Avoid These 4 Home Maintenance Mistakes

Written by Nicole Harms
Updated August 21, 2016
white shower and floor tile with grout
Cleaning and maintaining grout will prevent unseen water damage that can lead to mold or rot. (Photo courtesy of Lea and Peter O. of Cincinnati, Ohio)

Putting off these home maintenance chores could require calling a handyman or even lead to more expensive repairs.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Homeowners can be their own worst enemies when it comes to home maintenance. Cutting corners and ignoring routine maintenance tasks can lead to expensive problems that require the help of a professional.

Don't procrastinate when it comes to your biggest investment, your home. Failing to perform the following home maintenance tasks might require a call to your handyman or lead to more drastic (and expensive) repairs down the road.

Need a Home Tune-up?

Already behind on maintenance or want to get started right? Angie's List can schedule a local handyman to inspect your home and perform preventive maintenance for you.

Schedule a Home Tune-up

1. Fill gaps in your grout

Grout isn't there to look pretty; it's used to seal the gaps between floor or wall tiles. Gaps mean moisture is getting through, and if moisture gets trapped behind your tiles, it can allow mold and rot to take hold in the drywall or support beams.

Ignoring loose grout, cracks or gaps also puts your home at risk for water damage, which is expensive and time consuming to fix. Many homeowners insurance plans exclude water damage caused by failure to perform routine maintenance. A simple cleaning can save both you and your handyman a lot of headache later.

If you notice crumbling grout or gaps between tiles, you should first try and remove as much of the old grout as possible down to the substrate. Then, plug the gap with new grout. Notice major cracks in the grout in several areas, or need help matching old grout with new? You can hire a handyman or grout specialist to regrout the tile.

While grout is important, many homeowners also overlook the need to recaulk around tile showers corners. Replacing caulk is an easy DIY, but caulk that's peeling or lost its seal is a common source of shower leaks. You should also periodically check the caulk seal around your bathtub, as well as near other sinks in the home.

2. Remember to dust

Regular dusting will keep allergies at bay, as well as prevent a layer of everything from mold spores to pollen and pet dander from accumulating on your furniture and collectibles.

Besides breaking out the feather duster, don't forget about cleaning your HVAC vent covers to prevent dust from circulating around your home. If you have bad allergies, recently finished remodeling or live with pets, you may want to go a step beyond and hire an air duct cleaner to clean out your vents themselves.

Many people also forget to clean the coils on their refrigerator. If they're caked in dust, the coils will work harder than normal to keep your food cold. The added strain can cause your fridge to prematurely break down and require you to call an appliance repair company.

Foundation leak
Failing to act on home maintenance problems, such as leaks, can cost you down the road. (Photo by Angie's List member Ruth N., of Temple, Texas)

3. Fix water leaks promptly

The smallest plumbing leak can compound over time and lead to a costly repair. Water damage can cause hardwood and laminate floors to warp, create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, and stain walls and ceilings.

If you suspect your pipes are leaking, you need to call a plumber to get the problem fixed before it leads to even bigger plumbing problems.

The same is true for roof leaks. If you notice any water dripping or stains on your ceiling, call a roofer to assess the situation.

4. Clean out your gutters

Some people fail to realize how important it is to gutter cleaning really is. Gutters are responsible for channeling water away from your home's roof and foundation. Clogged gutters can lead to roof leaks, foundation problems and rotten fascia boards.

If you can, clean your gutters at least once in the spring and fall. If you don't have the tools to do it or simply don't want to climb a ladder, consider hiring a handyman to clean your gutters or install gutter guards to prevent clogs.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on October 31, 2012.

What's your most overlooked household chore? Tell us how you keep up on maintenance in the comments.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.