It would be safe to assume that, unless you live in an apartment, you are probably going to be reading this sat at home, or at least in a nice warm office!
But why do we live in Houses?
The primary purpose of houses (and general dwellings) is to shelter us from the weather.
Depending on what country you live in, this could mean shelter from the hot sun, or from the cold or, if you live in the United Kingdom, from the wind and rain!
A house also provides security for both ourselves, our family, our pets and our possessions; after all, its a cruel world out there!
Keeping warm and dry are the usual main factors for us to live in houses and not on a bench in the street (!), but in essence, a house is built in a certain way to repel the weather, but what effect does the weather have on our houses? Have we got to protect our houses from the weather or should we just let it take care of itself?
Do we engage the services of tradesmen offering external wall products or not?
Here we take a look at a typical house and discuss what the weather does to it over the seasons of a year..
This is often the time of year when home-owners come out of hibernation (!) and with the lighter days and evenings, often start to appraise the exterior of the house with a view to what maintenance needs to be done over the forthcoming year.
Are there cracks in the rendering?
Or if its a pebbledashed house, has it lost some of the stones in the wall? Do the gutters need cleaning, or in extreme cases, do the gutters need to be replaced? In essence, are you pleased with the way it looks?
Unless you have spent a lot of time and money over the past few years carrying out repairs, decorations and improvements to the house, you’ll probably not be too happy with the way it looks now.
Also the preceding months are often damp and green mould or algae could have grown on the walls, and especially on the floor outside, often in shaded areas. Mould and green algae are essentially plants or at least organic matter and their presence indicates that there is damp or at least moisture evident either on, or within, the walls of the house as without moisture these plants would not grow.
Rainy weather in Spring time
The months of March and April usually bring quite a bit of rain and this often exposes houses vulnerability to damp and water ingress, which must be treated or it will get much worse.
If the nights are still cold, this rain can freeze which not only makes the path and driveway of the house slippery, it can also suddenly expose problems within the house. Most houses and buildings have to have a protective external layer on top of whatever the house is built with.
For example, if a house is built from Breeze blocks, it can’t be left like that, so it has to have a weatherproof exterior wall surface to protect it, such as render or pebbledash and so on. It is important to look after this protective layer as if you don’t, the weather will eat into the fabric of your home.
Can you see cracks?
If there were cracks in the wall that weren’t sorted last year, those cracks may have let water into the wall, which will freeze and then “blow” the rendering off the wall.
This means that the water in the wall turns to ice, literally, then expands, and pushes the top render coating away from the wall. This problem requires quick attention and should be taken lightly as left unchecked over years, this can undermine the actual strength of the wall, and its ability to hold the roof up!!!!!!
Spring is usually a good time of year to do some DIY on the house, maybe powerwash the driveway and path, plus call a contractor or tradesman in to get some of the other jobs done. There are several jobs you could have done if you are having problems with damp or water entering your home.
- Repairing problems with rendered walls
- Repairing pebbledashed wall surfaces
- Re-rendering cracked or hollow render.
- Replacing lead flashing that may have deteriorated.
- Having your wall ties replaced.
- Replacing your old windows with new UPVC units.
- Having repointing done to mortar joints within brickwork.
Summer time in the UK is normally a fairly lacklustre affair with intermittent sunshine, long cloudy days and humidity. What does this mean for the house? Well, often windows that have been closed for months are now opened again and usually one finds that they need cleaning, and this especially applies to homes located near a road, railway or industrial site, or similar. Clean windows inside with a soft cloth and a good window cleaning solution.
Alternatively, vinegar and old newspapers can be used for a fantastic shine, but only if you are a skinflint and don’t want to pay for Mr Muscle® glass cleaner(!), plus you really, REALLY, have to enjoy having the faint smell of vinegar every time you go near the window! Ok if you work in a fish n chip shop perhaps?
NPA TOP TIP: Get windows cleaned outside by your local window cleaner. He or she will have the correct equipment and ladders to do the job quickly and safely and you may be surprised how cheap this really can be to have done & it can really breathe a new sparkle into how your home looks from the kerb.
Summer is the best time for a paint job
Summer is usually the best time of year to actually have work done outside to your home such as rendering, damp proofing, alterations, replacement windows and so on, and of course an ideal time to get the outside of your house painted too.
Instead of trying to paint pebbledash, spar dash or tyrolean walls, (which often crack and don’t last long anyway), why not get a quote to have a long life paint such as a weatherproof wall coating installed instead? It can save you thousands in maintenance over the years as it means you dont have to bother getting the outside of your house painted again! It also comes with a 15 year INSURANCE BACKED guarantee against damp, fading, flaking, cracking or peeling!
NPA can do this ALL YEAR ROUND not just during the summer, so if that interests you, why not get in touch with them for advice?
Please note also, there are exterior textured wall covering websites that come and go and watch out for ones who have no credibility and have to promote someone else’s paint products to gain approval from customers.
Get an insurance backed warranty when you order through the NPA website.
Please remember that you will NOT get a manufacturers guarantee from these companies as in most cases the paint company will sell their products to anyone, knowing full well that the contractor may go out of business when the 1st tax and VAT bill comes in! (many people have tried to copy NPA, without success)……AND if the contractor has not carried out the work to the paint company’s EXACT specification, you will NOT get help from them, and I have 24 years experience in the industry to back that claim up.
NPA TOP TIP: As many people wait until summer to have exterior work done, why not beat the rush, and give the builder or contractor a call much earlier on the year, to book the work MANY months in advance. It can save time and later hassle too! (Make sure you get an approximate price and start date from the company though!)
When autumn (or fall) arrives around September, the days are still usually quite nice but the evenings get much shorter and colder too! Mostly though it is still possible (honestly) to have some sunny days left of the year during this time.
It’s still not too late to get some work done on the house!
We have talked about what the damp and cold can do to your house but what about the sun?
Hot sun can also have an effect on your house, especially if you are one of our readers from Spain.
The sun can mercilessly cast its rays onto your house and most people think nothing of it, but hot sun can also have an effect such as cracking walls etc. many people don’t realise that their house is made up of things that can expand when heated, wood being one of them, metal being another.
When the sun heats your house up, it can crack wood, so this time of year is always good time to inspect any wood around your house. This can include exterior cladding (or siding as its called in the USA), fascias and soffits, barge boards, wooden windows, wooden doors.
As the days cool it is also a good time to inspect your solar panels if you are lucky enough to have them, as they may have a build up of dirt which could affect their efficiency.
Be sure to double check the panels are cool before cleaning them, which should only be done with warm water. If in doubt, contact a solar panel specialist in the phone book or from recommendations from friends and family. Also a good tip if you are doing this, is don’t clean them if the sun is shining!
Leaves can also be a problem as they start to fall from the trees. Make sure your gutters and flues etc are not blocked with leaves or other plant debris.
If you need the outside of your house repaired or painted, many companies are still operating at this time so don’t despair, it’s not too late to call in the experts!
As the winter arrives around November time, we spend a lot less time outside are more in. This maybe the time that damp is spotted somewhere in the house.
This can often take the form of peeling wallpaper, wet and/or cold walls, musty smells, black patches on the walls etc. Don’t try and cure the damp from inside, you must get work done to the OUTSIDE of your house in order to cure the damp.
The worst type of damp that you can have in your home appears as clumps of black spots on the walls inside. These spots are mould and they propagate themselves around your home and cause further damp by emitting tiny “spores” into the air in your house. These spores can get into your lungs and can be worse for your health than smoking. If you have damp like this in your home get it checked out NOW.
Contact us for advice about damp in the home.
It is also a good time to locate any draughts around the various openings of the house (doors and windows) and fit draught proofing, which is very cheap and can be very effective. If you are a retired person, many local councils in the England and Wales offer a scheme which can get your home draughtproofed free of charge.
NPA TOP TIP: For more information on draught proofing your home and a host of other energy saving offers, visit www.warmfront.co.uk, or call freephone 0800 316 2805.
(ps, we dont get paid a penny for saying that by the way, we just thought it was handy info)
Put the carpet down again!
Bare floorboards also don’t help so if your floor feels cold, a simple way to alleviate that is to buy a rug or have carpet fitted.
Look in your local yellow pages for carpet shops and phone them for advice, and anyway, some houses were not built to have bare floorboards but have been subjected to this out of fashion. It depends on what you want from your home. Do you want it to look like something out of the ikea® showroom whilst being minus 10 inside, or do you want it nice and homely instead?
If the house suffers from penetrating or rising damp in the winter time, it will feel much colder inside, and possibly humid too, meaning the dreaded onset of condensation may start to appear on the windows. This happens when heated air particles inside the home, even just from the breath of whoever is in the house, settle onto a cold surface such as a window pane. A similar things happens when you have a cold drink in the summer time and the outside of the glass condenses.
Condensation can also cause havoc inside the house and can stain wallpaper, wood and fabrics. If your home suffers from excessive condensation it is likely that you have a problem! A short term solution would be to buy or hire a dehumidifier which will take some of the moisture out of the air, but again, this is a short term solution and really you need to look at what is causing the damp, and where it is coming from.
Lag those pipes!
Another tip is to lag pipes, your hot water tank, and also make sure no pipes are leaking outside as in the winter this can make it very treacherous underfoot. This is especially relevant if you have children as it is important to create a safe play environment outside.
If by winter time you are having problems with damp, flaky brickwork, hollow render or flaky paint then it’s still not too late to call in an exterior wall coating specialist.
They operate all year round unlike painters and decorators who only work outside during the warmer months. AND they don’t just offer a textured wall covering either as NPA, amongst others, offer a range of exterior wall finishes, from smooth wall coatings to coarse textured coatings for walls. Be sure to speak to your local NPA representative for more details.
I think we can see that the weather DOES have a profound effect on our homes and it is essential to make sure our house, especially the outside, is well protected from many points of view.
If you would like an NPA surveyor to take a look at your house to see how you could improve on any of the problems listed above, we would be only to happy to help and advise. We look forward to hearing from you soon!