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Why Your Home's Era Matters

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Category: Property Management

Published 09/12/2017

As a property owner, you should know that maintenance is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Rather, your home’s era and style dictate what you’ll need to do to keep it in top shape. Let’s look at a few different types of home design and the specific property-maintenance tips that accompany them. Tudor While the Tudor style first developed centuries ago, its modern usage with reference to home architecture came into play in the 19th century through a combination of late Gothic and Elizabethan elements in addition to Tudor-type details. It’s important to remember that these homes – often timber-framed – can be prone to decay. This means preventative maintenance is the name of the game. Potential problems here include dampness that could cause rotting, sagging beams that might bear too much weight, timbers that have been cut improperly during renovations, and signs of fungal attack or beetle infestation. Moreover, timber is likely present even where it is not visible – in joists, windows, and lintels above doors, for example. Make sure to contact a qualified surveyor or structural engineer for a complete evaluation of the work ahead. First steps when it comes to checking a timber frame for damage: • Look for moisture, which is timber’s biggest enemy, and try to figure out its source; • Use a penknife to prod for possible infestations – if the timber is sound, you won’t be able to penetrate it; • Maintain treated and painted beams by removing dust and dirt with a soft brush or damp cloth; do not use linseed oil, whose stickiness attracts dirt. Mid-Century Modern This popular pre-war style and its mix of natural materials such as brick, wood, and stone demand a combination of common and unique maintenance tasks. It’s important that you take the time to understand your property and its needs rather than simply rushing to repair damages. This can undercut the value of the home as well as the sanctity of its period details. Experts recommend drafting an inspection checklist to streamline the identification and repair processes. Here are some of the elements this list should include: • Six-Month Inspection: ​ o Clean debris from gutters and spouts; o Clean and clear roofings and flashings, checking for rust, water, or other damage; o Check for cracks or damage in chimney bases and foundations. • Annual Inspection: o Check for weaknesses in chimney tops; o Note all scaling or cracks in masonry, both painted and unpainted; o Inspect all mortar joints, windows, doors, and claddings (also known as sidings) Victorian The picturesque Victorian style took hold in the mid-to-late 19th century; the name refers to the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. You’ll find plenty of these in the Bay Area, and while they’re beautiful, they have their own set of unique maintenance tips that you’ll want to get to know. For example, a Victorian’s early cavity walls were built to fight moisture along with improving insulation. However, these days such walls can corrode, eating away at the stability of the home in general. A few others: • Victorian architecture’s signature ornate decorative details are beautiful, but can also be dangerous if not properly maintained – ignore repair on these at your own (and your tenants’) risk; • Made to emulate early Roman floors, Victorian decorative floor tiles catch your eye and can also drain your wallet if covered with carpet or underlay, both of which trap moisture; • Keep slate roofing material and iron nails healthy by using felt to prevent corrosion and rusting.

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