MaintenanceWhen we’re working on a project, there are a particular set of points during the construction where we like to have a coordination meeting before the work begins. These points are often where parts of the building come together: where the walls meet the foundation, where the roof meets the walls, etc.

We push for additional coordination at these points because they’re often the weak points of the building. As you might expect, these are also the points of the building where the most maintenance is required. Preventing water damage and intrusion (leaks) are typically the biggest maintenance challenges though that may be as simple as keeping your gutters cleaned out. There are also materials like caulk and sealants that have a relatively short expected life so they should be routinely inspected and replaced.

This collection of weak points on the outside of your house means it needs frequent inspection and maintenance. That’s really the key – people who don’t understand required maintenance usually allow a significant problem to develop before taking action. This isn’t really maintenance; it’s crisis management and it’s much more expensive than making routine investments.

We know it’s not reasonable to expect someone with little or no building experience to understand inspections and maintenance. We also know it can be frustrating to reach out to a contractor for repairs and not know if they’re trying to help you or sell you something you don’t need. Even if you’re working with a contractor, is their work solving the problem or just repairing the symptoms?

The happy news for home owners is that maintenance tasks follow a predictable pattern. Building materials and systems also have a predictable life expectancy. Forecasting the work and expense for your maintenance allows you to protect the value of your home and plan for expensive replacements like roofs and air conditioning systems. Failure to plan for these big expenses is one of the ways home owners get trapped in a debt cycle – by the time you’ve paid down the cost of the last big repair cost, another one comes due.

Consider working with your architect to develop your inspection routines and maintenance schedule. We can also help you forecast those expensive repairs so you can be better financially prepared. Working with an architect means you have your own advocate who’s not trying to sell you on a particular material, method or system. It also means you have a plan and priorities that take away the sense of crisis.

This site has too many visitors from too many different locations for us to share specific maintenance tasks though we teach maintenance courses, post suggestions through social media (like Facebook), answer questions through our Ask An Architect link and we work with clients to meet the challenges of their particular property. We hope you’ll get in touch, even if it’s just connecting on social media, so you can join our discussion.