Home owners can do some pretty silly things when it comes to the care of their homes and how they live in them. Some of these actions could have serious consequences, from costly damage to the home to possible personal injury.
The National Home Maintenance Manual by David MacLellan and George E. Wolfson, offers some good advice on how to avoid missteps.
Walking on the Roof
You are pretty good at balancing, so why not get up on the roof to do a minor repair or clear off a few fallen sticks and branches? Beside the fact that you could slip and fall, you are likely to break the roof covering or damage shingles, leading to a leaky roof. It is such an issue that many roof warranties are voided if a homeowner walks on the roof. Let the professionals handle repairs or use a ladder and telescoping pole to retrieve items on the roof.
“A homeowner should never walk on his or her roof,” MacLellan says.
Not Using Bathroom Vent Fans
Many homeowners don’t bother using bathroom vent fans because they find them inconvenient or noisy. Worse still, some disconnect them completely or don’t have them installed at all. Don’t believe that just because you have a window in your bathroom you are covered. Unless the window will be open during every shower (even in the winter), it won’t be able to properly vent humidity from the room.
Without the use of a bathroom vent fan, water vapor can seep into the drywall, window frame, picture frames and decorative elements. This will encourage mold and mildew to grow, and may even weaken the walls through rot.
“Rooms where humidifiers are used should also be well ventilated,” MacLellan says.
Storing Stuff in the Trusses
Trusses are the structures that support the weight of the roof and the ceiling of the garage or the attic. Often homeowners view these spaces as extra storage. This is especially true in the garage, where this space seems to be just made for storing the overflow. In reality, keeping household items in the trusses will lead to a sagging roof that might collapse.
“If a homeowner wishes to use this space for storage, he or she should consult with a structural engineer to determine if additional reinforcement is necessary,” MacLellan says.
Overloading the Upper Kitchen Cabinets
Upper cabinets are usually mounted on the wall using screws or nails. This makes them less able to bear weight than lower cabinets, which rest on the floor. Stacking heavy dishes, cookware, cook books and appliances in the upper cabinets may lead to the cabinets becoming detached from the wall.
“In a related item, cabinet drawers are often overloaded and then pulled out too far,” MacLellan says.
Grouping Heavy Furniture on the Upper Floors
The sturdiest floors in your home are on your lowest level, especially if there is a concrete slab underneath the wood floor. While building codes should allow for safe weight bearing, some of our common household furniture and other items may be too heavy for our floors, particularly if they are grouped together in the same space.
“Household items such as waterbeds, aquariums, pool tables and weight lifting equipment can cause significant floor deflection,” MacLellan says.