Winter Home Maintenance

Winter Home Maintenance in Gauteng

roof inspection
A roof inspection of your roof is most important because it protects you against the elements.

Maintain your home, especially the roof, on an annual basis. If you don’t do the small repairs they could end up as expensive repairs.

The roof

Your roof is the most important component of your home, protecting you, your belongings and the structure of the building. Damage to the roof can occur due to rain, wind and hail. You should regularly check the roof of your home for any leaks. Also inspect the ceiling, walls and the area around your home for any water spots, standing water or mould. Dampness on ceilings or walls can mean that there are leaks that you will have to attend to.

Check the chimney

Loose flashings, damaged masonry and loose bricks will allow rainwater in a house. Be sure to give the area around the chimney an inspection to ensure everything is fine. Refit loose flashing or replace as necessary. Furthermore, chisel out the damaged mortar joints, rejoint, and also repair loose bricks.

Loose, dislodged or broken roof tiles or ridge caps

If you have the ladder long enough, inspect the roof for loose or crumbling mortar along the ridge cap. At the same time, check for cracked or damaged roof tiles while you’re up there. However, if you do discover problems and can’t deal with it yourself, call in a professional roofing contractor.

Check around skylights

If you have skylights, regularly perform an annual inspection of the flashing or seal around the skylights.

Corrugated or IBR roofs

Check corrugated and IBR roofs for signs of rust and leaks around flashings and roof sheet screws. The constant thermal expansion and contraction of the roof sheets can loosen the roof screws. A hammer or an adjustable clutch drilling machine may be all you need to reseat the roofing screws. Otherwise, you can waterproof the suspect areas with waterproofing products to ensure a leakproof roof over your head. Your local hardware store will advise you on the correct products to fix your type of roof problem. 

Flat roof repair

A membrane or sprayed-on waterproofing system on flat roofs may start to show wear and tear. However, repairing this type of roofing system is not a DIY project and you will need to consult a roofing waterproofing specialist to undertake patching or touch-ups.

Blocked gutters

In summer and autumn, tree leaves, twigs and dust may have collected and blocked your gutters and downpipes. Therefore, you need to ensure that gutters and downpipes are clear of all debris. Overflowing gutters can result in water damage to the roof structure at the eaves which support the gutter and roof. Furthermore, you will need to clean gutters and downpipes before the rainy season starts.

If blocked, push a hose pipe up or down the downpipe to try and release the leaves and twigs.

Leaking gutters

Repair and seal gutter and downpipe leaks with self-adhesive aluminium tape or apply a membrane and suitable waterproofing sealant. You will find everything you need to repair leaking gutters at your local hardware store.

Site drainage problems

Drainage problems, pooling of water or insufficient runoff away from the foundations should be remedied before the rains begin. Fitting precast concrete rainwater downpipe channels at the bottom of downpipes will help to direct water away from the foundations. In addition, besides protecting your house foundation, this will help prevent problems such as rising damp. However, if the channel is not long enough, dig a trench or install a PVC pipe to direct the water away.

Inspect window frames

Wooden and steel window frames require frequent inspection and maintenance if you want your windows free from leaks and draughts.

Window putty and timber beading

Check that the glass window panes are firmly bedded in the frame and replace degraded window putty or sealer. Similarly, where wood beading has come loose or broken, replace this with new beading. Also, don’t forget to apply an exterior wood sealer around the window frame.

Steel window frames

Inspect steel window frames for signs of rust or flaking paint. Sand down rust spots and coat with a suitable primer and touch up with enamel paint. If the colour differs you will probably have to paint the whole frame. However, your local hardware might match the existing colour if you give them a scraped-off sample of the paint. In addition, water-based enamels are available and the easiest to work with and clean.

Wooden window frames

Every 18 to 24 months you will need to treat wooden window frames with an exterior wood preservative or sealer. However, this may be sooner if the wood starts to show signs of drying out or cracking. Your local hardware or paint shop will have a selection of wood treatment products. In addition, carefully follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for proper application to ensure maximum protection.

Gaps in windows

Where window sashes don’t sit flush into the frame you can use self-adhesive rubber or foam strips. Moreover, you can stick it to the sash or the frame to draught-proof the windows during the colder months.

Draught-proof doors

Exterior doors are a big cause of heat loss in a home. Therefore, fit a weatherboard or seal under the doors to keep out draughts and rainwater. As with window frames, stick a rubber strip around the door frame to close up any gaps.

These are small tasks that will save you a lot of money in possible damage to your home. Beware, small maintenance jobs always seem to accumulate into big expensive renovations if not fixed smartly!

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