A Little Work Now, A Big Payoff Later


Life is still moving at a somewhat normal pace, but within the next week, activities will come in multiples. You hope for the best: appliances work, power stays on, plenty of hot water. Let’s do a quick house check before life spirals too quickly. Thanks to Bob Vila for these tips.

Concrete cracks

A small crack in any type of concrete can quickly become a large crevice and lead to a potentially hazardous situation. If water seeps in, it could freeze and expand. Repair the cracks with a quick-setting filler or mortar mix. This quick fix will prolong the life of your sidewalks, steps or patios.

Clogged gutters

Gutters clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris could cause trouble, leading to ice or water damage. Get on a safe ladder and clean out those gutters, making sure they are firmly connected to your house. Be sure the downspouts drain away from the foundation.

Wobbly railings

The weather might be calm enough to be outside or you might need a breath of fresh air away from the relatives and leftovers. Wobby railings along your porch, deck or steps are signs there are weak connections between one or more of the posts and the frame. Easy fix! Tighten screws or lag bolts in places that don’t feel sturdy. Eventually the loose rail will give in and break. Fix it now.

Water warnings

If you see a water spot on your ceiling, do not ignore it. Obviously it points to a leak but it could be more than a loose roof shingle or condensation. If it’s a big enough spot, hire a roofing contractor to figure out what’s happening instead of trying to fix it yourself.

Driveway damage

Asphalt is porous, so it’s important to seal your driveway as soon as you notice signs of wear to prevent damage from rain, snow, ice and oil drips. If liquid seeps through the permeable material and freezes, it strains the pavement and causes larger cracks. Enough saturation and the asphalt could shift over time and cause even more damage.

Faulty faucets

Address a faulty faucet or running toilet immediately. Fixing a leak of any size will save money on your water bill. Putting off a repair of a small leak could lead to a much larger leak and a larger plumbing bill.

Foundation faults

Houses settle over time and small cracks will appear in the foundation. Don’t neglect these cracks. Fill them immediately while small and on the surface. Water and ice damage can occur and cause structural problems. Quick-set mortar or cement works as a great patching material.

Screen tears

If you have a screen door or on your windows, take note of any tears or holes. The longer you wait to fix these minor spots, the more likely you will have to repair the entire screen. Small holes can be sealed with clear nail polish or shellac. Larger holes can be patched with a kit or by cutting a piece of screen about an inch larger than the hole and gluing it in place.

Blocked chimneys

A blocked chimney is never a good thing. Proper maintenance of a chimney will eliminate risk of fire, smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning. Soot and creosote can build up on the interior of the chimney and can be removed only by physically brushing and vacuuming the unit. Inspect the chimney cap to be sure it isn’t rusty or damaged to prevent debris or pests from entering your house. And you want to make sure Santa has a clean drop to your house on Christmas Eve.

Photo Credit: BobVila.com

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