Helpful tips on how to maintain cracks, repairing broken walls and three other household repairs
When it comes to house maintenance, if not promptly cared for, the repairs to your home can become more costly and time-consuming. The solution?
Make out a schedule for preventive maintenance, and then stick to the appointed time to do it. You may choose to mark the days for such work on your calendar. This will alert the other members of your family to be free to help out as needed.
There are two golden rules for proper house maintenance. First, prevent as many problems as you can before they start. And second, tackle as quickly as possible problems that do occur. Inspect your house carefully in the spring or in the fall, giving attention to the roof. Not only may leakage damage the interior of your home but it may also damage the walls and outer surface of the building.
Supplement your yearly roof inspection with a further check after a severe gale. Although you may be able to do some small repairs on a flat roof, a reliable contractor is best equipped to guarantee a more lasting solution to roof problems.
If your house is surrounded by trees, then autumn may bring the problem of dead leaves collecting in the gutters, blocking the flow of rainwater. Therefore, examine the gutters and downspouts. Seal any leaks with a waterproof caulk. Applying a coat of a good topcoat gloss paint will provide protection for metal gutters.
The walls of your home also deserve regular inspection. Watch for cracks, dampness, and missing mortar between bricks. The combined effect of wind, rain, and frost may loosen the mortar or other sealants that keep your wall watertight. If this loosening has occurred, you will have to make the necessary repairs.
On a regular basis, thoroughly examine the woodwork of your house. Prod the lower parts of the doors, their jambs, and the windowsills to find out if they are rotting. If the affected area is large, you may be able to cut it out and replace it with sound wood. It may be possible to treat a small rotted area with a wood preservative that contains a fungicide.
Dry rot develops in damp, poorly ventilated areas indoors. It has the ability to spread, even through plaster, mortar, and brick. Eradication of dry rot calls for prompt, expert attention. Better still, prevent it from ever taking root by ensuring good ventilation throughout your house.
To master home maintenance, be observant. Regularly inspect your home, both outside and inside. Carry out the necessary repairs promptly. Do what you can yourself, but when necessary, do not hesitate to call in the experts to help.
GUTTERING AND DOWNSPOUTS
To Unblock Guttering
▪ Before removing the silt and debris, cover the opening into the downspout with an oversized rag to prevent the debris from getting into the downspout.
▪ Scrape away the blockage into a bucket suspended from your ladder.
▪ Remove the rag, and then pour water along the gutter. If it does not flow freely, then the blockage is in the downspout.
To Unclog a Downspout
▪ If there are drains at the bottom of the downspout, put a container there to stop debris from clogging them up.
▪ From ground level, poke a stiff wire up the downspout to loosen any lower-end blockage.
▪ From the top of the downspout, insert a piece of stiff, hooked wire into the downspout to bring up whatever is blocking the top.
REPAIRING BRICK OR BLOCK WALLS
Repointing (Repairing Mortar Joints)
▪ Use a chisel and a hammer to remove the loose mortar to a depth of about 1/2 inch [1 cm].
▪ Brush area to be repointed with a stiff wire brush to remove loose bits of mortar and dust.
▪ Mix the mortar but no more than can be used before it sets up.
▪ Dampen the bricks and underlying mortar with water.
▪ Force mortar into the gaps between the bricks with a pointing trowel.
▪ After the mortar has dried, but before it has fully hardened, with a dry stiff brush, clean off any mortar smeared on the brick.
▪ Chip away cracked or loose plaster or concrete.
▪ Wet the wall.
▪ Spread new mortar on the wall with a trowel.
▪ Allow the mortar to harden somewhat.
▪ Score the surface to help secure the final coat of mortar.
▪ Apply a final coat of mortar.
▪ To level the surface, draw a wooden batten across this wet mortar using a sawing motion.