Most homeowner insurance policies will only cover damage caused by unforeseen events and regard home maintenance as the responsibility of the home-owner, thus any claims determined as a result of poor maintenance or neglect are most likely to be rejected.
Proper home maintenance also ensures the safety of all who are living in the household so it really should be a priority for all home-owners.
Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home as it protects you, your belongings and the structure of the building, from damage due to rain, wind and more. It is very important to regularly check the roof of your home for any leaks. Look around for any water spots, standing water or mould. Dampness on ceilings or walls can signal leaks that are just getting started.
Clean gutters and drain pipes to avoid leaves and other debris from clogging them up. Ensure that the water is draining away from the house. Clogged gutters can cause water to spill onto your roof which will result in rotting and leaks. Make sure to check your gutters at least twice a year during spring and autumn.
Along with the pleasure of having a fireplace, comes the responsibility of maintaining it properly. Check the chimney for loose or missing mortar and make sure the damper closes tightly. It is also advisable to have the chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year if you use the fireplace regularly.
In the interest of the safety of those living in your home, it is crucial that all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order. Check and replace batteries in safety devices if needed, or at least twice a year.
In order to prolong the lifespan of your air conditioner, it should be undercover. It is vital to clean or replace the filter of the air conditioner at least once a month.
Always check for leaky taps located in kitchens and bathrooms. If the taps are leaking from the spout it is most likely that the washers need replacing. Bear in mind that when working on leaking taps it is critical to ensure that the water supply is cut to avoid unnecessary water damage and flooding.
Draining the geyser to remove sediment from the bottom of the tank is important. Although this can be done as a DIY project it is advised that the expertise of a plumber is used. By using a plumber he may timeously replace the anode and clean the geyser valve.
Windows and doors
Windows and exterior doors are subject to the wear and tear due to constant use and exposure to weather conditions. Over time the door and frame materials can deteriorate and fail. Sealing drafty doors and windows by replacing the seals not only keep the cold of winter outside, but it could add to the resale value.
Walls and paint
Check for cracks and holes in the walls and paint of your home. Crack and holes will cause a leak. Where needed patch cracks and holes to avoid water and mould of seeping into crevices.
The current economic turmoil, coupled with the rising cost of living, has meant that many South African homeowners are simply not prioritising their home maintenance. However, it less costly to maintain your home and if you start this process at the first sight of deterioration. Spending a little bit now can mean saving a lot in the long run.
The good news is that, generally, concrete, stone, brick and masonry walls and concrete or screeded floors that have cracks less than 1 mm wide (the thickness of a credit card) are common and usually do not warrant any corrective action. Most of these small tight cracks are caused by normal shrinkage as the moisture in the walls and floors evaporates over time or settlement of the structure which usually occurs within the first few years after construction.
Be warned, however, that changes in condition around the structure may also cause settlement many years later! Examples are planting a new garden or tree or removing a garden or tree that is against or close to the house.
Moreover, if a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal masonry crack is filled with hard masonry patching compound, any substantial future movement is likely to show up as a new crack in the patched area or nearby. Therefore, always use a non-shrinking grout to prevent stressing yourself!
Cracks that continue to move are a reason for concern! Continued movement in cracks should be evaluated as there may be a need for corrective action. Therefore, if you notice a crack has re-cracked or the crack has opened or gotten larger it should be monitored! However, first, make sure there is no shrinkage of the filler product. All cracks that are 5 mm and greater should be carefully monitored to ensure there is no continued movement.
WHAT IS ROOF CROCODILING AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOUR FLAT ROOF?
Waterproofed concrete and composite flat roofs on residential and commercial buildings require more maintenance than sloped roofs. They react differently to sun and moisture than tiled or sheeted roofs and require more frequent maintenance to ensure they function as they should. One common problem with many flat roofs is crocodiling.
What is Crocodiling?
Crocodiling is a crazed cracking pattern on the surface of the waterproofing. It looks like crocodile skin, which is where the name comes from.
Crocodiling is a sign that your waterproofing is ageing. The sun’s UV rays dry out and damage the waterproofed surface, and after five years or more years, the coating may develop small cracks. The older your roof gets before you repair the crocodiling, the more expensive it will get.
Extreme temperature changes, changing from hot sunshine to sudden cloudbursts and rain, and even hot winter days and very cold nighttime temperatures will cause new cracks to appear and will make existing cracks worse.
Leaves and debris will allow water to pool on the membrane which, together with the elements, will hasten the deterioration of the protective coating and waterproofing itself.
Being prepared to protect your home against a sudden burst pipe can save you thousands of Rands in damage. The following tips will slow or stop pipe leaks long enough to get hold of an emergency plumber. However, you may have to wait until the lockdown is over.
The first thing you should do is switch off the water supply. You might find this valve where yourwater supply enters your home or in the valve box on the pavement.
To temporarily stop a pinhole pipe leak on a water pipe, you need to seal the pipe at the leak point. If you have self-tapping screws you may need to widen the hole. Using a small piece of rubber or plastic pipe as a washer screw the self-tapper into the hole.
If you don’t have one or can’t “borrow” one from appliances in your home! Alternatively, wrap electrical or duct tape around the pipe a few times. In addition, if the pipe leak is on a PVC or galvanised waste pipe, almost any type of tape can be used as a temporary fix.
I posted on my blog, in November last year, about damp walls that arise as a result not having gutters on your home to control the flow of rainwater off your roof.
On Saturday I inspected a four-year-old property that had a
one tile overhang on the roof, no gutters but had paving surrounding the house.
However, the external walls of the house were in a desperate state because of the three most destructive mistakes architects, developers, builders and homeowners make!
As a result, I’m going to repeat part of the issues mentioned in my blog again!
Damp walls caused by no gutters
Gutters collect the rainwater runoff from the roof, discharging it into downpipes which conveys the rainwater away from the house in a controlled manner. In addition, they also protect the timber roof structure at the eaves of the house. Furthermore, gutters protect the exterior walls, windows and doors of the house and its foundation from damp and potential damage.
The splashing up against the walls was the most serious cause of the penetrating damp on the walls of the house. Moreover, the crazing cracking (spiderweb-like fine cracking) in the plasterwork was the main indicator of the penetrating damp caused splashing up of rainwater. No cracking was observed higher up on the walls.
Even if your house has a reduced overhang at the eaves, gutters will still provide the required protection against heavy rain and wind storms your house may be subjected to.
Insufficient roof overhang at the eaves
Roofs with no gutters which have a two-tile
overhang (600mm in the case of a metal roof) or less will allow water to pour
from the roof close to the walls, windows and doors and the foundation.
I do a fair amount of inspections in sectional title schemes. Often, owners ask me if body corporates will pay for repairs inside their units. Obviously, their concern is about damage caused by external factors such as rainstorms, burst geysers, and so on.
Each case is usually based on its merits. Usually, the body corporate’s trustees use their discretion when deciding to whom they allocate the cost of repairs and replacement. However, there are many grey areas and differences between the owner’s and body corporate’s liability and responsibility.
The Body Corporate’s obligations
Body corporates are responsible for the repairs and maintenance and upkeep of the common properties.
Furthermore, the body corporate maintains all pipes, ducts, wiring, etc., for the common property and services to more than one unit.
Your obligations as an owner of a section
You must maintain and keep your section in a good state. Moreover, you must also keep any part of the common property to which you have the right neat and tidy. These are exclusive use areas such as gardens, patios, balconies, parking areas, garages, etc.