As spring is officially here, there’s no better time to get your home in tip-top condition in time for the warmer months ahead
Your gutters and downpipes will have worked extra hard over the autumn and winter months, so you need to make sure they are clear to deal with the spring showers. Walk round your property to look for any clear signs of damage, or any obvious points of blockage.
Guttering is designed to steer water away from the structure of your home – if it fails, then water will pour directly on to your walls and windows, potentially causing issues with damp. The main cause of these problems is blocked gutters; check them when it’s raining and you’ll be able to see whether the water is correctly flowing down the pipes, rather than over the edge. To unblock the gutter, use a trowel to scoop out any of the debris, while carefully avoiding pushing any of it into the downpipe. Once your gutters are clear, flush them with water.
If the downpipe is blocked, then don’t attempt to clear it by pushing water through – this could just ram the blockage further down. Instead, use stiff wire or a cane to try and break up the matter; keep a bucket at the bottom to catch the waste before it goes into the drain.
If any of your guttering is broken it should be fairly simple to repair. As guttering comes in fixed sections, you can easily replace a damaged section for a new one – especially if you can get replacement parts from the same manufacturer. To remove plastic gutters, the joints and support brackets must be undipped before unscrewing and discarding the fittings. Joints to the downpipe shouldn’t be permanently bonded together, but if they are stuck, cut the sections out.
Take the opportunity to check the fascia board, too. If the timber has any defects, such as holes from screws or nails, they should be cleaned before applying suitable wood filler. It’s also a good idea to strip back the wood and treat it with preservative. Any sections of rotten wood should be cut out and replaced.
As your home’s crowning glory, you need to regularly assess the condition of your roof. Start by checking the ceiling inside your attic. If you observe any signs of water damage, such as water spots, check the roof directly above it, as this could signal cracked roof tiles or, potentially, more serious problems (which you should enlist a professional to check it out). Carry out this task at around midday, so that it’s bright enough outside for you to see if any light is peeking through where felt or tiles should be.
Outside, inspect the roof for any obvious damage – such as openings caused by missing or shifted tiles – and replace anything that is broken or cracked. Look at the edges of the roof and the sections where it meets the walls and joins a chimney or dormer. Make sure the cement is not cracked and that joints are not pulling apart.
Light patches of moss shouldn’t cause any physical harm to your roof, but a dense growth could damage the tiles underneath, or slip off and block gutters. You can remove moss manually using a short hard bristle brush – it’s fairly easy to dislodge. Don’t use a pressure washer as this could displace or damage the tiles.
Windows And Doors
You want your windows and doors to be in pristine condition for the summer months. If you have PVCu units, they should only require a good clean with warm soapy water. Never use abrasive materials to clean PVCu as this may scratch the surface, which will dull it and boost the appearance of dirt and stains. If your locks and hinges are stiff they will benefit from a squirt of WD40 to aid smooth operation.
Assess the condition of your timber doors and windows, and repair any small cracks with wood filler. Prod gently around the frame with a screwdriver to locate any soft woodwork under the paint surface – any soft spongy sections are likely to be rotten and in need of repair. Chop out the rotten timber, in addition to the 20mm of sound timber surrounding it. Try to angle the edges of the cut as this will make the repair less noticeable. The new piece of timber should be glued into place and sanded it until it’s flush with the rest of the frame.
Timber units should be painted or varnished every three years or so – the best time to do this is when the weather is fine and dry. Lightly sand the wood to clean and smooth it before applying two coats of your chosen treatment – you’ll need to remove doors for this.