If you thought the mountains of paperwork, home inspections, and mortgage applications were the end of the new house buying experience, wait until you get settled into your new home and stuff starts breaking. For first-time homeowners, the lead-up Moving Day in is full of anxiety, confusion, and stress. The ownership part of home ownership is no different–at least when you start out. The problem is, you don’t know what you don’t know, and you desperately need a new home maintenance checklist to start you off on the right foot.
The good news is, nobody knows what they don’t know when they’ve never done it before! Your 60-year-old neighbor who stares sidelong at you, scrutinizing your every move, as you get on the roof for the first time to clean the gutters–he may look like an expert from your perspective, but he wasn’t always an expert. Thirty years ago, he was in your shoes, feeling uncertain about his new-home-know-how, and some older, wiser neighbor was probably looking on with the same critical eye. And while you may not be an expert now, if you keep up with the regular maintenance that’s required of homeowners, you’ll not only have a strong and healthy house or decades to come, but if you’re lucky you’ll one day have the great honor of staring skeptically at the new homeowners who move in next to you someday.
The 1% Rule of Maintenance
The “1% Rule” says that about 1% of the cost of your home should be saved every year for home maintenance. That doesn’t mean a $250,000 home will require $2,500 every year to maintain. It means only that you’re prepared if something does go wrong. Obviously, the age of your house, the size, and the weather where you live can either complicate or simplify the application of this rule, but it’s a good start to mentally preparing you for the extra investment you’ll want to make to keep your home in tip top shape.A Little Now Saves a Lot Later
Another rule of thumb is, for every $1 in maintenance you spend now, you save $100 later. This may sound like an exaggeration, but if anything it’s probably a conservative maxim. Vacuuming the coils of your refrigerator twice a year can add years to the life of your fridge, and at a cost of nothing. Replacing furnace and air conditioning filters will significantly reduce how hard your unit has to work to do its job, and a filter costs $5 compared to $4,000 for a new unit. This isn’t an absolute: just doing home maintenance won’t keep you from ever having to replace your appliances. But it does add years to the life of your appliances and at a fraction of the cost of replacing them.
You can and should apply these rules to everything. A minor grout patch will cost $10 and 15 minute on YouTube, which is thousands less than it would cost to replace a floor and hundreds less than replacing a wall that sustained water damage as a result of a leak. Gutters will rot out and drip down the side of your house if they’re not cleaned in the winter. Sealing cracks in stucco or siding can cost as little as $20 a year in exterior sealant, saving hundreds to thousands compared to the overhauls needed if left unrepaired for too long. All of these are easy home maintenance jobs if you’re paying attention, which is the first step in the process of knowing what you don’t know.
Make yourself a new home checklist. Separate it by season, or even by month. It should look something like this:Spring Replace batteries in smoke & carbon monoxide detectors Inspect bathroom grout and re-caulk any visible cracks Using binoculars safely from the ground, examine the roof for loose or missing shingles. Summer Vacuum fridge coils Clean kitchen exhaust hood & filter Inspect foundation for bugs or moisture Fall Clean gutters, trim trees and shrubs Schedule a furnace service (it’s cheaper in the fall than winter) Check all plumbing handles and hoses for leaks or moisture, tighten and lubricate as needed Winter Clean dryer vent and check washer and dishwasher hoses Inspect sinks, tubs, and toilets Garage door hinges and seals
This list is far from exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start. As these home maintenance inspections and your house become familiar to you, you’ll not only find new things to look for, but you’ll find that little things break, crack, or need fresh paint or re-caulking. Indoor walls, baseboards, and window frames aren’t going to cause structural issues, but they’ll need a little TLC nonetheless.A plumber is performing maintenance on a residential water heater Monthly Necessities
You can live without a dishwasher. You can’t live without a roof. Keep that in mind when you’re running through your home maintenance checklist. There are four main items that are vital to the core of every house: siding/stucco, roof, windows, and heating/cooling systems. If any one of these falters, you’re in for an expensive project. A few minutes every month–no more than a simple visual inspection–could save weeks of home repair headache and months of your paycheck. Look at the roof, gutters, downspouts, exterior windows, basements walls and windows, and attic. As far as furnaces and AC units, annual or twice-annual servicing can do the job, but checking them regularly for noises, obstructions, and dirt or outside debris is easy to do. Anywhere you see cracks, moisture, rot, bugs, or holes, you have a problem.A New Home Homeowner’s Best Friend
The Money Pit is a quick an easy resource if you run into an issue. Of course, the difficulty of the job determines the level of expertise needed to fix it. And we highly encourage you to shop for an expert when one is called for, but for hose replacements, simple cleaning jobs, grout patching, caulking, winterizing, and even questions about what to look for when you’re inspecting your house, The Money Pit’s how-to resources are virtually limitless, so make sure to bookmark our site and check back with us for more new home maintenance checklists, tips and tricks to keeping your new house a warm and structurally sound home for years to come!
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From Source Article: moneypit.com
Preventing holiday break-ins by increasing your home security during the holidays should be part of your plan during a busy and wonderfully hectic season of shopping and gift-giving, decorating and celebrating with friends and family. Unfortunately, it’s an equally busy time of year for home burglars.
Nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. from November through December each year, according to the FBI. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends that homeowners improve home security to protect their homes from break-ins during the holidays. To ensure that an intruder doesn’t dampen your holiday season, follow these recommended home security precautions.#1 Don’t tempt fate
Holidays may be festive with home decorations and visiting friends and family, but don’t let all of that activity compromise your home’s security. Take a reserved approach when displaying expensive decorations and gifts. Give your fine china and elaborately wrapped presents a low profile, and resist the temptation to show them off to the entire neighborhood. If you can see these valuables from the street, there’s a good chance they could end up on a burglar’s wish list this year.#2 No bragging, please
Don’t advertise expensive gifts to burglars by leaving empty gift boxes from your new computer, flat-screen TV or DVD player on the curb. Instead, break down the boxes and place them in large garbage bags to conceal the items that Santa has delivered. Better yet, take boxes directly to a recycling center after gifts have been opened.#3 Keeping up appearances
It’s no secret that piles of unchecked holiday mail and newspapers can tip off burglars to an empty house and lead to holiday break-ins, but did you ever think about hiring someone to shovel snow from your driveway while you’re away? If you’re traveling throughout the holidays, it’s a good idea to ask a neighbor to help keep up your home’s appearances so it doesn’t have that vacant look about it. Even a small favor such as asking your neighbor to occasionally park their car in your driveway can improve your home security.#4 Durable doors and deadbolts
Ensure that your holiday guests are the only ones welcomed through the front door this season by making the following entryway improvements.Invest in a good-quality deadbolt. Doors with handle locks can be broken into with only a plastic credit card. Deadbolts, on the other hand, offer double the locking security and require hammer force to break in. Equip each of your entry doors with a deadbolt, not just the high-traffic ones. Your home is only as secure as its most vulnerable entry point. Make sure you buy a deadbolt with keyed access on the outside and a thumb-latch on the inside. Locks that require keys to be used from the inside of the home can be dangerous if residents need to make a quick exit in the event of an emergency, like a fire. For even more security, along with convenience, consider adding a new smart deadbolt lock. Remember that no matter which lock you choose, it’s only as strong as the door in which it’s installed. The weakest part of a door is usually the area around the lock, and wooden doors are especially vulnerable to break-ins. Decorative door reinforcement plates are available for about $10, and can make this area more secure. Better yet, consider replacing your front entryway with a fiberglass door, which mimics the look of wood but is far stronger and more energy efficient. Look for a fiberglass door with multi-point locks that use bank-vault-style pins to prevent the door from being kicked in. By virtue of their less-sophisticated locks and typical location at the rear of a house, a sliding patio door can be the most vulnerable entryway in a home if it’s not properly reinforced. Consider equipping you doors with a specially made patio bar (about $25) that keeps the door from sliding back in its tracks even if the lock is broken into. A patio bar can even secure older patio doors, which are susceptible to being lifted right out of their tracks and off of your house! Newer sliding doors cannot be lifted out of their tracks, and homeowners may consider the quick-fix alternative of snugly fitting a two-by-four piece of wood in the tracks between the back of the door and the wall. Lastly, keep an eye out for unexpected visitors by installing a peephole in your front door. A wide-angle (200-degree) peephole offers a better view of your entire entryway when guests come knocking at your front door. #5 Window warnings
Nowhere else is your home more fragile or susceptible to a forced holiday break-in than at your windows. How you secure your windows is up to you, but it’s important to keep in mind that occupants must be able to open them easily in the event of a fire. Therefore, the security device you choose should not lock you in the building, but only keep burglars out.Various sash locks are common on most windows, but you can reinforce them on wooden windows by drilling a hole from the front to back where the top and bottom windows overlap, and installing a long nail into the hole. Do this on both sides of the window and take care not to drill too closely to the glass, or too far through the rear window. The nails will stop the windows from sliding open, but you can easily remove them if you need to open the window quickly in an emergency. Avoid investing in sash locks that require a key to operate. Like a double-keyed deadbolt, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find these seldom-used keys in an emergency. Security bars installed over windows can prevent intruder access even if the window is unlocked or the glass is broken open. These bars are recommended for small, ground-level house windows situated in low-traffic areas that make a convenient and inconspicuous entrance for intruders. However, security bars must be fitted with quick-release mechanisms to allow them to open if someone in the building needs to get out quickly. In 1995, several members of a Florida family were burned alive when they became trapped inside their home because of window security bars. Fire officials later described the home as a burning cage and cautioned area homeowners to use these bars only when necessary and only if they are fitted with quick-release mechanisms. #6 Show them the light
The most secure house isn’t just the one with the strongest locks. You can protect your home for the holidays just by making it a more discouraging target for holiday break-ins.Illuminate the exterior of your home on all sides to eliminate any safe hiding places for potential intruders. One of the most effective ways to do this is to install motion-detector spotlights, which have built-in sensors that automatically turn the lights on when movement is detected in the area. Nothing is more surprising to a thief than to have spotlights fire up in his face before he gets within 50 feet of the house! Create the illusion of activity inside your home by installing timer switches on lights in main living areas. Use at least one timer per floor, usually in the living room and bedroom. Set the timer to keep the light on from about 9 pm until 1 or 2 in the morning. Not only will illuminated indoor lights imply that occupants are actually inside the home, they will increase the chance that a potential intruder is spotted if they try to break into the home. #7 Trim trees and bushes
Keep your home landscaping from providing useful cover for intruders attempting holiday break-ins. Tall trees or high brush give burglars dark, shadowy hiding spots to conduct their business without interruption. Keep your front yard’s bushes and hedges cut low, especially around windows and entryways where burglars may perch before breaking and entering.#8 Smart home security systems
Affordable, customized home alarm systems are more widely available and arguably more effective today than they’ve ever been thanks to increased competition and advancements in technology. Besides home security, newer systems can also protect your home from fire and carbon monoxide, and some even include sensors that trip when the heat goes off to prevent freeze damage that could burst pipes. Most home security systems connect your telephone to the company’s central monitoring station. If the alarm goes off, the station can alert police or fire officials of a potential holiday break-in or other issue.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
Although concrete is one of the most durable building materials available, time, traffic and the elements can cause the concrete surface to spall, wear and discolor. QUIKRETE Concrete Resurfacer can provide a new, durable, wear-resistant surface on old, worn concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios that will last the life of the concrete.
QUIKRETE Concrete Resurfacer will renew your concrete surface at a fraction of the cost to tear out and replace old concrete slabs. As with any concrete repair project, proper surface preparation is essential for a successful result. This is especially true for concrete resurfacer. Old concrete must be rigorously cleaned to ensure proper adhesion to the new surface.
A high-strength, 3500 PSI pressure washer must be used to remove any dirt, oil, grease or deteriorating concrete, prior to the application of concrete resurfacer. Concrete Resurfacer is ideal for resurfacing large areas, like driveways, patios and pool decks, but because it sets quickly, it is important to section off your work areas to no larger than 144 square feet.
This will allow enough time for placing and finishing the resurfacer, before it begins to set. It’s essential that control joints and expansion joints are maintained, to allow for slab movement. These joints can usually be used to define your work area. Weather stripping can be used to prevent concrete resurfacer from spilling into the joints.
Before resurfacing your slab, deeply spalled areas and large cracks should be repaired using concrete resurfacer that has been mixed to a trowel-able consistency. The repairs should be allowed to harden, before resurfacing the entire area. To mix concrete resurfacer, a 5-gallon bucket and a 1/2 inch drill and paddle mixer should be used. Hand-mixing in standard concrete barrel-type mixers cannot be used for this application.
When mixing or placing concrete resurfacer, as with any cement mix, it is important to wear safety glasses and water-proof gloves. Measure and add 3.5 quarts of clean, cool water to the five gallon bucket, to mix one 40 lb. bag of concrete resurfacer. Then, begin to add the powder to the water, while mixing. Mix for about five minutes, until a lump-free, pourable consistency is achieved.
If the mix is too thick, add water, sparingly, to reach the consistency of syrup. If the mix is too thin, additional powder can be added. One 40 lb. bag of concrete resurfacer covers about 90 square feet at 1/8 of an inch thick, so a typical 16 foot by 24 foot driveway would use about five bags of resurfacer. Because the application process is continuous, it is always best to have a few extra bags, to allow for any changes in thickness or waste.
Prior to applying concrete resurfacer, saturate the surface with water, and then, remove any standing water. Concrete acts like a rigid sponge. Dampening the concrete will cool the slab and prevent the mixing water from being drawn out of the material, during the resurfacer application. You are now ready to begin the application process.
Pour the resurfacer onto the concrete in one-foot wide strips. Then, using a long-handled squeegee, scrub the material into the concrete surface. Working back and forth, evenly spread the resurfacer onto the slab. After about five minutes, a non-slip finish can be applied, using a concrete broom. Make long strokes, across the full distance of the work area, without stopping.
All broom strokes should be made in the same direction, for uniformity of appearance. A concrete edging tool can also be used within about 20 minutes of pouring the resurfacer. Concrete resurfacer has a working time of about 30 minutes at 73 degrees. In hotter weather, the working time will be reduced.
Using cold mixing water and keeping the bags of concrete resurfacer shaded will help extend the application time. Under normal conditions, no special curing is required. Although, in temperatures over 90 degrees, moist cure with a fine water mist for 24 to 48 hours.
Because concrete resurfacer is polymer-modified, temperatures should remain above 50 degrees, for at least 8 hours, and should be protected from freezing for 24 hours after application. Concrete resurfacer will support foot traffic in about 6 hours and vehicle traffic in 24 hours.
When working with cement-based products, always wear eye protection and waterproof gloves. Temperatures should remain above 50 degrees for at least 8 hours and should be protected from freezing for 24 hours after applying.
Step 1 Prior to applying:Rigorously clean old concrete to ensure proper adhesion of the new surface. NOTE: a high strength, 3500 psi pressure washer must be used to remove any dirt, oil, grease or deteriorating concrete. Repair deeply spalled areas and large cracks. Saturate the surface with water and then remove any standing water.
Step 2 Mix the resurfacer using a five-gallon bucket and a 1/2 -drill and paddle mixer (hand mixing and standard concrete barrel-type mixers cannot be used for this application).
TIP: it is essential that control joints and expansion joints are maintained to allow for slab movement. Weather stripping can be used to prevent Concrete Resurfacer from spilling into the joints.
Step 3 Measure and add 3-1/2 quarts of clean cool water to a five-gallon bucket to mix one 40-pound bag of Concrete Resurfacer (the resurfacer should be poured into the mixing water).
Step 4 Mix for about 5 minutes until a lump-free pourable consistency is achieved. If the mix is too thick, add water sparingly to reach the consistency of syrup; if the mix is too thin, additional powder can be added.
Step 5 Pour the resurfacer onto the concrete in one-foot wide strips.
Step 6 Scrub the material into the concrete surface using a long handled squeegee.
Step 7 Evenly spread the resurfacer back and forth onto the slab.
Step 8 Apply a non-slip finish using a concrete broom after about 5 minutes.
TIP: make full broom strokes across the entire distance of the work area without stopping (all broom strokes should be made in the same direction for uniformity of appearance).
Step 9 Moist cure with a fine water mist for 24-48 hours in temperatures over 90 degrees.
Step 10 Concrete Resurfacer will support foot traffic in about 6 hours and vehicle traffic in 24 hours.Shopping List 40 lb QUIKRETE Concrete Resurfacer 3500 PSI pressure washer (rental) Long handle squeegee 1/2” drill Paddle mixing blade 5-gallon bucket Measuring pail Hose with adjustable nozzle Chisel Hammer Wire brush Finishing broom ¼” weather stripping Gloves Safety glasses
From Source Article: moneypit.com