The importance of building maintenance

Look after your home and it will look after you.  Chartered Surveyor Kate Farrar MRICS of Woodward Chartered Surveyors reminds us of the dangers of poor building maintenance.


Building maintenance may seem an unnecessary expense but regular maintenance is essential
to prevent decay and deterioration and will almost certainly save you money on repairs in the
long run.

A well-maintained building is also much more likely to achieve its maximum value when you come to sell.
As chartered building surveyors, we often report upon significant defects requiring expensive repairs, which could have been prevented by simple, inexpensive timely maintenance. A prime example is the leaking rainwater gutter.

Costing just a few pounds to fix, if ignored it can quickly result in wet rot decay in eaves timbers, and cause damp to penetrate inside the building with associated damage to wall plaster and decorations.
This can be prevented by checking rainwater gutters, downpipes and gullies annually, or biannually if there are trees nearby, clearing blockages and securing loose connections.

Pitched roofs should be inspected every year or so, and also after any large storm, to check for slipped and missing tiles/slates. This can be done from the ground with the aid of binoculars. Defective tiles/slates should be replaced to reduce the likelihood of leaks, particularly if yours is an older roof that does not contain an under-felt beneath the covering.

External joinery should be periodically checked and redecorated every five to seven years to prevent wet rot. South-westerly facing elevations will require more frequent redecoration as these are exposed to the driving rain and subjected to a greater range of temperatures throughout the day.

Avoid damp by ensuring that the damp-proof course has not been bridged by earth in flower beds. Check that sub-floor air vents are unobstructed. Poor sub-floor ventilation can lead to an expensive outbreak of dry rot in floor timbers.

The external walls should be checked for cracks, spalled bricks and receding pointing. More often than not, cracks are not a sign of significant structural movement but do provide a route for water to enter the building and so need attention.

As with all building work, safety is an important consideration. When undertaking maintenance, always ensure you are working from a place of safety and wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.

If your property has suffered from poor building maintenance in the past and you want to know how to return your home to good health, Woodward Chartered Surveyors offer an entire Building Survey or a Structural Investigation report that is specific to one area or defect,   Our surveyors cover London, Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire and even further afield for larger or more complex surveys.

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