Tools at the ready – it’s National Maintenance Week

Now there’s really no excuse for ignoring those jobs you’ve been meaning to tackle for ages, because this week is National Maintenance Week.

The event takes place each year in November to remind homeowners to prepare for the approaching winter season.

Organised by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, founded by William Morris in 1877 to care for and preserve the UK’s architectural heritage, it is nevertheless designed to get all of us thinking about keeping our homes in good condition.

The aim is to promote what SPAB calls the straightforward, economic and achievable maintenance steps that can be taken in autumn to stave off costly major faults and damage at a later date.

Visit the event website here >>

The website includes lots of tips and advice – as well as 10 handy hints to get you off on the right foot with winter maintenance. Here they are:

  1. Look for blocked downpipes, best done during heavy rain when you can see water coming from leaky joints. In dry weather look for stained brickwork.
  2. Check ground-level gullies and drains are clear of debris like leaves, twigs and foreign objects – and have them cleaned if necessary.
  3. In autumn clear plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopperheads, flat roofs and drainage channels. Have another go in the spring.
  4. Remove potentially damaging vegetation from behind downpipes by cutting back or removing the plant altogether.
  5. Use a hand mirror to look behind rainwater pipes for hidden splits and cracks in old cast iron and aluminium fixtures.
  6. Fit bird/leaf guards to the tops of soil pipes and rainwater outlets to prevent blockages.
  7. Have gutters re-fixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall. If sections are beyond repair, make sure that replacements are made of the same material as the originals (on older houses, this is sometimes lead, but more usually cast iron).
  8. Regular painting of cast iron is essential to prevent rust and to keep your property looking good.
  9. Don’t undertake routine maintenance work at high level unless you are accompanied and have suitable equipment. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.
  10. And finally- remember to take care at all times, wear protective gloves when necessary and never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone.