“What is property maintenance?” is a question that all property owners and managers are concerned with.
If you are responsible for property and its upkeep then this short article will help you to deal with it.
Property maintenance starts at the outside and works its way to the inside. The problem is that as soon as a building – be it a house, an office block, a shopping centre, a hospital, or anything else – is built, the elements launch a sustained attack on it.
The sun beats down, even in temperate climates, and can cause shrinkage and discoloration not only of the exterior but of furnishings inside the building. The rain causes indirect damage because water finds its way into everywhere that isn’t proofed against it, and the resulting damp causes a myriad of problems if left unattended.
Wind damage is more rare, but can go unnoticed if the owner is not vigilant, because it can be manifested not only in fallen fences, an obvious event, but in the less obvious, such as missing roof tiles that can then let water enter the roof and cause damp problems.
Starting at the top, the roof is probably the most vital part of any building, and yet typically the least accessible. So how can you inspect its condition?
It’s really an area where you need professional expertise from a specialist. He will have the equipment to gain access to the roof and inspect it safely. He’ll also know from experience what to watch out for and whether anything needs attention or not.
The guttering is an area where you may be able to manage without outside help, for the most part. Though often neglected, the guttering is actually very important in keeping rain water and damp away from the outside walls and windows of the building.
If it doesn’t do its job effectively water will fall down and damage the outside wall either by landing at ground level and splashing up onto the wall there, or hitting the wall further up, causing penetrating damp.
The outside walls themselves are often the subject of neglect. Many people have the attitude that they don’t need looking after, but they do. Brickwork needs pointing every few years, depending on the quality of the original work.
Outside woodwork in particular needs looking after, protecting from rot, and replacing from time to time. Windows tend to deteriorate if not looked after from time to time. Even modern double glazed units should be checked every few months for signs of wear on the moving parts, or sun damage. Wooden window frames should be checked for rot and damage to the paintwork or wood treatment.
Window sills, whether of stone or wood, need regular attention and repainting where appropriate. In particular, check the lip underneath the outside window sill. If it is blocked or missing then rainwater may dribble down the underneath of the sill and onto the outside wall, where it can produce penetrating damp.
Another way in which penetrating damp can be caused is at or near ground level, where you’ll find the damp proof course. Check regularly to ensure that this has not been “bridged” by the deposit of soil or other water-conducing material against the outside wall, causing rising damp.
In short, to answer the question of what is property maintenance, look first at the outside of your building and make sure there are no problems knocking at the door to come inside.