8 Expensive Home Repairs and How to Avoid Them
The most popular rule of thumb to save for home maintenance is 1% of the total cost of your house, annually. That means if your home is worth $350,000, you’ll likely spend on average $3,500 a year on upkeep. Obviously certain years you’ll spend more than others, for instance, the year you install new roofing. Other years you’ll spend substantially less. You can invest in a home warranty that will cover some repairs, but likely not all of them. Some of the more expensive repairs can be avoided by simple maintenance. Here are some of the best ways to avoid giant home repair bills and get the most out of homeownership.
1. Foundation Repairs
Just a few hours of clearing your gutters could potentially save you thousands of dollars on foundation repairs. Managing water flow around your household is essential to avoiding basement leaks, foundation breaks and driveway cracks. Make sure your gutters are clear and water is being directed away from the foundation with no standing water. Creating a gradual slope away from your house with soil is one way to achieve this. A simple investment in gutter extensions could also do the trick.
Water damage including rotting and leaking can affect your home’s roof as well. Regular maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs. For just a few hundred dollars, shingles and spotty areas are easy enough to fix right away rather than letting the damages amount to a few thousand dollars. Check the condition of your roof every fall and spring when you’re cleaning the gutters. Check the Flashing, the seal around exhaust vents and chimneys to make sure they are still watertight. Check the roof of your attic for signs of water damage or discoloration.
3. Water/Sewer Pipe Replacement
Replacing water or sewer pipes won’t necessarily cost you an arm or a leg, but the flooding and excavation of your yard (or worse, the driveway!) will cost you a pretty penny. If you live in an older property, it might be wise to invest in water and sewer line insurance. Check with your utility company if you plan on digging for any landscaping or home improvement projects. You can also have your lines inspected annually for leaks or cracks.
Not only are the units themselves expensive, professional installation can potentially double the price. The best way to prevent your furnace or air conditioner dying on you is to schedule maintenance every 6 months or so. Similar to having a regular car tune up, having a professional run through a maintenance checklist will extend the life of your unit. You can also replace the air filter every 90 days to improve air quality and function.
5. Wooden Deck Replacement
In this case, it’s absolutely true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Instead of letting your deck fall prey to rot or severe weathering, use one weekend a year to give it a good scrubbing and re-stain. Check for soft spots in the wood, particularly around the supports and joists below. If a screwdriver can penetrate the wood more than 1/4 of an inch, that’s a good indicator you have rot.
6. Driveway Repair
Your driveway endures a lot. The weight of your car, water, snow, and ice. If left unprotected it can easily crumble away. Getting a brand new driveway can be a hefty bill, but so is the removal of the old one. This is why it’s important to seal your driveway against the elements. In hot dry weather, washing your driveway with warm water and a mild detergent will do the trick. Next apply a sealant specifically meant for driveways. Follow the directions for whichever sealant you purchase from your local home store.
7. Fire or Smoke Damage
Maintaining your fireplace and chimney will prevent any fires caused by clogged systems. Have a chimney sweep inspect your beloved winter heat source. When you open the flue, you should be able to see daylight. If not, the particles clogging your fireplace are highly flammable and could potentially turn into a chimney fire.
8. Fallen Trees
Any giant trees close to your house could cause potential damage if their structure is weakened by disease or broken limbs. Have a professional tree service inspect that giant oak to prune any limbs that could potentially fall in strong winds or heavy snows. Trees can do a lot of damage to your house or car that you don’t want to pay out of pocket for.
With regular upkeep, you can prevent daunting repair surprises. Avoiding them means more control over what you spend and save for such repairs. Knowing you’ll have to make a major repair in a couple years gives you time to plan, save and shop around.