Winter is on its way and after having withstood months of harsh sunshine, heat and dry conditions our homes will now be exposed to the cold, damp and wet weather that the season brings.
“These extremes, coupled with general wear and tear, can cause damage and deterioration to our homes and so preventative maintenance is key to not only getting your home ready for Winter, but also keeping it in good condition all round and maintaining its value,” says Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware who has prepared a list of cost-saving DIY maintenance tips to help you protect your house against the elements of the upcoming winter months, and to keep you and your family comfortable and warm.
1) Hit the roof
“Start at the top and check your roof for leaks,” says Luis. “Look for damaged, lose or missing tiles, lifting or rusted roof sheets, and if your roof is flat, check for signs of blistering or bubbles. Treating potential leaks before the wet weather arrives can save thousands in water damage caused by leaks.”
2) Come clean with your gutters
Make sure that your gutters are clean and clear of debris such as dead leaves and grass. Blocked gutters overflow and can cause damage to your roof, house exterior and even foundation. Also check for any damage to the gutter system – cracks, sagging, gaps at the joins etc.
3) Put the seal on
All of the wood trim on the exterior of your home needs to be protected from the elements to stop it from rotting. This includes any wood trim around your exterior doors and windows, roof eves and verandahs. “If these have been painted, check that the paint is in good condition or repaint with a good quality paint where necessary. If wood trim is varnished, apply a fresh coat of exterior wood varnish over the old,” says Luis.
“Check wooden decking to see if it needs a fresh application of varnish. Even if your deck is made of treated or rot-resistant wood, it still needs protection. To do this, simply pour some water on it – if the water beads up, then you’re good. If the wood absorbs the water, it’s time to clean and seal your deck again.”
4) Don’t skim the surface
It is not only wooden surfaces that require attention cautions Luis. “If you have a concrete patio, driveways or walkways, you need to make sure they’re protected as well. All concrete eventually develops cracks and it is important to take the time to inspect your concrete and fill in any cracks before you apply sealer so that water cannot get in over the winter,” says Luis who advises that you apply a concrete sealer to all of your flat exterior concrete surfaces..”
5) Check the drainage around your home
Make sure the soil around your foundation hasn’t settled and created areas for water to pool. If you find a low spot fill it in with some soil. Then go around and check your rain gutter downspouts. Make sure water is getting moved away from the home – add downspout extenders if necessary.
6) Repaint your walls
Luis says that paint not only makes your home look good, it acts as a protective layer against the elements. “Always choose the best paint you can afford – good quality paint pays for itself in the long run as it last longer so you will need to repaint less often.”
6) Chimney check
Ensure that your fireplace and chimney are in perfect working order before starting to use it this winter. “Brights recommends that you check for birds’ nests, for any cracks or holes in the chimney flue and in the bricks surrounding your fireplace, and for any other obstructions or faults. A faulty fireplace or unseen obstruction can cause a very hazardous problem.”
7) Don’t be a firestarter
House fires in winter are commonly caused by gas and electrical heating appliances, and that cozy fire you enjoyed earlier in the evening can be a huge hazard if not managed correctly or if left burning when you go to bed or leave the house. “Before leaving the house, make sure you have turned off any heating appliances and that you have made sure the fire is completely out. Invest in fire extinguishers for your home and have them serviced regularly to ensure they are working 100%. Make sure you have a fireplace screen to stop glowing embers from being able to get out of the fireplace, and when turning off gas appliances, make sure to close the valve on the gas bottle as well.”
8) Mind the gap
Walk around the outside of your home and check every window for small gaps and cracks. Luis advises that you replace broken or cracked windowpanes and apply new putty if needed. Conduct a similar check for each exterior door, and pay special attention to the bottom of each door.
9) Don’t wait, insulate
“As the cooler days and nights approach, check your home’s insulation. Adding to, improving, or fixing your ceiling insulation will help to keep everyone warm this winter. There are a variety of affordable insulation products available on the market – such as rolls of thermal roof insulation or sisalation, which is a reinforced aluminium foil insulation material, made from a lamination of aluminium foil, Kraft paper, reinforced synthetic fiber and polyethylene.”
10) Don’t get caught in the dark
Winter often sees our electrical grid under pressure, meaning a higher risk of load-shedding and black-outs. This is because of an increased demand on the national power grid as more people turn on heaters and lights. “Be ready with back-up power supplies, such as a generator, a UPS (uninterrupted power supply), solar or battery operated lighting, gas cookers and power packs to keep your lights, cell phones, computers, gate motors, security systems and cookers working at all times.”
Brights Hardware has on-site experts in all of their stores to provide advice and guidance on any home repairs or maintenance. “Whatever you may be wanting to do to prepare your home for Winter, our knowledgeable staff members can provide you with all the product insights and information that you need.”
Brights stores are located in Boston, Blackheath, Langebaan, Mitchells Plain, Montague Park, Plattekloof, Uitzicht and Stikland (which will be relocating to Brackengate from 28th June 2019). Selected products are also available on the online store www.brights.co.za/online-shop.