Whether you are a long-term renter or a homeowner there are things that must be done around your home when you live in Cozumel. The process can be costly by island standards and time consuming. Here are the tasks my family undertakes each spring:
Inspect and clean the rooftops: Debris accumulates on the rooftops that will fly around in a storm and cause damage as well as clog your drains. The cement roof will wear with age and eventually cause leaks that can weaken the walls and ceilings in your home. Resurface/Seal Roofs when necessary.
Clean, repair, and replace (if needed) the drainpipes: It is not as simple as cleaning the gutters around the roof back home. We have unattended property on two sides of our home, dirt, sand, and leaves make their way into the tubing very quickly. Cutting overhanging branches is necessary. Take great care to avoid cables and wires.
Inspect the walls: The south side of our home is very inaccessible from the outside. The owners of the property next door keep their gate locked. The property consists of some crumbling structures with weeds, bushes, and trees that had been left unattended the three years we had lived here, possibly for many years. I obtained permission to enter and got the key to their gate for what I thought would be a simple caulking task. Wrong, that entire side of the house had to be reinforced with cement. That wall was deteriorating to the point that serious damage could be caused by the next hurricane that came along. I contacted a cement worker and had a crew reinforce the south side of the house. This is another argument for using good outdoor paint with a sealant!
The procedure on the island is to get an estimate for the labor, a list of supplies and a start and end date. You buy your own supplies and have them available for the workers. The day they finish the project, you give the workers lunch and beers.
Inspect window protectors: The neighboring property is an eye sore and that side of our home had just been out of sight, out of mind. There is only one small window that sits high on our bedroom wall on that side of the house. To our dismay, we discovered the Window Protector was held in place with screws! Anyone could have come along, unscrewed the wrought iron protector, and entered our home in our absence. I promptly contracted the “Iron Man” to cement in the window protector and inspected the installation of all the window protectors in our home.
Inspect everything metal and iron: We are on an island were everything rusts due to the salt water. A thorough inspection of everything that is metal is necessary annually. If maintained annually, the wrought iron gates, window protectors, and patio furniture will only show a minimal amount of rust and will just need to be touched up. By touched up I mean sand it down, apply rust proofing paint, and then the color paint.
One year I discovered that the two new overhead fans we purchased and had installed only months earlier had metal blades. What I thought was a little dust on the edges was rust. The inside lid to our washing machine and almost all major appliances had small rust spots. A little sand paper, rust proofing and a touch of metal paint will extend the life of everything, prevent major expenses, and save time in the future. (Note that we also own our gas tanks, their upkeep will prevent having to buy a replacement.)
Have repair-person inspect all plumbing: Plumbing should be inspected for slow leaks you might have not noticed. Faucets and fixtures need replacing often on the island, I do not know if it is because of the wear and tear or the quality available. The shower-heads need to be soaked in a special solution periodically to unplug clogged holes.
Paint or Touch up the Outside of the house: When you paint your home, you can save money by purchasing a good quality of paint. Buy the paint that contains a sealant. Spending more money on the paint initially will save you the cost and labor having to paint annually. We have been lucky the last few years and have only had to touch up some spots that were stained, discolored or had been newly cemented.
Clean storage areas and rooms: Pull everything out of storage areas for a good cleaning. It does not matter how clean you keep your home, the humidity affects everything on the island and we have critters that will find their way into your home. A Clorox bleach or vinegar and water solution is necessary for disinfecting and fighting mold.