This week is National Maintenance Week (November 20th to 27th) culminating in National Gutters Day on the 27th. This is the idea of the Society For Protection Of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). Whilst it might have been inspired by the need and desire to protect older, property maintenance is just as important for property of any age. This week I am sharing some ideas for maintenance tasks – some outdoor and some indoor.
Keeping your roof watertight is one of the most important outdoor maintenance tasks there is. Problems can be difficult to spot unless there are obvious signs such as slates or tiles that have blown off and are lying on the ground. We don’t often look up at the roof and we may not go in the loft regularly. So study the roof using binoculars or maybe a drone. Go in to the loft and check for any evidence of problems such as areas of damp or glimpses or daylight. If there is any suggestion of a problem call in a professional roofer to check.
Guttering and downpipes are another area that can easily lead to problems of brickwork becoming damp. It may be obvious that gutters have become blocked because they overflow when there is a heavy downpour so it’s a good idea to check when it’s raining heavily. Alternatively, evidence of damp on internal walls can indicate a problem gutters or downpipes. Clear the gutters regularly and fit mesh or other suitable guards to guttering and the top of downpipes to prevent future problems. Check that there aren’t leaks in downpipes that could cause water to be directed on to brickwork.
Window and door frames are another area where maintenance is important. If these are uPvc then frames should good for many years, although the sealed units may sometimes fail and need replacing. Wooden doors, windows and frames will need regular maintenance in the form of painting or staining to protect the wood and avoid water penetration that can lead to rot.
Repair any dripping taps. It’s never a good idea to allow this to persist as it may lead to damage apart from the question of water wastage. Some taps rely on rubber washers whereas modern monobloc taps use a ceramic discs. Which of the two is usually apparent from how far the handle moves. If the tap uses ceramic discs, then the handle will only rotate a quarter or half a turn. If the handle rotates more than this, your tap uses a rubber washer. There are lots of “how to…” videos that will teach you how to fix a tap but if in doubt use a professional and of course don’t forget to turn off the water supply!
Mould is generally caused by condensation due to a lack of ventilation particularly in bathrooms and kitchens. Apart from looking unsightly it can cause health problems. The key to preventing mould arising is proper ventilation so open windows and turn on the extractor fan. When cooking use lids on saucepans. To remove mould on areas such as grout, scrub with a dilute solution of bleach. If it persists place cotton pads soaked in bleach on the area. Mould can arise on outside walls if the building isn’t airtight, paint the area with a mould wash concentrate. Simply painting over the problem will mean that it will continue to come back.
Bits & Pieces
We have probably all got some little minor repairs that we have been putting off or are simply so familiar with that we are no longer aware of them. So take the time to walk round your house, make a note of them and get them done. This could be cupboard doors that no longer close properly, catches that have broken or even scuffed paintwork. You’ll often find they take no time to do and afterwards you’ll wonder why it’s taken so long to get round to it. Job done!
Keeping on top of routine maintenance prevents minor defects turning into major (and expensive) ones so is always a good idea. I always recommend getting any issues dealt with if you are about to sell because minor matters of repair can lead buyers to suspect that more serious problems could exist.
If you are undertaking maintenance as part of a redesign or house sale and need help then call me on 07745 876182 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and the North West.