PROPERTY PROBLEM TIPS
Most traditional Scottish bungalow and villas can be expected to last for many years with some loving care and attention from their owners. Many defects experienced in these properties however, can be attributed to well meaning owners who make basic, but avoidable, mistakes.
With the responsibility for detailed property surveys falling to homeowners who are looking to sell with the introduction of the Home Reports later this year, it’s best to avoid property problems now before they get out of hand.
Here are some simple steps homeowners can take to prevent problems in the future:
Many instances of woodworm found in roof voids can be attributed to the storage of unwanted furniture that has an active woodworm infestation and which finds a ready source of food in the warm, dry timbers of the roof void. Similar problems can also occur when storing furniture and the like in the basement area.
Always inspect carefully any timber articles being stored in the roof or the basement and take advice if you see any small holes that could potentially be an active woodworm attack.
DAMP PROOF COURSES
Often during the life of traditional buildings, various owners install new driveways or flowerbeds which can result in the external ground level rising above the originally installed damp proof course in the base of the external walls. This can often result in what is known as lateral penetration of water into the wall fabric, which can have a detrimental impact on the internal decoration and may lead to either wet rot or dry rot in the ground-floor flooring timbers.
The level of the damp proofing course in the external walls of traditional properties is often visible externally. However, if this is not the case, by going into the sub-floor area, the level of the damp proof course can normally be ascertained. Ensure that any external ground works do not exceed the level or, if they already do, this should be dug down to a level below the damp proof course.
EN-SUITE SHOWERS AND BATHROOMS
Wise Property Care staff increasingly encounter dry rot to the floor timbers below ensuite showers as a direct result of water penetration from defective shower/wall seals. This can often be extremely expensive – requiring the removal of shower trays, wall tiles, floor tiles, and so on.
Have the wall/shower tray seals or bath seals raked out and renewed every three to five years and constantly monitored for any gaps that might allow water to penetrate the area below.
SUB-FLOOR FRESH AIR VENTILATION
We often encounter owners who actively block up the fresh air inlets to their sub floor solum area because it is thought to encourage draughts within the living areas. This obstruction of the sub-floor ventilation can rapidly lead to serious wet rot or dry rot to the sub-floor timbers.
Never – repeat never – block the sub floor ventilation and ensure that any external repair works don’t reduce the air gaps of the sub floor vents.
Given their design, most traditional roofs will perform quite satisfactorily but can suffer severe attacks of wet or dry rot from water ingress due to damaged guttering, down pipes, hopper heads, chimney flashings, parapet gutters valley gutters and so on.
Annually employ a local tradesman with the appropriate access equipment to allow for the regular maintenance and cleaning of the water management systems.
WHEN TO LOOK FOR PROBLEMS
Rainy days are ideal to monitor the effectiveness of your building’s water management systems. Put on your rainproof clothes, take an umbrella and walk round your building looking for water that might by overflowing the gutters, running down the drainpipes, overflowing a hopper head, and so on. Taking a little bit of care and attention on a regular basis and inspecting potential problem areas could save you valuable time and money in the long term, particularly if you are looking to sell your house in the near future.
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