How to protect an older property guide

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How To Protect an Older Property

22 March 2024

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Whether you have a period home or own a listed building there are many things that you should do to protect your older property and keep it looking beautiful.

Maintain Your Roof

The roof is a key element of your property and must be well-maintained to protect the interior of the building. Depending on the type of roof covering you may need specialist help with maintenance. Thatch and slate on period properties add significant character but are not DIY-friendly materials.

Slate is a durable and attractive roof material but it can fail on older properties through ‘nail sickness’. This is caused by the decay of the nails securing the slate. When this happens the slate slips and suddenly your roof is no longer weather-tight.

Similarly, thatch is a very specialised roof covering and a highly skilled trade among roofers. As it is such a vital aspect of your property it’s advisable to call in a professional roofer who is qualified to deal with your particular roof covering in the event of repair or necessary maintenance.

Keep Out Damp and Moisture

With your roof secure and well-maintained the other parts of your home necessary for weatherproofing should be in equally good condition. Render, a mixture of sand and cement, is applied to the exterior walls of properties much like plaster is applied to internal walls. It protects your home and should be free from defects.

The external walls need to keep the interior dry and free from damp so check for any cracks or damage to the render that could allow moisture to penetrate the fabric of the building.

Rendering costs will vary depending on the size of the property and any specialist materials that are needed such as a lime-based render. By maintaining the weatherproofing of the walls you are protecting the structural integrity of the whole building as dampness can lead to the weakening of structural elements.

Regular Checks

To keep any property in good condition, it is important to regularly inspect the exterior and interior. This is particularly true of an older property. Catching an issue before it becomes a problem can save you time, money and stress.

Things that you should look for are cracks especially around windows and doors, sagging in the roof, flaking plaster or paint and any rotting timber. Of course, this is just an example of the things you should be looking for and your property will have its own checklist. The important thing is to carry out these inspections regularly so that you are not confronted with a sudden and potentially expensive repair to deal with. All property owners should set aside funds in the event of unexpected or emergency repairs but particularly those who own older properties which may be more susceptible to wear and tear.

Respect Your Property’s Age

When you need to do any kind of repairs or renovations to an older property it’s important that you respect the building’s original character. This may mean only using certain materials, particularly on the house’s exterior or ensuring that you don’t change aspects of its facade that would alter its character.

Repairs are preferable to replacing features and in many instances specialist tradespeople may be required to carry out such work. With listed properties, owners are more akin to custodians of a piece of history and have a duty of care to the property and its preservation.

If you are lucky enough to own a period property which exudes charm and tradition you will no doubt take this duty of care seriously and ensure that you protect the property as best you can.

Comments on this guide to How to protect an older property jobs article are welcome.

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