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Home maintenance is not always at the top of our to-do list. But by committing to a simple regime, you can reduce the chance of serious (and costly) defects occurring.

10 top maintenance tips to reduce costly home defects
by: Stephanie Missos

Maintenance around the home is something we know we need to do yet so often put off for another day. Let’s face it: having breakfast at your favourite café is a lot more enticing than spending Sunday morning cleaning out dirty gutters. But New Zealand conditions can be tough on your house, and the simple way to avoid costly repair jobs is to keep on top of small issues before they blow out into big ones.

Whether you live in an apartment or a house as a renter or owner, committing to a simple regime can significantly lessen the chance of serious defects occurring, helping make your house feel loved. This 10-point list is a great start.


  1. Inspect and clean your gutters of debris to prevent clogging and unnecessary leaks. A clogged gutter can also lead to structural damage over time.

  2. Have your roof inspected by a professional. Roof problems are not always obvious, so you may not know that issues are building up. Some common problems include moisture and roof leaks, rotting fascia boards, rusty and leaking gutters and general lack of maintenance.

  3. Keep an eye on the condition of your stumps, particularly if they are timber. A visual inspection of the stumps will help determine whether restumping is required. If you’re renovating, restumping may be one of the first jobs you may need to consider ensuring the stability of the foundations.

  4. Seek some professional advice if you notice cracking in brickwork. To maintain the structural integrity of your home, any cracking larger than 12mm should be assessed by a structural engineer. We suggest that small cracks are monitored over a period of twelve months.


  1. Over time, most driveways begin to crack and show signs of wear and tear. If you notice a substantial amount of driveway cracking where the concrete is lifting, it’s important to monitor these cracks. Small cracks can often lead to significant issues if left unattended.

  2. Repair or replace damaged window screens to prevent any bugs making their way into the house. With regular maintenance, your window screen can last for years. It’s important to repair or replace a small hole or tear promptly to prevent it growing larger.

  3. Check your window sealants by looking for any gaps. Gaps and cracks around window frames can contribute to undesirable draughts and possibly, high energy bills. Replace any rubber seals that are worn out to help reduce air and water leaks. Sealing these areas is a relatively easy task that you can do yourself, without the assistance of an expert.

  4. Look for any signs of leaking outside the shower recess as well as damaged skirting boards. You may notice that grouting or silicon has come away from around the base of tiles. In these situations, it’s necessary to re-grout or re-apply silicon or mastic. A professional will be able to determine whether flooring and skirting boards need to be replaced, particularly if the damage is excessive.

  5. Check your deck or patio for any deterioration such as cracked boards, rotted wood or missing screws and nails. Determine if your deck needs sealing by sprinkling water on the deck’s boards. If the water soaks right in, then it’s time to reseal your deck.

  6. Add a layer of mulch to keep weeds down and help the ground retain its moisture in the heat. But avoid mulching around the weep holes in your brickwork or masonry to ensure termites can’t find an entry point into your house.

Remember: if you’re unsure of any of the above home maintenance issues and solutions, it’s always a good idea to call in the experts. Checking in with a professional can help you identify the right options and make sure that you make the most of your budget.

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