Maintenance is Preservation. Preservation is Maintenance.
Often the old & historic building stock falls into disrepair because of neglect over the years. Minor problems become major expenses, which homeowners cannot afford. It is an unfortunate situation, because many of these problems could have been prevented with routine maintenance. Yearly maintenance is preventative maintenance and will prolong the health of your building and save you money in the long run. The tasks listed below may be obvious to you, but a reminder is sometimes helpful to all.
(1) Clear brush and leaves away from the foundation.
(2) Make the sure the grading of the ground abutting the building feeds water away from the foundation.
(3) Clean out the gutters.
(4) General cleaning or washing of a building is a good idea to, from windows to siding to porches (just don’t power wash anything!)
(5) Check the window casing/frames for cracks, deterioration — e.g. cracked or peeling paint, water stains. Stick a pocket knife or similar object into the wood to test for quality. If it goes in easily, more than you would expect, the wood will need to be repaired or replaced soon. A fresh coat of paint can protect your window sills and window frames.
(6) Open your windows to get good air flow throughout the building. Fresh air can do wonders for a building.
(7) Check the roof flashing, shingles (be safe or hire someone qualified!). Make sure it is there are no leaks or dirt accumulation.
(8) Have your chimney inspected if you haven’t already. For example, our chimney was unlined when bought our house, so we had to have a liner installed (otherwise it can be a fire hazard).
(9) Check for water damage inside and outside. Be sure to check in the attic and basement spaces. The best time to look for leaks is when it’s raining.
(10) Check your smoke alarms and all of your building systems. Check your attic insulation. Get in all of those places that you avoid in colder weather. Investigate your walls for cracks – and the foundation. Crawl under the porch. Basically, get to know your building.
This list is what I would do for my house, so there are likely other tasks to add for your own building. What else do you recommend? Good weather is coming this weekend (finally!), so it is a good time to take care of some home maintenance tasks. Have fun! Remember, maintenance = preservation = building love.