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Maintenance Free Home

Well, This thought "Maintenance Free Home" is a myth.  How about changing it to: “Low Maintenance Home"?

This blog explains how to maintain a home, also explains why you cannot blame an architect for any problems which have occurred due to wrong maintenance or workmanship. Architects' job is to give designs and coordinate with PMC or other teams for work. Maintenance is the client's job to check and coordinate with teams.

Talking about Maintenance: These days every client of mine requests that I design a house for them with low maintenance features.  Depending on their preferences for materials, this is more possible for some while not for others. 

For instance, some people prefer real wood in interiors and exteriors.  Wood needs maintenance.  Other clients are fine with concrete (actually cementitious) walls, which can’t rot or burn or be eaten by bugs.  They still do have to be painted though, something most folks do not realize.  The color is not through and through.  These manufactured boards have a stamped wood grain embossed on them.  To an architect’s eye, this is obvious.  Perhaps not to all people, however, and many people really don’t care.  Why?  Very little maintenance.

Is a maintenance-free house possible? Not yet, at least not in the immediate future; but designers and builders are now constructing houses with new products that use the latest technology in materials. Called low-maintenance houses, these houses are attractive and functional, yet require considerably less maintenance than the majority of houses, even those put up within the last 10 years.

Unfortunately, those structures cost more than comparable dwellings using conventional products. Nevertheless, many new home buyers are willing to pay higher prices because they feel that they will save on repairs later on. They would rather absorb the higher initial cost in their mortgages instead of trying to squeeze the money for repairs out of their budgets.

Homebuyers want as many low-maintenance products as possible, but for most, the primary concern is low-maintenance roofing with a warranty. Roofing materials like slate or glazed tile will last for the life of the house, but they are expensive. To provide durability at a lower price, manufacturers have developed roofing tiles made of cement and fiber. These are sturdy but less costly than slate or glazed tile. Unfortunately, some brands of cement-fiber tiles cannot stand up to the frost-freeze cycles of northern climates. They are better where the temperature extremes are not so severe.

Metal roofing is also increasingly popular. Almost any roof can be covered with lightweight steel panels that are strong and easy to install. The panels are coated on all sides to resist rust and corrosion caused by rain and snow. Should the panels become scratched or damaged, they simply need recoating instead of replacement.

Quality siding can keep any house looking good. Vinyl siding is popular because it is easy to install, durable, and affordable. Today's vinyl siding is superior to that made only a few years ago. It lasts longer because it has a tough, low-gloss finish and it is made with fade-resistant pigments that will not discolor. Vinyl isn't the only new development in siding. A few manufacturers have introduced fiber-cement siding, which looks like wood but requires almost no maintenance. During the manufacturing process, the fibers are compacted, making a dense material that resists weathering. This material has been on the market a short time, so it is difficult to tell how it will weather. But homeowners who bought houses with fiber-cement siding a few years ago say it still looks new.

What are the different external materials available? What is the solution you recommend? Many houses have decks, fences, or porches built with pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is resistant to moisture, rat, and other

insect damage, but many people have found that it needs to be stained or sealed almost every year. Builders have turned to composite lumber products made from wood fibers and recycled plastic. These look like wood, but they weather well and do not need staining or sealing.

Manufacturers have also introduced window units with features that make cleaning easier, like sashes that slide or tilt out for easy cleaning and frames made of vinyl or aluminum.

Some companies now offer windows made of pultruded fiberglass, a strong, stable material that accepts a variety of colors and finishes and is weather resistant. These windows are good in coastal areas because they resist corrosion. A lot of Aluminum windows coated with metal matching to the home decor are trending now.

There are several low-maintenance products for the interior as well as exterior. Most homeowners want wood floors. But wood floors that receive a lot of traffic soon show wear patterns. Laminate floors have the appearance of wood or stone. The surface is tough and easy to clean; it resists stains and doesn't show wear marks. Should the laminate surface become damaged with deep scratches or gouges, however, it cannot be resurfaced. Sections must be replaced.

The bathroom is easy to maintain if taken care of from day one: Full body verified tile is a favorite for bathrooms and kitchens. Most tiles will last a lifetime, but the grout is not so resilient. Epoxy grouts are available that resist mildews, stains, and bacteria, and will not discolor. A bit of maintenance will be required on this.

What are the different reasons for internal wall dampness?

What is the solution you recommend?

There are multiple reasons like rising dampness from the high groundwater table, cracks through which rainwater seeps inside, seepage from adjoining leaking walls of the bathroom, and kitchen.

The current traditional waterproofing methods are not enough to tackle the severe dampness occurring due to these reasons. You need a specialized treatment to arrest this dampness permanently.

DPC is a unique & universal waterproofing treatment for internal dampness. You need not break the wall plaster to reach brick-level to waterproof it. It is directly applied to damp internal walls by brush and is very easy to use. Due to quick-drying technology, the job is done very quickly. This treated wall can be plastered with waterproof leveling plaster to remove the undulations and give a smooth finish.

You can list tasks that need to be done on a monthly, bi-annual, and annual basis. There are certain tasks that need to be done in a particular season while there are tasks that can be done at any time of the year. This checklist is just to give you a basic reference point, and you can modify it based on your schedule and house type.



Inspect your fire extinguisher

This one is very important but is an extremely easy task.

Just check that the nozzle of the fire extinguisher is clean with no accumulated dust or garbage. Make sure it has the correct pressure, and there is no visible wear and tear on the body of the fire extinguisher. In case there is any major problem, send the fire extinguisher for repair.

Inspect drains

Check the tub and sink drains to ensure there is no debris or clog accumulated. It is a good idea to put some frozen vinegar through the drain pipes to clean them.

Clean bathroom taps, showerheads, and faucet aerators

Cleaning them at regular intervals helps to remove mineral deposits, keep them like new, and avoid rust formation. You should also check the water softener and replenish salt if required.

Run water and flush toilets in unused bathrooms

This tip is especially important in guest rooms or rooms which are not used on a regular basis. The purpose is to clean the bathroom as well as to prevent grime or any other kind of build-up due to water accumulation in the toilets.



Give your house a good bath

It is a good idea to give your house a thorough cleaning every few months.

Dust every nook and corner of the house.

Clean all the appliances, windows, and furniture. Use detergent and a steady supply of water to wash the area that is not carpeted. Do not forget to cover the edges and other areas that might get spoiled by water. You might consider cleaning the rugs and carpets as well.

Gardening time

Of course, you water your garden regularly, but it is also important to maintain your garden periodically.

Pick up the dried leaves and inspect for any dead plants that need to be removed. Pluck weeds and other debris in the garden. Manage stones or any other furniture you have in the garden. Plant some trees suitable for the upcoming season to ensure your garden always remains green regardless of the change in season.

Doing this on a lazy Sunday morning with family can be a lot of fun.

Water the inverter batteries

If you have an inverter in your house, it is very important to fill water in the batteries every few months.

Always use easily available distilled water to fill the batteries. Doing this will increase the shelf life of your batteries as well as increase its efficiency.



Check the roof surface

Check the roof and find if there is any sort of damage, if any paint is chipping, or if there are any holes in the house. Take a close look and check if the roof needs any repairs.

Clean out the gutter and drainage

Over a period of a year and changing seasons, gutters and drains would have likely accumulated leaves from the fall and dust, sediments from water and rains.

Clean them once and if possible twice a year. Also, check for damage and slope. Make sure there are no unwanted openings in the gutter and drains, which might result in external objects falling inside and clogging the gutter.


Check the exterior of the house, especially the paint. You might need a touch-up on the paint once a year. You can do it yourself or hire a professional who can help you put a fresh coat. Never schedule the paint during the monsoons as rain or moisture may damage the wet paint.

Chimney or gas pipe

Clean the kitchen chimney for uninterrupted flow of smoke from the kitchen and also check gas pipes for incorrect bends, breakage, or leakage. Also, check there are no loose ends on the gas pipe for your safety.

Finally, After all, maintenance tips and discussions, explanations we again come back to our main point "Maintenance Free Home" is a myth.  How about changing it to: “Low Maintenance Home"

Positive Architecture & Interior Designing by VINAYANDRASHMI, Architects & Interior Designers.

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