Friday, July 29, 2016

Maintenance tips to keep your home running like a well oiled machine


Here is something that I had written sometime back that saw the light in Deccan Herald today for the benefit of the many who are yet to be readers of this blog :).

As always the unedited, uncensored and the full version of the article is below for the special ones who follow this blog ... hee. Would welcome thoughts comments and feedback especially on this one as I am sure each person, especially the women, have their own household tips and tricks to keep the home spotless and well groomed.

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Home Interior Maintenance Tips


After spending a bomb on interiors it’s appalling to see things starting to fall apart even before the home celebrates its second birthday. The simple maintenance tips below will help you keep your interiors in top shape and you feeling great about your now not so new but “matured” home J

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 madam 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. A monthly “drainex” down the drain (literally) will help avoid the quarterly choke providing respite to the woodwork around it.


4. 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 paisa. 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 heading with this J. Fix it before it fixes you.


5. Vinegar, Lemonade and 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 or with vinegar 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.


That’s it for now...wish you all happy upkeeping.


Nandita Manwani is an Interior Designer and the founder of The Studio, Bengalooru

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Essential Bangalore Home Buyer Handover Checklist - Things to check on before you take possession of your apartment/ villa from the builder - Version II



The regular readers of this blog would have come across, in one of the earlier posts, this list of things to check on before taking full and final possession of one's home from the builder .

I was updating this checklist sometime back for my own use and felt that this is something that all of Bangalore's home buyers can make use of. With that thought I bounced this off with folks at Deccan Herald and lo and behold I see it published on the front page of DH Homes & Interiors today :).


The DH team has done a great job of putting pictures and formatting the list around different sections to make it easier and fun to read.

Do take time to go through. The unedited free text of the article is below
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Villa / Apartment Interior Readiness and Handover Checklist: Things to check on BEFORE you take the formal handover of your dream home from the builder.

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In interactions with home buyers one of the topic that frequently comes up is things that one needs to check before taking handover of the house from the builder

A thorough check before housewarming helps avoid the Tom & Jerry show of tracking and chasing down the shadowy builder later. Even if you succeed in catching Jerry the mess that the rectification creates is enough to drown the “high” of the new home.

What you will find below is a comprehensive but simple checklist of things that you need to tick off before you say that conclusive “I do” to your builder and keep your spirits flying high

Let’s start with the doors, here goes :-

DOORS

  • Check for gaps between door frame and wall. Push the frame to see it is anchored firmly
  • Check for hinge fitting, ensure there are screws in each of the screw ports.
  • Check door catcher/ stopper for proper functioning
  • Check door knobs & locks for smooth closure & functioning.


ALUMINUM/ UPVC DOORS and WINDOWS


  • Check Lack of alignment if any. Ensure that the doors open and close easily.
  • Check rubber beading for hardening, cracks
  • Check if the grills are properly painted
  • Ensure that the door/ window frame has drain holes
  • Check that the shutters lock properly
  • Ensure that the glass is fixed properly and the beading is intact and not coming off.


WALLS AND CEILING


  • Check plastering quality, there should be no uneven-ness. Ensue that there are no cracks
  • Check for excessive dampness in the wall (if any)
  • Check false ceiling in bathrooms (if there), ensure that it is properly fixed with no cracks.
  • Check tiling even-ness & grouting. There should be no cement marks on the tiles


FLOORING


  • Check for any cracks or scratches
  • For Bathrooms, Utility and Balcony check the floor tilt to ensure correct water flow into the drain and that there is zero water accumulation anywhere.
  • Ensure that there is no hollowness in the floor. Tap each tile or bounce a ball on each tile to check for the hollow sound. A hollow sound indicates that the tile is not set properly & needs to be replaced.
  • Check for proper grouting of the tiles/ stone slabs especially in bathrooms


ELECTRICALS


  • Check for working of light points/switches (carry a zero watt bulb & tester if possible). Especially check the AC points, builders sometimes leave the AC points dummy (with no wiring)
  • Check each point has cover plates & there are no cracks.
  • Check availability of light, telephone and cable TV points as per plan.
  • Check that all the plates are horizontal and not tilted
  • Plates should be clean and free of paint marks.
  • Check every circuit breaker. Switch off : Should switch off with a slight touch, Switch on: should not switch off while switching on.
  • Check each switch for correct contact and springiness. Click should be clearly audible and not muted when switched on and off.
  • Insist on getting the wiring diagram pasted on the inside of DB door Also check that the wiring of the home matches with the circuit diagram on the box.
  • Check that the smoke sensors work. An agarbatti will help to awaken the sensor :)


SANITARYWARE/ PLUMBING


  • Check the sanitaryware (Wash basins, Sink, WC) for any scratches or cracks
  • Ensure Kitchen Sink is grouted properly and that there is no leakage.
  • Check the chrome fittings - ensure that there is no corrosion. 
  • Check whether the towel holders, faucets, toilet paper holders are provided as per plan.
  • Check pipes for any leakages
  • Ensure there is no blockage in any of the drains - I have personally struggled with flooding of the apartment due to this
  • Ensure that the flush works properly

That should cover it. Hopefully your builder passed with a distinction, if not, then he is back to his job of perfecting your new home.

Nandita Manwani is an Interior Designer and founder of The Studio Bengalooru