How to find a low-maintenance home
Owning a home can be a rewarding experience. It can also be absolutely exhausting. There’s so much maintenance that goes into keeping it running smoothly, from landscaping and repainting to general upkeep. When you’re buying a house (especially an older one), you should know how much work you’re signing up to do.
If you’re not careful, you could find yourself constantly having to fix or pay for things like porous roofs, warped wooden decks and new plumbing. That’s not the way you want to spend time in your new home.
While no home is maintenance-free, this guide will show you some ways to identify a low-maintenance house. We’ll go over why a low-maintenance house is beneficial and give you a few examples of what you’ll find in one.
Benefits of a low-maintenance home
When unexpected issues arise in your home, they can be annoying, frustrating and, most of all, costly. Low-maintenance homes can make you feel more financially secure. You won’t have to worry about things like saving money just in case your roof decides to fall apart right before winter.
Low-maintenance materials are usually built to withstand the harsh nature of the elements over time. They’re much less likely to break or wear down than other materials, and some can offer other benefits to your home, like increased energy efficiency.
7 elements to look for in a low-maintenance home
In the next few sections, we’ll go over some things you can look for when trying to spend less time on home maintenance. However, nothing lasts forever. When you buy a home, you should always ask important questions.
You need to know the age of the materials used for the home and the last time they were serviced. For example, if the house has vinyl window frames that haven’t been worked on in 25 years, you know they’ll likely need to be replaced soon.
1. Roofing materials that last
A worn-out roof is not only expensive to replace; it’s also really annoying and inconvenient. A leaky roof lets water into your home and exposes your family to the cold. Not only can leaks ruin furniture and carpets but they can also cause mildew and mold to grow.
Most roof building materials last for around 20 years, but some roofing materials can last much longer (around 100 years, in some cases). You should keep in mind that some materials are easier and more cost-effective to repair than others.
- Galvanized steel is resistant to rust due to its zinc coating. It protects your home from the elements, like snow and rain, and it’s fire-resistant. On top of being extremely durable, it’s also lightweight and can easily last an average of 50 years.
- Aluminum is an extremely strong metal roofing material that can keep your home cool in the summer months. Like other metals, it’s also wind- and fire-resistant. It will usually last around 50 years.
- Copper will last a long time, from 70 to 100 years. It’s very tough and durable. As it gets older, it gets a patina color effect that can increase the aesthetic value of the roof.
- Clay and concrete are sturdy, fire-resistant materials for roofs. Clay and concrete roof tiles can last around 100 years. These tiles are heavier than other options (especially concrete). These roofs can be easier to repair than a metal roof because you can replace certain shingles instead of the whole roof.
- Slate roofing has incredible durability and can last 100 years or more. It’s resistant to fire, mold and freezing temperatures. It’s a very heavy material but can increase the retail and aesthetic value of your home.
2. Durable home siding
Siding protects the outside of your home from inclement weather. It also shields the joints of your house from outside water. The less maintenance you have to do on siding material, the longer it will last.
- Brick or stone siding is tough, immune to fires, and doesn’t require much care. It will last the lifetime of your home. Some minor repointing (replacing damaged mortar in spots) or washing is all it needs. You may also have to use a water repellent sealer to decrease the risk of spalling (water leaking into and damaging older concrete).
- Stucco will also last the lifetime of your home. Stucco can easily be stained or painted, is fire-resistant and is great for controlling the temperature in your home.
- Fiber cement can last over 75 years and is a really tough material for siding. It’s also heavy and resistant to things like fires, corrosion and infestations. It’s really easy to paint and comes in clapboards (long planks) or shakes (hand-cut logs).
3. Well-insulated windows and doors
When it comes to windows, the frames require the most maintenance. Cracked or damaged frames can let air into your home, making it difficult to control the temperature and, thus, raising your electricity bills.
Some materials, like wood, are also susceptible to warping and rotting, which is unsightly and can decrease your home’s value if they’re not replaced.
- Fiberglass is a strong material that will keep its shape and is resistant to rot. It can be painted or textured to look like wood and has energy efficiency comparable to wood, as well. Fiberglass is good at keeping hot or cool air from getting in or out. Fiberglass window frames will last for about 50 years, while fiberglass door frames last about 100 years or more.
- Steel and aluminum frames are incredibly tough. Aluminum windows will last around 30 years, while steel doors can last over 100 years. Like fiberglass, metal frames will not warp or rot, but they’re not as energy-efficient. Metal is also good for keeping outside noise from getting in.
- Vinyl will last around 30 years and won’t rot. You don’t paint vinyl frames, so you won’t be able to change their color. Vinyl window frames are energy-efficient and good for regulating temperature. However, they don’t keep out noise as well as metal frames.
4. Flooring that holds up to high traffic
Low-maintenance flooring needs to be strong enough to stand up to a large amount of foot traffic without getting cracked, scratched, deformed or scuffed-up. It should also be able to withstand various messes and spills.
- Porcelain tile is dense, water-resistant and tough. It’s perfect for high-traffic areas and can last over 50 years. Many businesses use it because of its resistance to stains, scratches and damage (it also looks great).
- Engineered hardwood (or composite wood) is made by layering hardwood and plywood in such a way that it becomes more durable than real wood and won’t change shape in areas of high moisture. On the outside, it still has the aesthetic quality of solid hardwood flooring and will last 20 to 30 years.
- Luxury vinyl flooring can last from 10 to 20 years. It’s designed to resist scratches, stains and water. It’s very easy to clean and maintain. The material is also resilient, which means it has a degree of give. This makes it comfortable to walk on and helps it absorb noise.
5. Stain-resistant countertops
Like your floors, your countertops will have to be resistant to the many things that will be spilled on them over the years. Low-maintenance countertops should be able to take a whole lot of abuse without getting stained or warped.
- Quartz has a non-porous structure that makes it incredibly stain-resistant and easy to clean. It’s also resistant to scratches, heat, and it’s antimicrobial. Quartz countertops can last over 30 years.
- Laminate countertops are strong enough to handle everyday use. They’re somewhat scratch- and heat-resistant, but not as much as quartz. Like quartz, laminate is non-porous, so you don’t have to worry about sealing it. These countertops can last between 10 and 20 years.
- Stainless steel countertops look good and are resistant to heat, stains, germs, bacteria and water. They’re also very easy to clean. However, they are susceptible to scratching and denting.
- Recycled glass countertops are water-resistant and can have a modern look. However, they are very susceptible to chips and cracks.
6. Durable material for outdoor decks
Low-maintenance outdoor decks need to be able to stand up to things like harsh weather conditions, insect infestations and foot traffic.
- Tropical hardwoods grow in tropical forests outside the United States. Hardwoods like ipe, garapa, tigerwood, massaranduba and cumaru are great for building decks. They’re dense, durable, stain-resistant and can last over 50 years.
- Aluminum decks will last 30 to 50 years. They’re strong, stain-resistant and resistant to rot and warping. Unlike wood decks, they don’t attract pests like termites or rodents.
- Composite decking is tough because it’s a mix of plastic and wood, meaning it won’t rot or warp like wood. It doesn’t require things like staining or painting and can last around 20 years.
7. Smart home features
Many houses now have smart features that can make taking care of your home much easier. If you can find a home with some of these features, you’ll enjoy benefits like saving money on energy costs and general convenience.
- Smart sprinkler systems can be programmed to water your yard at the most opportune times without you having to be present. They can be adjusted to follow water restriction laws if needed.
- Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature in your home remotely so you can save money on heating or cooling costs when no one is home. Then, you can make the temperature comfortable again right before you get back.
- Smart water shut-off valves will let you know if you’re using too much water or if there’s an issue with your plumbing. They’ll also turn off the water supply to faucets if they sense a problem like a huge leak.
- Smart blinds can be programmed to open and shut at certain times during the day. They also let you control how much light gets in so your furniture and carpet don’t become faded.
Protect your home with a home warranty from Cinch
In all the excitement of looking for a new home, it’s easy to forget about all the work that goes into homeownership. It’s definitely something you should consider. In the long run, a home that requires lower maintenance will save you energy, time and money.
It can be difficult for homeowners to DIY every issue on their property. Luckily, you don’t have to do everything yourself. With a home warranty from Cinch Home Services, you can protect many of your home’s built-in systems and major appliances. We’ll work with you to find the plan that best suits your needs. Request a free quote today.