When the weather turns pleasant, many homeowners start to focus on small upgrades and improvements. It's the perfect time to find and correct potential compromises in your home before they become larger, and more costly, renovation issues.

Whether it is routine home exterior checks or appliances purchases, there are many ways homeowners can conduct basic, inexpensive home maintenance.

DIY home inspection

Many people don’t know that they should perform twice-a-year home inspections. The prime time for these inspections is in the spring and fall. Take the time to give your house a thorough review.

Start by walking the perimeter of your property to see if there is any rotting wood, mold, loose gutters, or shingles. Then check for any cracks that have settled or work that could be done to siding, roofing, or windows.

Inspect the bathroom and kitchen for loose or missing tiles and leaks in sinks and faucets. Ensure that appliances are working at maximum capacity.

Although these may not seem like major issues, it is much easier to tackle them during milder seasons so potential problems aren’t made worse by extreme weather.

Exterior updates

Many people underestimate the seriousness of dirt and mulch covering the siding of a home. Most building codes actually require at least six inches of the foundation to be exposed.

Beyond breaking these codes, dirt and mulch build-up pulls moisture from the ground and causes it to develop in the walls. Eventually mold will start to grow, which can lead to a variety of indoor air quality and structural problems. Raking around the foundation of your home regularly can help combat this problem.

Another area to consider for easy updates is exterior paint. Peeling paint isn’t only unattractive; it also exposes the siding of your home to the elements. Regular maintenance of areas that need re-painting can save major headaches down the line.

Updating appliances

Buying new appliances can be an investment; as such, paying a higher price upfront can actually save you money in the long run. The right appliances can last for twenty years or more, while more inexpensive models often break down after a few years. Newer models are also often more energy efficient. If cost or budget is an issue, store display models are often offered at extremely discounted prices.

Also, make an investment in flooring and countertops. Buying laminate countertops will initially be cheaper than granite countertops, but in ten years the granite countertops will still look brand-new while the laminate will be worn out and need replacement.

An architect can help homeowners apply many of these cost-saving home improvements in smart and strategic ways. Don’t wait; the warmer seasons are the ideal time to make small improvements that will save time and money later on.

About the author: Harold “Bud” Dietrich, AIA, is an architect and a member of AIA's Custom Residential Architects Network.

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