Chill Out: 5 winter must-dos

1. Roofs
Every year you should check your roof, chimneys and flashings (waterproofing strips that protect vulnerable areas) making sure problems are not developing.

Things to look for include flashings that have corroded or lifted and crumbling chimney mortar.

Overhanging branches can damage roofs, so it’s important to keep trees next to your house cut well back.  Check with the manufacturer of your roofing material to find out about any special maintenance requirements.

2. Drains and Gutters
Blocked and damaged drains can and usually will cause serious flooding, so it’s important to contact a professional drainage company as soon as you become aware of any problems.

Tree roots can cause clay drainage pipes to crack, so take care where you plant trees with extensive root systems.  Guttering and spouting need to be cleaned annually as leaves can easily collect and block them.

3. Chimneys
As a matter of course, your chimney should be cleaned annually and now is the right time to do that before you use your fire in the winter.  Your insurance may be voided if you do not carry this out annually so don’t forget.

4. Balconies and Decks
Found on most apartments and in modern homes, enclosed decks and balconies require good design and regular maintenance to ensure the correct drainage.

They must be built with a slope to allow water to run away to a downpipe.

Keep your drainage free of leaves and other items that might block them.  Enclosed decks with solid walls often suffer water ingress problems and need to be frequently checked for signs of rotting, swelling, cracks and rust around bolds and flashings.

5. Security
Remember it’s dark early now and you and your tenants want to feel safe and secure in your homes.  Ensure you have security lights with sensors installed over door entrances and around garages, and that they are working.

Make sure if you have an alarm, the battery is working and the unit is fully operational.  Check all window and door locks and replace or repair any that could provide easy access.

LEAKS SNEAK
If you suspect leaks or find any form of water damage in or around your property, including any wet areas inside, such as your bathroom, toilet or laundry, never leave it or do nothing about it.  After fire, the biggest destroyer of your property will be water damage, and the amount of damage can be significant if left for any extended period of time.

Always get an expert in as soon as possible to inspect the problem and make sure you check your insurance policies to see exactly what you are covered for, especially around “gradual damage” clauses, which will mean you probably won’t be insured if you didn’t sort the problem early on.

Just to replace a two square metre laundry floor that’s had water damage could cost you around $1,500 so make sure your insurance excess is set accordingly.

 

Mark Trafford Director “Maintain To Profit”