Trade body’s tips for National Maintenance Week

As winter looms, homes need to be in the best condition to cope with the season ahead.

National trade body The Property Care Association (PCA) has compiled some timely advice to help householders keep their properties shipshape as the weather pattern changes.

The advice has been produced in support of National Maintenance Week, which takes place from 17th to 24th November 2017.

This annual event is organised by The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) to remind anyone who looks after a building – regardless of its age, type or purpose – of the simple steps they can take to prepare for the winter ahead.

To help householders get to grips with the campaign, the PCA offers a ten point check list which point to some small steps they can take to protect their homes and address minor issues before they escalate.

James Berry, PCA’s Technical Manager, said: “So often, tackling small property issues can stop them becoming much bigger problems further down the line. Taking time now to put things right around the home will pay dividends.”

The PCA’s 10 points are:

1. Chimneys – Lead flashings at the joint with the chimney stack and the roof can fail due to age or wind damage and then they will let water stream into a property.

2. Roofs – Cracked tiles or slipped slates can move in wind and rain, leaving an easy route for water to enter. The problem can be worsened if there is not a secondary underfelt. If anything is loose or worn, water will find its way in.

3. Gutters and downpipes – Water needs to drain away move away through gutters quickly, so this is an important time to clear out the guttering and ensure hoppers are free from moss, leaves and other debris. It is best to check everything, including the downpipes, as they should be properly connected with no faulty joints.

4. Pointing and rendering – Extremes of weather can take its toll on pointing and rendering, especially driving rain. When the pointing becomes loose, eroded and weak or the render cracks or delaminates it allows water to enter and causes internal staining. Now is the time to check – especially on the weather prevailing side of a property.

5. Window and doorway openings – During the warm summer months the weather sealing between frames and masonry can deteriorate. This will become an area where rain can enter.

6. External vegetation – Various shrubs and ivy will grow well in the summer months however this vegetation should be checked or cut back in the autumn so that water penetration of external walls and growth into weak pointing does not occur.

7. Drains – Make sure gulleys and drainage points are cleared of leaves and other debris so that rainwater can drain away from a building quickly, particularly during heavy downpours.

8. Drives and paths – It’s important that surface water drains away from a building quickly, particularly during heavy downpours, so check and clear away any build-up of leaves on the drive and paths.

9. Storage water containers – These tend to be forgotten during the autumn/winter. They often overfill, become blocked up with debris and excess water soaks the surrounding ground and adjoining house walls of the building causing local internal dampness problems. Either organise the overflow drainage or store them away.

10. Condensation – steamy windows are especially noticeable in the Autumn – so much so that it is often referred to as the ‘condensation season.’ The PCA has a range of information to help homeowners to understand more about the issue. This includes a new video which can be viewed here. 

The PCA is a member of TrustMark, the scheme supported by government to help property owners find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople to make home improvements.

To find out more about the PCA, log on to www.property-care.org

More details about National Maintenance Week are available at www.spab.org.uk/advice/national-maintenance-week/