It’s fitting that Father’s Day falls within National Home Inspector Appreciation Month in June. The handiwork of many do-it-yourself dads has created some of the most interesting discoveries for home inspectors hired to root out structural flaws and other defects in homes.
“It’s easy for homeowners to get in over their heads with home improvement projects,” says Kathleen Kuhn, President and CEO of HouseMaster, the most experienced name in home inspections. “Many mistakes start with well-intentioned homeowners who put too much emphasis on home improvement rather than home maintenance.”
The current trend in home improvement often stems from the desire to add value to a home. However, a home’s value begins at its core with a healthy structure. Adding a new kitchen or bathroom to a home that has foundation or moisture issues is not necessarily the best investment. While modern amenities are attractive to potential homebuyers, cutting through a major floor joist to update a home’s plumbing may be the quick and easy way, but it can create more negatives than positives.
Amateur power tool users often get into trouble by cutting before thinking. Many do-it-yourselfers have cut or nailed through old pipes in a wall during a home improvement project, leading to water damage and major repair issues. Even outdoor projects run the risk of breaking through a gas or water line.
Collateral damage caused by such mishaps often show up on a home inspection report once the house is up for sale. And the next buyer seldom wants to inherit a fix-it list spawned from do-it-yourself projects gone wrong. “So many houses look great on the surface,” adds Kuhn. “But our business grew from the need to look past the surface and uncover less noticeable defects. Savvy homeowners are getting annual home maintenance inspections to stay up-to-date with maintenance requirements and keep ahead of major repair expenses. Smart homebuyers always get a professional home inspection before purchasing a home.”
This Father’s Day, consider giving your dad the day off by hiring a professional for some home improvement jobs. Here are some fairly straightforward home improvement investments that can actually boost the value of a home in the long term.
- New gutters or gutter guards – controls water movement away from the house and could prevent moisture from entering the house.
- New windows – saves energy and improves the appearance of a home.
- Tree and shrub trimming – get rid of trees, shrubs or branches that are too close to a house. Trees can damage roofs and also act as a bridge for pests to enter the home; dense shrub foliage can impede air flow and trap moisture around the house.
- Attic insulation – improves the energy efficiency of your house.
- Automatic garage door opener – provides added level of convenience.
- Wood flooring refresh – refinishing floors can add new life to a home.
It’s wonderful to take on fix-it projects, but if your father doesn’t know the difference between a truss and a stud, giving him a power saw might not be the best choice. Even if he is familiar with operating power tools properly, it’s how they’re used that could pose a challenge. As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More information about home ownership and home maintenance can be found on housemaster.com.