Scaling Down, Repair Small Stuff

When getting your house ready to sell, it is important to identify small cosmetic repairs that are easy or cheap and get these done.

Pitcure of replacing a wall plate
Replace Wall Plates

For us, one of the first repairs was to replace some of the ugly wall plates for switches and outlets. We did not need to replace all of them. There were two main problems to be remediated:

  1. Paint Splatters – Really careful painters would remove the wall plates before painting, paint under them and then replace them. Unfortunately, the painters we hired over the years were either lowest bidder types or (even cheaper) ourselves and the wall plates got splattered with paint.
  2. Finger Smudges/Wear – Some of the highest traffic switches were simply brushed, rubbed, and smeared so often that the plates looked ugly.

New wall plates cost around a dollar and can be replaced in a few minutes. The effect is subtle, but it makes the room look much smarter.

Picture of Tomoko Touching Up Grout
Tomoko Touches Up Grout

Another sensitive point was the grout in the master bathroom shower. Simple scrubbing did not do much. I went to Home Depot and purchased a special cleaner for removing mildew from grout and another special cleaner for removing lime from glass. The special grout cleaner worked quite well. Just sponge it on and let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it off. While it did not make the grout gleaming white, it did remove the ugly black stuff quite effectively. The cleaning, however, revealed various cracks in the grout. Fortunately, Tomoko has a 3rd degree black belt in grout patching. (グラウト繕道三段)

The glass lime remover did not do much to remove the slightly cloudy appearance of the shower doors. I suspect the glass has simply been etched over the years. No amount of cleaning will ever make it look perfectly like new.

Picture of Window Sun and Heat Damage
Window Sun and Heat Damage

We also had two windows that simply were not able to stand up to the Texas sun. One of the two narrow windows next to our front door had a permanent cloudy appearance. The glass repair guy explained that the dual pane windows are manufactured with a desiccant embedded in the frame to absorb stray moisture and prevent the glass from fogging between the panes. In normal temperatures, this desiccant works well and lasts a long time. However, a pane of glass subjected to the blazing Texas sun will get hot enough to boil the desiccant itself. Once the desiccant turns into a steam and fills the area between the panes of glass, it will etch the inside surface of the glass panes. Once that happens, no amount of cleaning will remove the cloudiness. We had to have this window replaced.

Picture of glass guy replacing upstairs window
Upstairs Window Repair

We had a similar problem with the window in our master bathroom. The Texas sun heated the window to such an extent that the seal around the top simply melted and oozed down the glass. There was no choice but to replace this window as well. Even worse, it was quite a ways up. The glass repair guy had to get a special extra-long ladder to reach it and have an assistant help pull the window out from inside the house. I really do not like working on something two-and-one-half stories up a ladder; I was delighted to pay him for his services in replacing this window.

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