Spring property MAINTENANCE 

Spring comes but once a year and is the key time to take stock of your property after a long winter to see what needs replacing, maintaining and improving.


At Eyesurvey we have a list of main tasks which each homeowner should carry out each springtime to keep their home in good order. 


Please take a look at our list below to see how to keep your home in first rate condition.


- As Essex based Surveyors, we strongly advise that you have the electrical installation checked by a qualified electrician at least every three to five years, as the system can deteriorate with age and Electrical Regulations are being constantly updated. 


- Ensure that you obtain qualified advice before making any alteration to the electrical wiring system. Building Regulations "Part P" require the work to be certified by a "competent tradesman" - that is, someone who is qualified to do that work. 


- Ensure that you know how to get to external and internal stop-cocks in the event of an emergency. Ensure they work easily by regularly smearing Vaseline around the spindle close to the gland nut. 


- It is important to check over the seals along your bath, shower or sinks to ensure that leaks are prevented. The supporting cradle under showers and baths flex when under the weight of water so it is imperative that the seals are checked around these too before it has the potential to cause much larger problems in the future. To ensure that all pipework remains unblocked from time to time put washing soda crystals down there as this is as good as any branded solutions but is a fraction of the price.


 - Clean through overflow pipes from water tanks or cisterns - a length of twisted wire will do the trick. 


- To maximise efficiency ensure that all heating systems: boilers water heaters, radiators are checked on a regular basis. In addition, if you have a gas fire which doesn’t seem to be burning properly, the chances of you getting carbon monoxide poisoning rises.


- Clear blocked drain chambers, soakaways or gulleys. Blockages in a drainage system may be cleared by rodding or pressure hosing. DON'T pour excess concrete mix from fencing work and the like down a drain - it will solidify, and block it!


- Roof slopes and coverings, usually tiles or slate – check for slipped, cracked or badly damaged tiles or slates, particularly after severe weather conditions. Binoculars help. Cement pointing at the roof edges, called the verges. Make sure that this is kept in good condition.


- Remove lichen and moss growth on tiles and slates if that gets heavy, but do not use pressure washers. A stiff brushing of tiles or slates when dry is best - but do not use that method for asbestos slates mainly used between the World Wars.


- Did you know that flat roof properties can require quite a lot of maintenance. Firstly, if it is covered in felt this needs to be looked after and replaced regularly as it doesn’t fair well when its constantly battling with the unpredictable British weather. In addition, if the roof is covered with a lead sheet ensure this is checked regularly as it has a tendency to split; ensure that you have ‘crawling boards’ to eliminate pressure on the roof whilst it is being inspected.


- Check chimney joints - the flashings - and valley gutters or hidden gutters for blockages and leaks. Valley gutters often suffer defects leading to leaks, and should be carefully cleaned out at regular intervals.


- Keep chimney pots, terminals and cowls in good order, and ensure that the brickwork and joints are in good order - no loose or damaged bricks. Make sure that the stone chippings on your flat roof are evenly laid, as this reflects the sun and increases the life of the felt. Clear away any heavy moss or lichen growth regularly, as this can retain moisture and increases the weight of the roof.


- Gutters often become blocked with leaves, weeds or debris and should be cleaned out on a regular basis. Replace or repair any missing or defective sections and fix leaking joints immediately in order to protect the property.


- Paint or re-stain window frames and other joinery at regular intervals. Remove gutters during the work in case of hidden rot after leaks.


- Regularly inspect door and window frames and ensure timber affected by wet rot is repaired. As Chartered Surveyors, we often come across wet rot as part of the surveys carried in Essex and Suffolk. Ensure the replacement of loose or dry glazing putty and shrunken glazing gaskets if used, along double-glazed panes. Timber painted regularly will help avoid it becoming affected by rot. 


- Replace worn, broken or damaged hinges, sash cords or window latches - your insurance company may reject any claims from break-ins!

- Renew cracked or broken panes of glass and replace missing or loose putties before redecoration.



- Damp can find its way into the smallest of gaps in the walls of your property. We are always checking for those surface cracks that seem minor but can potentially become a site for damp in the future. To prevent this from happening our Colchester and Chelmsford based Chartered Surveyors always advise that you fill in all cracks or small gaps in all window and door frames to prevent any further damage.


- Ensure that the mastic joints or cement mortar at the waste pipes are in good condition.


- Use a pliable waterproof mastic sealant to close any gaps around the window or door frames and around cables entering through external walls (eg for your cable broadband or satellite tv).


- Never bridge a damp-proof course by building up external paving levels or earth of garden borders. A sensible guide is to keep external levels at least two brick "courses" below damp-proof course level, or below the inside floor level.


- Never render walls down to external ground level as this is likely to bridge any damp-proof course, or can "wick-up" moisture. Always finish that rendering in a properly formed bell-mouth cast or profile.


- Water may get behind poor rendering which could lead to dampness. Any cracked or loose areas of rendering should be repaired or replaced.


- Remove ivy or other climbing plants in particular from walls and gutters. Such plants can damage stone and brickwork and will retain moisture in the wall, as well as harbouring insects.


- Do not allow any sub-ground floor air bricks to become blocked. Failure to do so will prevent adequate air flow and could lead to decay or even to collapse of the floor formations.


- Check rain water downpipes for splits or leaky joints, and loose clips allowing pipes to come adrift. Look for any weed growth in gutters - that shows up blockage by silt, which will cause overflows resulting in damp walls or wood rot.


- It is vital that you regularly check your entire loft space for small animals like birds and rats but also for wasp and bee nests as they can take time to be dismantled. If you find a bats nest you will need to get in experts to carefully remove it as it is a protected species. In addition, check over all pipe work and water storage tanks for leaks and that they are suitably covered. Carry out these checks now so small problems don't grow as the months go on.