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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Addressing home repairs immediately can save time, money

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  • Have you been avoiding your home repairs? It could cost you big in the future.
    “Preventative maintenance is the most cost-effective way to protect what for most of us is our largest investment, our home,” said Mark Watson, owner of Exterior Medics in Alexandria, Va. “Far too often we meet with customers that noticed signs of leaks (such as stains on the ceiling) but waited until months later, when the stain got bigger, to call for help.”
    Often “what could have been solved for hundreds,” when left untreated “turns into thousands of dollars for the customer,” he added.
    “As for the importance of small repairs, it depends a lot on the repair,” said Ken Collier, editor in chief of The Family Handyman (www.familyhandyman.com). “Many are irritating or unsightly, but not all that important: squeaky floors, open wallpaper seam, nail-pop in drywall, etc. Others are surprisingly important, such as the tree branch rubbing on the roof, the running toilet, the peeling paint near the bathroom.”
    Seal the envelope
    One easy maintenance task that homeowners can do themselves, which will save money and lower energy costs, is to seal the envelope around the home. Seal gaps and cracks with caulk and replace worn weather-stripping.
    “We advise our customers to conduct a visual inspection of the exterior of their home once a year,” Watson said. “Small cracks in the sealant around doors and windows will allow moisture to seep in. Since the damage doesn’t typically show up right away, small amounts of moisture infiltration often go unnoticed. Once the damage starts to present itself, much larger problems are possible: drywall deterioration, mold, insulation being compromised and framing damage are all common issues that result from failed sealants.”
    Collier added, “Windows and doors should be recaulked when you can see that the caulk isn’t there or isn’t sealing properly. It saves on heating costs, and generally pays you back for the cost of the caulk very quickly.”
    Consider the paint job, too.
    “Though paint offers great aesthetic value to your home, its primary purpose is to protect the substrate,” Watson said.
    “Paint is definitely protective. It keeps surfaces from rot and mold. A good paint lasts for several decades, if conditions are right. However, sometimes sun, moisture and problems with the surface behind the paint make it so you need to paint more often,” Collier said.
    To avoid water problems to foundations or basements, be sure to landscape so the soil slopes away from the house, Collier said, and make sure you have gutters and long downspout leaders to direct the water away from the foundation.
    Watson said, “Proper grading of the exterior grounds that surround the foundation will dramatically reduce the likelihood of moisture damaging and eventually entering the home. A visual inspection of the home’s foundation to check for any cracks or signs of moisture is recommended. If any problems are suspected, a waterproofing professional should be contacted. This can greatly reduce the potential for serious damage.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Watch the roof
    Now on to what can really break the bank — the roof.
    “Being observant and reacting promptly when a potential roofing issue presents itself can be the difference between a simple roof repair, an extensive restoration or complete replacement,” Watson said.
    “Proactive homeowners will save themselves a lot of money in additional costs that go beyond the roof, such as compromised insulation, mold, drywall and paint damage. Small leaks, left unaddressed, will turn into big costly leaks. That’s not to say that all leaks start small. The key to saving money and reducing the likelihood of costly repairs is to ensure that the original installation was handled professionally.”

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