Buying a home is a major investment, and one you’ll have to maintain and preserve if you want it to keep its value. And no matter how well you take care of your house, something is bound to break down at some point. The good news is that most common issues are foreseeable, and can be managed.
However, you also have to do everything in your power to make sure that maintenance is a priority, and also make sure that you know exactly what to do in case something happens. Most importantly, you also have to make sure that you have the right resources on hand in case of an emergency. Here are some of the most common home repairs homeowners may have to deal with, and how to prepare for them.
No homeowner wants to hear that there are issues with the foundation. And these can often be caused by factors beyond your control. In most cases, however, foundation issues are caused by water penetration and damage. As a matter of fact, excess humidity and water can be two of the most destructive things for any house. It can penetrate deeply into the concrete, foundation, and walls, threatening their structural integrity and spread throughout the house. This is why you should do everything you can to prevent water seeping into the foundation at all costs.
Foundation issues are also one of the costliest repairs you can ever make on your house. You can expect to spend anywhere from $10K to over $38,000 on foundation repairs. And the worst thing is that there is no real way to recuperate on those costs upon sale.
The most important thing you can do is to make sure that water doesn’t accumulate near the foundation. A properly constructed house will prevent this as the ground around the foundation will be sloped in a way that pushes the water outwards. If that is not the case, you should consider creating a downward slope using soil. You could also have the ground around the foundation professionally regraded.
You also have to pay special attention to downspouts and gutters. Gutters play a central role in draining water, so you have to make sure that you keep them clean at all times and that they’re in good condition. You also have to make sure that the water runs down effortlessly from the roof into the gutters, and consider adding some downspout extensions to make sure that any water is expelled far away from the house.
You should also consider adding some additions draining around the house to help manage water. Many recommend adding some exterior French drains to avoid water from accumulating. These can be a great solution, but these will eventually get clogged at some point, so you have to make sure that you clean them regularly so they can perform to the best of their ability.
Air Conditioning/Heating Repairs
Heating and air conditioning play an important role in any home, and is not the type of reparation that can wait most of the time. And if you have an HVAC system, then you’ll eventually have to repair it, no matter what you do. According to Energy Star, the average AC unit lasts between 15 and 20 years. Furnaces last around the same time, and heat pumps last for about 16 years on average.
The issue for many, however, is whether they should replace or repair their HVAC system. While in some cases you can buy time with repairs, there are other times when you’ll have no choice but to have the whole system overhauled.
If your heating system is becoming a safety hazard, then you should forget quick fixes and replace it immediately. For example, a cracked heat exchanger could lead to toxic fumes spreading inside the house, and it’s often a better option to replace the whole unit instead of repairing it in those cases. But if the only issue is faulty wiring or a stuck valve, then you could get by with repairs.
The other thing you’ll have to consider when making your decision is the lifespan of the unit. That is why it is very important that you know when the AC system was installed, and get a maintenance log before you buy a house. In case you bought the house without knowing, the installation date is often written down right on the unit. You can also check the identification date behind the chamber’s door and call customer service to know when the unit was manufactured.
Know that average lifespans are only averages, and in some cases, units can last longer. Not only will the unit’s build quality influence its lifespan, but also how you use it too. For instance, if you spend most of your winters down south and barely use your furnace, then it won’t show the same wear and tear as a furnace that’s active 4 months every year.
In all cases, it’s always important that you work with the right team, and make sure that they understand your local climate as well. Companies like Semper Solaris, for instance, have been active in Southern California for over 20 years, and are experts in heating systems and air conditioning. They’ll be able to tell you on the spot when your system needs to be fixed, or completely repaired. They might recommend an AC tune up or an AC repair depending on the situation. Another thing that sets them apart is their commitment to energy preservation, and they’ll be able to install solutions that will be both powerful and energy efficient. If you want to learn more about them and what they can do, you can visit sempersolaris.com.
Roof issues is another thing that is inevitable, and might show up sooner depending on your climate and weather conditions. This is also an area where you might be able to get by with repairs for a while. But there are cases when you’ll have no choice but to replace it completely. It could also make more financial choice to go for a replacement.
Roofs are prone to leakage and water penetration leading to rotting, so you have to make sure that you act and act quick on the first signs of deterioration. Spot leaks and a few missing shingles are things that can be easily fixed, but if there’s significant water damage, leakage in multiple spots, or if it’s getting dangerous, then you’ll have to have it completely replaced.
A new roof could cost you anywhere from $3000 at the lower end of the spectrum, all the way up to $12,000 or more depending on the materials you choose. And this doesn’t include having the old roof removed, or fixing any damage that was caused to the house’s interior.
The material you choose will also have an effect on its lifespan. For instance, roofs made of composite asphalt shingles can last as long as 40 years, while other options like asphalt roll may need to be replaced every 10 years. That’s why it’s important that you do your homework when picking the material for your new roof.
Regular asphalt shingles are a popular choice for their relative durability, and how affordable they are. However, their durability will be directly related to how much you pay for them most of the time, so never go for the cheapest option if you want them to last.
You should also look at the hail rating for the shingles you’re thinking of installing. Shingles with a good rating will usually be more durable and resistant to impact. Note that manufacturers are in no obligation to show the hail rating though, so if it is absent, this is often a sign that it’s not very good.
Other popular options include wood shingles, plastic polymer, metal, and slate. Out of all these options, slate is the most durable, but also the most expensive. As a matter of fact, some slate roofs can last as long as 150 years. Plastic polymer roofs are also very durable, and are made to look just like any wood or slate shingles, minus the maintenance.
Metal is also a great option and they’re very durable. They also have the benefit of being highly resistant to impact. Wood is another good option if you’re looking for something more rustic. Wood roofs are fairly durable and will last anywhere from 25 to 50 years. They’re also fairly affordable.
This is another part of the house that is prone to water damage, and will inevitably need to be replaced at some point in time. If your home has aluminum, vinyl, or wood siding, water can penetrate through damaged spots, and lead to things such as rotting, interior damage, and insect invasions among others.
While a few spot repairs could cost you a couple hundred dollars, having the whole siding replaced could cost you as much as $10K on average.
If you want to reduce damage to the siding and your property, you have to make sure that you do a visual inspection of the siding every 6 months. Look at things such as cracks or any type of damage to the siding, as well as damaged or missing caulking around doors and windows.
You also have to make sure to keep any kind of tree as far away from the siding as possible. A branch could easily fly off during a storm and cause damage to your siding if you’re not careful. Some types of siding are more prone to damage as well. For instance, wood siding is much more vulnerable to insect damage and rotting then other options such as vinyl and aluminum. So, make sure that you check closely for pockmarked sections or peeled paint.
Repairing a Broken Sewer or Water Line
A broken water or sewer line can be a major repair you’ll have to face, and the worst part is that it often happens completely out of the blue. This is also something you have to pay special attention to if you’re living in a very cold climate.
Sewer and water lines connect your home to your public sewer and water systems (unless you’re using a septic tank). Your town or city is only liable for them the minute they’re off your property. So, you will be responsible for maintaining and repairing the part that is underneath your property.
Know that having the sewer or water line repaired will not cost that much. On average, having it repaired should cost you around $1000 to $2000 dollars. However, it’s everything surrounding the repair that will cost you.
For one, you’ll have to pay a crew to clean up any mess that was caused. In addition, in order to get to the sewer line and find out where the leak is, the crew will have to do some digging up, sometimes damaging part of the driveway or uprooting trees. You will have to then pay to bring everything back to normal.
If you house is old, it would be wise to invest in some sort of sewer or water line insurance. But if you are looking for a more general insurance that can cover everything related to your house, find out more here at https://www.moneyexpert.
Replacing Your Septic System
In the case that you live in a rural area and don’t have access to a public sewage system, then chances are you’re using a septic tank. A septic tank replicates the process that sewage treatment facilities follow on a smaller scale, separating fats and solids from sewage and letting any liquid left over dissolve in a drain field.
Septic tanks need care and have to be used properly in order to keep working. You always have to make sure that you pump out the tank regularly and that you do not flush chemicals that could end up damaging the pump, or your own system might fail. In the event that you have to replace the unit, you’ll have to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 or even more to have the old unit dug up and a new one installed.
This is why it’s important that you have your unit inspected every year by a professional. They will make sure that the water is at the right level, and check the solid levels at the top of the unit and in the drain field. The tank will usually need to be pumped out every 3 to 5 years, though this can vary depending on usage. For example, using something like a garbage disposal will contribute to waste and put more stress on the system.
Replacing the Deck
Most people love a deck, and having a deck can instantly add value to your property. It’s also a place that sees a lot of action in the summer, and deals with the elements. This is why you have to make sure that you don’t skip on maintenance if you want it to keep its appearance, and not suffer from irreversible damage due to rotting for instance.
Maintaining the deck doesn’t cost much either, and can be done on your own. Taking care of your deck will cost you around $100 per year, while having the whole thing replaced could easily cost you in the tens of thousands.
The best thing you can do for your deck is make sure that it is clean at all times. Clear any leaves or twigs that might be stuck in between floorboards in the spring. Clean every wooden part of the deck with either a store-bought solution, or a mix of water and bleach. Once the deck is completely dry, you can directly apply some sealant, or apply wood stain.
Make sure to have the deck inspected at least once a year for any signs of rotting. This is also something you can do yourself. You can poke the wood at different spots using a screwdriver and check for any soft spots. If the screwdriver can be pushed more than ¼ of an inch into the wood, then this is a sign that it could be rotting. You should also check the parts of the support posts that are in contact with the ground and water. If you see anything unusual, we suggest you contact a carpenter immediately to see if there’s anything wrong.
Replacing the Driveway
If you have a driveway, then chances are it will need to be repaired, replaced, or resurfaced at some point. Driveways are naturally prone to damage and wear, and this can be exacerbated by your weather conditions.
Homes in particularly cold climates see more damage because of different deicing agents, and the effects of contraction and dilation due to changing temperatures. This is why it is not only important that you maintain your driveway, but that you use the proper material as well if you’re getting a new one.
While asphalt is cheap, it is not the most durable option and will need constant maintenance. It’s also not the best-looking option. Concrete is another choice, and is a bit more durable than asphalt, though repairs will be much more expensive. Pavers or cobblestone are another option. These are durable, and making repairs can be a matter of simply replacing the damaged part, but they cost more and are not a good option if you intend to do some heavy duty work in the driveway.
If you do decide to go with asphalt however, make sure that you apply a good sealant. Clean the driveway regularly with a mix of laundry detergent and hot water, then apply the sealing solution. Make sure that you pick a bright and hot day for this. The sealant should be dry within 48 hours max. Sealing the driveway will add some years to it, and allow it to keep its appearance longer.
Repairing Smoke or Fire Damage
Over 30% of American households still use wood as their first heat source, especially in rural areas. But sadly, over 36% of all home fires reported in rural areas are caused by faulty fireplaces. However, negligence is also a cause of many fires. For instance, just making sure that the chimney remains clean is a great way to reduce the chances of fire.
Your chimney should be inspected and cleaned every year by a chimney sweep. You also have to make sure that the cap on top of the chimney is free of debris, as birds often use the opening to build their nest. If you can’t see the daylight through the damper, this might mean that you have dangerous levels of partially burned ash clogging it. This ash could spark a chimney fire, which could end up spreading through the house.
Repairing Damage from Extreme Weather
If you live in an area that has to deal with a lot of violent weather, chances are you’ll have to deal with some damage. One of the most common types of damage is damage caused by surrounding trees. Trees can fall for a variety of reasons, such as lightning, heavy snow or ice, or high winds.
The solution here is to make sure that any trees on your property are pruned correctly and inspected. A professional could come in and check if the tree has some sort of disease that could compromise its integrity. This should be done every few years. A professional tree service will also be able to remove back limbs that might be growing too close to power lines, and reinforce the trunk and limbs with cable to reduce the chances that they collapse.
Now that you have a clearer image of what you’ll have to watch out for, make sure that you work with the proper team, and make sure that you do your due diligence before working with any contractor. These repairs are already costly as they are, so the last thing you is to get swindled on top of it. Also make sure that you are thoroughly prepared, and don’t put off repairs until the last minute.
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