The list sits prominently on your fridge. “TO DO: 7 Home Improvement Projects”

We all have a list of things we want to do to make our homes look and work the way we want. After months of procrastination, you’re finally going to tackle the list…woohoo! Then, while walking the dog you notice paint chipping above your bedroom window. Hmm, never noticed that before. 

A leak in the gutter creates a pool on your front steps every rainstorm…and that constant drip-drip-drip from the bathroom is keeping you awake.

Your list just grew to 10. You may not have the time or funds to do them all. So where do you start?

Let us help you prioritize. First, it’s important to know which tasks are nice-to-have cosmetic changes and which problems are either a safety concern or can cause further damage to your house. From an insurance perspective you want to tackle those items that pose a risk to you and your guests, while avoiding damage to your house. With a little planning, a quick run to the hardware store and some elbow grease, you should be able to check these five off the list. They could save you in the long run.

  • Plug that leaky gutter: The purpose of the gutter is to channel the rain down the spout. When that doesn’t happen you’re going to see some damage to the side of the house and you could develop puddles where there should be none. If that happens on your front steps and you live in an area where temps drop below freezing you’ll get ice in the winter. A dangerous recipe that could lead to people slipping and falling. If you have the ability to safely access the gutter, here is some advice.
  • Shore up those crumbling steps and walkways: Tripping on front steps can be painful. And if it’s a visitor to your house who’s doing the falling it could lead to an insurance claim. So get them fixed. Some jobs may require a professional mason but don’t be afraid to tackle the simple fixes like a loose brick or creating grip on perpetually slippery steps.
  • Secure the railings: One important part of any set of stairs is a secure railing, especially for senior citizens and those who need some help navigating steps. Whether you have a wooden or iron railing you may be susceptible to rotting or rust that compromises its integrity. Here you can find the necessary steps to fix it.
  • Eliminate the rot. There are lots of places in a wooden home that can absorb water and eventually begin to rot. The fascia board (long board that runs along the lower edge of the roof) is a perfect gathering point for water from the roof. Replacing it may seem daunting. If you’re careful – and comfortable – on a ladder, you can make the fix with a little help. Here’s how.
  • Light the way. The right lighting sets the right mood, whether it’s inside the home or accenting your landscaping. Even more importantly it keeps you from bumping into walls or making a misstep. If the only source of outside illumination is a porch light you might want to think about brightening up your path in and out of the house. It can actually be a quick job.

As always be safe, follow directions and if you doubt your ability to complete the job be sure to hire a professional. Checking items off the To Do list can be more than satisfying – it may keep you, your guests and your property in tact.

By MAPFRE Insurance