Although it is admirable for any home owner to want to cut cost and perform house repairs on their own, without the proper experience and tools, it might prove to be quite the challenge. So how do you decide when and where you should actually let the professionals handle the job?
First, gauge the extent of the damage. How old is your home / apartment? Do you live in an area that is close to or near highways or where lots of traffic pass by? Or factories and industrial centers? What about exposure to the elements: is the part that is in need of repair always exposed to sun? Rain? Animals and / or insects?
Based on what we’ve seen, the older the house, the more likely it is in need of repairs. Ideally you should inspect your home for any serious infrastructure problems every five to six years, while checking up on the more minor things (but still equally as detrimental) like plumbing and leaks every year.
Houses and communities that are close to where lots of traffic pass by (like highways and main roads) or areas where a lot of exhaust is ventilated (like industrial centers for example) are usually more exposed to dust and carbon emissions from the area. Even if these areas are undoubtedly classified as safe for living, that still doesn’t mean that dust and carbon pileup over the years won’t cause any damage.
And of course nature is usually the most common cause of wear and tear–continuous exposure to sun and rain, heat waves and snow, and so on, can cause parts of your house to swell and contract, bend out of shape and possibly warp or even break. Most common areas that fall victim to nature’s wrath are: gutters and rain drainage, roof tiles and exterior of windows and sheds and fences and gates.
Next, take a look at the rest of the area near where the potential damage is. Do you see other signs of wear and tear, like crumbling wood? Chipping paint? Cracks that are deepening or widening? And also check for stains and other signs that the elements are penetrating the area–a good rule of thumb to gauge water damage for example is to look for discoloration of paint or wallpaper.
When you find discoloration on walls or ceilings, that’s a very clear indication that water is seeping through that area and pooling in the location of the discoloration. Be warned though, sometimes water damage like this isn’t just caused by the elements–most of the time it’s caused by shoddy pipes and / or malfunctioning airconditioners. This being the case, it’s also always a good idea to check rugs and carpets for unusual discoloration or large amounts of moisture and pooling water, and immediately determine where the water is coming form.
More often than not, damage signs like these–though they may be visible to the homeowner and easily remedied by a short trip to the hardware store–are actually signs of more serious problems. Cracks, bad pipes, infestation by pests, roaches, rats or even termites… You won’t be able to see what’s going on until you look inside. Your home isn’t just what is visible on the outside, but also the integrity of the structure inside. Without the right tools, covering up damage on the exterior while not properly evaluating the extent of the damage inside–can lead to a much greater headache in the future.
If you see signs of damage on your home, don’t wait too long to evaluate it and have a proper, experienced professional check it. That little extra effort from a learned expert will put you at ease.