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Buying a home is somewhat considered a rite of passage once you enter into adulthood. Though not everyone realizes this dream as a young adult, attaining home ownership is often a goal of most Americans across the country.

With home ownership comes a great deal of responsibility. You not only have your property to care for, you have elements of your home that cannot go unmaintained. And if you value your home, adding more value to your home means keeping up with maintenance and upgrading when necessary.

Over the course of a common 30-year mortgage, before you finish paying off your lender, many parts of your home will need to be replaced or fixed. Certain elements, particularly exteriors, are those areas of the home in which regular maintenance cannot be ignored.

Here, we’ll explore three areas of the home that you must maintain in order to keep your home valuable and safe.

Your Roof

A home cannot be considered a shelter without a roof. In fact, it would look a little funny if you only had four walls and nothing to protect your head from the elements.

A roof keeps your home secure from inclement weather, and from the sun’s harsh rays. It’s also the one area of your home that you cannot neglect. As such, a common roof needs to be replaced at least every 10 to 15 years on average.

Your roof design should also be carefully considered. Whether you live in a colonial-style home, or a modern, prefab design this will dictate what type of roof you’ll need, and what type of materials to use.

Additionally, where you live also plays a huge role in the type of roof construction that’s best for your region. As wind and weather play a large part, you’ll want to consult professional roofers for the type of roofing best for you.

For example, those living in Chicago have to deal with ice, snow, and wind for a healthy part of the year. In this case, hiring a Chicago roofing contractor will be your best bet.

Foundation

While the roof protects your head from everything above, a foundation is essentially what the home is built on. Correspondingly, this is one area of the home that needs to be inspected every so often to ensure that it isn’t cracked or settling in such a way that will damage the structure of the home.

The problem with foundations is that we typically don’t know what’s underneath. This could be a variety of geologic layers which might include clay, limestone, sandstone, or other porous materials that can erode over time.

Once a foundation cracks, it invites an entire host of problems to occur. Your walls will incur undue pressure and strain, and these will ultimately crack and separate over time, which can make the structure of your home unsafe.

Get your home foundation inspected once every 5 to 10 years to ensure that no repairs need to be made.

Plumbing

Water can cause the most damage within a home if issues arise due to poor or damaged plumbing.

Water takes the path of least resistance. As such, if you have a leak, it will infiltrate your home and flow or pool wherever there is room to do so.

Water can also cause mold to form on wood and in sheetrock, which can ultimately be hazardous to your health and the health of whoever visits or resides with you. In addition, water can rot wooden structures over time rendering them unsafe, and this can often result in costly repairs.

Ensure that you have any suspected leaks fixed, and try to catch plumbing issues before they arise.

We all love our homes, and as a homeowner, it’s up to you to ensure the safety and structural integrity of your home at all times. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this directly applies to home maintenance.