Start at the top. Use a pair of binoculars to inspect winter damage. If the roof is tiled, look for missing or damaged tiles. Winter frost can sometimes cause the bottom of tiles to fracture and slip into the gutter. If it is a slate roof, check for signs of nail erosion, which takes place at a faster rate in winter and causes tiles to slip down. A flat roof is often covered in white stones to deflect sunlight and prevent buildings from overheating. Check they are in place before summer.
Time involved: each tile takes around 20 minutes to replace
Cost: (all prices are for an average three-bedroom semi-detached house) around [pound]40 to [pound]50 to replace the odd roof tile, and scaffolding costs from around [pound]120 a day
When spring arrives, inspect the guttering. Pipes often get blocked or disconnected during the winter. Most commonly, leaves clog up the down pipes.
If moss grows on the roof, this can drop off in clumps and cause blockages. It is a common problem, so use a watering can to see if any are blocked. It is not only unsightly to have water overflowing down the outside of a house - it can also damage the facade and exterior timberwork.
Time involved: around half a day's work
Cost: in the region of [pound]100 to [pound]150 to clear all guttering, depending on the cause of the blockages
BUGS, BATS AND BEES
After a mild winter, keep an eye open for unwelcome visitors. There are some nasty infestations at this time of year. Take a careful peek into the attic and look behind wooden furniture. If you see anything unusual - wasps buzzing in the eaves or bugs attacking the timber - act swiftly. Call an extermination company in Ye l ow Pages or contact your local council. Bats, however, a r e protected, so the best advice is to seek guidance from your council.
Time involved: wasps' nests can be sprayed with insecticide by specialists and removed a few days later
Cost: from around [pound]50
As the weather improves, look out for signs of damp, particularly in brickwork as opposed to cavity walls. Patches of damp are always more noticeable after wet winter weather. Inspect lower brickwork to catch damp as early as possible. If there is a problem, there are various options: one is to use chemical treatments, another is to insert damp-proof courses on the outside.
Time involved: one day
Cost: around [pound]80 per linear metre
Flaking paint leads to rotten window frames. …