Dial Back Maintenance Through Design
Maintenance is a broad concept. To some people, maintenance means getting the furnace checked once a year and changing the batteries in the smoke alarms before they start beeping. Others embrace it as a lifestyle and create schedules for repainting rooms (note the “re”), seek out special beeswax for their hardwood floors, and have no fear of grout.
This post is for the first group. People who love their homes, but don’t have a lot of time for upkeep. If you’re in this group, you’re likely not planning any large-scale renovations, but you will need to replace or upgrade sections of your home from time to time.
When these opportunities pop up, two guidelines can help you make your home easier to maintain in the coming years:
- Keep it simple
- Buy materials that last
Keep it Simple
Take a moment to picture two places in your mind: a mid-century modern living room and a Victorian parlor. Which one is easier to maintain? Even if you love 19th-century moldings, furniture, cabinets, carpets, heavy drapery — you know they require more effort to maintain and keep clean.
Look for opportunities to simplify the lines and minimize decorative elements when you update. For example, if you’re going to update your windows, choose frames with straight lines instead of curved, larger sections of glass instead of multiple panes, and make sure the style is easy to take apart and clean.
Another key area in which you can simplify, both in terms of doing the work and keeping it maintained, is tiles. Cleaning grout makes people grouchy. One way to reduce this ongoing battle is to choose large format tiles when you update your kitchen or bath. Many styles mimic the look of smaller tiles, but come in two-foot pieces, covering more surface area and requiring less grout.
Buy Materials That Last
The second, and possibly most important guideline, centers on materials. In short, always look for hardworking, tough, washable materials. And keep the style classic or neutral — after all, you will live with these materials for a very long time. For example:
- –Floors: Consider laminate flooring, which will be easy to maintain, not require refinishing, and depending on the thickness of the material and the foot traffic in the area, last for decades.
- –Walls: Choose washable paint or vinyl coverings that mimic other fabrics, but are easier to clean.
- –Countertops: Look for surfaces like quartz that are scratch and stain resistant, and non-porous. Stainless steel countertops are also making a comeback, especially those which can seamlessly flow into the sink area.
- –Decks: Look for composite decking boards or tiles. In addition to durability, many contain recycled materials, making them a green choice as well.
- –Roof: Between winter weather and summer storms, it’s highly likely that you will need to replace your roof at some point. Consider installing an aluminum or steel roof. The upfront expense is higher, but it will last for 50 years rather than the 15 years of a typical asphalt roof.
Maintenance is a constant, but it doesn’t have to be a burden. We’re here to help you explore options, both in new materials and design. Let’s see how beautiful simple can be!