Moving into a newly purchased home is an exciting time, especially for first-time buyers. But, after the initial excitement cools down and everything is settled into the home, the new owners begin to make a plan to maintain their investment. A cleaning schedule is made (or attempted) and projects are completed as they come up.
It can get a bit scary for first-time buyers when they realize that they have to figure things out on their own:
When it is OK to water my lawn?
How many dishes is acceptable to cram into the dishwasher?
What flowers can I plant in the shade?
Is doing home remodel projects myself a good idea?
This is when searches on Pinterest and Google come into play, and usually the first solution that pops up seems reasonable and can be trusted.
But, could these home-owners with the best of intentions be destroying their new homes?
The Homes By Shayne team wants to ensure that every home buyer enjoys their home for years to come, and has compiled a list what you should keep in mind while maintaining or decorating your investment.
Using Bleach To Clean Everything
Though bleach can be a great cleaning tool to get rid of the nastiest germs and build-up, proceed with caution on the surfaces you use it on.
Keep these tips in mind while using bleach:
- It can eat through the sealant on stone surfaces, like granite.
- It fades the enamel and acrylic on tubs.
- It dissolves vinyl and linseed-based flooring, like linoleum.
- It corrodes seals within your garbage disposal.
- It discolors laminate and colored grout.
- It feeds future mold growth on absorbent and porous materials, like grout.
Yes, you read that last one correctly. Quit whitening your grout with bleach because you are creating a mold feeding ground.
When cleaning your home, water and vinegar are all you need for most jobs. If there is a heftier job that involves mold or mildew, use a commercial anti-fungal product. For your garbage disposal, simply dump cold water and ice cubes down the drain.
Planting and Training Ivy To Climb Your Home
We’ve all seen the Pinterest photos and the homes down the block that have the gorgeous vines and ivy going up the side of their house.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is a terrible idea.
Author and garden guru Marianna Binetti says, “Anything that climbs on the house will damage it.”
Binetti isn’t simply preaching. She had to learn from this mistake firsthand.
“It looked cool for awhile, but it dug into the siding so even when we pulled it off, it left damage. And it climbed up the drain pipe and tore the gutter off the house,” she continued.
When vines are trained to go up homes, the roots settle beneath the siding and shingles. It then enlarges, creating cracks in brick and wood that act as an entrance for moisture and insects.
If you really like climbing vines, remember to refer to Pinterest for some alternatives and inspiration to add character to your landscaping.
Relying On Your Chemical Drain Cleaner
Clogged sinks are a huge pain. When it comes to the decision of paying a plumber $100 or by spending $10 on a store product and doing it yourself, the choice is easy for most.
But, have you ever read the back of that drain cleaner bottle?
The most common active ingredients are hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. Both of these cause erosion in your pipes.
Even the old-time baking-soda and vinegar trick can result in cracked pipes and a build-up of pressure.
Paying the plumber for the job is sounding more and more appealing, right?
Using Glass Cleaners On Mirrors
If something in your home is shiny or see-through, many assume that glass cleaner is an appropriate cleaner. Think again.
When it comes to your mirrors, spraying glass cleaner on them can result in “black edges” where the liquid seeps beneath the reflective backing and lifts it up.
When removing streaks and smudges from your mirrors, use a lint-free microfiber cloth that has been dampened with cold water.
Avoid the edges of your mirror, and dry it immediately with a second cloth.
Planting Trees Close To… Well, Anything
Many new homeowners like to plant a tree after they move in so they can watch it grow for years to come. But, many new homeowners don’t consider how a tree grows and matures over the years.
If you wouldn’t want a 70-pound animal digging up your flowers, then you definitely wouldn’t want a large tree root pushing up your driveway, sidewalk and even your home’s foundation.
Binetti says that we should also watch out for evergreens. If they are planted too close to your home, they cast too much shade, which encourages mold growth.
When choosing a spot to plant your tree, make sure to consider its maximum height, crown size and root spread.
Here is a perspective from the Arbor Day Foundation:
Even a small tree that reaches less than 30 feet tall needs 6 feet of clearance from any exterior wall of your home.
Using The Wrong Kind Of Caulk
When homeowners see failing caulk in their bathrooms and kitchens, they want to hurry and fix it. Just make sure you’re not confusing the term “caulk” with “glue”.
The caulk you use in your kitchen will be different than what you use in the bathroom, and on your concrete, and in your gutter, and so on.
Certified home inspector Jay Markanich said that he sees plenty of damage done to homes by the wrong caulk being used. One example is when silicone caulk (commonly used on non-porous surfaces, like bathtubs) is used on concrete or brick or other porous surfaces. It isn’t going to adhere, and moisture is going to seep in and cause a compromising of the bond and structure.
Before going to the store to purchase caulk, make sure you look at an online buying guide first to ensure you know what to get. Chances are, a specific type of caulk will be recommended.
Over-Sealing Your Countertops
It’s important to take good care of your countertops, but not at the expense of smothering them.
When you apply sealant too frequently, it can create a cloudy or streaky appearance to surfaces like natural stone, concrete, butcher blocks and glass. These typically only need the occasional resealing to resist stains and wear.
A good rule to use to determine if it’s time to reseal is by dripping some water on a high-use area of the countertop. If the water doesn’t remain beaded after 15 minutes, consider resealing.
Whenever you’re in doubt, check you manufacturer’s recommendations since different materials have different needs.
Adding mulch to a flowerbed gives a crisp, finished-off look to it. Even though it is great for so many things, using too much of it can be harmful to your vegetation.
A good rule of thumb is to not make a layer thicker than three inches to prevent suffocation to your plans and water not being able to reach the roots effectively.
Piling Firewood Next To An Exterior Wall
Fireplaces are the highlight of many homes, especially when you’re new to the home. This is why owners like to keep the wood right outside the back door so they can have easy access.
The easy access you’ve created to grab your wood is also creating easy access to your home for termites.
“Anything that creates a dark, climate-controlled area near the house will invite termites and other pests” Markanich says.
In one of the worst cases he’s seen, Markanich described a termite colony on an exterior wall in a bathroom, in which got its foothold in a pile of bricks outside.
Twenty feet from your home is a safe distance to pile your firewood, and gives you a little exercise when fetching it for your awesome fire.
Have questions about anything you’ve read? Contact the Homes By Shayne team!