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Home Maintenance Tips

December 16, 2020
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Many modern homes are described as ‘low maintenance’, but there is no such thing as a maintenance-free home. Find out how to maintain, improve and add value to your property over the summer months by reading our maintenance guide below.

Home maintenance includes everything from regular cleaning to repairs and replacements, helping you to keep your property safe, healthy and durable – while also saving money in the long run by fixing problems before they arise.

All properties require ongoing maintenance, and it is your responsibility to ensure it is carried out in a timely manner to ensure your build stays intact for as long as expected. We provide each of our clients with information about the processes and materials required to properly maintain your build on handover, supplying you with the guidance to protect your financial investment.

 

Maintenance Best Practice

Whether you’re living in your home or renting it to tenants, there are four main approaches to maintenance:

  • Carry out regular preventive maintenance to prevent some problems from occurring, such as cleaning out your gutters.
  • Carry out repairs as needed, preventing small problems from turning into bigger ones.
  • Plan ahead for major maintenance tasks so you have the resources available when the work is required
  • Be prepared for emergencies by knowing where and how the water, gas and power supplies turn off.

 

DIY or Call the Professionals

You may be able to do basic maintenance and repairs, like painting or clearing gutters, but you must be realistic about your limits. It might be worthwhile to hire a tradesperson and get the job done properly on the first go, potentially saving you time and money in the long run.

If you are planning to build, renovate or repair your home, be sure to find out if the work is considered restricted. A Licensed Building Practitioner must carry out any restricted work on your home, which includes any work that affects the structure and safety of your home. If you’re doing your own maintenance work, make sure that you always take the necessary health and safety precautions.

 

Maintenance Checklist

  • Plan regular preventive maintenance
  • Budget for major maintenance tasks (i.e. repainting or reroofing)
  • Carry out repairs promptly to avoid larger problems developing
  • Know how to turn your water, gas and power supplies off
  • Know your limitations – get qualified help when necessary
  • Know what jobs you must get a professional to do
  • Get involved in your body corporate’s maintenance planning
  • Combat dampness by insulating, ventilating and heating your home
  • Check mould and water stains for possible weathertightness problems
  • Understand the maintenance requirements of your home’s cladding
  • Check cladding regularly for signs of water getting in
  • Keep drainage outlets clear on enclosed decks and balconies
  • Check your roof annually
  • Clean guttering and spouting regularly
  • Take adequate safety precautions when doing maintenance work

 

Major Maintenance Matters

Moisture

Dampness can be an issue with many houses in New Zealand so they need to be properly maintained to avoid problems. Visit the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Gen Less websites for good tips on tackling dampness in your home and maintaining good ventilation.

Reduce dampness in your home by:

  • Insulating (under the floor, in the ceiling and walls)
  • Ventilating (including extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens, open windows, forced ventilation system, keeping vents clear)
  • Heating (aim to keep the indoor temperature at a minimum of 16°)
  • Replacing unflued gas heaters with electric or fluid gas heaters

 

Walls

Modern homes with monolithic fibre-cement claddings are often perceived as low maintenance, but most of these speciality exteriors require more maintenance than a weatherboard house. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that you keep any warranties or guarantees valid.

It is particularly important to wash the cladding if your house is near the sea and where wall areas are sheltered from regular rain washing. Use a soft brush and low-pressure hose to wash the cladding – do not use a water blaster as they can damage cladding and force water through gaps and joints.

Look for signs that moisture might be soaking into the cladding, often indicated by darker colouration along the bottom edges of the cladding.

 

Roofs

You should check your roof cladding, chimneys and flashings annually to ensure problems are not developing. Check with the manufacturer of your roofing material to find out any special maintenance requirements.

 

Drains and Gutters

Blocked and damaged drains can cause serious flooding, which is why it is important to contact a professional drain cleaner as soon as you become aware of any problems. Guttering and spouting need to be cleaned out at least once a year as leaves can easily collect and block them.

 

Visit building.govt.nz to find out more information.