Sometimes just a little cleaning and fresh paint will work wonders for your home, but other times a “small” problem can turn into a very expensive, time-consuming and frustrating problem if left in disrepair.
Below, we’ve listed some common warning signs of issues that could damage your home’s structural integrity as well as its visual appeal. If you think your home may contain one or more of the following problems, please contact Minnesota Building Contractors for a no-obligation inspection and consultation.
Mold (also called mildew) can grow on walls, floors and ceilings of your home as well as on your personal possessions. Even small amounts of mold can cause health problems for some people, and with larger amounts, problems can occur with your home’s structure.
Here’s how to perform home maintenance to prevent mold before it damages your home or your health:
- Clean existing mold and remove excessive moisture to prevent mold from spreading.
- Do not store paper, books, clothes or other possible sources of “food” for mold in humid parts of your home.
- Clear gutters and downspouts of debris that may block the flow of water from your roof.
- Grade the area under your downspouts so rainwater from the roof flows away from your foundation.
- Use dehumidifiers in damp basements.
- Vent exhaust fans to the outdoors and not to an attic or crawl space.
- Properly insulate and ventilate attics.
- Repair water leaks in your roof, windows, or any part of your home immediately to prevent rapid mold spread.
Wood Rot And Moss
Wood rot, sometimes called dry rot, is actually colonies of a type of fungus that digests the wood fibers of your house, causing the wood to discolor and decay. Fungi feed on natural substances that make up organic materials like leather, cloth, rattan, paper and wood, and can attack any wood in your house. Fortunately, there are ways to combat wood rot in your home.
Mere replacement of visibly-damaged boards may not constitute adequate repair. The slightest infection on adjacent wood will inevitably spread, infecting attached portions of the structure.
If residual infection – left behind by a well-intentioned carpenter – is concealed within hidden recesses of the home, ongoing destruction of the wood might not become apparent for many years. By that time, damages could be extensive, and repairs quite costly.
Additional costs can mount when moss is present. Moss on your roof will trap water, which accelerates wear and tear, and shortens your roof’s life. The shallow root system of moss keeps the roofing materials damp for extended periods of time, and this moisture promotes wood rot and erodes the asphalt in shingles.
OLD OR DAMAGED ROOF
just because your roof has never leaked before does not mean the original roofing installation went smoothly. In fact, problems caused by poor installation often don’t show up for years. In addition to noticeable leaks, there are other signs that indicate your roof needs attention.
Are there missing or torn shingles?
Missing or torn shingles expose the roof to water damage and rot, and make adjacent shingles more susceptible to being blown away. Old shingles curl, split and lose their waterproofing effectiveness.
Is there rusted or missing flashing?
Flashing is the metal that surrounds chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes, and is also used in the valleys where roof sections meet. Rusted or missing flashing often result in leaks.
Are your interior walls and ceilings deteriorating?
Discolored plasterboard, cracked paint, or peeling wallpaper inside the house may indicate a leak you have not discovered yet. Also check for mold or moss, which can signal a roof leak.
Have you found small pieces of roofing in your gutters?
Finding broken pieces of roofing in your gutters, downspouts and splash pans can indicate roof damage.
Is your roof 15 years or older?
Depending on your roof, it could last far longer than 15 years. However, around this time many roofs start to decay.
DRAFTY OR FAULTY WINDOWS
Are you letting money leak out of your old, drafty windows? Neglecting needed repairs and replacement of windows can cost you big in heating and cooling bills.
You may be paying 50% more in heating and cooling than you would if you installed newer windows. Also, should you ever decide to sell, energy-efficient windows show home buyers that the house was cared for, and reflect on the quality of the house as a whole. Window maintenance is a vital part of home improvement.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WINDOW MAINTENANCE:
- Most experts agree that caulking and weather stripping – two simple air-sealing techniques – will pay for themselves in energy savings within one year. Applying these techniques will also alleviate drafts and help your home feel warmer when it’s cold outside.
- Aluminum windows last between 15 and 20 years, while wood can last upwards of 30 years. But if your windows aren’t performing or you want an updated look, it may pay to replace them sooner with Fiberglass or Vinyl replacement windows.
- A window that is broken or has a crack should be replaced immediately.
- Windows are particularly susceptible to wood rot, so replace immediately when you see signs of this fungus.
- Fog on the inside of windows is a sign that the seal has failed, and you are probably paying big for lost heating and cooling.
Siding In Need Of Repair Or Replacement
For your house to make a good impression, your siding must be in good shape. Everything else could be perfect, but if the siding is under par, the house will have a poor showing, which could result in a much lower value. But how do you know if your siding needs repair or replacing?
- First, take a look at it as an objective passerby might. Does it look worn? Dated? Out-of-character for your house?
- Now look for signs of wear. Chipping or peeling is often a sign of wood rot.
- If you see bubbles on the siding, moisture may be trapped behind the paint. The siding will swell, become more unsightly, and cause further damage.
- Look for holes in your siding. These are spots where your house is unprotected