Home Construction Features: Maintenance, Repair & Aesthetics

Instructor: David Juliao

David has a bachelor's degree in architecture, has done research in architecture, arts and design and has worked in the field for several years.

In this lesson, explore some of the construction features that are being incorporated into new homes and learn about the different finishes and construction features that don't require much maintenance and also provide a nice look.

Home Construction Features

You are about to make a big decision and buy a new house, either because you don't want to rent anymore, you want more room for the kids, or just got tired of living downtown. Whatever the reason, a new house usually means an important investment and financial sacrifices, so you want to get the most out of your money and acquire a property that has functional features, won't cost a fortune to maintain and, of course, looks good.

Family needs have changed over the years and now both parents often work and people have less time to clean and maintain the house. It is common for families to have two cars. Therefore, houses are being built with bigger garages, usually with two parking spaces.

House with a double garage
House with a double garage

Inside, new houses often have a large living room integrated with the kitchen and dining area. A large master bedroom and one or two comfortable rooms are preferred over many smaller bedrooms. Walk-in closets are also increasingly popular, especially in the master bedroom.

Many houses also have a laundry room, perfect for modern families who don't have the time to go to a laundromat or don't want to spend their limited free time doing laundry at a pay facility. At home, they can do other activities while the washing machine is working.

Low-maintenance and Nice-looking Home Features

For a home to be functional, is not enough to have a good layout and the rooms to accommodate family needs. It is also important that the different elements and materials are easy to maintain and to repair.

Finishes

Many new houses are being built with either ceramic tiles or hardwood flooring, which are very easy to clean and are a great option if you suffer from allergies. If one piece breaks, replacing it is relatively easy. Compared to carpets, hardwood and tiles are much healthier and don't accumulate dust. Marble is another option but is more expensive and harder to repair.

Washable paints are a great option for walls. They come in thousands of colors and can be easily cleaned if they get dirty. Washable paints are a great option if there are kids or pets around.

Energy-efficient windows and a good insulation system won't necessarily impact house-keeping chores but will definitely make it more comfortable and enjoyable and will bring savings on heating and cooling costs. Furthermore, when it comes to window treatments, the popularity of heavy fabric curtains is decreasing and many people now prefer blinds or shutters. Not only they make the rooms look lighter, but are also easier to clean and accumulate less dust.

Similarly, receded lighting fixtures are now largely preferred over free-standing lamps, because they do not require as much cleaning, often provide better lighting and consume less electricity. Lamps are being used as punctual decorative elements instead. In most cases, fabric screens are avoided because they accumulate dust and are hard to clean.

Kitchens

In the kitchen, granite and quartz countertops are replacing laminate. These stone surfaces are durable, easy to clean and are less likely to develop mold or attract bugs. There are other innovative man-made and recycled materials that also offer benefits and are gaining popularity due to their durability and versatility.

Kitchen with quartz countertop and cabinetry up to the ceiling
Kitchen

Cabinets with flat surfaces are easier to clean and don't accumulate much dust. For cabinetry and tall furniture, it is good to have moldings that flush them with the ceiling, to prevent those gaps that inevitably become dust collectors.

Stainless steel appliances continue to be the trend. They resist rust better than their white counterpart and most makers are optimizing energy consumption so many appliances are now Energy Star certified, meaning they have been certified by the EPA as exceptionally efficient in their use of energy resources.

Bathrooms

The design of the bathroom is also important when it comes to maintenance. Good ventilation and lighting are needed for preventing the growth of fungus and bathrooms with windows often look very good and provide natural lighting and fresh air.

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