Maintaining a holiday home is hard enough as it is, but properties near the coast can pose even greater challenges. If you’re not careful and neglect the basics, keeping your holiday home in a good condition can turn into a really expensive exercise.
To avoid unexpected bills and inconveniences, we’ve put together some tips for holiday home maintenance:
The metal finishes that work best in coastal homes include stainless steel, aluminium, copper plating and cast iron. Whether used indoors or outdoors, all of these materials must be monitored from time to time, and appropriately maintained to ensure that they last as long as possible. High-end finishes, such as stainless steel, are often sold to homeowners under the impression that they are maintenance free, but this is not often the case. Some of the highest quality stainless steel finishes can become completely rusted by sea air if they are not properly maintained. Treating the stainless steel at least twice a year prevents this from happening.
In coastal areas, factors such as sea air and strong winds can be particularly problematic for your home. Therefore, roof inspections by a trained professional to ensure that your roof is well maintained are a must, especially in windy coastal areas close to Cape Town. It often happens that a simple thing such as a roof tile shifting out of place in a heavy wind will go unnoticed for months. If homeowners aren’t aware of this and don’t fix it promptly, the first good rain could easily lead to internal leaks and water damage within your home. Ensure that your roof stays in good condition by getting a roof inspection done at least once a year.
Spalling is a type of corrosion that occurs on coastal buildings due to the higher content of salt in the air. This often causes metal reinforcements within brick walls to expand, potentially resulting in the bursting out of the plaster. The trick is to catch spalling early to prevent it from spreading. Upon discovery of spalling, a good builder will need to open the problem area and treat the corroded metal with a restoration of the structure by removing the damaged concrete, treating the reinforcement and applying a suitable concrete mix to prevent future spalling.
Cold weather and insects
Cold weather isn’t only a problem for coastal areas, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. In cold weather geckos, ants and other bugs seek warm and moist places to hide, such as alarm beams, outside lights, gate motors or anywhere with an electrical current creating heat. If these spots are not checked regularly and kept clean, they can eventually be affected by these insects. An easy and quick solution is to pop a few mothballs in risky areas to keep the bugs at bay!
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that with the current water problem in South Africa and particularly in the Western Cape, it is very difficult to maintain the luxury garden that most people are hoping for. Due to the winter rain in the Western Cape, the full and lush African lawns that we all yearn for are not natural during the dry summer months. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to sustain this type of garden, while still adopting a water-wise approach. For your coastal home, rather consider creating a lovely water-wise indigenous garden. To start such a garden, plan well before you plant, group plants according to their water needs, incorporate rocks and beautiful paving, and water at the appropriate times of day.
Please share your tips with us if you have any to add. HQM Properties specialises in home management, so if you’d like help with the maintenance and management of your primary or holiday home, please contact us for more information.