Prevent problems before they begin -- learn what to look for and how to properly maintain the exterior structure of your home.
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Joints should be well pointed, and water should run off away from the house and into drainage channels.
These need to be kept clear of debris and vegetation. Holes should be patched immediately with a primer made specially for the type of roofing surface.
Fences should be kept vertical, and wooden ones well preserved. Paths should be well maintained. Driveways should be free of holes, craters, and standing water. Vegetation should be cleared from the surface.
There should be no cracks or holes. Vegetative growth will encourage mildew, and should be treated before repainting.
Slates or tiles should not be cracked, broken, or out of position. Any valleys should be clear of debris. Ridge tiles should all be in place, and their mortar must be in sound condition, with no cracks or holes.
Many exterior maintenance tasks involve ensuring smooth and efficient drainage from your home and into underground drainage systems in order to keep your home free from flood problems. Waste water is directed into the sewer system or septic tank through a network of underground pipes. Inspection chambers, situated below manhole covers, allow access to the pipes should problems occur. Rainwater is channeled into a separate system, or may run into the sewer. In older homes, both rainwater and waste water may drain into the sewer through the same network of pipes. Older systems should be regularly maintained, and updated when possible.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009