Blond, red or grey sandstone graces the external fabric of many of the properties we see every day in the West of Scotland, ranging from villas in Pollokshields to bungalows in Bearsden and Milngavie. Aesthetically pleasing, architecturally interesting, good heat retention values - the list goes on and on. But what of the future for these fine buildings?
Usually the walls of these buildings are 600mm thick, are as sound as the day they were built and have the potential to out live most of the current inhabitants and generations to come. However, a little love, care and attention is increasingly required, as these properties move into their 110th and 120th birthdays, if future property problems are to be avoided.
Inspect sandstone properties
It is increasingly essential that these buildings are regularly inspected by professionals who know what and where to look for the weaknesses that can cause serious defects to these otherwise lovely properties.
Bay windows, for instance, can often have parapets and lead flat roofs which can deteriorate and cause penetrating damp, allowing decay to germinate and cause severe structural damage to the concealed timbers.
Often downpipes from the gutters can be either semi or completely built into the sandstone walls and should leaks at joints occur again, water ingress can be substantial and the damage expensive to repair.
Where gutters discharge rainwater into a hopper-head at eaves level, blockage by leaves can allow substantial volumes of water into the timber fabric behind.
A modest budget of £300-£500 per year could allow for basic cleaning of gutters, hopper-heads, downpipes, and those little pieces of pointing around windows, doors and stonework that ensure water is kept where it should be - outside the building.
Buildings that have not been the subject of regular maintenance may require a further upgrading of its water management systems which may incur considerable expense.
Increasingly, property repair professionals are recommending that property owners keep a log book of repairs and investigations carried out at their property to show potential purchasers that the building has been well maintained.
Any property of 60-70 years or older should certainly benefit from a detailed inspection by a timber preservation specialist, perhaps every five years, to ensure that the building is performing adequately and that any defects are caught early when remedial action should be relatively inexpensive.
Built to last it is true, but they do need a little help from their friends.
For more information on property care issues
For more information and advice on property care issues then visit the following web pages: