More often than not we like to invest more time maintaining the interior of our home. However it is important to look after the structures outside your home because the impact of varying environmental factors can lead to deterioration. Not only does this age the look of your home but it can be dangerous and repairs can be very costly. Don’t neglect the outside and follow these steps to check what to look out for.
Maintaining the Roof
You should regularly check the roof, especially after high winds and storms. The best way to examine the roof is by climbing into the roofspace. Light filtering through dislodged tiles and timber frames showing white powder or dark water stains can indicate cracked tiles.
When replacing or repositioning defective tiles, be careful not to crack more of them whilst walking on the roof. A professional may need to be called in if your tiles are too brittle.
Metal roofs can rust quickly once their protective coating is scratched. You can also detect rust when you look up at the roof and see the night sky through rust holes.
Examine your gutters regularly. Gutters can rust extremely quickly especially when leaves accumulate. Leaves will pond water in your gutters, which accelerates rusting, and the action of the leaves decaying may accelerate the rusting still further. A property with overhanging trees may need its gutters cleared of decomposing leaves every few weeks during autumn and winter to prevent rusting. You can wedge mesh into the tops of gutters to minimise leaf build-up.
As with roofs, you should check gutters after stormy weather, to see that none of the tiles overhanging the gutters have dislodged, creating a gap. This is a favourite entry point for birds, possums and rats.
Underneath the guttering (the eaves lining) is another popular spot for animal entry. The eaves linings should be checked regularly for deterioration, because animals can peck and chew their way in very quickly. The eaves material can of course deteriorate over time but often the decay is due to water leaking from the roof, or from overflowing or leaking gutters.
Localised rusting of gutters can be remedied by patching, puttying, or painting with bituminous products from hardware stores, but these are temporary measures.
While it is important to note that during prolonged periods of drought, the foundation material and soil around buildings can be exposed to persistent drying and shrinkage which may cause cracking, under normal seasonal conditions, cracking in brickwork can often be easily remedied with proper garden care.
The House Cladding
Gradually warping weatherboards may be caused simply because of their exposure to the elements. This is not a severe problems but warping weatherboards may indicate sub-floor failure.
Most exterior timbers, including decks and balconies, are susceptible to insect attack and decay. As all protective timber finishes will degrade with exposure to solar radiation (sun) and weather, it is important to maintain a good protective paint or stain coating on all exposed timberwork, otherwise deterioration such as splitting and rotting will occur. All structural timbers should be inspected regularly for signs of deterioration.
Preventing Slippery Pathways
Encroaching trees should be trimmed back to prevent paths becoming mouldy and slippery. Surface drains may be appropriate also. If your paths are already a little slippery, scrub them with chloride based cleaner, or fungicide from nurseries.