After working as a residential maintenance professional in the desert for many years, I have realized the beating summer sun and excessive heat can be extremely damaging on homes. For instance, hardwood floors and furniture begin to warp and crack. Mold and mildew may begin to grow. Often the excessive heat establishes breeding grounds for dust mites. Wall paint may start to bubble, artwork can start to dry out and crack, and appliances begin to stick. Those are all potential interior home issues, now add the exterior areas that are either not fully ventilated and/or under direct sunlight. This is why participating in a Summer Home Watch program is highly recommended. It can help prevent these potential issues from developing.
Summer Maintenance Recommendations for Your Desert Home
1. Garage, Exterior Doors, and Entry Gate Painting/Care
Paint, stain and/or oil your garage doors, exposed exterior doors, and entry/side yard gates. This enhances their protection from exposure to direct sunlight. In addition, lubricate the garage door hinges, wheels, tension springs, and all moving parts of the lift motor(s) to improve smooth operation.
2. Outdoor Furniture Maintenance
Outdoor tables, chairs, and lounges suffer from prolonged exposure to the desert elements. I suggest you restore your wood furniture with a refreshing treatment of wood oil. Metal furniture can be restored as well by having the frames either repainted or applying a fresh powder coating. Additionally, broken straps should be replaced and, if necessary, new cushions should be ordered during this process.
3. Tile Floor & Grout Cleaning
A non-heat related project to think about, especially if your home will be vacated during the summer season, is your flooring restoration. Now is an excellent time to have your tile and stone floors (travertine, marble, limestone, pavers etc.) cleaned and restored. Cleaning is recommended every two years. I suggest contracting an expert to strip and deep clean your floors, seal and buff to a high gloss or matte finish, and replace grout as needed. Showers, vanities, and counter tops should also be inspected.
When Should I Restore My Tile Flooring?
Many clients have asked me, How do I know when it is best to restore and not replace my tile floors? The majority of the time, restoration is the ideal step. Below a few indicators it is time to restore your tile floor:
- Crumbling Grout – Grout begins to collect water, scratch, and crumble.
- Lack of Shine – Tile coloring is fade and dull.
- Stains – Although tile is one of the more stain-resistant options, it is not 100% stain-proof.
- Grimy Grout – Dirt and gunk will accumulate between the tiles making it seem impossible to clean.
- Water Incursion – Grout should keep water out of the grooves, but it too may fail if the seal breaks or the tile was improperly installed.
Once your tile is restored, it is extremely important you properly maintain it in order to ensure you get the full benefit of your restoration investment. For instance, always sweep or vacuum your floors to remove dust and debris before utilizing any cleaning products, and damp-mop your tile at least once a week. For glazed tile, clean with an all-purpose, non-oil based cleaner. For unglazed tile, use a concentrated tile cleaning chemical that has a neutral pH. Lastly, ensure you rinse all floors with clear water to remove any chemical residue.