Home maintenance is something that, all too often, is neglected until there’s an issue – which can often lead to higher repair costs. For most people, property is the most expensive thing they own, and it’s worth taking care of your investment. These home maintenance tips will help you protect your home. As William Morris said, “Put protection in the place of restoration, to stave off decay by daily care.”
Home Maintenance Tip #1
Check the guttering for any blockages. It’s easy for leaves to fall or blow into your guttering, but a blocked gutter can lead to leaks and damp. Clearing out the gutters regularly will help you avoid this issue: a soup ladle is a surprisingly effective tool for the job.
It’s also worth checking your rainwater goods (drainpipes and guttering) are in good condition without any corrosion or damage. If there are leaks, you may be able to re-caulk, or just replace damaged sections, rather than replacing the entire gutter/pipe. Make sure that ironwork is regularly repainted to avoid corrosion. (Follow ladder safety advice, if you’re working at height, of course.)
Home Maintenance Tip #2
Check the roof for loose or missing tiles, cracks in the chimney, damaged pointing, and signs of decay in thatch roofing. Keep an eye on moss growth too, and make sure there’s no other vegetation taking hold (unless you’ve got a green roof) and want vegetation to thrive). If you don’t have bird cages fitted to your chimneys, install them to stop your chimney becoming a home to local wildlife. Check inside your loft space for slipped roof tiles and signs of water ingress too.
Home Maintenance Tip #3
Pull furniture away from walls to check there’s no damp behind it. Check inside cupboards too, particularly in cold areas of the house (eg, outer facing non-insulated walls). Mould can take hold in cupboards, and can destroy your belongings.
Once you’ve cleaned any mould away, let it dry and use an anti-mould paint to keep it at bay. (If the problem’s really bad, you may want to use a membraneto prevent water penetration). Don’t overstuff cupboards once you’ve cleaned them out either. Air flow helps fight damp – a good excuse for a clear out.
Home Maintenance Tip #4
Check your heating. Central heating is designed to work as a complete system so leaving radiators off in rarely-used rooms may not be as cost-efficient as you think, if you end up with damp problems as a result. You don’t need heating on constantly – it’s a myth that keeping your heating on low all the time is the best option. However, it is important that you warm all the rooms in the house.
Home Maintenance Tip #5
Check your ventilation. It’s easy for damp to build up in a poorly ventilated building. If you have air bricks, check they aren’t dusty and haven’t been blocked; and if you have ventilation units, check they are working properly.
Home Maintenance Tip #6
Check around door and window frames for any signs of damp, such as black mould, rot or water penetration. It’s also worth examining bathroom grouting, inside wardrobes and behind bed headboards for mould and damp. If there are any issues, clean mould away, treat rot and identify the cause of any water penetration (or get a PCA recommended surveyor to check it for you). Ignoring problems will only mean they get worse – and more expensive to treat.
Home Maintenance Tip #7
Check the state of your exterior paintwork. If it’s peeling or damaged, arrange for it to be repainted once the weather is warm and dry. Check for cracks and assess the state of the pointing. You may also need a masonry protection cream such as Stormdry to help prevent water ingress. However, do make sure that you check it’s suitable for your property – and that you apply masonry protection cream to clean, unpainted walls to ensure that it works as it should.
Home Maintenance Tip #8
Clean any external decorations such as stonework or decorative terracotta. Avoid using strong cleaning products: just use a soft brush to sweep away dust or a damp cloth/stiffer brush for cleaning more stubborn dirt.
Home Maintenance Tip #9
Clean the windows and check surrounds for signs of rot or condensation. Wipe condensation from windows with a dry cloth, as it appears, to help minimise the risk of black mould developing around window frames.
Home Maintenance Tip #10
Develop good housing maintenance habits. Open kitchen windows after cooking and washing clothes; and open bathroom windows after showering or bathing. Don’t dry clothes indoors (or if you have to, dry them on an airer in the bathroom with the door closed and window open and/or ventilation unit turned on.) Keep an eye on condensation trouble zones – and don’t forget to look outside too: if soil or vegetable waste builds up around your home, it could bridge your damp proof course and cause problems.
Restoration UK has been providing expert advice on property renovation, conversion and restoration for over 20 years.