High winds and destruction

4 key things to check at home after high winds

Storm Gareth has left a trail of destruction in the UK.  The East of England has not experienced as much damage as in the North, but walking around Cambridge the signs of storm damage are evident.

Let’s hope that the worst has passed, as high winds can damage and weaken buildings.  However, prevention is better than cure and carrying out regular maintenance can save you a lot of hassle and costs.  Take a look at what our experts have to say and get in touch to discuss any problems that have come as a result of the recent adverse weather.

Roof

The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home, and like anything else, subject to wear and tear.  It’s your first line of defence from the elements, so take some time to inspect it carefully after a storm.  Tell-tale signs such as debris on the ground – tiles, slates or shingles – indicate a problem.  Also look at the flashings – the thin pieces of metal positioned to provide a water tight barrier; unchecked they can create rot or contribute to internal wall damage.  Standing proud, chimneys are also subject to deterioration so look for signs of damage.  Finally don’t forget to check under the eaves and overhangs and around dormers and skylights for water leakage.

Flat roofs covered with bituminous felt need regular checking as they are prone to leaks and water damage. Check for cracks, heat bubbles, pooling water, de-lamination and joints between the flat roof and walls. You may also want to ensure that the stone chippings (where relevant) have not become displaced as this can expose the felt to the elements, leading to damage.  Get in touch with a roofer.

Guttering, fascia and down-pipes

You should aim to clean out your gutters at least twice a year, and always check them carefully after a heavy storm.  Check for sagging gutters and loose brackets nails.  However, if you see signs of rust on the rain gutters, the entire gutter may need replacing.  Your aim is to make sure that the gutters are clear of leaves, twigs and other debris so that the water can flow freely into the drains and prevent expensive water damage elsewhere.

The fascia boards are the vertical pieces that connect your roof to the house, ensuring there are no gaps that can let in moisture, insects or animals into your roof or attic. They serve an important function and are easy to maintain, but left unchecked can cause expensive damage.  So, check regularly for signs of rot and keep in a good state of repair.

Check that down-pipes lead straight into drains and soakaways, and that all the fixing brackets are intact and securely attached to the fascia board. Finally, to avoid leaks, secure sections of gutter that have come apart.  Find a handyman to help.

Gardens

Your outdoor space can take a real battering during a storm, but there is a lot you can do as soon as you hear the forecast that will minimise damage.  For example, put away garden furniture and equipment, stake plants and secure bins.  In addition, put things that are liable to be blown away, such as bird tables, hanging baskets and ornaments.

Invest wisely and don’t opt for cheap solutions when buying a greenhouse. Invest in one with toughened glass and make sure it does not go in an exposed position.  Also ensure it is fixed to a stable, secure and level base.  The same can be said for sheds.  For both, always shut all the doors and vents, so that wind can’t funnel through the greenhouse and blow the glass out from the inside, or lift the roof off the shed.  Think about the long term and be careful where you plant trees because they can cause extensive damage to your home if they get blown over in storms.

To ensure your fencing remains in place, it is important to use good quality fence posts. Make sure they are sunk deeply into the ground and are well secured.  Do remember that gates can swing open during high winds so close and lock your gates to prevent damage.  Find help for garden jobs.

Exterior

Heavy rainfall and winds may expose the true state of repair of your home.  Check that the windows, doors and fascia are in good decorative order. As soon as you see the outside paintwork beginning to crack, blister and peel, it is time to apply a fresh coat. Ignoring these signs will lead to a much more expensive and extensive job later. Spring is an ideal time for painting the exterior of your house. Find an exterior decorator.

Dawn Giesler, is the founder of scuseme Cambridge, an online marketplace that helps your family run smoothly. She has lived in Cambridge for over 20 years and offers advise based on her own experiences. For more information visit scuseme