Today's home buyers want home maintenance strategies that same them time because we're all busy and honestly (if we're truthful), no one enjoys doing routine home maintenance. You might keep a running punch list of projects but somehow most of the work never gets done. The reality is we'd rather use our weekends for fun and relaxation, so this article offers tips on home maintenance strategies that over time, will require less time.
First to avoid confusion, you need to understand there's no such thing as no maintenance. Remember you may not have to iron your favorite pair of pants but you still have to wash them. There are new building materials and products that offer low maintenance but they are not maintenance free.
For example, when decks are built from pressure treated wood, the wood is resistant to moisture, wood rot and insect damage. The wood still needs to be stained and sealed every one to two years. Home maintenance strategies that save time focus on alternative products, like Azek's composite lumber products made from recycled plastic and wood fibers. They look like wood but don't need any staining or sealing, making them low maintenance.
Home Maintenance Strategies with Materials That Require Little Maintenance
Many homeowners focus too much on the initial cost of a product. Savvy homeowners take time to look at the total cost of ownership, from when you build your deck, to ongoing maintenance and repairs, until you replace your deck. I learned about “total cost of ownership” when my husband bought our first personal computer (are you guessing how old I am?).
We had a lot going on in our lives – we had just built a new house, we had a new baby and two kids was a lot more work than one (what were we thinking). I didn't pay much attention to our first family PC (we both worked for IBM so we'd been using computers for years). My contribution was deciding where to put the PC and fortunately we had a little nook in the upstairs hallway. We had no idea how we'd use the darn thing!
The PC Junior was fairly expensive (here's what it looked like), maybe $2,000, so you scrutinized all the features before you ordered it. Then you needed to buy software, and of course there were games. It seemed like 1 or 2 boxes arrived in the mail each month with new computer gadgets. At first I thought my husband was just setting things up but honestly, the boxes kept coming and slowly I realized that the little boxes cost a lot more than the original computer.
It pays to look at the big picture or total cost of ownership, when making large investments in your home, computers, or even smart phones today!
So back to houses …
While I'd like to say that composite decks last longer, they're too new to know if they'll last longer than pressure treated decks. So for this article I'll assume composite decks need to be replaced after twenty years, just like pressure treated decks.
Here are the costs to build a deck, broken down so you can understand how different home maintenance strategies can influence the products you buy. Deck footings and infrastructure are always built with pressure treated wood.
- You excavate and pour footings that go below the frost line, so costs vary based on where you live.
- Next come the posts and joists that make up the infrastructure under the floor, to support the deck. Pressure treated lumber is always used for the infrastructure because the composites aren't strong enough.
- Deck flooring is installed and then the railings. Where pressure treated wood costs $0.90 per linear foot, Azek costs $3.10 per linear foot but requires less maintenance (learn more about your deck material choices).
Let's start with a $10,000 deck, with costs split between labor ($4,000) and materials ($6,000). Then we split materials between the deck flooring and railing costs 50/50, so the deck floor costs $3,000.
$3,000 for composite deck flooring would drop to $1,000 for pressure treated wood. That's a big price difference until you divide the $2,000 savings by 10, as you'll probably stain and seal your deck every other year. You might break by doing the work yourself, so you only have to buy the stain and sealer. But wait! You'll also buy rollers, paint brushes and gas for trips to the store.
Are you really going to do it yourself over 20 years? You're probably going to pay a handyman as you get older or just too busy. When I owned my handyman business, we had 20 to 30 deck maintenance projects every year. That's why one of the best home maintenance strategies is to replace your deck with composite materials that only need to be washed down with a garden hose.
Home Maintenance Strategies – Getting Someone Else to Do the Work!
With more home maintenance needed on your home's exterior, condos offer one of the best home maintenance strategies for homeowners who don't want to do anything around the house. The condo association handles all exterior maintenance and from my experience running my handyman business, this includes deck maintenance.
From the roof to siding, decks and landscaping, these home features are covered by your monthly condo association fees. You'll save money and more important for today's business homeowners, you'll also save the time it takes to do the work or manage contractors doing the work for you.
Which of these home maintenance strategies are you using?