Low Maintenance Living from James Hardie

(Family Features) Home maintenance can sometimes feel like a full-time job. It seems there’s always something that needs to be repaired, updated, mowed, weeded or replaced, leaving little time for relaxing and spending time with the family.

Many homeowners are simplifying their home upkeep responsibilities by switching to low-maintenance materials that let them have high-quality homes without all the hassle.

Home Exteriors: The latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trend Survey showed that 68 percent of residential architects surveyed are seeing a strong interest in low-maintenance housing materials, such as fiber cement and stone for home exteriors. Known for its durability, James Hardie® siding has recently entered a new era of low maintenance with ColorPlus® Technology. A factory-applied finish that is available in 20 colors, this advancement eliminates the need to repaint siding every 3 to 5 years. All of the siding, fascia and trim offer up to 30 percent better fade resistance than paint, and the finish is warranted for 15 years. Learn more at www.jameshardie.com.

Landscaping: Yard work can take over the weekends all year long. One of Landscape Management’s “10 Trends for 2010” is devoting more land to shrubs and perennials and less to grass. Not only does this add curb appeal and eco-friendliness, it cuts down on maintenance and the time required to keep the outdoor area well maintained. Talk to your local nursery or cooperative extension office to find plants that are well-suited to your area. The more adapted plants are to the local climate, the less you have to do for them and the less likely you are to need to replace those that don’t thrive. You can also look into xeriscaping – gardening techniques that reduce the need for supplemental watering – and into creating rain gardens to take advantage of those areas that receive too much water.

Indoor Chores: Technological advances have made it easier to streamline household chores and save time. From robot vacuum cleaners and self-cleaning windows, to high efficiency washers and self-cleaning ovens, there are plenty of ways to cut down on chore time. And not all cleaning advances are gadget related. Look for multipurpose cleaners that can tackle more than one room and stain-resistant materials that reduce the need to clean at all. There are also a growing number of affordable house cleaning services that can take on some of the more time-consuming chores so you can focus on other things that matter.

A little research and investment now can save you time and money down the road, letting you live a low-maintenance life.


James Hardie