is a huge investment and one we don’t take lightly. We are here to help you maintain your home.
The top 8 maintenance items on newer homes
Roof and Gutters
A typical shingle roof from a builder can last 10-15 years, possibly 20 years depending on your weather and climate. Gutters need to be inspected and cleaned at least annually, more frequently if you have trees near your home. Installation of gutter guards can reduce the need to clean your gutters.
Exterior Windows and Doors
Inspect windows and doors annually and replace sealant and paint as needed.
Siding, Trim, and other Exterior Woodwork
Inspect annually and replace sealant and paint as needed.
Interior Windows and Doors
Inspect annually and replace caulking as needed. Look for signs of moisture on the window sills.
Builders typically don't paint the top and bottom of the interior doors. This can cause them to swell when exposed to moisture or humidity. Put 2 coats of paint on the top and bottom to protect your doors from warping.
Check for leaks annually and be sure to winterize the system when the temperatures start getting colder.
Landscaping is a large investment. You can hire a company to take care of everything for you, but it needs to get done. Mowing the lawn regularly, pulling weeds, fertilizing, trimming back bushes and landscape.
Furnace, AC, Evaporative Cooler, Boiler, and/or Hot Water Heater
Forced air heating and cooling need the air filter replaced every 1-3 months. Have the units serviced by a qualified technician.
Evaporative Coolers need the pads checked and/or replaced in the spring and drained each fall.
Boilers should be serviced and cleaned annually by a qualified technician. Any signs of leaking should be addressed immediately.
Hot Water Heaters should be flushed annually. Any signs of leaking should be addressed immediately.
Most homes have one or two garage doors. Regular maintenance of the garage door and opener will extend the life and avoid costly repairs. Only an experienced garage door technician should adjust or replace the springs and rollers. Homeowners can lubricate and tighten the nuts and bolts.
Wrapping Up Home Maintenance
Owning a home is a big investment and responsibility. It takes some effort to keep it in good shape. A little work on your part can go a long way in avoiding costly repairs later. If you need help maintaining your home, contact us here at Neater Nest.
Feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Read these two articles and they will help you learn a basic DIY skill that will protect your home for many years.