Being a homeowner comes with great rewards but also great responsibilities. Run-of-the-mill repairs and home maintenance tasks can feel mundane at times, so adding remodels or larger-scale upgrades to the list may seem like a cumbersome undertaking. However, regularly maintaining and updating a home pays off by keeping your home running efficiently, increasing your home’s value, and saving you money in the long-run. Below are some ideas to improve your home and make it feel new again.
Fix The Fundamentals
Finances aside—one of the biggest challenges that come with updating a home is knowing where to start. Prior to diving into aesthetic aspects or splurging on luxury elements, it’s important to inspect your home for damages and make all necessary repairs first before any severe problems arise or existing problems worsen.
Take water damage, for example; It may seem like a minor patch-up job that you can put off for the time being. But in actuality, unattended water damage can cause major complications for your health and home. Indicators of water damage usually include discoloration on walls and ceilings, cracked drywall, warped floors, mold, missing or buckling roof shingles, and abnormal humidity or dampness. Identifying signs of damp in your home can really save you money by acting quickly.
Water damage and subsequent structural damage are likely to loosen building materials—which is especially dangerous for older homes built with toxic asbestos-containing materials. Most homeowners with houses constructed in the 1980s and earlier can find asbestos within their roofing, insulation, flooring tiles, ceiling tiles, and more.
When these materials are disturbed, they can disperse asbestos fibers into the air, which, if ingested or inhaled, can significantly increase the risk for mesothelioma cancer (a rare disease most notably connected to asbestos exposure). Even homes built after the 1980s can still have 1% of asbestos in their insulation hence why it’s imperative to take precautions by assessing your home for potential signs of damage and making critical repairs immediately to avoid more detrimental problems down the road.
Consider Preventative Updates
Once you’ve made any significant repairs to your home, the next step is to make sure your appliances and other devices are running effectively and efficiently. At least once a month, you should test the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home—and change their batteries annually.
Alternatively, you might think about implementing a smart smoke and CO alarm, like the Nest Protect from Google. Not only does it check its batteries and sensors over 400 times a day (and provides you with a full report), but it also sends alerts to your phone when and where there is an emergency in your home.
Now is also a good time to inquire about an HVAC tune-up. During an HVAC tune-up, a technician will assess the condition of your heating and cooling system for any issues and clean your HVAC appliances. Routine tune-ups help improve heating and cooling efficiency, which in turn, lowers energy consumption and energy bills, improves indoor air quality, reduces the risk of breakdowns, and prevents repair bills and early replacement costs.
Don’t forget to maintain your other appliances as well. In the kitchen, be sure to run regular cleaning cycles on ovens, dust refrigerator coils, and periodically decalcify your dishwasher. Similarly, examine other rooms, such as your laundry room by inspecting your washing machine hoses for leaks, and cleaning or replacing clothing dryer vents. Proper upkeep of appliances will keep them running in tip-top shape and avoid potential hazards or costly replacements.
Indulge and Enhance
After you’ve completed any top priority or pressing updates, it’s finally time to make improvements and additions that will bring you the most satisfaction. Kitchen remodels, for instance, are one of the most worthwhile interior projects for homeowners, according to findings from the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report—with over 90 percent of those surveyed claiming they feel an increased sense of enjoyment at home since the completion of their kitchen.
If you want a new low maintenance kitchen, it’s vital to weigh options and costs for materials and other kitchen remodel features, such as color selection. What and where you paint can drastically impact a kitchen’s functionality and style, so carefully choose paints, stains, and other finishes. For example, you can create the illusion of a big room with color contrast, but instead of dark walls and white decor or cabinetry, try the opposite. Light cabinets and counter tops are more susceptible to dirt, splotches, and other stains. So opt for white or light-colored walls, and choose dark finishes for cabinets—and keep in mind, satin and gloss finishes are easier to clean.
Lastly, bear in mind finishes if you decide to upgrade your appliances too. While stainless steel is easy to clean, it’s more likely to highlight smudges and fingerprints. However, you can settle upon matte stainless appliances that can provide you with the same appeal of stainless steel minus all the smudges and marks.
Ultimately, knowing how to maintain and update a home is vital for any homeowner, regardless if you plan to live in it for life or place the house up for sale. Basic maintenance and repairs can spare you severe headaches in the future, and adding new upgrades will better suit your needs and lifestyle.