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DIY tips for holiday home maintenance

Friday, July 28, 2017
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Everyone dreams of living at the coast: fresh air, the sound of crashing waves and beautiful beachfront views. However, this lifestyle doesn’t come without challenges, and salty air and moisture can cause considerable damage if your home is not well maintained. It may seem obvious, but sometimes we need to be reminded that a well-maintained home is far more likely to attract higher sales values. Here are some relatively stress-free projects you can tackle this holiday break.

Bathrooms and kitchens

Damp areas equal mould. Repair any leaks or areas where water might be able to find its way in to prevent mould from growing in your home. If any water has entered the home, promote air circulation with fans and fresh air and thoroughly clean and dry any fabric surfaces that get wet. Clean mould or mildew in shower corners by scrubbing with mild detergent, drying and applying a mixture of ¼ cup bleach to ¾ cup of water. Use anti-fungal cleaner regularly and repair broken or cracked bathroom caulking. Open a window or use an extractor fan while showering. In and around the kitchen, applying a protective wax to metal-front appliances like ovens and braais can help repel water and prevent rust.

Windows and doors

Older homes often have timber-framed windows and doors, which are particularly prone to swelling and rotting in wet coastal conditions. Aluminium products are far more resilient – but also require regular wiping and maintenance. Clean your windows often to avoid a salty residue build-up. For metal hardware on your doors and windows, use Q20 or silicone spray to slow corrosion.

Outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture on verandas, balconies, patios and decks take the most severe beating from the salt air and moisture. Stay away from outdoor wicker, unless it’s in an enclosed area or is weather-resistant wicker. Teak is an ultra-durable wood, but needs to be treated with a special oil and stain often to retain its colour. Wrought iron will definitely rust, but if you must have it, make it last a bit longer by getting galvanised, powder-coated iron and treating bare spots as they arise.

Cast aluminium is a great choice, usually being rust-free, fade-free and low maintenance. Store fabric cushions and pillows inside as much as possible (fabric for outdoor furniture should be polyester, vinyl or acrylic, 100% acrylic being the best choice).


Salt air often causes rust and damage to air-conditioning condensers. Apart from regular filter cleaning, be sure to keep the condensers clear of leaves and debris, and deal with any corrosion or rust build-up quickly to avoid future bigger issues.

Decks and timber

For coastal homeowners sealing decks should be an annual to-do. There is a temptation to allow timber like Balau to wear naturally and grey over time, but salt air, water and the brutal sun are tough on any exposed woodwork, especially decks, and there are many cases of even hardy timbers rotting and cracking if not maintained.

Blocked gutters

Blocked gutters and pipes can result in water damage to a home. Take a look before the rainy season starts to ensure gutters and downpipes are not blocked or leaking. To remove a blockage, grab a hosepipe and push this up – or down – the downspout to try and release fallen leaves.

Remember …

Protection and prevention are key to protecting your home and ensuring your precious coastal investment is well looked after. Be proactive and inspect your home frequently to catch and fix problems before they become a pricey repair.