A house should never be just a bricks and mortar shelter to keep us warm and dry. Our house should be a home, a place where we and our loved ones feel safe and secure, a place we long to return to after the rigours of a busy day. Yet, all of that can be upset by a seemingly innocuous substance that we all use every day – water.
Untold damage can be caused when water gets into places in our home that it shouldn’t. Wood-based and MDF products can absorb water and swell and/or rot. Plaster, paint and wallpaper can be ruined. Ceilings can sag or collapse. Valuable personal possessions can suffer permanent damage.
In view of the above, we can see the importance of regular checks to ensure that our house is waterproof to prevent the upset and expense caused by the above water-based issues.
Take it From the Top
Let’s start at the highest point of the house and work down. However, if you have no experience with roof work and do not possess the safety equipment required for such an inspection, leave it to an expert! However important this is, it’s certainly not worth risking your health or life for.
The chimney is one of the most common points for water to get into a property. Is water entering via the chimney pot? If so, the installation of a cowl or the replacement of a damaged cowl may be all that’s needed. Check the pointing, as the cement joints take the brunt of the weather at such a height. Also, the lead flashing should be carefully inspected, as this may have moved or split over time.
Additional items fitted into the roof, such as vents or windows, may also be allowing water ingress, and this should be obvious from inside the roof space. Again, check the lead flashing around the outside for signs of deterioration.
As for the roof itself, tiles can be loosened or even completely dislodged during stormy weather, allowing rain to enter your home very easily. An occasional visual inspection from the ground, especially after a winter storm, can help to flag up such a problem before too much damage is done.
Due to their location, gutters can become blocked with dirt and leaves without us being aware of it. The water will then overflow and can run down the brickwork, leave damp patches on the outside walls. Plastic guttering may also crack, allowing water to seep out. Cleaning and inspecting guttering may be a job for the keen DIYer, but others may want to seek the help of a specialist guttering cleaning service, some of whom will take before and after photos so that you know that (1) the job was necessary and (2) has been done thoroughly. Your local window cleaner may also offer a gutter cleaning service.
Isn’t Brickwork Waterproof?
Although bricks are the favoured material for constructing walls, it’s a common misconception that bricks are waterproof. That’s why most houses are built with double walls with an air cavity in between, whereas single walls can allow water to wick through and damage the plaster and decorating on the inside.
If you have a problem with water penetrating the brickwork, first address the cause. Simply applying sealer to the walls can trap moisture within the brickwork and cement joints. The same is true with rising damp inside the house. However, once either of these problems have been dealt with and the walls have dried out, you may wish to consider the use of a brick or plaster sealer to avoid the issue again in the future. Go to the Sovereign Chemicals website to discover an impressive range of products that will help you to deal successfully with these issues, many of which are simply applied with a brush or roller.
It can seem like a formidable task to apply brick sealer to the outside walls, but by mentally dividing the walls into sections using the edges of doors and windows and other features as a guide, the job can then seem more achievable and can be accomplished in a number of work periods, perhaps over the course of a few days.
If you want your house to continue to be a home and a place of sanctuary for your family, then take the time to look after it. By performing the checks above and carrying out any necessary remedial and preventative maintenance work, you can avoid the upset and expense that water ingress can cause.