Tips on Home Maintenance
House Maintenance Tips
Check that all tiles and slates are in good order and replace any that are cracked or slipped. Ensure that the cement pointing at the roof edges is kept in good condition.
Make sure that the protective chippings (where applicable) remain evenly laid.
If cracked or bubbled areas are noticed, have these repaired.
Lead or Cement Flashings
Lead flashings should lay property, cement flashings should be free from cracks. If flashings or cement are not fully satisfactory, they are best replaced with lead.
Gutters should run to the downpipe head at an even slope and be free from splits and cracks. Clean out gutters and regularly remove weeds, leaves, granite chippings or other obstructions.
Check that the junctions of the gutters to the downpipes are in good order and also the joints between the downpipes and the underground piping at ground level. If any downpipes discharge over gully grids, keep the grids clear and maintain brick surrounds to stop debris blocking the gullies.
Keep chimney pots in good order and ensure they are securely cemented to the top of the chimney. Keep the brickwork cement joints in good condition, if you notice any cracking of the brickwork, have it repaired without delay.
Make sure the cement joints protecting the damp proof course are kept in good condition.
Keep the joints between the window/door frames and the brickwork in good and watertight condition with a pliable mastic sealant.
Make sure that the cement around waste pipes is in good condition.
If you notice any minor cracks, rake out the cement and renew it. If you are concerned about cracks, seek the opinion of a Chartered Building Surveyor.
Generally keep the brickwork cement joints in good order particularly in solid walls. Poor maintenance of brick pointing leads to damp penetration and damage to the brick surface.
Keep soil and paths 150mm (6”) below the level of the floors inside to prevent dampness.
If there are air bricks make sure they are in good order and free from blockage by soil or grass.
If the walls are cement rendered, make sure it is not cracked or loose. Water will get behind poor rendering leading to dampness.
Regularly redecorate any painted walls or timber boarded areas.
Windows & Doors
Periodically inspect the frames and repair any timber affected by wet rot. Regularly painting helps to avoid disrepair and decay of woodwork.
Replace cracked panes of glass.
Replace broken sash cords and window catches.
Make a regular inspection to check for signs of leaks which can lead to wet or dry rot taking hold.
Check the chimney brickwork for heat cracks.
Make sure the roof timbers are not broken or split.
Clean out water tanks, maintain ball valves and keep tanks and pipes properly insulated and covered.
Insulate the loft if it has not been done.
Look for woodworm holes and if in any doubt, have a specialist firm make an inspection.
Check ceilings under flat roofs for any signs of leaks in the roof surface outside.
Plumbing, Heating and Electrical Installations
Keep the plumbing pipework in good condition and periodically clean out the taps to baths, sinks and wash basins. Replace tap washers if tap drips.
Have the central heating boiler properly serviced by a qualified contractor at regular intervals.
Do not make any alterations to the electrical wiring without qualified advice. Amateur repairs and additions can lead to failure of the circuits and fire. Have the electrical installation checked by an electrician every ten years.
Try to keep ceilings, walls and woodwork in good decorative condition. Outside paintwork should not be left more than 5 years (and often less) without attention.
Periodically lift the manhole covers and have the drains cleaned out if necessary. Keep manholes covered and in good condition.
If you have a septic tank, have it pumped out at least once a year.
In the Garden
Keep hedges, walls, fences and gates in good order.
Keep soil and shrubs away from the outside walls. Shrubs can break drainage pipes – leading to the foundations being affected.
Cut back wall creepers regularly, they destroy the cement joints between the bricks and encourage dampness and insects.
Regularly redecorate timber surfaces.
Keep the door hinges and locks well oiled. Clean out any sliding door channels from time to time.