Avoid Most Expensive Home Repairs
When they finally close on a house, every new homeowner fears they have bought the proverbial “money pit”—a house with severe repair needs. In most cases, these fears end up being unfounded: after all, buyers generally take precautions such as hiring inspectors, and sellers are obligated in most states to disclose major defects.
However, a clean bill of health at the time of purchase doesn’t mean that future home repair needs aren’t potentially lurking. As we will review in this article, there are some home issues that can cost thousands of dollars to repair. The key to avoiding these issues—or at least limiting their cost—is often preventative maintenance and early detection.
Roof Replacement By Avoid Most Expensive Home Repairs
It can be argued that a roof is what makes a house a home. Problems with roofs typically start small—a missing tile or shingle, for instance—and eventually escalate into a much more serious issue. In a worst-case scenario, an experienced roofing company may need to replace the roof and roofing materials altogether, which is one of the more expensive projects any homeowner can face.
Think of your roof’s shingle, tile, or foam as a protective shield for your home. The roof is constantly exposed to the elements: searing sunshine, fierce winds, major storm systems, and below-freezing blizzards. Any time that shield is compromised, the roof’s underlayment and structure—which are not built to stand up to the elements—are at risk. When the underlayment goes, moisture can access the roof structure directly. From there, it’s only a matter of time before you have a roof leak.
Moisture is the primary enemy of roofs. The key to preventing most roof problems and getting the full lifespan out of your roof is dealing with water. This includes being proactive in replacing tiles and shingles, repairing flashing, and cleaning out gutters and downspouts of leaf debris. In general, the better your roof is at moving rainwater and snowmelt off of it, the better off it will be.
Foundation & Structural Issues
Problems with your home’s foundation are among the most difficult and expensive to address. Foundation issues often occur due to shifting soil or poor soil quality. As the level of moisture in the soil around your home changes over time, so does its ability to support the weight of the foundation and your home. This results in foundation cracks, sagging basement walls, and a number of other issues. Adding additional support features or replacing a foundation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the scope of the problem.
There’s one threat to the structure of your home that does more damage annually than many other natural disasters combined: termites. Every year, Americans spend a combined $5 billion dealing with termite infestations and property damage. Many species of subterranean termites can do significant damage to a home within a matter of months. If you live in a part of the country known for termite property damage, be sure to schedule regular inspections from a pest control specialist. Early detection is key to avoiding significant structural issues.
HVAC System Replacement
As any longtime homeowner knows, air conditioners and furnaces occupy a unique space in the home: they are incredibly expensive to replace but nearly impossible to live without. Even if you think you can sweat out the humid, hot summer, going through winter without working heating could be dangerous. Without heat, pipes can freeze and burst. From there, your costs will only balloon.
Every furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump will need to be replaced eventually. Most of these systems last for about 12-15 years. You can extend the lifespan of your HVAC system by scheduling professional maintenance at least once-per-year. Have a local pro inspect and tune up your system in the season before it sees the heaviest use. Not only can this service help extend the lifespan of the unit, but it will also boost its efficiency and help you avoid an in-season breakdown.
Sewer Line Repair
Your home’s sewer line carries wastewater away to the municipal sewer. This important, if unglamorous, function is critical to life in your home. Despite being buried, sewer lines can become damaged or cracked due to either soil movement or the presence of nearby tree roots. When this happens, the line either begins to leak wastewater into the surrounding soil or sag, disrupting the gravity-based flow of waste away from your home.
Repairing or replacing the sewer line often requires digging a trench to physically access it, which is why sewer line repairs rank relatively high on the list of expensive home projects.
Sewer Backup & Water Damage
Sewer lines are also vulnerable to clogs. In most cases, these blockages are formed over time by the accumulation of grease, oils, non-biodegradable trash, and certain types of organic waste, such as coffee grounds or eggshells. A partial blockage will cause the home’s sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers to drain more slowly.
Without intervention, a full clog is just a matter of time. This can lead to a situation where wastewater can no longer exit the home system to the municipal sewer. Instead, what has gone down will come back up. A sewer backup is a disgusting (and costly) event that often requires water damage repairs and mold remediation in addition to clearing the original blockage in the line.
Most sewer line issues can be avoided by watching what you put down the sink, moving trees and plants away from the line’s location, and quickly dealing with any clogs or sagging line issues.
Call a professional
One common factor that unites all of the home repairs listed above is the need for professional work. With any of these issues, the stakes are too high for a “do-it-yourself” approach. Talk to a local expert in your area about your structural, plumbing, roofing, or HVAC issues.