Well-functioning bathrooms achieve a lot. When they run well and look good, they increase the value of our homes, they keep us safe from things like mold, and they allow us to feel refreshed and at home in our houses.
Sometimes, though, our bathrooms themselves are in need of a refresh. As those who own their homes know, one of the costs of home ownership is maintaining your home so that its value remains over the long haul. Keeping bathrooms updated means ensuring that you’re taking care of what you have and you’re making small changes as the needs arise. Doing so is the key to preventing a situation wherein your only option is a major, costly renovation to save your bathroom.
Remove Dirt and Grime
Many large problems people run into in their bathroom spaces are the result of small problems that they never addressed. The smaller an issue is, the easier it will be to deal with. Any problem that arises in the bathroom that you put off will not go away, it will simply become more problematic, and more costly on your time and your resources.
Get rid of rust: Both seen and unseen rust is problematic in bathrooms. Removing rust from the likes of toilets and showers ensures unsightly stains don’t make your bathroom look dirtier than it actually is. Rusting pipes in the bathroom left untreated can end up damaging your plumbing.
Kill mold: Not only is mold potentially harmful for individuals, it can also damage the walls and drywall within your home. As soon as you spot mold growth in your bathroom, take the steps to kill it. It’s important to remember with mold that if you can see some, there is likely more lurking where you cannot see. Therefore, it’s valuable to use a squeegee to remove excess moisture after showers, and to keep fans running at least half hour post-shower to ensure proper ventilation.
Clean the fan filter: As Josh Crank writes in his overview of cleaning fan filters out, “Bathroom exhaust fans are among the most underappreciated systems in today’s homes. They’re easy to forget about when it comes to home maintenance, and they can sometimes malfunction without homeowners even noticing. But when they’re used properly and well maintained, they can make any home safer, more energy efficient and fresher-smelling.”
Consistently assessing how the components in your bathroom are fairing and taking the steps needed to keep them well-maintained will serve you and your bathroom well.
Replace the Worn Out or Damaged
Given the fact that our bathrooms really operate as an interconnected system, it’s clear that areas in need of replacing aren’t simply isolated issues. Instead, when things are broken or worn down, it’s often the case that those problems will weaken the area as a whole and you’ll end up having to fix more components.
Fix flooring issues: No matter the type of flooring in your bathroom, if there is damage to the floors the inevitable consequence is that you will have water damage, as well. Whether you need to replace hardwood planks or tiles in the floor, the quicker you respond to damage the better off you’ll be.
Reseal grout: While many will tell you that grout should be sealed every year, the reality is that watching your grout for signs of wear is a better, more cost-effective way to judge. When film coatings on top of grout begin to chip, the grout showing underneath is a sign you’ll need to reseal. If your grout has a penetrating sealer, which is clear, you know you need to reseal when the grout begins changing color, because that is a sign air is reaching the grout.
Things will inevitably break and where out, but staying on top of repairs is the difference between a worn out bathroom and a like-new one.
Refresh Where Needed
Sometimes bathroom maintenance isn’t so much a matter of complete replacement or removal, but rather giving some attention to areas that need a relatively straightforward fix. We can easily tune out small imperfections that we see on a day-to-day basis, but not doing that and actively problem-solving will ensure fixes stay small and your bathroom stays pristine.
Stop the leaks: “The average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day,” writes the EPA. Leaks waste water and money, and bathrooms leaks a prime culprit. Check your toilet flapper faucet, especially, for leaks.
Deal with cracks and chips: As we’ve noted before, “While cleaning the bathroom or taking a shower; follow the grout lines and look for missing grout, hairline cracks. Pay close attention to the corners and seams – those are the most common areas for the cracks to appear and the grout to become loose.”
If you see an area in need of a little love, give it some, and reap the rewards of bathroom that works they way it should.
When we do home maintenance, we have the power to make many small choices and repairs that ultimately save us from having to make large ones. When you see maintenance that needs to be done, a choice is always made: you either fix it right then or you fix it later. The only difference is usually the time and money spent on it. The longer the problem is allowed to exist, the larger the cost. As in most areas of life, the best home maintenance is that which works smarter, not harder.