After spending a bomb on interiors in terms of resources, time and love - it’s painful to see things slowly (sometimes not so slowly) coming apart as the home ages and matures. As a home making professional even I have felt this anguish seeing my creations going down especially when just basic maintenance could have ensured longevity.
Below are simple maintenance tips that I have learned over the years that should help you keep your interiors in top shape and you (...and me...for the homes I have done) feeling great about your now "not so new" but "matured” home.
1. The essential “Yearly” carpenter visit:
Like how we need an annual health check up, your woodwork needs one too. The hardware that’s used nowadays (zero crank hinges, hydraulic lift ups, sliding systems etc) tends to gather play with regular use. You would have noticed the space between the shutters either becoming bigger or smaller with use – sometimes the shutters may clash, rub against the adjoining panel, wall or slab or bend/ get damaged if the issue is not arrested in time. The carpenter will tighten things back & it will take him no longer than a few of hours to do it – “quality” time well spent with your home I am sure.
2. The over enthusiastic scrubber:
The maid under guidance from the super clean ma'am sometimes, in her enthusiasm, scrubs away the grouting along with the dirt. Grouting (for those not so enlightened) is the filler that’s put in between tiles/ granite slab or between the slab & the sink to fill the gap. The purpose is to (1) fill the gap aesthetically and (2) to prevent water leakage in wet places. A scrubbed off grouting is the single biggest kitchen killer known to man woman & child – it leads to water seepage from the sink, into the woodwork underneath leading to sure death. Also – the “artificial rain” in your bathroom due to the seeping ceiling is probably because of the over enthusiastic scrubber upstairs.
As you may have guessed already a scrubbed grouting has a simple solution – (1) Check for its absence on the floors (especially bathroom floors), between the kitchen slab & sink and where the slab meets the walls and (2) put the grouting back.
You can in fact do it on your own using white cement for the floor and silicone gel for the Kitchen
3. The “stuffed” drain pipe:
Imagine yourself in the Kitchen drain pipe’s shoes….no, throat, and you will feel its bane. The spillage resulting from the choke also affects and spoils the woodwork around the drain. A monthly “drainex” down the drain (literally) will help avoid the quarterly choke providing respite to the woodwork around it.
4. Formal, Formal, Formal pest control:
So many of us come under the spell of the humane (to the cockroaches) "herbal" pest control guy or are busy lining our homes with numerous “lakshman rekhas”. Trust me, nothing (with an underline) works better than a formal pest control treatment. Depending on the size of your place it costs between Rs. 3000 – 10000 annually and is worth every Rupee.
The black “sand” that the cockroaches leave behind in your cabinets and drawers is their droppings – not only does it look messy, it also find its way into your utensils, cooking etc. etc.……you know where I am leading with this. So fix it before it fixes you.
5. Lemonade & fizz for your bathroom fixtures:
With use, you will find a frosty white film settling on your bathroom fittings. It’s a pretty stubborn piece of flab which, when attacked with regular cleaners, leads to the chrome itself getting damaged. The solution – a tiny yellow lemon. A scrub with lemon juice will melt away the film and bring the shine & smile back. If you are out of lemon then (this one is awesome…) use Coke…yes “Cocoa Cola” – in fact Coke works better than Pepsi for this one. A sure Thumbs up to Coke for winning "this" Cola war.
6. Corian Top - The 2 year itch:
If you have a Kitchen/ Breakfast Counter made with an Acrylic Solid Surface (called Corian in layman's terms) you may notice mild scratches on it within 2-3 of years of use. What a lot of folks do not know is that you can get the surface re-buffed (the guy who installed it will be able to it) this will make it looking as good as new.
That’s it from me for now but if YOU know any maintenance tips then please send them in a comment below and I will publish. Wish you all happy up-keeping.
PS: A large part of this article was written by me for the Elita Community magazine, Some of you may therefore have read it there already & sorry for the repeat.