Prevent problems before they begin -- learn what to look for and how to properly maintain the exterior structure of your home.
More in Outdoors
The exterior of your house has to withstand the elements through all seasons. An annual inspection is important to ensure that all aspects of exterior structure are maintained. It pays to be vigilant in checking for any potential problems, because this may prevent them from escalating into something more serious.
Whenever you find evidence of a problem, consider these key issues before taking any action. First, assess the physical extent of the problem, and check whether it is symptomatic of a larger issue. For example, a loose tile may simply need to be secured, or may be symptomatic of an underlying problem. Consider whether it is something you can fix yourself, or if you need to call in a professional for advice or to complete the work. Once you know what you are dealing with, assess whether the problem needs to be tackled immediately, or whether it can wait until you have the funds and the time to deal with it more easily. Problems such as leaking pipes or constantly running overflows are damaging and wasteful, and if you have a water meter they will be costing you a considerable amount of money. If the problem is a seasonal one, such as leaves blocking a gutter, it is worth planning for annual maintenance work. Remember that if you are hoping to sell your home, any problems with the exterior can seriously affect first impressions, and therefore the price you can expect to receive for your property.
Pointing and flashing should be sound and must be properly installed to ensure that water cannot penetrate the roof.
Boards should be sound, with no flaking paint or varnish. Vents must be clear of obstruction. This should be included as part of your boiler service schedule.
These should have a protective or preservative finish. Vinyl should be kept clean. Windows must have a protective coat of paint or finish.
Pipes should have no leaks at joints, and water should flow easily into drainage systems. Downspouts must be clear of any vegetation and leaves to ensure that water drains away efficiently.
Check for any signs of blockage and keep free of debris. Gutters should be free of corrosion and leaks, and water should run easily. Remove blockages immediately. Trees close to the house may occasionally cause subsidence, and their leaves may block gutters. Fascia board should be in sound condition and show no sign of decay.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009