Low Maintenance Matters

Claudette Reichel  |  6/25/2008 2:06:06 AM

Low maintenance surfaces and products not only save you time and labor, they typically last longer and reduce the expense and environmental impacts of frequent refinishing. Many low maintenance materials have the added advantage of being flood-resistant.

Materials: In addition to the familiar low maintenance claddings (brick, stucco, stone, vinyl and aluminum siding, etc.), examples of low maintenance home products that need little or no refinishing or infrequent replacement from the effects of weather or wear, include:

  • Composite or high density plastic trim, moldings, shutters, etc.
  • Composite or plastic lumber decking (no finishing, but may mildew)
  • Metal, vinyl-clad, fiberglass and composite windows and doors
  • Fiber-cement siding and trim (paint lasts longer)
  • Clog-free gutter systems
  • Wood-look concrete, plastic or pressure-treated wood fencing
  • Laminate flooring (scratch resistant)
  • Glazed ceramic and porcelain tile with narrow, colored grout
  • Decorative concrete with integral color
  • Solid vinyl and linoleum tiles
  • Fluorescent and LED lights

Mildew/ algae resistant: Smooth, nonabsorbent surfaces tend to be less mildew prone.

Paint: Use high quality acrylic latex paint with a fungicide additive and, if available, zinc-oxide pigment.

Roofing: Metal roofing, shingles with zinc impregnated granules, low-moisture absorbing tile, and concrete

Cleanability: Choose smooth, nonabsorbent, durable surfaces that can be wiped clean. Specify scrubbable paints (ask for its scrubbability rating) for walls and woodwork. Choose water based urethane, aluminum oxide, and factory finishes on cabinets and floorings.

Examine appliances for crevices and ridges that collect grime or are difficult-to-reach. Avoid hard-to-access horizontal details that collect dust, such as open areas above kitchen cabinets. Use vertical window treatments, such as vertical blinds instead of mini-blinds, and machine-washable curtains. Include space for shoe cubbies and smooth flooring at family entry.

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