Clean Your Gutters and Roof Now!

Leafs and debris in your gutters

The first rains have arrived at last! However, you should have inspected and maintained your gutters and roof by the end of winter. But, if you haven’t, you better do so now! They may be clogged with leaves, debris and dust. 

The flow of rainwater in the gutters and the downpipes may be blocked or restricted. They will overflow!

gutters

Your roof structure is or will be damaged!

Gather up your ladder, a plastic bag, your hosepipe and get busy. If you don’t, the timbers supporting your gutters may soon look like this!

If your roof does not have gutters installed, the roof structure probably has damage to the foot of the roof trusses. Check under the eaves of the roof for moisture damage before it’s too late.

gutters

Consider installing gutters before the roof timbers rot and fail. If they have rotted the repairs will be extensive and expensive!

Check your roof

Cut back trees and branches that deposit leaves and dead wood on the roof. Remove any debris from your roof. They prevent the free flow of rainwater off the roof! Roof tiles and roof sheeting are not 100% waterproof. They are designed to be water-shedding systems rather than waterproofing systems.

Tiled roofs


Check your tiled roof while you’re up cleaning your gutters! Check for broken or cracked roof tiles, dislodged tiles and cracked mortar on the ridges and hips.

roof maintenance

Foot traffic easily damages the tiles on your roof. If you walk on your tiled roof you will probably cause some damage. Also, consider the safety aspect! A fall from your roof can result in serious injuries and even death. Rather have a roofing specialist perform any repairs that are required.

Metal roofs

Metal roofs expand during the day and contact at night year in and year out. Roof screws and sealing washers loosen as a result. At least once per year you need to check the roof screws and reset if necessary. In addition, check the washers. Either seal or replace the damaged washers.

roof maintenance


Climatic conditions and pollution reduces the life of metal roofs, particularly those close to industrial areas. Leaves and other debris retain the moisture which, in time, cause the protective zinc coating on roof sheeting to corrode. 

Once corrosion of the zinc coating occurs special precautions have to be taken to prevent further corrosion. This can be coated with cold galvanising or special roof paint. Don’t try it yourself, rather leave it the preparation and coating for the specialists!

Maintain your roof and gutters

roof inspection

Keep your gutters and roof clean as you would the inside of your house. 

If you don’t look after your roof, it won’t look after you!

Leaks at Window Sills

Moisture Intrusion at Window Sills

window sills

 

 

During many property inspections, I keep coming across moisture problems associated with water leaking into window sills and at windows.

Moisture absorbed into brickwork and plasterwork causes them to expand slightly. When the brickwork and plasterwork dry they contract slightly. The water absorbed by the bricks and plasterwork usually causes a slight vertical crack at the edges of the internal window sills. The paint then starts to bubble along the vertical crack. This crack may continue around the length of the window sill before you notice it. What started out as a small vertical crack then becomes a horizontal crack along the bottom of the window sill on the interior face of the sill wall.

The cracks are usually not significant unless allowed to continue unabated.

Rising Damp

Sometimes the moisture intrusion at window sills is mistaken for rising damp! Water leaking in at the window sill may bypass the damp proof course (DPC) built in under the window sill as a water-resistant barrier. The moisture may then appear as bubbling paint or crazing cracking of plasterwork, or both, below the window, extending down to floor level.

On external face-brick walls, this may appear as efflorescence (a white powder).

Internally, this may appear as bubbling paint above the skirting or discolouration of the skirting itself.

How do you prevent the moisture intrusion into window sills?

Continue reading “Leaks at Window Sills”

Home Warranty

Is a Home Warranty worth the money you pay?

home warranty

The “Voetstoots Clause”

Thousands of homes are sold without any guarantee that the homes are free of defects. These homes are all older homes sold with the “voetstoots” clause in the “offer to purchase”. The Consumer Protection Act does not protect you, the buyer, in this case. Selling his home is not the seller’s normal course of business.

The seller’s disclosure is required to declare all known defects. Can you trust that document?

I would not!

You have to prove that the seller was aware of the defects and did not disclose them!

The defects could be maintenance issues or latent defects that the seller knows about, but that is hidden from view. Such defects can cost a lot of money to fix. Furthermore, the legal process is expensive and frustrating if there’s any doubt that the seller did not disclose known defects.

About the home warranty

An insurance company is offering a “home warranty” to protect you from issues and defects for a two year period. In addition, the premiums are determined on an individual basis according to the insurer.  However, the cost of this home warranty apparently ranges from R12,000 for a one million Rand home to R28,000.00 for a five million Rand home!

The seller can include the cover as a feature of the sale, or the buyer may insist upon the home warranty as a condition of the sale. In both cases, payment for the warranty forms part of the offer to purchase.

There are costs like certificates of compliance, levies and rates clearances, bond cancellation fees and the estate agent’s commission on the sale that all come off the selling price. Then there are the costs the seller has of buying a new property and moving to it as well!

I can only wonder how many sellers will want to cough up such a large amount of money?

Continue reading “Home Warranty”

100 things to do in South Africa

travel
Goodbye Saint!

A very interesting and informative website

I thought I would travel to a different topic for a change!

I suggest you have a close look at the website called Jen Reviews. Amongst other very interesting sections, it has a travel section with the “100 Best Things to do in South Africa“!

I have been to most of the entertaining and interesting things in South Africa. However, I now see that there are some that I have missed!

The Swartberg Pass, Ukhuthula in Brits, the daisies in the Namaqua National Park and Tswaing Soutpan Meteor Crater are a few that I still must visit. 

Have a look at Jen’s website. You will find places in that list that you will need to put on your bucket list!

There’s a lot more than just travel!

Continue reading “100 things to do in South Africa”

Trees and Your Home

Tree Damage 

tree

Trees can cause major damage to your home, garden and boundary walls. Without care and control, they may cost you a lot of money and no small amount of effort to fix.

Ensure also that shrubs are not planted too close to masonry walls. The building regulations specify a minimum distance of 1,2 m for normal soils and 1,5 m if you have clayey soil.

Tree roots

Roots can also grow beneath your foundation and lift the house or they can leach water from the ground during dry spells and sink or settle the house unevenly.

Trees cause the soil to dry out and, in the case of clay soils, to shrink.

Any subsequent watering or extended rain periods will cause the clay to swell. In this way, trees and large shrubs can cause movement on clay soils resulting in damage to your home and walls.

The amount of movement depends on the percentage of clay content, the depth and extent of the root system of the tree and the efficiency of the tree to extract moisture from the soil.

When underground sewer and water pipes develop small leaks, roots will quickly take advantage of those leaks. Before you realise it you have a blocked sewer line and pools of water and sewage in your yard.

Trees not to plant

All trees should be regarded as a potential source of damage. The following varieties are, however, particularly prone to causing damage:

  • All eucalyptus varieties
  • Lombardy (Free State) poplars
  • London planes
  • Willows of any type
  • Jacarandas

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for signs of trouble. Clues that roots have clogged pipes include slow-flowing drains, as well as gurgling from toilet bowls. If you suspect a problem, sewer cleaning companies can clear root-clogged sewers.

New trees

Depending on the amount of clay in your soil, plant trees as recommended by SANS10400-H Annex-D: Tree Damage to Walls & Foundations. Find out what the expected mature height of the tree should be and multiply by the factor below.

  • Slight clay content – height x .75
  • Moderate clay content – height x 1
  • High clay content – height x 1.5

This will provide you with the distance you should plant the tree from walls, your home’s foundation and your sewers.

Storm damage

Above ground, trees can cause other problems for homes when they get damaged by severe storms, wind, or lightning. This can send trees or branches crashing down or through the roof of your house.

Old trees

Dead or dying trees are particularly problematic because branches are already brittle. You can tell a tree is dead or dying if:

  • The tree doesn’t leaf out in spring, or it produces small, discoloured leaves.
  • Splits appear in trunks and branches.
  • Trunks become hollow.
  • Fungi such as mushrooms grow on branches or root flares.
  • Trees tilt more than 15 degrees from the vertical.

It’s sometimes hard to predict all the ways a tree can wreck your property. Look for obvious tree defects such as holes on trunks and dead branches.

You should also prune trees every two years to raise canopies and remove dead branches. You should trim tree limbs away from your roof and your neighbour’s property.

If you’ve got a tree that’s causing problems for your home, you have some options:

  • Remove the tree.
  • Move the tree, which depends on age and size. Younger trees are more likely to survive the move than older trees, which could cost tens of thousands to relocate.
  • Control the roots by either pruning them, blocking them with plastic barriers or applying a growth inhibitor. This will redirect the tree’s energy toward fighting disease and pests, rather than growing roots and branches.

Removing Trees

You should consider the effects of the removal of trees on clay sites. It is important to realise that removal might result in large swelling movements as the dry clay absorbs water. This will particularly have an effect where trees have lowered the water table over a period of time.