Home Maintenance and Retirement

My attitude about home maintenance and repairs has changed. There are several reasons for this changed attitude but mostly because I see our retirement needs and desires more clearly now.

We are at the lake for a few days. It has rained a lot. Our roof is leaking. I could probably hire someone to find the leaks and patch them. The problem is our roof is 16 years old. I might have to patch the roof again next year. Our roof is so steep, I wouldn’t get on it even if I were 25 years old. I will always have to hire someone to diagnose and repair roof problems.

I don’t want the hassle of experiencing leaks, hiring someone to find them, then hoping that the “patch” is successful. I think it is time to replace this roof with something that will eliminate those hassles. At my stage in life, I don’t need those distractions.

The lowest cost strategy to meet my desires is to hire someone to install another asphalt shingle roof. I don’t like that option either. We intend to keep this lake home in the family. I don’t want to be 75 years old and beyond and worry about replacing another asphalt shingle roof. So we are looking at installing a metal roof. Most manufacturers will warrant them for 30 years or even for life. That’s what I need.

Metal roofs cost a lot more than shingle roofs – in the short term. But the life cycle costs should be a lot lower, including lower insurance costs and reduced energy bills. Metal roofs also look really nice on a rural lake home, in my opinion.

I have already decided that when the wood siding on this home needs repainting, I am not going to paint it. Instead, I will replace the wood siding with a fiber cement product. Fiber cement siding (e.g., Hardie Board) won’t rot, burn, warp, get eaten by insects, etc. It is tough and durable. Because of its structural stability, the painted finishes will typically last 15 years or more. This almost eliminates another periodic maintenance chore – painting. Of course, it is more expensive. But if we can afford it, we will do it.

So here’s my bottom line for home maintenance and retirement. I want to spend what I can afford now to eliminate future problems and expenses when I retire. No more short term fixes to save money.

Have your attitudes toward home maintenance changed as you approach retirement?


  1. says

    Has my attitude changed? Yes, in a word. We thought we had everything done, and then our sewer lateral needed to be replaced — all the way from under the house to out in the middle of the street. That was the same week our hot water heater blew out AND the washing machine finally died.

    The roof will be next, in a few years, and I imagine that, like you, we’ll weigh our choices and figure how much we want to put into it. We don’t expect to stay in this house for the next however many years, but we end up doing so, anyway!

    I haven’t really figured out exactly how to budget for these kinds of things!

  2. RoyinVirginia says

    I like your approach. I am almost at the end of my first year of retirement, and have made some of the same decisions you are making. FWIW, in 1998 we had to reside our home because of a manufacturing flaw in the GP hardboard siding. We opted for the Hardie Plank and have not been disappointed. Painting cycle here in Virginia, I guess a combination of heat and high humidity is closer to twelve years; but that isn’t so bad. As for the metal roof, I can only suggest that you see if you can visit someone who has this installed during a rainstorm. It can be a bit noisier than you might expect.

    When you do your new roofing; and because I don’t know where you live I am not sure how applicable this might be, you may want to explore putting in a radiant barrier to lower your power bills. If you are anywhere that has a warm to hot summer, this alone may pay for itself in just a year or two. I installed FiFoil but there are others that may be locally available for you.

    Hope you are enjoying your retirement.

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