Regular maintenance of your property is important to reduce the risk of significant defects and issues arising which can result in costly repairs, disruption to your use of the property and in some circumstances affect the value.
Many issues can be dealt with by you as the home owner or with some input from a builder, Chartered Surveyor or other qualified person. Understanding the key risk areas and also the specific ones which may affect your property is important. If you are in the process of purchasing a property a RICS Homebuyer Report or RICS Building Survey will provide you guidance on these areas. BTP Limited are experienced in producing these reports and can offer guidance on the suitable survey for you. If you have any questions or concerns we would welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters further with you and can offer a free initial verbal consultation service.
It should be noted that this blog post is not specific to any property and does not include comprehensive details. Problems in construction may develop slowly over time. If you are concerned contact us for further advice.
Outside the property
You should check the condition of your property at least once a year and after unusual storms. Your routine redecoration of the outside of the property will also give you an opportunity to closely examine the building.
- Chimney stacks: Check these occasionally for signs of cracked cement, split or broken pots, loose joints and flashings.
- Roof coverings: Check these occasionally for slipped, broken and missing tiles or slates, particularly after storms. Check flat roof coverings for cracking, blistering and debris build-up
- Rainwater pipes and gutters: Clear any debris at least once a year and check for leaks/blockages when it is raining. You should also check for any loose downpipe connectors and broken fixings.
- Main walls: Check main walls for cracks and any uneven bulging. Maintain joints in brick/granite and repair loose or broken rendering. Re-paint decorated walls regularly. Cut back or remove any plants that are harmful to mortar and render. Keep the soil level well below the level of any damp proof course (150mm minimum recommended) and make sure any ventilation bricks are kept clear.
- Windows and doors: Once a year check all frames for signs of rot in wood frames, for any splits in plastic or metal frames and for rusting to latches and hinges in metal frames. Maintain all damaged sections of windows including blown sections of double glazing. Lubricate and service all mechanisms.
- Other joinery and finishes: Regularly redecorate all joinery, and check for rot and decay which you should repair at the same time.
Inside the Property
You can check the inside of your property regularly when cleaning, decorating and replacing carpets or floor coverings. You should also check the roof area occasionally.
- Roof structure: When you access the roof area, check for signs of any leaks and the presence of vermin, rot or decay to timbers. Also look for tears to the under-felting of the roof, and check pipes, lagging and insulated areas.
- Ceilings: Check for any signs of dampness from the roof above. Be aware if your ceiling begins to look uneven, particularly for older lath and plaster ceilings.
- Walls and partitions: Check these when you are cleaning or redecorating. Look for cracking and impact damage, or damp areas which may be caused by plumbing faults or defects on the outside of the property.
- Floors: Be alert for signs of unevenness when you are cleaning or moving furniture, particularly with timber floors.
- Fireplaces, chimney breasts and flues: You should arrange for a qualified specialist to regularly sweep all used open chimneys. Make sure that bricked-up flues are ventilated. Flues to gas appliances should be checked annually by a qualified gas technician.
- Ensure you know the location of all meters and control valves, they are easy to access and not hidden or covered.
- Arrange for an appropriately qualified technician to check and test all gas and oil services, boilers, heating systems and connected devices once a year.
- Electrical installations should only be replaced or modified by a suitably qualified electrician and tested every ten years if no alterations or additions are made, or on change of occupancy.
- Monitor plumbing regularly during use and when you are cleaning. Look out for leakage and breakages, and check insulation is adequate particularly as winter approaches.
- Lift drain covers annually to check for blockages and clean these as necessary. Keep gullies free from debris.
- Garages and outbuildings: Follow the maintenance advice given for the main building.
- Other: Regularly prune trees, shrubs and hedges as necessary. Look out for any overhanging and unsafe branches, loose walls, fences and ornaments, particularly after storms. Clear leaves and other debris, moss and algae growth. Make sure all hard surfaces are stable and level, and not slippery or a trip hazard.