I was thinking about some of our properties and the many issues we have faced with upkeep over the years. When you look at it logically, water is one of the most damaging aspects for any property. Water is responsible either directly or indirectly for the vast majority of the repairs we will have to do to our properties over time.
Water can cause everything from condensation right through to subsidence. Some of the main contenders are;
Leaks outside- from badly fitting drains or not repairing guttering. ( See our previous blog here on guttering repair issues.) Blocked drains over a long period can also cause rising damp. Damp travels up walls and into the brick of the building. Blocked drains are a cheap item to fix, rising damp is a lot more expensive.
Leaks inside-from leaking pipes or appliances this can cause serious damage to the very fabric of the building if not addressed quickly. Wood can start to rot making the joists and ceilings unstable. This type of leak also causes wet rot over time, which can be difficult and expensive to fix if it has traveled along a joist or beam for instance. Condensation can effect internal wood by rotting it too, and can also get into the very walls themselves.
Condensation- from poorly fitted windows, lots of people within, drying washing indoors and from cooking etc. This can lead to toxic black mould ( covered in our previous blog here) which can cause health problems.
Subsidence- caused sometimes by a leak over many years underground, or sometimes by the very type of soil itself. In many parts of London for example, housing was built on clay soil. Clay soil expands and contracts with the addition or removal of rainwater, which in turn causes the building to move and twist as it sinks and rises with water levels. ( Subsidence can also be caused by tree roots sucking too much moisture out of the ground.)
Burst Pipes- last year we had a very hard winter which led to frozen water pipes, and ultimately this led to burst pipes. Lagging if pipes is such a small cost comparerd to the massive cost of repairing burst pipes or boiler problems.
Remember that water can cause contamination of water systems, and the rusting of metal, so here are some top tips that every home owner should know which will keep repairs to a minimum.
- Know where to find your stopcock! Then you can cut off the flow of water if a pipe starts leaking.
- Insulate pipes inside and out. ( Including all joints.)
- Poorly installed or loose pipe joints could cause leaks that are undetectable. Get them fixed.
- Watch out for any cracks appearing in walls, these often come about by a leak from somewhere.
- Regularly clean out the gutters, roofs, and external drainage.
- Do regular inspections in specific areas which could be prone to leaks or create wet spots.
- Buy a dehumidifier for when you dry washing indoors during winter.
- Make sure any tumble dryers are vented properly to the outside.
- Check roofing at least once a year for slipped tiles or guttering issues.
- Make sure the property gets air flow through it with proper ventilation, and underneath it via unblocked air bricks.
When you look at the various problems water creates, it’s a wise move to try and mitigate any potential later damage upfront and save yourself the bigger expense that leaving things unchecked will bring.
You may also like our Winter Waterproofing Tips