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22 - 29 November 2013

DON’T PUT IT OFF! “I know from personal experience just how important regular home maintenance is and how it can save you money in the long term. Don’t put it off!” TV Presenter Jules Hudson

In those four words Jules neatly encapsulates the simple message of the 2013 National Maintenance Week Campaign. The annual week, this year November 22 – 29, is held to remind anyone who looks after a building - regardless of its age, type or purpose - of the simple, achievable steps they can take to prepare for the worst that winter can bring. In this leaflet there are lots of top tips to help make property owners and carers aware of the very simple, economic and easily achievable maintenance steps they can take at the beginning of winter to stave off costly major faults and damage at a later date. You can also learn more about looking after buildings by accessing the new collection of books, guides and technical pamphlets now available at Morecambe Library. See the back page for further information.

22 - 29 November 2013 TV presenter Jules Hudson is leading this year’s campaign to persuade anyone who cares for a building to think about the simple, but effective, steps they can take to prepare their property for winter. Jules, a familiar face from Country File and Escape to the Country, says “It’s absolutely vital. From personal experience I know how costly it can be when a building hasn’t been properly maintained. And I’m not referring to difficult or complex work – something as simple as fixing a couple of broken roof tiles or mending damaged guttering could prevent a relatively minor problem from escalating into a major, expensive repair job.” “I am genuinely, constantly, amazed at the amount of time, pride and effort people put into looking after their cars, when they seem happy to ignore ongoing problems around a building. Really, it boils down to the same thing – a building needs a maintenance MOT.” The bottom line is that if you deal with a small, niggly issue early on it’s usually simpler and cheaper to put right. The longer you leave something the more damage is done - “Don’t put it off!”


Water damage is the prime concern when it comes to maintenance. November is the time to start trouble shooting because that’s when drains and gutters could become blocked by autumn leaf fall and debris like twigs and old bird nests. If any of these obstruct the easy flow of water away from a building – damp and other serious problems can follow. It’s relatively easy to check and clear accessible sections of drain and guttering yourself.

Checking the roof for damaged or slipped tiles is another important task. Even a relatively small gap can let in damaging amounts of water. It’s much easier and

cheaper to have a tile fixed than replace trusses rotted through years of neglect. You can check your roof from the inside - looking for chinks of daylight in the attic. Outside, you might find that using a pair of binoculars helps you get a good clear view of potential problem points. •

Windows are another important area. If you really want to protect your investment then looking after your wood windows is vital. It’s a good idea to wash down the paintwork. This not only prolongs the life of the finish, it gives a good opportunity to check for decay.

Vegetation growing on or near a house needs monitoring. It’s quite easy to check all growth against the building especially trees bushes and ivy. This should be removed, cut back or pruned carefully where necessary as these items growing on a wall can also cause dampness and structural damage.


Look for blocked downpipes (best done during heavy rain to see water coming from any leaky joints – in dry weather look for stained brickwork).

Check ground level gullies and drains to make sure they are clear of debris like leaves, twigs and even things like balls and toys - and have them cleaned out if necessary.

Every autumn, clear any plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopperheads, flat roofs and drainage channels. It’s a good idea to do this in spring too to deal with anything that might have found its way into the wrong place.

Remove potentially damaging vegetation from behind downpipes by cutting back or removing the plant altogether.

Use a hand mirror to look behind rainwater pipes as splits and cracks in old cast iron often occur here and are not easily noticed.

Fit bird /leaf guards to the tops of soil pipes and rainwater outlets to prevent blockages.

Have gutters refixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall.


If sections are beyond repair, make sure that replacements are made of the same material as the originals (on older houses, this is sometimes lead, but more usually cast iron).

Regular painting of cast iron is essential to prevent rust – and keeps your property looking good!

DON’T! •

Undertake routine maintenance work at high level unless you are accompanied and have suitable equipment. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.

And here’s a very important extra tip - remember to take care at all times, wear protective gloves when necessary and, again, never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone.

READ ALL ABOUT IT If you’d like to learn more about looking after buildings, please visit the new Morecambe THI2 section in Morecambe Library. Here you will find a range of practical guides and technical pamphlets to help you learn more about building maintenance and conservation. As well as general advice, specific topics covered include working with lime, re-pointing stone and controlling damp. It is hoped this collection will be added to over time so if you have any suggestions, please let us know. Look out for our hands-on Lime Workshop taking place in early spring. If you are interested in attending, please contact us with your details and we will be in touch nearer the time.

BUILDING IN NEED OF MORE THAN JUST MAINTENANCE? If you think your property is in need of more than just routine maintenance and your property is in our THI2 target area then you may be eligible for a grant. Please visit our website for further information, email or call (01524) 582375. National Maintenance Week campaign promoted as part of

Morecambe Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI)2: A View for Eric

Nmw 2013 four page leaflet final  
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