We’ve all got that one high-maintenance friend who makes it all about them. The relationship requires tons of time and energy to maintain, and after a while, it starts to wear on you. You would never give up your friend, but you wish they were just a little more low-maintenance.
Your house can be just like that friend. When certain features require too much of your time, money, and focus, it can detract from the pleasure of just being in your own home. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Ditch these high-maintenance features for low-maintenance living.
Say Goodbye to Wooden Windows
You may not think about them much beyond whether they need cleaning, but windows (especially wooden ones) actually need a good bit of maintenance. The outsides need to be scraped and repainted frequently as the seasons take their toll, and there’s a good chance they are not very energy-efficient, especially older windows.
Luckily there are options out there! A popular choice is cladded windows. This is when your wooden windows are covered on the outside with plastic or aluminum so they don’t need annual scraping and repainting. Yet you still enjoy the beautiful wooden frames from inside! Of course, you may want to just go ahead and install new ones. Aluminum, fiberglass, or vinyl windows are affordable, low-maintenance, and extremely energy-efficient, which can cut down your utility costs as an added bonus!
Make a Clean Sweep of Your Floors
What can you put on the floor that is easy to keep clean, doesn’t trap dust and dirt, and resists stains? Hint: It’s not carpet! With these flooring materials, you don’t have to worry about ground-in dirt or spilled red wine — just mop and go!
First up is glazed ceramic tile. The glazing seals the tiles to protect from stains and water damage and helps this flooring last for decades. Plus, cracked tiles can easily be replaced. Next, you’ve got laminate planks, which have grown in popularity over the past several decades. It’s tough, it’s covered in protective coating, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it can last up to 50 years.
Bonus Tip: For the kitchen and bath, consider linoleum, which is made from organic matter and is both biodegradable and recyclable!
Choose a Counter You Can Count On
Are you regretting your choice of a high-maintenance countertop material such as butcher block (water stains, burn marks) or marble (easily damaged by acidic foods, needs resealing frequently)?
If you’re looking for a material that will last for years and require very little maintenance — but still looks high-end — consider engineered quartz. It’s resistant to stains, scratches, and heat damage, cleans up easily with soap and water, and can be customized by adding materials to the mix, such as colored glass, bits of mirror, or metal filings.
For a budget option, there’s laminate — it’s not just for floors! It’s easy to install, resists heat damage and stains, and can be made to look like natural stone. Just be sure to use a cutting board, as it will be permanently damaged if cut.
Install a New Roof That’s a Cut Above
You may have already discovered there’s no such thing as a no-maintenance roof. Asphalt shingles, one of the most popular and least expensive roofing materials, has one of the shortest lifespans, along with wooden shake or shingles. Real slate, while it lasts for years, is super expensive and breaks easily. So, what are some good alternatives?
If your budget can handle it, a metal roof is sturdy, long-lasting (around 50-70 years), lightweight, recyclable, weather- and fire-resistant, and you may be able to repaint instead of replace it when the time comes. Then there’s synthetic slate, which is waaaaay less expensive than real slate, but just as pretty. It’s light, easy to install, recyclable, and it lasts longer than real slate — most have 50-year warranties but can last for nearly 100 years. Plus, both of these alternatives can increase your ROI when you decide to sell.
Bonus tip: The best time of year to install a new roof is late fall or early spring.
Your home should be your retreat from the world, your cozy castle. With these low-maintenance upgrades, you can spend more time enjoying your home and less time taking care of it.