When we move into a new house we tend to do two things:
1. Complete the work detailed in the mortgage agreement (this tends to be things like damp proof courses, underpinning, roof repairs);
2. Decorate in order to make your mark on your new property.
So what you are left with is a nice looking internal environment and a structure that a finance institution is happy with.
There are some issues with this.
1. Firstly, finance companies do not understand the workings of older solid walled properties and so many of their recommendations are pointless / potentially damaging. The money spent on these measures could / should be better used using more permanent solutions, but this is a huge topic that is impossible to deal with in this short post.
2. Decorating over issues like mould, damp, cracks is pretty pointless unless the root cause is also dealt with. I have seen this over and over again where people have spent a lot of time and money making their mark only to find that the mould / damp / cracks re-appear. This is the point of this post.
We would recommend using those initially tight resources to solve the problems with the house. These issues are not limited to what the mortgage company says, so don’t be lured into a false sense of security. Use this blog to flush out some potential problems (the indicators are things like dry lining, freshly painted walls etc.)
Most of these issues tend to be on the outside of the house, hence the title of the post! The majority of what needs to be done to a house, in order to make it fault free, is based in chronic poor external maintenance. So have a good look at things like:
- Cracked / blown renders
- Raised ground levels
- Blocked vents
- Blocked / broken / faulty guttering
- Rotten timbers
- Flashing around chimneys
- Chimneys not protected from rainwater
- Silicon failure around doors and windows
- Incorrect paint being used on solid walls
- Poorly sealed walls around incoming / out-going services
Once the outside of the house has been maintained properly then you can decorate to your hearts content with the knowledge that it will not fail in a few months time.
Remember that in order to keep your house looking good and operating well you will need to use the correct materials and products. Reading this blog will help with that. Also it is worth noting that maintenance is a regular requirement and not just a one off. So every now and again have a good once-around the outside of the house to ensure that all is well; it is easy for guttering to get blocked / fail and for new cracks to appear in cement render, etc.
CADW have a really good website on maintenance. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘historic’, as this applies to all solid walled buildings. See http://www.maintenancematterswales.org/