9 Home Problems You Should Not Put Off
From mold to peeling paint, these home issues should be dealt with right away — before they lead to even bigger problems.
If you see ants on your kitchen countertops or find evidence of mice in HVAC grilles, these are telltale signs that your home has openings that need to be closed off. The most common spots to check are pipes, ducts, exhaust vents, utility access panels and garage doors. Try to find any ripped screening, signs of chewing or nesting, or obvious gaps. Not sure this is a job you can handle yourself? Call in an exterminator, as bird and mouse droppings especially can be harmful to your health.
Mold is to be expected sometimes in wet areas like the bathroom and kitchen. However, if you find it in places it shouldn’t be, then a professional evaluation is a good idea. An independent inspector certified by the American Council for Accredited Certification or the American Board of Industrial Hygiene is the person for this job. They’ll be able to tell you whether it’s safe to clean up the mold yourself or if a remediation company is needed.
3. Warped or Sagging Floor
While natural settling can cause a floor to sag, you’ll want to find out for sure what the situation is in case it’s something more serious. A look in your crawl space or basement will determine whether the sagging is harmless or not.
For example, if the sagging is in a kitchen or bathroom, a sink or toilet leak may have caused water to soak in and rot the subfloor — a problem needing immediate attention. Another possibility: Bracing or serious repair may be required if a structural support has been damaged or compromised. Engineers or home inspectors are professionals that can give advice in this scenario.
4. Standing Water Outside
If you find standing water in your yard for hours after a modest rain, odds are you have poor drainage due to improper grading or heavy, compressed soil. When this happens close to your home’s foundation, it can result in horrible moisture problems in your crawlspace or basement. The good news? Re-grading the property or installing a French drain can typically fix the issue.
5. Damaged or Missing Roof Shingles
Regular roof inspections are extremely important. Any signs of damage, regardless of how small, should be taken care of immediately, as potential repairs can get pricey fast if moisture reaches the wood sheathing beneath the shingles. Those that are handy might be able to take care of certain roofing problems themself, but safety measures should always be followed. If the job is too big or something out of your expertise, call a reputable professional.
6. Sagging Roofline
In this case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A sagging roofline can simply be the result of materials drying out, especially in older houses. However, it can also indicate that something is damaged, the sheathing is rotten, or a connection is loose. All of these issues require professional attention. Make inspecting your attic space a habit so that new problems are discovered immediately.
7. Peeling Paint
Exterior: Peeling paint on the outside of your home leaves the underlying wood susceptible to sun and water damage. To fix it, scrape the paint down to the bare wood, and then apply primer and new paint. Also, remember to paint during the best time of the day, which is once the sun has moved away from the area you’re working on. Direct sunlight will evaporate the paint material too fast.
Interior: If your interior paint is peeling off in jagged squares, like crocodile skin, you have a problem. That’s a telltale sign that there is lead-based paint underneath. If the affected area is large or if there are small children in the household, you’ll want to call a professional about removal. Little kids are especially vulnerable to damage from lead poisoning.
8. Wobbly Stair Railings
Don’t ignore a shaky stair railing, particularly if you have children in the home. While a little movement is understandable, having the railing wobble just by touching it is a problem. A healthy stair railing should be able to withstand a force of about 200 pounds. To fix the shaking, it might be possible to tighten a short railing where it attaches to the wall. However, if the railing is long or has a balcony, you’ll most likely need the help of a professional.
9. Dripping Faucets
Leaky faucets may not seem like a huge deal, but the amount of water they can waste is shocking. Try not to wait until a drip can be seen or heard. Instead, be proactive and check underneath your sinks for leaks. This includes inspecting kitchen spray wands, which have been known to leak down the tubing without being noticed.