Sure, times are tough, and money is tight. It may be tempting to put off home repairs. And while it’s okay to rebuild your patio when you get that long-awaited bonus, some repairs can’t be ignored because they can cause thousands of dollars in damage–or worse, they might affect your family’s health.
The June 2009 issue of Consumer Reports listed five “red flags of home maintenance” that need immediate attention–even in a bad economy.
1. Keep water away from the house. Gutters, downspouts and leaders collect rainwater and move it away from the house. Check the gutter system seasonally. Also, make sure that soil slopes away from the house.
2. Inspect the roof. Use binoculars to spot damaged or missing shingles, and check for cracks around chimneys, skylights and roof valleys, all common sources of leaks.
3. Keep bugs out. Termites and carpenter ants can do major damage, so inspect the exterior of your home for signs of their presence, and keep mulch, firewood and shrubbery away from the foundation.
4. Avoid mold. Inspect the interior of the house for signs of mold. If indoor mold covers less than 10 square feet, you can treat it yourself with a bleach solution. Professional help is needed for larger areas.
5. Seal foundation cracks. Hairline cracks can be filled with epoxy. For cracks wider than 3/16”, however, consider hiring a structural engineer to inspect. These can be a problem.