Everything you need to know about maintaining your property in good order.
These notes are provided as a guide to enable you to inspect your property on a regular basis, to help keep it in good order. They must not be considered to be definitive or fully comprehensive.
Regular maintenance inspections and prompt repair of any defects noticed will help keep your repair costs to a minimum. If neglected, they may lead to more expensive repairs.
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You should check the condition of your property at least once per year. In addition, you should also conduct an inspection after any unusual weather events.
Keep chimney pots in good order and ensure they are securely joined to the top of the chimney. Keep the brickwork mortar joints in good condition, and if you notice any cracking of the brickwork have it repaired at once. If television aerials or satellite dishes have been fixed to the chimney ensure that they are properly secured.
Check that all the tiles and slates on your roof are in good order, replace any that are cracked, slipped or damaged. Ensure that the mortar pointing at the roof edges is kept in good condition. Look out for holes, broken, cracked, loose or missing tiles/slates, damaged guttering and depression on the roof. Over time the roof materials will deteriorate. One slightly displaced tile or slate may look minor, but this is a good indicator that your roof is due for some maintenance.
Flat roofs are particularly vulnerable to leaks and even total collapse. These should be inspected regularly, and any repairs should be carried out with urgency. During winter, the weight of any snow build-up is important. It is recommended that a professional inspection takes place at least once every three years, and this condition is often a requirement of the insurers.
Gutters should run to the down pipe heads at an even slope, and free from splits and cracks. Replace or repair missing or defective sections immediately to protect the property. Clean out the gutters regularly to remove weeds, leaves and granite chippings. Gutter joints do deteriorate with age and the need for resealing must be anticipated from time to time.
Check that the junctions of the gutters to the down pipes are in good order, and that the joints between the down pipes and underground piping are at ground level. If any down pipes discharge over gulley grids, you will need to clear and maintain regularly the brick surrounds to stop debris blocking the gulleys. Replace or repair missing or defective sections immediately.
Keep the brickwork and mortar joints in good order. Poor maintenance of brick pointing leads to damp penetration and damage to the brick surface. Keep the joints between the window and door frames, and the brickwork in a good watertight condition with pliable mastic sealant.
Keep soil and paths at least 150mm below the level of the floors inside to prevent penetrating dampness. If there are air bricks, make sure they are in good order and free from blockage.
If the walls are mortar rendered, make sure it is not cracked or loose. Water will get behind poor rendering, leading to dampness. All cracked or loose areas should be repaired or replaced.
Regularly redecorate any painted walls or timber boarded areas.
Periodically inspect the frames and repair any timbers affected by wet rot. Regular painting helps avoid timber becoming rotten. Replace cracked and broken panes of glass and renew loose or missing putties before redecoration to avoid wet rot in the frames.
Damaged doors and windows might also become an invitation for vermin getting into the property, and often creates a security risk to your home. You should also make sure that all hinges are secured tightly on all frames.
Clear rainwater fittings regularly, check for broken glazing and any leaks when it’s raining.
Keep in good repair and well decorated and check for rot and decay which you should repair at the same time.
You will be able to regularly check the inside of your property when cleaning, decorating and replacing floor coverings.
You should also make a regular inspection of the roof space to check for signs of leaks and the presence of vermin, rot or decay to any of the timbers. You should also check for tears to the roof lining, where present, along with checking pipes, tanks and associated lagging/insulation.
Ensure that the external and internal stopcocks are readily available in an emergency and that you know exactly where they are located in your property. Keep the plumbing pipework in good condition and periodically clean out the traps to baths, sinks and wash basins.
Have the central heating appliances annually serviced by an appropriately registered contractor.
Do not make any alterations to the electrical wiring without qualified advice. It is advised that the electrical installation is checked by a specialist at least every five years as cables and fittings deteriorate with age.
Keep the hedges, walls, fences, gates, paths and driveways all in good order.
Keep soil, shrubs and trees away from outside walls. Shrubs and trees can break drainage pipes and potentially cause subsidence. Cut back wall creepers regularly as they can destroy the mortar joints between brickwork and stonework as they encourage dampness, insects and block gutters.
For garages and outbuildings, you should follow the same maintenance advice as given for the main building.