Clean Now (Not Later): Why Long Term Neglect Is Bad For Your Home


We all love how our home looks when it’s new, or when it’s recently renovated. But how can you extend the life of your home over time?

Cleaning. It might not be your favourite answer, but regularly cleaning the exterior of your home will not only make it look better, and keep it looking great, but it will actually make it last longer. Here’s the lowdown on why exterior cleaning should be a regular activity, instead of a once-in-a-blue-moon chore.

It gets you up close and personal with your home

A home is like a living creature—big, complex, and prone to problems. But just like any living thing, when those problems get solved quickly and early, it stops them getting worse and costing you an arm and a leg. Cleaning the exterior of your house is like a check-up for your house. It gets you up close and personal with corners and crevices that you don’t normally venture to.

For example, let’s say you’re cleaning your gutters. They’re not super dirty, but it’s a good thing to do on a regular basis. While you’re up there, you can:

  • Inspect the condition of your roof
  • Look for any leaking areas, or confirm leaks that you already know about
  • Check the sealant around windows
  • Look for potential heat loss areas, to plug from the inside

On top of cleaning the gutters, all this might only take an extra 20 minutes on top of regular gutter cleaning. Plus, you stop your gutters from straining and bending under more weight than they were designed for, which means that they’ll last longer as well.

Make your paint go another round

Sure, your new paint job looks good now, but in a few years, that same thousand dollar job needs to be redone. It’s not the painters fault (even if it’s you) – any siding just needs a little TLC.

Even the best paint job is subject to mold and mildew. If they get a chance to get going, they can make your beautiful paint job streaky and dull, if not downright creepy (since mold and mildew tend to grow in the shade). Fortunately, they’re almost too easy to prevent, even if they’re not to easy to get rid of to start with. A quick power wash on a regular basis will help extend the life of your paint job and make your home look better. It’s a win-win! And if you have wooden siding, powers washing is a good chance for you to inspect for termites. The sooner you catch signs of their damage, the smaller the problem will be (and the safer you and your family will be).

Help your deck last longer

If you’ve opted for a wooden deck, you know how great they are – there’s nothing quite like wood. That said, they are more work. A lot of people think that cleaning their deck is just another spring cleaning job to be done instead of enjoying the sunshine. But regular cleaning will not only get it looking great, but it will help extend the life of the deck. Grime, slick, moss, and stagnant moisture can all contribute to shortening the lifespan of your deck. Cleaning that grime off gives the wood a chance to recover, gives you a clean deck, and means you spend less money in the long term.

The second major benefit of cleaning your deck regularly is that whatever you’ve treated the wood with, presumably stain of some kind, will last longer if it’s clean. Basically, it amounts to a little extra time doing a quick wash more often, or a large, costly, and time-consuming job refurbishing the deck. Sure, you might have to do that eventually, but with regular cleaning, you can at least  do it less often over the years.

Stop cracks, before they start

There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful brick home with crumbling mortar. But it happens, and it’s not even that rare. Cleaning on a regular basis again gets you nice and close to your bricks. (How often do you look, really look at your exterior walls?) But more importantly, regular cleaning stops one of the major sources of crumbly worn mortar – nature.

Mother Nature is a gentle soul – until it comes to bricks. Then she’s a cold and callus master. Mold, plants, weeds– all of these are just waiting to cling onto the tiny   ledges with of your bricks and start small destructive plant families.

Regular cleaning (and if you have a multi-story house, calling a professional might make your life a lot easier) stops plants before they can really get going, and it removes plants that are already clinging deep into your mortar, leaving your bricks protected, sound, and looking awesome.

There are lots of different ways to make your house last longer. But for a superbly easy way that you can start doing right now, grab a bucket, grab a scrub brush, and just have at it. If you do it regularly, your house will look better, last longer and be healthier. Now, that’s worth a little elbow grease.

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