Everything you didn’t know you needed to know, from leaks to termites; how to handle new-home needs

Category: Maintenance
maintenance

When to worry, when to relax, and when to call in the experts

There are a few things you need to know about your new home. The first thing is that this impressive thing you’re doing here — owning your own home and making a permanent place for yourself (and your future) — it’s a big deal. But this time, you don’t have a landlord to call when things get real. There’s nothing more real (in the world of homeownership) than the suggestion of leaks, termites, and cracks. Sometimes there’s a lot to worry about, but most of the time it’s completely solvable. 

After this blog, you won’t be able to call yourself a plumber (technically), or any other trade for that matter, but you will know how to identify when a problem is something to worry about and when it’s just normal house behaviour. If there’s something else happening that we haven’t covered here — and you’re still settling in — read our first blog in the series, What to expect from your first few months in your new home.

Let’s kick things off with plumbing

Most plumbing problems should be fixed by a licensed professional — don’t take risks when it could lead to various disgusting liquids leaking throughout your new house! But there are some things you can do for minor issues, which may help you avoid calling said plumber. 

Here are some tips for small (let’s emphasise, small!) plumbing issues:

  • Leaks: sometimes leaks under the sink, laundry trough, or vanity basin can be caused by the rubber pipe seal shrinking – try simply tightening the seal.
  • Water hammer: you can keep this to a minimum by gently turning off taps, instead of doing it quickly. Dishwashers and washing machines do this automatically though, so try turning down the pressure at the water meter or fitting a water hammer arrestor. If you’re in a new subdivision, the pressure may decrease as more houses are built.
  • Water pressure: the water pressure in your shower may not be as strong as other fixtures in your house, but this is because each shower is fitted with a water-saving disk to regulate the amount of water (you’re welcome, environment!). 

What to do if you discover a leak

Imagine you’re all cosy, cuppa (or wine) in hand, watching the rain outside — but somewhere in your house there’s a leak, letting all that rain in. Leaks need to be taken seriously, as they can cause loads of damage very quickly, so if you spot one, get an expert to carry out an inspection immediately. Sorry, no easy DIY tips for this one; it’s an expert job every time and an urgent one at that!

Termites (yes, we said it)

Just the mention of termites has probably made you feel like things are crawling all over you – and this is how your house feels! Termites can destroy your nice new house, particularly if it’s wood-framed or brick veneer, so you need to be on high alert.

Here’s how to protect your house from termites:

  • Don’t store wood near your house
  • Minimise soil moisture
  • Fix leaks quickly
  • Don’t landscape near the house
  • Have Termico complete yearly inspections (to comply with their warranty)

Water stains on the wall?!

Imagine you’re having one of those long, forget-what-your-day-was-like showers, but little do you know, all that water is seeping through the wall and into your bedroom … nightmare! As far as leaks go, this one is up there. The first thing you need to do is inspect the shower grout and silicone to make sure it hasn’t dislodged. A common spot for dislodging is the bottom row of wall tiles, so make this a regular check zone. If you’ve found the culprit, and feel like you can confidently DYI the re-seal, then go for it. If not, call in an expert to make sure all your bathroom water stays exactly where it’s meant to!

Silicone joints need love too

There are certain jobs you need to do just to keep that nice, cushy warranty; one of these is inspecting your house’s silicone joints once a year (ie. Between the sink and benchtop, benchtop and splashback, and the entire bathroom). You’ll have to clean them regularly as well to avoid deterioration — but don’t use harsh cleaning products or stiff brushes. Also, ventilate all damp areas of the house to stop mould from growing on the joints. Just think, before making your mark on the world with a new home, you probably didn’t know what a silicone joint was; now, you’ve got them all on a rotating maintenance schedule. That’s impressive.

The crack debate. Common or concerning?

Minor cracking is very normal. In the first six months, there’s a lot of shrinkage, and settlement and cracks will naturally appear. It’s one of those unavoidable things as your house dries out. This means that small cosmetic cracks in the slabs and brickwork aren’t covered by the La Vida Homes warranty program; however, cracks to the cornices, plastered walls, and tiles generally are and will be sorted out at your six months maintenance.

Who would have thought that owning your own place would mean upskilling in literally everything? And it doesn’t stop here. While you’re in the zone, learn how to care for the inside and outside of your new home. Because there is a world where it stays looking like the cover of an interior design magazine. And we all know that’s a world you want to live in.

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