Villa Maintenance – Tuscan Ridge July Update


2013 renovations complete!

To make this clear right from the start – we did not do 2,013 renovations, that’s merely the year we’ve done them in.  Just in case you were wondering why we needed to do a couple of thousand updates to the villa.

Donna and I had a busy June, popping over to Tuscan Ridge from the UK with our 1 year old boy in tow.  2 weeks of renovations and villa maintenance whilst juggling the attentions of a little person is no mean feat.  Plus the 100 degree temperatures and high humidity to boot.  This didn’t stop us doing plenty of work on the inside and outside of the villa.

During the ownership of a villa, over several years things tend to get run down, dirty, and just plain and simply well-used.  This isn’t good, and it’s why you should choose our villa – we don’t let this happen! We plan to do some freshening up every time we visit, to make sure the villa is in a good state of repair and feels fresh and clean for every renter.  Almost all of the vilal maintenance jobs we did were DIY-friendly, so if you own a villa there’s no reason why you can’t tackle them too.  The biggest issue was buying all the new tools without spending a fortune. A Home Depot card is probably a good choice.

First off was a deep clean.  Cleaners between rentals only do a standard clean of the villa and linen, so it’s necessary to go over the villa with spot cleaners and the like to remove any unwanted and unsightly stains.  Simple enough.

Next was a complete overhaul of the pool deck.  Washed and bleached first, and scrubbed heavily to remove all engrained dirt, and then wire brushed to remove flaking paint and stubborn marks (this takes a good day to complete).  Once this was done it was on to a Xylene based acrylic paint for the deck, applied with disposable rollers and a extension pole on a roller to avoid chronic back pain….  Two coats of the deck paint followed by a two coats of clear coat did the job, although for safety’s sake we also applied a fleck to the top coat to ensure some grip under wet conditions.  In total this took around 3 days to complete, rain delays permitting.  The acrylic paint was around $25-$30 a gallon and the clear coat a similar amount.  $150 including materials.

Onwards to the outside of the villa!  To keep grass strimmers away from slicing the pool screen wide open, and to add a nice touch to the outside of the pool deck, we decided to lay down white granite chippings in a simple 18″ border.  A straightforward enough job with weed matting and a spade, but exhausting after using 40 bags of granite chippings to surround the large pool deck / lanai area. The resulting turf excess was used to tidy up bare patches of grass around the wide plot, so nothing was laid to waste.  Not bad for $200.


Marble border and Oleander shrubs

Continuing to improve the look of the outside, 5 Oleander shrubs were planted at the back of the pool to add some privacy and improve the outlook. The shrub is drought-tolerant and will tolerate occasional light frost down to freezing temperatures (yes it can freeze in Florida!), as well as producing a nice flower to add to the view.  Ideal for Florida climates, the Oleander needs to be pruned and is slightly toxic so needs to be handled with some care – but only when ingested.  The shrubs are inexpensive – around $10 each from Home Depot.  Mulch is very cheap at $3 or $4 a bag, plus compost.  Less than $100 including materials.

Finally, hairline cracks in the stucco and previous bad jobs of touch-up paint were repaired (after cleaning) with a silicone caulk (they were very small hairline cracks) and painted over with an exterior paint.  Here’s a good guide.  None of the hairline cracks were serious, but it does detract from the villa when the rest of Tuscan Ridge is so nice!  The rest of the engrained dirt – usually on the northern side of the house – was cleaned and scrubbed to get things looking like new.  Paint and caulk was less than $30.


Oleander shrubs are hardy and resistant to drought

Interior-wise, the house was very clean but a little too plain, so we decided to liven the nook dining area up because it is a holiday rental after all.  Out came a nice bright red paint and within a day we had transformed the centre of the house into a lively place to dine.  The benefit of this is that you can see the bright paint from various areas in the house, so it has a much bigger effect than painting one feature wall would have.  Paint isn’t too expensive in the USA; we used Glidden and a gallon cost around $20 – although they all have to be mixed from a base coat, unlike the UK where they have colours on the shelf.  We also painted a feature wall in the living room, and various touch up paint came to $100 in total.


Bright and colourful nook dining area

New pictures were hung (imported all the way from the UK!), and old frames and mirrors were re-sprayed using a multi-purpose spray paint, giving them all a new lease of life for little cost. Frames cost a lot less to purchase in the UK, so we brought them over in a large suitcase and saved the hassle and expense of buying them in the USA.


Pictures all the way from the UK!

Preparations for a games room in the future started with an overhaul of the garage floor. A degrease followed by etching the concrete ensured that the garage paint adhered well to the surface.  I used the Behr 1-part epoxy garage paint and bought some additional flecks to throw on to the paint afterwards.  This costs about $35 a gallon and needed 2 gallons for the floor, and an extra $10 for the fleck, around $10 for the etching, so $100 in total including materials.


Future games room preparation

In amongst all of these main villa maintenance jobs were numerous odd jobs.  Re-sealing the bathroom sinks and showers, re-grouting tiles, replacing cracked window surrounds, touch-up painting, blocked paving, sprinkler adjusting / replacement, and blind repairs were just a few of the repairs we did to keep the villa healthy.  New mulch was added to keep the exterior looking great.

In total, less than $1,000 has completely transformed the villa, ready for our next batch of rentals!