Episode 9 spring DIY health check Craig Phillips home advice
Craig Philips Home Advice – Spring episode
When spring finally arrives and things start to warm up, we can get out and enjoy the sun. But it’s a perfect opportunity for us to those maintenance checks, because, of course, if you keep on top of the little ones now, it prevents larger ones in the future.
We’ve finally said goodbye to the harsh winter freezing weather, but it’s a perfect time now to have a close inspection to see if you’ve got any damp.
Especially in the lower areas of the house, like the ground floor or the basement, where the ground may be lower than the actual earth outside. To spot the damp, you’ll see the plasterwork start to change colour, it’ll be damp to the touch, and it might even smell. If this occurs you’re going to need to have a DPC, which is a Damp Proof Course. The plasterwork has to be taken away, from one meter high, then the brickwork is injected with a silicone resin. This crystalises and stops any rising damp penetrating through the brickwork. Once the brickwork’s dried out, it can be replastered and painted to suit.
Spring is the perfect time to check the temperature on your thermostat. You don’t want to be wasting energy when the weather’s getting warmer. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get outside, and check exactly what needs doing on the exteriors of your home.
A harsh winter can do a lot of damage to your property. That’s why it’s wise to have a good inspection in the springtime. That way you can address any problems before they start getting costly. A great place to start is up in the gutters. All throughout the winter your gutters and downspouts have been working hard at it, taking away all the rain and snowmelt. When the weather gets a little more pleasant, you should check for blockages, because an overflowed gutter will lead to damp in your walls.
To give your gutters a once-over, you’re probably not going to need to use a professional, unless you’re not confident on using ladders. But always get a friend to foot the base of the ladder, or make sure it’s nice and secure before you start working on it.
You’re going to want to start with laying a tarpaulin down on the floor to catch any bits falling down, a strong bucket to collect all the gunk in from the gutters, a trowel so you can scrape it all out, and then a hosepipe to rinse it through. Now remember - don’t ever lean the ladder directly against the gutter, as this can cause it to buckle and break.
Now you should be able to get most of this out by hand, but if it is a little bit awkward, you can always get a trowel to get some of it out, and failing that, you can always get the hosepipe or some drain rods on there. Now remember - your safety is most important. If you can’t reach the gutters, always get a professional to do it.
If you find that you’ve got a blockage in the downspout that you can’t see, there’s a couple of ways of clearing it. One is you can get your drain rods - they can go in from the top and the bottom, and if you do have some tricky elbow bends on there, you can always get yourself a flexible plumber’s snake, and hopefully that should clear the blockage. Now if you do find you’ve still got a leak from your gutters or your downspouts, I’m afraid you might have to call a professional in to change some of the parts.
When you get a spell of good weather, it’s always an ideal time to treat all your external timbers with a wood preserver. You should treat all of your fencing, your decking and any of your external wood, like sheds, at least every two years.
As well as being the perfect time of year to look after your decking, you also want to consider treating your patio as well. If algae has gathered on your patio over the winter, now is a perfect time to treat it and stop it coming back. By using a jet washer or a commercial patio cleaner, you can have the algae off in no time.
Now’s the best time to check your doors and windows for any rot. Catching it now can avoid any further damp in the winter. If you do find any rot in your woodwork, you need to remove it, treat it, fill it, and prepare it ready for painting again.
Now, the freezing winter weather can be really harsh on your brickwork, especially the mortar in between. If you find it becoming loose, scrape it all out and then you can start to re-point it. Just apply your sand-and-cement mix, and strike your line across. Now it’s okay doing small areas like this yourself, but if it’s a larger area, you may need to get a tradesman in.
All in all, spring is a great time to check the soundness of your home, and it’s also the perfect opportunity to start doing those little jobs that you may need to do after that harsh freezing winter weather.
And remember: the more little jobs you do in the spring, the less chance you have to do the bigger ones in the winter.