Property - Do-it-yourself

Damaged roof tiles PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Damaged roof tiles PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

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Exterior maintenance can be easily overlooked, but it’s just as important as maintaining your home’s interior - if not more so.

Staring from the top, the safest way to inspect the roof is from the ground using a pair of binoculars. As well as loose or missing roof tiles or slates, look for problems with the chimney stacks, defective or missing flashing, and TV aerials and satellite dishes that aren’t fixed securely.

Remember to check inside the loft, noting that the timbers are dry and solid and there’s no evidence of rot, mould or infestations (although bats are protected by law). If you can see daylight coming through the underside of the roof covering, the tiles or slates on the other side are probably missing.

With flat roofs, look out for pooling water and moss building up on the roof, as well as damage to the roof covering.

One of the most important things to look out for is cracks in your home’s walls - they’re unlikely to be subsidence, but don’t take a chance.

It’s common to have hairline cracks in the interior walls (lining or wallpaper usually contains them), but if a crack is larger than that or the same crack is visible on both the inside and outside, get an expert to examine it in case it is subsidence. Diagonal cracks, especially from the corners of windows and door openings, can also be sign of subsidence.

Cracks in exterior render should be filled straightaway. If water has got in and some of the render has blown (i.e. it’s no longer bonded to the wall), it will need to be removed and replaced.