What a week. With Storm Aiden kicking things off and then lockdown 2.0, like it or not we’re going to be hunkering down indoors for the foreseeable future.
At this time of year when strong winds and high rainfall are an almost everyday occurance it’s important to think about weatherproofing your home. You might not have noticed slipped roof tiles or damaged flashing over the drier months but those little patches on the ceiling reveal all. Similarly, damaged chimney flashing will not only ruin a roof but can allow water to penetrate the chimney itself and destablise the stack. Take a look at your upper floor ceilings over the next few days to see if there’s any staining coming through. That will give you an indication of where any problems might lie.
Bulging or cracked rendering is another thing to keep your eye on. Hairline cracks are inevitable over time, but getting them sealed before water has a chance to penetrate and start the freeze/thaw/refreeze cycle prevents the surface render from blowing, leading to larger cracks and damp issues. If you think your rendering may have blown, give it a tap – it will sound hollow and bits may flake off when you disturb it. Patching up those cracks and applying a lick of paint will transform your exterior.
This might all sound like a belated Halloween horror story, but addressing these issues early will save money in the long term. Prevention is better than cure and whilst we’re always happy to come along and restore your ceilings and walls, unless the root cause is addressed the problem will keep recurring. Stand outside and take a good look at your exterior and try to spot any issues that could turn into problems if left unchecked.
Flaking paint on windows and doors leaves woodwork unprotected. Rotten frames and damaged seaks are less secure and more draughty so it’s good to keep on top of this (plus it also maintains the kerb appeal we wrote about in an earlier blog Kerb Your Enthusiasm). We’ve worked on a lot of sash and casement windows in recent months and very often even frames that look beyond repair can be restored, saving huge sums of money.
Left untreated, broken guttering can also lead to structural problems. Run off directed to unprotected areas, or water pooling at ground level causes staining, damages brickwork and rots woodwork and decking. If guttering starts to pull away from the fascia that can also damage the roof. On the plus side, channeling flow into a water butt allows you to harvest rainwater to wash your windows, cars and water your garden so do check your guttering is doing the job.
If you have fencing it’s worth making sure that’s secure so you don’t recreate the Wizard of Oz in your back garden. You might also want to think about cutting back any woody plants and shrubs, clearing leaf-fall, securing climbers and planting bulbs for Spring colour. Giving the lawn a final once over or laying mulch to protect your plants from early frosts is time well spent, although now the weather has turned, the joy of pottering in the garden has lessened so we’re happy to brave the elements on your behalf and prepare for Winter.
Here’s our top ten checklist of things to look out for when getting your property Winter ready. Give us a call if you spot any of these and we can talk though some of the measures you can take to minimise damage and cost.
- Algae or discoloration on exterior walls
- Water pooling close to brickwork
- Yellow patches on ceiling
- Overflowing guttering
- Flaky paint on windows
- Loose or missing window seals
- Wobbly fencing
- Cracks in rendering or mortar
- Displaced rooftiles
- Soft decking boards