As homeowners, we do our best to take care of maintenance needs as they arise: maintaining the yard, tightening a loose railing, cleaning out the gutters. But what about problems that aren’t so obvious … or that appear harmless on the surface? Chances are, you might have minor-seeming maintenance issues around your own home. But some of those “little” problems could be much bigger hazards than you realize! Here are six common issues that homeowners often don’t notice … and why you should address them right away.
Such a beautiful tree in your yard! Right next to the fence and the driveway. It’s growing bigger and more beautiful every year — and that could turn into a major problem when the roots begin to buckle the concrete and displace the fence. You have a couple of options here. If the tree is still small, install root barriers to redirect the roots before they become a problem. A bigger tree will need its roots cut and then dammed up with a barrier. Or you can get radical and remove the tree altogether and start again with a new tree planted further from structures that could be damaged.
Whether you have a basement or just a crawl space, it is critical that you check on your support beams. Your home inspector should have done this when you bought the house, but weather, natural settling of the home, and other factors can make a big and potentially costly impact, especially in older homes. Wooden supports should never, ever be in contact with dirt. Ideally, they should be on top of concrete blocks to keep them away from the ground. If that’s not the case, or your home has settled, you may need to remove part of the basement flooring to extend the protection of the wooden beams. Be sure to consult an expert as in some instances this could require lifting the entire house! You also need to be sure there’s no wooden debris laying around under your home. Dirt-wood -foundation contact is an open invitation to termites and other insects to visityour home for a costly feast!
Water waste can cost you big bucks on your home utility bills. In addition, a leaking faucet can also mean leaking pipes, which will damage the cabinetry under the sink and even your flooring if you let it go too long. It could also be a sign of a bigger problem, including mold breeding in your walls. All this wasted water is also detrimental to the environment, so get on this one right away!
Many cities, towns, and HOAs across the country have rules about how tall your grass can be, and violators can incur fines or even a trip to court. But besides following the law, there are other reasons to keep your yard trimmed. Long grass invites rats, mice, snakes, ticks, and other unwanted visitors. It can also make your neighbors pretty grumpy with you, and even lower your property value in some instances.
It may look like no big deal: a few patches here and there where the paint on your siding is flaking off. But this is a problem that can escalate quickly. From rain to heat to freezing temperatures, weather conditions will cause that small peeling patch to grow and grow, exposing more of the unprotected wood underneath. That exposed wood is then vulnerable to damage from the elements and even from pests, including termites and rats. UGH!
Even little cracks in your walls need to be stopped in their tracks — quickly — to prevent more damage from occurring. Inside or out, a spider web of problems can grow from just one little crack, which will make it harder and harder to repair. Smaller cracks can be addressed with spackle or tape and mud, and covered by repainting. They often occur in corners or along drywall seams and generally aren’t indicative of a serious problem.
Professionals should address wide or diagonally running cracks to ensure your foundation isn’t sinking or experiencing other problems. If your roofline or ceilings are beginning to sag or you notice your floors are sloping, get help right away.