Get your home ready for winter
With winter fast approaching, now is the time to give your home a simple ‘MOT’ to make sure it is ready to face potential problems caused by rainfall, high winds and debris like fallen leaves and twigs. Follow these ten steps – from the team at National Maintenance Week (21-28 November) – to help you check that your home is all set for the cold season. (N.B binoculars may be necessary!)
1) Do you have a chimney?
- Is it leaning?
- Is there any growth coming from the top?
- Can you see if there is any mortar missing from the joints?
All of these can lead to potential problems.
2) Check your roof covering.
- If it is covered with tiles or slates, are any slipped or missing?
Look out for tile debris and pieces of tile lying on the ground – these can be tell-tale signs of problem areas allowing rain to enter and cause rot very quickly.
3) Look at the ridge tiles along the top of your roof.
- Are they all there?
- Are there gaps where they join each other – i.e. can you see daylight through the joints?
Gaps may indicate a need to repoint the ridge tiles.
4) Check your gutters.
- Are they leaking at joints?
- Do they overflow?
- Are they catching water from the roof or is it running down the wall?
Looking at your gutters on a rainy day is by far the best.
5) Behind the gutters are the soffit and fascias and at the end of the roof quite often there are barge boards.
If they are made of timber check if they need painting as bare wood rots quickly.
6) Are your rainwater pipes working?
- Are they cracked?
- Are they fixed securely?
- Are they blocked with things like leaves, twigs, tennis balls and even dead birds?
Green algae or vegetation on adjacent walls is a common sign that there is a problem.
7) If your windows and doors are made of timber they need painting every three to five years.
- Is there bare wood especially on the sills and the lower parts of the opening sashes?
Regular painting provides protection.
8) Look at the bottom of the rainwater pipes to check the gullies.
- Have they been regularly cleaned?
- Are they working properly?
If not they can cause dampness where the build up enables water to penetrate a wall and, possibly, cause subsidence.
9) Check all growth against the building especially trees bushes and ivy
- Have you removed, cut back and pruned carefully where necessary?
These items growing on a wall can also cause dampness and structural damage.
10) If this quick home MOT has identified problems consult a builder for specialist advice – and remember to check out your advisor and asked for references before allowing him/her to carry out any works.
For more information on National Maintenance Week visit maintainyourbuilding.org.uk