Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later

Maintenance now, or costly repairs later

It really is a universal law, isn't it? What happens when you don't maintain your car by changing the oil and filter every few thousand miles or so? (I say or so because honestly it is usually 4500 miles before I get around to it with my truck). Or here's an even better one, what happens when you don't pay attention to your wife? Needless to say, the consequences are dire in either case. Well, it's the same situation with maintenance of your home. A little maintenance can go a long way. In this article I will bring up a few examples of maintenance projects that will save huge expenses later. I will also clarify what I mean by huge expenses so that you have a more clear and concise idea of what that means.

Caulking – It's not just a shower remedy anymore

Caulking is the Duck tape of home maintenance. The $3.00 that you spend on a tube of caulking can literally save you hundreds of dollars later. Typically when a home is first constructed the joints between pieces of trim are caulked before they are painted. The purpose of this caulking is to prevent water from seeping into the end grain of the wood. If water is allowed to penetrate into the end grain it will, over time, cause the wood to rot. Depending upon the construction of your home you could have several of these seams or you could have hundreds. A good indicator or your homes' need for re-caulking is when you start to see a gap form between your trim boards. That gap is not a good sign. That gap is a location where water can penetrate.

Painting – Maintenance painting is the Rain Coat protecting your home

A good paint job will protect a home's valuable siding. Many homeowners let the painting slide thinking that Oh, it's just paint. It doesn't really matter. But it does matter. It really matters. Even if the neglect of the painting causes a home to need 100 square feet of new siding that could cost thousands of dollars (depending upon the type of siding and the location). There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about painting. One of the primary factors is the quality of the paint. To name a couple, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have very high quality paint that will withstand the test of time. Another great paint is Dunn Edwards (However, Dunn Edwards may not be available in all states).

Maintenance of your Roof and flashing is also an important maintenance item

I recently helped a home flipper to do her flipping thing. As I went through the home and its different components I was at first perplexed by a wood rot issue at the soffit by the front door. I noticed that a few galvanized vents had been added to this area in an attempt to resolve the moisture that was causing the rot. But I could also tell that the vents were not the solution, they were just letting the area dry up a little bit. Finally I started pulling back some of the roofing above the area and found the wall to roof flashing had been improperly installed. When water from a driving rain would run down the second story wall that water would run under the flashing and into the soffit below rather than run out onto the roof and into the gutter the way it is supposed to. This flashing had probably been this way for several years (since the last re-roofing job). So, long story short, it's a good practice to have someone who knows what they're doing up on your roof from time to time to check it out. Again, a relatively small repair to the roof can save a homeowner a truckload of money (for your reference according to the Urban Dictionary a truckload of money is more than a buttload but less than a boatload).

As a professional handyman it is your job to be the advocate for your customer. When a valuable customer feels that you are on their side and looking out for them they will call you back to do more work. I have mentioned the above items for two purposes. The obvious reason that I mentioned these items is for the awareness of your customer. Then there's the not so obvious reason: These are common items that you, the professional handyman, can watch out for and if they need attention you can point out to your customer. Do your research before you submit a proposal for any of these repairs and know what the competition charges. You want to charge a reasonable price but you also don't want to give away the farm. But if you do give away the farm make sure you pay attention to your wife and change your oil on a regular basis. Because in life there are some things that just take priority!

Article Contributed by:
Jack Severens
Severens Construction Management

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