Regular preventative maintenance inside your home will extend the life of materials and appliances and could improve the health of your household.
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One of the major problems in New Zealand homes is the amount of moisture that collects and stays around indoors. High moisture levels encourage mould growth and that’s bad for your health.
Moist homes are also harder to heat. Visible moisture – stains or puddles – could be a sign of more serious problems such as a leaky home or rotting timbers and framing.
You should treat the cause of excessive moisture at the same time as addressing its effects. See our article on moisture in the home for information on ways to reduce moisture in your home.
Look out for:
Find and address the cause of the moisture. Do not leave it - it could be leaking pipes or cladding and could be an early indication of far more serious problems that, if left, could involve very expensive repairs.
First determine the cause of the dampness and solve the problem, then:
Use a strip of tissue paper or a lighted candle to trace the draughts. Also look for curtain movement. Seal around openable wooden windows and exterior doors with self-adhesive PVC foam draught strip (available from hardware stores from about $6 for 5m). Clean the paint surface or the strip won't stick.
Block any open fireplace with a loose-fitting removable panel when not in use. The loose fit allows any rain that gets in to evaporate away. On extractor fans and rangehoods, check that the shutters are working properly.
This can be due to timber shrinkage or building movement. It can also be due to the joints not being properly taped before stopping.
If the building is new, contact the builder to make the repair. Otherwise, remove the old jointing material and re-stop the joints with tape and plasterboard stopping compound, then redecorate.
This is from general wear and tear. Fill dents with plasterboard stopping compound, sand and re-decorate. Repair holes by cutting out the area and inserting a new plasterboard section.
Care needs to be taken not to damage the face paper on the plasterboard when doing this. You may be better off filling holes with a high build acrylic product instead, before sanding and redecorating.
Nails pop if the framing timber shrinks after the lining has been applied or plasterboard has not been fixed hard against the frame.
If the building is new, the builder should be called to remedy this problem. If not, put in new fixings at least 50mm away from existing ones. Ensure the plasterboard is hard against the frame. Drive in the original fixings, re-stop and decorate.
Borer loves damp or untreated timber. See our article on borer for more information.
This is due to mould growth and can occur under the coating or varnish.
Address the cause of the mould, check for leaks behind the board or high moisture levels. See our article on moisture in the home. Treat the mould and allow the board to dry before recoating.
To improve safety in living areas you can:
Balconies, mezzanines and changes of level within the home should be provided with a barrier to prevent occupants simply walking off the edge. Where there is a fall distance of more than 1m, the Building Code requires that you install a barrier. Even if the fall distance is less than 1m, providing a barrier will remove the risk of a fall.
Do not place low furniture, chairs or climbable objects alongside a barrier.
Speak to your local council to find out the exact rules for barriers on balconies or mezzanine levels.
In bedrooms you can improve safety by:
In children's bedrooms try to:
Stairs are safer where:
To make stairs safer:
In corridors and hallways you can improve safety by:
Whether you're planning to build your own home or renovate an existing one, we've got you covered with a wide range of articles covering the whole process.
Renovating and altering houses is a favourite pastime for many New Zealanders. Our articles take a look at what's involved when you undertake a renovation project.
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