Mr. Handyman: Musings on Maintenance, Repair & Replacement

One of the topics we get into with most clients on most jobs is discussion about maintenance, repair and replacement.  Thought I’d share a bit on this topic for those of you preparing to tackle your ‘to do’ list now that the weather is getting more pleasant for working outside, or for those of you preparing for family to arrive for one holiday or another.

Putting the bottom line on top, homes do not take care of themselves.  Whether you (and your family) take care of the home, or you hire others, homes require upkeep.  Another simple truth is that things that cost less up front are generally more expensive to maintain, and things that cost more up front are less expensive to maintain.  So, you have to balance up front cost with long term maintenance effort and cost.

Regular maintenance is one of the top ways to extend the life of your home and reduce future repair or replacement costs.  Regularly checking and addressing caulking needs (in showers, kitchen, and on the exterior of your home) is a maintenance task that prevents a major future repair project.  Failing to maintain paint and caulk on the exterior of the home can lead to rotten siding and trim, water intrusion, and stained drywall on the interior.

While it may be easy to put off regular maintenance, given busy schedules or the perception that you are ‘saving’ money by not spending it on maintenance tasks, you may end up paying much more in the future than what you ‘saved’.  If you don’t have the time, know how, or desire to do this yourself, hire somebody.  Just like many hire help to regularly cut their lawn, treat their home for pests, and clean their pool, the rest of the home needs periodic attention.  Mr. Handyman is certainly capable of helping with your regular upkeep, if you need that help.

Once damage is done there is then the repair vs. replace decision.  This often comes down to balancing short term expense, with long term value.  A fiberglass door, with a fiberglass jamb, may cost twice what a builder grade door with a pine jamb will cost, but it might just last forever.  If this is your forever home, this is certainly something to consider.

Anything wood on the exterior of your home has the potential to rot if not kept painted and caulked.  Options other than wood exist as an alternative (siding and trim products) but often cost more, plus the installation cost. 

I simply can’t cover all the potential cost vs. benefit options for every aspect of a home but know that they exist.  Spending a bit up front, however, can reduce your ongoing need for maintenance, and the potential future repair costs.

Do some research at the home supply store if you are doing the project yourself, or call Mr. Handyman if you need someone to provide options and address your needs for you.

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