Once you’ve settled into your new home, it becomes increasingly your responsibility to maintain it. As a professional builder, we have a period of time in which we respond to warranty service calls and address questions from our new homeowners. Eventually the baton is passed to our owners for the regular maintenance of their home to insure it remains comfortable, healthy, and long lasting.

And while every house we build is slightly different, specifically with regards to the various exterior and interior finishes, (from the siding and roofing to the countertops, flooring, and paint coatings) they all need to be cared for properly to retain their value. We see it as our responsibility to educate and help our owners tackle their role as a homeowner with confidence.

Wood Floors. All types of wood flooring material, whether solid wood, composite (or engineered), or laminate, require regular care. As prefinished products, no waxing is required; instead, a regular application of warm, soapy water is sufficient, as is keeping wood flooring dry and free of debris that can cause scrapes and discolor the finish.

Drainage. An engineered combination of your home’s roof design, gutter system, and placement on the lot, work together to shed water from the house and its foundation. To maintain an optimum level of drainage, clean out gutters twice a year, ideally before the rainy seasons; adjust the gutter’s downspouts to empty into splash blocks or extend at least two feet away from the home’s exterior walls. If you add shrubs, flowerbeds, or other landscaping around your house, angle (or grade) the dirt away from the home’s foundation.

Appliances. Refer to your homeowner’s manual or binder to find the user manuals to all of the kitchen and other major appliances in the house, including seasonal and periodic maintenance tips. For instance, your refrigerator coil should be cleaned twice a year; check the seal of the door gasket, as well, to make sure you’re not wasting energy. In addition, the clothes dryer vent hose (between the dryer and the wall) and the vent louvers on the outside of the house should be cleaned out at least semi-annually. Every three months, replace the furnace filter, clean out the dishwasher strainer, and drain and flush sediment from your water heater. Such maintenance chores allow these appliances to operate at their optimal performance and extend their usable lives.

Air ducts and ventilation. Air ducts and vent registers can become clogged or stifled with debris, reducing their ability to distribute conditioned air and keep your house comfortable. About every two years, hire a professional service company to clean them out. For the same reason, clean the filters and check the general operation of ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms so they work efficiently, as well.

Roofing and Siding. In the late Spring, in any climate, thoroughly inspect the roof and other exterior finishes, such as siding, stucco, and trim. Pay attention for missing or damaged shingles, voids in the flashing or siding panels that may allow moisture or air infiltration, and patches of unfinished areas. Replace or repair them as soon as possible to ward off problems that can occur unnoticed or unseen behind the walls of your house.