Home ownership has its ups and downs. On the plus side: redecorating! On the minus: discovering asbestos in your basement. But even through the not-so-fun times, it’s important to keep your head.
Here, six tiny problems to look out for--and how to nip them in the bud.
BLACK DOTS ON BATHROOM WALLS
What it could mean: Bathroom moisture has turned into mildew.
Which can lead to: Major property damage and health issues.
What to do: Mix a cleaning solution of ¼ cup bleach and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle and apply it to walls before wiping clean. If the mold persists, reapply and let sit for as long as ten minutes.
DAMAGED OR MISSING CAULK AROUND THE TUB
What it could mean: You’ve got water seeping behind your tub and wall tiles.
Which can lead to: Ruined floors and dangerous mold deposits.
What to do: Recaulk around the tub with mildew-resistant silicone. Fill in missing chunks of grout between the tiles while you’re at it.
DULL, WORN-OUT HARDWOOD FLOORING
What it could mean: The protective top coat of polyurethane has worn off, rendering your floor susceptible to dirt and discoloration.
Which can lead to: Having to replace your entire floor.
What to do: Call your trusted handyman or flooring expert, and have them sand down the top layer and apply a fresh coat of polyurethane.
A WEIRD STAIN ON YOUR CEILING
What it could mean: There’s a leak above you.
Which could lead to: Water or (ew) sewage spewing through your ceiling and onto your stuff.
What to do: Head upstairs and see if you can detect a leak. Or better yet, call a plumber.
BLISTERED OR PEELING PAINT ON YOUR WINDOWSILLS
What it could mean: Pooling water.
Which could lead to: Rot.
What to do: Scrape, sand, prime and paint any worn-out wood surfaces. Be careful if your home predates 1978, since the paint may contain lead.
SHAKY STAIR RAILINGS
What it could mean: Your newel post (that’s the anchoring part of your staircase railing) isn’t secure.
Which could lead to: The railing giving out.
What to do: Call a handyman. And don’t lean on the railing while you’re awaiting his arrival.