Home Maintenance Improvement Tips
Home is where the heart is and you will soon discover that a little love and care can go a long way. The more attention you give your house, the happier you will be in it. The good news is that you don’t need to spend a fortune hiring contractors to keep your roof and four walls well-maintained and in a spruced-up shape. We have curated a list of maintenance improvements that are easy enough for anyone to do while sticking to a tight budget.
It’s time to pull out the handyman guns (aka cordless drill and hammer) and give your digs the makeover it deserves! With just a few tweaks, quick repairs, and some extra love and care, you can add to the value of your home and make it a place where you always long to be.
1. Install Window Boxes
We’ll start with something fun and encouraging. Adding a touch of color to your windows will make them look less drab and will instantly give your home some character. If you have some pieces of wood lying around and a couple of nails, you can even go as far as making the boxes your self too. Simply use your tape measure to size your cuts so that they fit the inside width of the window frame and then add on 1½ inches so that you have room to include installation screws. Connect the pieces using butt joints, screw the boards together, and then finish them off by drilling drainage holes into the bottom. You can install the boxes using heavy-duty screws or brackets – up to you.
Grab some potting soil and flowers from your local nursery (or raid your mom’s garden) and add them to the box. If you like, you can opt for a fragrant assortment of blossoms. The scent of these flowers will blow in through your window with a breeze and will act as a natural air deodorizer.
2. Get Your Tiles Squeaky Clean
You’ll need a little elbow action for this one but it’s well worth the effort! Tiles and grouting tend to gather dirt, grease, and sometimes mildew. This leaves them feeling sticky and unsightly. To rectify this problem, you certainly don’t have to break the bank, in fact, all you need is a dash of vinegar and some dedication. Start by whipping out the vacuum cleaner to remove all loose dust particles. Then, soak the tiles with a water-vinegar mixture (1-part vinegar to 2-parts water) for about 5 minutes. Use a cloth to wipe away dirt or choose a soft bristle brush for a deeper clean. Dry the tiles with a soft micro-fiber cloth once done.
Repeat this action at least once a month and you will be left with squeaky clean tiles that add a touch of sparkle to your home. Please take note that absolutely no harsh chemicals were used!
3. Hang Up Shelves
Like with the window boxes, you can either make yourself some shelves with a few wood off-cuts or you can purchase them pre-made at your local home depot. Shelving is also often sold second-hand, so you could scour garage sales for a bargain or two. Screwdriver sets always come in handy with jobs like these and we recommend you invest in one before you begin your maintenance adventures. You can drill holes into your wall for floating shelves which give a neater appearance (or to stick to a tighter budget) or if you are looking for a less complicated installation, simply use brackets to mount your flat offcuts onto. Shelves are an awesome way to organize your home while making it look tidy and attractive at the same time.
4. Fix Leaking Taps
Every home has at least one tap that has a constant drip – but we have the solution! It’s not only time to become water-wise, but you can also use this opportunity to learn and practice some plumbing skills! Start by switching off the water and then seal the plug hole so that the bits and bobs you are dealing with don’t fall down the drain. Next, you are going to need to do one of following: replace the rubber washer in a compression faucet to seal the valve or, if you are working with a drippy washer-less faucet, then use a new O-ring to stop the leak.
These fixes tend to do the trick but if they don’t, it’s at this point that you might want to seek some more professional advice – worst case scenario you might have to replace the entire tap altogether.
5. Do A Quality Paint Job
A slap-dash paint job might cover up dirt and other unsightly marks but it could also look tacky and a few years (maybe even months) down the line you’ll be left with peeling paint and greasy-looking stains. This will not only lessen the value of your home but it will make it look dirty and simply unappealing. We highly recommend that you invest in quality paints that are natural in color. Don’t skimp on priming your walls either. Instead, apply a good base coat and follow up with at least two solid top coats. Give the walls a good clean before applying any paint and then cover all your furniture and floor space. Start with all the trimmings before using your roller to move onto the walls.
Keep the room well ventilated and wait a day or two before removing furniture covers and moving back in. A solid paint job should last 5 years at the very least and if you used sheen-based paint, you should be able to wipe all types of dirt away quickly and easily.
6. Care For Hardwood Floors
A smart home starts with a smart floor. If you have hardwood flooring then there’s no need to cover them up with tiles if you prefer a more modern and sleeker look. You simply need to know how to care for them properly so that they shine in a clean-cut and minimalist manner. We recommend that you vacuum your floors thoroughly at least once a week using a bristles attachment to avoid scuffs and scratches and then wash the floors with a mop and a wood-friendly detergent. If you can, apply floor wax to your floors at least every 6 months, buffing it in to create a perfect layer of protection and shine. You now have a floor that you could, well, eat off of (perhaps don’t try this)!
7. Install A New Thermostat
Installing a new or modern thermostat might be your first step towards creating a warmer/cooler home with just a flick of a switch. Older thermostats tend to use up more energy, so if you want to save on your utility bill, then this is the way to go! And, if you have few bucks to spare, we recommend that you invest in a programmable thermostat – an even better energy saving solution.
To replace your old thermostat, start by turning off the breaker to your furnace and air conditioner. Remove the old device, leaving the wires in place. The number of wires (two or four) will give you an indication of which type of thermostat you need to buy. Connect your new device and you will be on the road to easier heating and cooling!
8. Plant Some Shrubs
A beautiful garden makes for a beautiful home. Pull out the lawn mower and give the grass a cut. Compliment your freshly mowed lawn with a few flowering shrubs and there you have an instant garden that adds color and appeal to your house. As a rule of thumb, remember to dig your holes so that they are twice as big as the root ball and deep enough so the ball is level with grade. We also suggest that you go with hardy shrubs that will thrive in your climate with little to no care. If you have green fingers, then you can opt for plant species that are a tad more challenging.
9. Install A Safe
A home safe is not only a way to make sure that your valuables are kept hidden from sticky fingers, but it’s also a security measure that will help to add value to your home, especially if you are located in a crime-prevalent area. Home safes can easily be purchased online or from your local home depot/security store and you can either leave it free-standing or, for a more solid safety solution, you can install it into a cupboard or wall. You will need to add some elbow grease into the mix if you intend on knocking through a wall to create your own installation hole, but with a sturdy sledgehammer, a saw, and a good selection of nuts and bolts, you’ll have it securely in place in no time.
10. Seal Your Driveway
Make the entrance to your home more pleasant by keeping your driveway well maintained and in tip-top shape. Sealing your driveway is an excellent way to extend its life and improve your home’s neighborhood appeal. To get the job done you’ll first need to watch the weather. You will need plenty of sunshine with absolutely no rainfall. Then, start by repairing cracks and use a garden hose to wash dirt and debris off the surface, allowing it to dry overnight. Apply a quality driveway sealer in small batches and use a broom to spread it out until the entire surface area is covered. Keep off the driveway for 24 hours to let your work set.
Whether you intend to sell your property or stay for many years to come, it is important to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. Not only will minor fixes help you to avoid bigger problems later, but they will also encourage you to feel more comfortable as you spend quality time with your loved ones at home. And like we said, there is so much to be done that requires little skill and effort!
- 30 Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do – Bob Vila