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.
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.
Most homes develop some cracks. Old and new homes can develop cracks as well depending on climatic and physical factors.
However, it is worth getting to the bottom of what is causing the cracking. A crack is actually the visible symptom of a possible problem and not the problem in itself.
What causes cracks?
In new homes, settlement may cause minor cracks. Normal foundation settlement occurs when the underlying soil compacts as a result of construction on previously undisturbed soil, changes in soil conditions and moisture. Typically small, hairline-sized cracking may be the result of the minor settlement, expansion and contraction, or changes in a season or cycle.
Usually, these defects, though often unsightly, are not structurally significant.
Thermal movements between different materials
Different materials such as timber, bricks, steel, concrete etc. have different coefficients of linear expansion. In other words, the differing materials contract and expand differently. This causes stresses in structures where they are combined and may cause cracks to form. The best way to combat these defects in plasterwork is to provide a joint between the different materials.
In older homes, changes in climatic conditions can affect the structure. Houses move with the climate. Heat and moisture will make them expand, cold and dryness will make them contract slightly. This movement is normal and in most cases will not cause cracking. Unusually hot or cold spells can result in increased expansion or contraction of the structure which may cause cracks.
Maintain your home, especially the roof, on an annual basis. If you don’t do the small repairs they could end up as expensive repairs.
Your roof is the most important component of your home, protecting you, your belongings and the structure of the building. Damage to the roof can occur due to rain, wind and hail. You should regularly check the roof of your home for any leaks. Also inspect the ceiling, walls and the area around your home for any water spots, standing water or mould. Dampness on ceilings or walls can mean that there are leaks that you will have to attend to.
Check the chimney
Loose flashings, damaged masonry and loose bricks will allow rainwater in a house. Be sure to give the area around the chimney an inspection to ensure everything is fine. Refit loose flashing or replaced as necessary. Furthermore, chisel out the damaged mortar joints and rejoint, and also repair loose bricks.
Loose, dislodged or broken roof tiles or ridge caps
If you have the ladder long enough, inspect the roof for loose or crumbling mortar along the ridge cap. At the same time, check for cracked or damaged roof tiles while you’re up there. However, if you do discover problems and can’t deal with it yourself, call in a professional roofing contractor.Continue reading “Winter Home Maintenance”
A while back a client asked me to inspect his thatch lapa which appeared to have serious defects. He had moved into his new home in February 2018. He later realised that his lapa may be structurally unsound and unsafe.
The defects were not noted in the seller’s disclosure nor was the lapa on the approved plans for the property! Armed with my inspection report he decided to approach the seller to demand recompense.
Many homeowners know very little about the lapas they have around their swimming pools and in their gardens!
The thatched roof
Obviously, the thatched roof is the most important part of the lapa because it keeps you dry! But did you know that thatch roofs should have a roof slope of 45˚ or more to perform properly?
At 45° water will run off from the thatch with minimum penetration into the thatch. At a pitch of less than 45° the thatch will decay rapidly. Furthermore, the thatch will absorb the water increasing the weight on the support structure!
What about the thickness of the thatch?
This is where many lapas have shortcomings! Well compacted thatch should be at least 175mm thick! Also, the thatch thickness should not be more than 250mm! Individual stalks of grass are difficult to pull out in well-compacted thatch.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a popular reference to William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.
I have had to change the name of my business because of threats of legal action. INSPECTOR HOMES is apparently too close to the name of a home inspection franchisor. He and his franchisees believe the name INSPECTOR HOMES was taking business away from them. Little do they realise that it is not a name that makes the difference but the excellent SERVICE that I provide. However, on legal advice and to avoid unnecessary and expensive litigation INSPECTOR HOMES is now no longer!