How to inspect the exterior of your home?

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What to look out for and take note.

The exterior of your house must continue to withstand the elements all year round. Having the information on how to inspect the exterior of your home Annual are crucial in preventing any problems that can escalate into something more serious. Therefore, ensuring all aspects of the exterior and the structure of your home is well maintained, can save you money in the long run.

To sum up this blog, a link has been provided with further information on how to perform and inspect the exterior of your home and choosing a building inspector when buying a house so you can use the information combined to get a complete understanding.

Drainage

Rainwater and sewage are kept separate. One of the best ways plumbers achieve this is by creating inspection chambers situated above ground, allowing access to the pipes should blockages occur. If you don’t have any inspection chambers, talk to your local plumber to install them.

Rainwater can channel into separate circle ways. Some councils require falling rain to be collected and reused. You should check and update old systems where possible. Consider installing rainwater tanks.

Benefits to installing rainwater tanks.

Certainly, it can reduce water bills, and most importantly provide an alternative water supply during restrictions, and help maintain a lawn and garden.

  • Reduces the need for new dams or desalination plants
  • Protects environmental flows in rivers
  • Reduces infrastructure costs.

Fence and paths

Inspect paths, aligned and free from structural defects or cracks in the concrete.

To preserve the longevity of fences, an annual inspection to check for vertical post alignment. Place a level against posts and check to see how straight it is. It’s ok if out by 1˚- 3˚degrees. Further misalignment will need monitoring periodically, indicating that it may be time for a replacement. Safety issues can arise when it comes to children, pets and keeping unwanted intruders off your property. When further problems persist, it’s advisable to replace your fencing with a sturdier version.

Decking

An inspection to your exterior decking should be done every 6 to 12 months. It should have no decay, free from algae. Look for signs of moisture damage or “dry rot”, curled edges, warping, soft boards that have water retention, mold or mildew and timber that is spongy or fibrous, should be replaced immediately.

Checklist to inspect wear and tear of your deck

Posts are essential for strength and integrity. Failure can result in serious injury. Check Steel posts for signs of rust and deterioration around the base where water can pool.

  1. Inspect posts, railings, beams, decking floors, stairs, decaying timbers, unstable balustrades, corrosion, and cracking of concrete.
  2. Pay attention to any loose screws, bolts, nuts. Inspect brackets, nails, and other fasteners for bending, stress, fractures, and rust. Look out for signs of rusting, wet rot and fungus and replace as soon as possible.
  3. Inspect bracing regularly to ensure there has not been any excessive structural movement or damages.

Look at your deck from a distance. Is it tilted or unfastened away from your house? If the answer is yes, you may have a structural issue and remedial works will be required. Call ITS NEVER TOO LATE HANDYMAN SERVICE to assess the condition of all deck components.

To keep your deck safe, here are some other tips to consider

  • Avoid installing heavy objects such as spas unless your decks are specifically designed to withstand the extra load.
  • Avoid excessive jumping, dancing, and unusual movement.
  • Remember, as the deck ages, elements generally deteriorate, reducing its ability to withstand the load over time.
  • Avoid having excessive numbers of people gathering on the deck.
  • Never climb or sit over balustrades
  • Inspecting your deck externally for any rotting pieces and changing them as they begin to rot ensures the deck prolongs its life.

Bricks or blockwork

What Causes Bricks to Deteriorate?

  • Cleaning methods (abrasive cleaning solutions and pressure washers
  • Ground movement
  • The original quality of the bricks. Unrealistic life expectancy.
  • Construction of the bricks
  • Expected mortar life,
  • Seasonal weather and sudden temperature changes
  • UV sunlight, rain and wind.
  • Potential damages caused by impact

Preventative measures?

The bad news is that there isn’t a single cause of brick deterioration. Problems can manifest in many ways. Bricks may crack, bulge, become loose, or start flaking, introducing gradual and rapid deterioration. The good news is most solutions will last for a significant amount of time but a simple routine inspection to the exterior of your home bricks is essential to prevent major damage.

Let’s take a look at the six main options

How to maintain a brick house?

If you just bought a home, congratulations. Your goal is to keep it looking great for many years. Modern bricks are energy efficient, and above all, have resale value. Inspecting the exterior for wear and tear, your brick home can live to tell another story.

      1. Inspecting & Repairing Bricks Externally

Inspect your entire brickwork surroundings annually. It’s important to note, damages do not always arise from bricks, but from the mortar used to hold them together. Lightly hose the bricks down. Check for crumbling mortar. If you find damaged mortar, patch it with new mortar immediately to prevent water from seeping in.

      2. What to do if your home receives very little to no sunlight?

Look out for moss, mould, or mildew growth. A solution of household bleach mixed with water in a bucket, use a synthetic scrub brush broom and remove unwanted growth.

      3. Plant Growth 

Plant growth or vines can cause damage to your bricks. This is because they adhere to the face of the brick and tend to erode allowing their roots to penetrate through mortar. Do not pull them out! Instead cut them close at the base of the soil and let them naturally fall off.

      4. Keep Weep Holes Clean 

A weep hole is a tiny opening that allows moisture from the wall to drain to the outside. Typically located at the bottom of the assembly. Occasionally these holes get clogged if not cleared can cause water damage. Look for blockages and ensure they are clean.

      5. Watch Signs Of Efflorescence

What is Efflorescence? A formation of a powdery deposit on the surface of bricks or other material, as a result, of lack of moisture exposure to air. In a nutshell, the growth of salt crystals on the bricks can travel towards the surface when water penetrates the brick. It looks like a chalky deposit. This needs to be removed; it can be cleaned with a stiff wire brush but in difficult-to-reach places, a chemical agent needs to be used specifically designed for the task.

      6. Replace Damaged Bricks 

Chisel out the mortar which surrounds the damaged bricks and replace them. Carefully clean the opening and dampen a bonding agent or water. Spread new mortar to the bottom of the opening, and lay in the brick and mortar on the sides and top. You can finish the new joints by simply running your fingers or using a manual tool over the new mortar and cleaning off any residue.

What causes brick deterioration?

First, it’s important to determine what causes brick deterioration, or “spalling” in the first place. There are two main culprits, time, and water and failing to inspect the exterior of your home. Brick surfaces are very strong, but they’re susceptible to the elements. Water can cause problems within brick surfaces. The best way to prevent brick deterioration is by limiting the effect of water on the bricks.

Ensuring gutters and roofs are cleaned routinely and not leaking to perform as they should. When it rains, check to make sure it flows down each downpipe and all corners of the house. If not you may need more downpipes and or new gutters to hold more water to ease overflow.

Ensure Proper Drainage

We cannot control the weather when it rains, well at least not yet. What we can control, is making sure the gutters are inspected, are wide enough for water to flow through the gutters with minimal leakages.

Remember, this includes the structure underneath your home. Water that collects in the soil can pass up through bricks or even seep into your home’s foundation if you’re not monitoring this.

Use a “Breathable” Sealant

The last thing any homeowner should do is apply a brick sealant that traps water under the surface. However, there are several products that do precisely that, since the sealant prevents moisture from escaping through the bricks’ porous surface. Therefore, always consult with the manufacturer of the product before applying sealant.

Replace crumbling bricks and inspect tuck points

If you’ve recently purchased a brick home that’s over 25 years old, most people miss the exterior tuckpoint and don’t replace crumbling bricks in the facade in time. If in doubt, call your local building inspector.

Minimise pressure washes

You might think that it’s ok to use a pressure washer to clean your bricks occasionally, but using a pressure washer excessively, or on the highest pressure setting could contribute to brick deterioration, mortar and property damage. If you’re concerned consult a professional for assistance.

Important notes regarding an inspection to the exterior of your home

It’s best to inspect the exterior of your home every 6-12 months.

Ensuring you catch any problems at the early stage.

Keeping a journal of everything you’ve inspected and what you didn’t view, along with pics for future reference. It may be that you didn’t have enough time or got distracted, but keeping a record allows you to continue where you left off.  

Reading time: 7 mins 20 secs

For more information about inspecting the exterior of your home & choosing a building inspector when buying a house, visit the article at ConnectingU and yeah, there Australian!

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ITS NEVER TOO LATE HANDYMAN SERVICE

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Licensed handyman for private, commercial, and strata. All Interior and exterior applications. Additions, alterations, assembly, custom-built, demolition, repairs, installations, renovations, replacements, modifications, and home improvement. To obtain a quote, visit intlhandyman.com.au

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