It’s that time of year again when homeowners do battle with falling leaves, wet and windy weather, and sometimes heavy snow. Here in West London we can go for years without seeing a snowflake, but that doesn’t stop winter weather taking its toll on our homes and gardens. Jeffery and Wilkes are London’s leading Building Contractors.
While the weather is still mild it’s a good time to do those jobs you’ve been putting off all year and ensure your property is in the best shape for the next few months.
Here I share ten things you could be getting on with now:
#1: Check Your Chimney
Chimneys tend to be out-of-sight and out-of-mind, unless you have a clear view from a loft conversion. This means that they do get neglected and many homeowners don’t realise they have a problem with them until something goes wrong. The cold and wet can get into poorly maintained brickwork making it unstable, and then all that’s needed is a winter storm to send chimney pots falling.
Chimneys can also be an entry point for water, especially when flashings are not in good condition. It’s worth getting a builder or property maintenance company to have a look at the state of your chimneys every few years; the cost of doing so could be significantly less than fixing water damage or rebuilding a chimney and repairing damage.
#2: Slates, Tiles And Flat Roofs
While you’re checking your chimney you should also have a look at your roof to see whether water can get in through missing, loose or broken slates or tiles; or leaks in a flat roof. Lead work, flashings etc. should all be inspected and repairs done now to ensure that you stay dry this winter.
#3: Gutters: Keep Clearing The Leaves
At this time of year many homeowners are fighting an on-going battle with autumn leaves. While it is tempting to wait until all the trees have lost their leaves, they can build up and create blockages resulting in overflowing gutters and downpipes. This water can cause damage to your property, as water can get under the eaves or damage exterior render. While you’re clearing out the dead leaves also check that your gutters are secure and fix any faulty joints.
#4: Clear Drains Too
You will also want to prevent water collecting on the ground too, creating waterlogged earth or penetrating paving or exterior surfaces. Clear drainage points around your property of rotting leaves and other debris so that water can drain away quickly.
#5: Inspect Airbricks
Airbricks provide much needed ventilation below suspended floors and into cavity walls, preventing condensation and damp. For them to work effectively they must be unobstructed with plenty of space to ensure that air can circulate freely. Keep the area around your airbricks free of debris, and also check that the holes are clear – dirt can build up in them making them less effective and causing damp problems.
#6: Are Your Exterior Walls In Good Shape?
Cracks in render or crumbling pointing all provide another entry point for water. Although your roof and gutters should prevent water from running down your exterior walls, rain doesn’t always fall straight down! Driving rain can be a real problem for some exposed walls, as can the splash back from vehicles driving passed in wet conditions if your property is close to the road.
#7: Windows And Conservatories
Check that the seals are all in a good state of repair to ensure that water can’t get in around your windows. If you have wood frames a simple paint job is an excellent way to protect and extend their life.
#8: Protect Your Pipes
Probably the biggest threat to your home during cold snaps is frozen pipes. Exterior pipes, and those in cooler areas of your property such as the loft, should be protected with lagging (insulated foam). You may also want to protect pipes in cupboards too, especially if they are against an exterior wall.
#9: Add More Insulation
The recommended depth of loft insulation is now 250 to 270mm. If you haven’t renewed your loft insulation in recent years you could find that you only have 100mm, as only a few years ago this was the recommended amount. Loft insulation not only helps to keep your property warm, reducing the amount of heat loss through the roof, but it also reduces your energy bills.
#10: Remove Garden Missiles!
Strong winds have been known to blow garden furniture and other objects such as garden trampolines around – causing damage to property. Check that you don’t have any garden missiles lying around that could be a hazard.
The winter months are also a good time to think about getting your property into shape for next year. Perhaps you’re thinking about selling and want to add value to your home, or maybe you need more space and therefore a loft conversion or home extension could be a possibility.
Start planning now and you could have your property ready for viewings in the spring when traditionally more buyers are on the market; or have your home just how you want it in time for next spring and summer.
Contact Jeffery & Wilkes for a free quotation call 020 8819 3883 or email email@example.com