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Property maintenance tips for winter

There are affordable ways to keep your tenants happy over the colder months, maintain a property’s value, and minimise future repair costs, writes Rachel Radford, of Builderscrack.

By: Rachel Radford

7 May 2024

Come winter your investment property will be challenged with colder temperatures, heavier rainfall, storms and increased moisture.

So, we’ve outlined six ways to protect your property, detailing what’s involved in each job, the dangers of neglect, and which tradie you’ll need for the job.

They’re all relatively straightforward and affordable ways to keep your tenants happy over winter, maintain the value of your property, and minimise future repair costs.


The Roof

What’s involved: A thorough inspection of your property’s roof and roof space to check for damage such as loose or missing tiles and fixings, signs of gutter backflow, lichen and water damage.

Dangers of neglect: It’s critical that your roof is impermeable, with all leaks fixed immediately. Aside from emergency repairs, neglecting ongoing roof maintenance can introduce additional issues like rot in the roof structure, cladding, and damage deeper into the walls and ceiling, affecting the plaster and paint.

Tradies for the job: Roofing contractors and builders can perform professional inspections and repairs. The general rule of thumb is to check inside and out at least once a year. To determine the economics of whether to repair or replace, consider the age of the roof, previous standard of maintenance, severity of the damage, and the potential for more leaks in other parts of the roof.

‘Aside from emergency repairs, neglecting roof maintenance can introduce additional issues’

Draught Stopping

What’s involved: Under the Healthy Homes Standards, unreasonable gaps or holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors and doors which cause noticeable draughts must be stopped. As a general rule, all houses built before the 1960s, and most houses built before the 1980s, will need some draught stopping. However, all ages of homes require maintenance to keep heat in and the weather and wind out.

Dangers of neglect: Heat loss from draughts leads to higher energy bills and reduced comfort for tenants during the colder months. Draught gaps also invite moisture into the home which can lead to several other issues such as condensation, mould and mildew.

Tradies for the job: Handymen or window specialists can effectively identify and seal gaps with self-adhesive foam strips, rubber strips, V seals, brush strips or draught sausages.

Ventilation

What’s involved: Install or upgrade ventilation systems, particularly in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens, where the Healthy Homes Standard requires extractor fans or an acceptable continuous mechanical ventilation system.

Dangers of neglect: Inadequate ventilation can lead to moisture buildup, mould growth, and compromised indoor air quality which is harmful for tenants’ health. As a result, high moisture levels can damage paintwork, wallpaper, curtains, furniture and even structure.

Tradies for the job: HVAC technicians or ventilation specialists can assess your property’s ventilation needs and install appropriate systems to the required Healthy Homes Standard.

Tree Care

What’s involved: Trim overgrown trees and vegetation surrounding your property, especially on south-facing exteriors.

Dangers of neglect: Overgrown trees and vegetation obstruct airflow and limit sunlight exposure to your property, which limits the ability of nonpermanent exterior cladding to breathe, promoting rot and decay. Overgrown trees also pose a threat of structural harm from falling branches, endangering tenants and property.

Tradie for the job: Arborists or landscaping professionals can assess hazards and safely prune trees and vegetation surrounding your property. Regular pruning will help prevent any second-hand damage such as branches rubbing against structures, requiring paintwork or other repairs to the property’s exterior.

‘Trim overgrown trees and vegetation, especially on south-facing exteriors’

The Gutters

What’s involved: Remove debris such as leaves, twigs and dirt that have accumulated in the gutters and downpipes. This typically requires accessing the roof safely, using ladders and possibly safety harnesses, depending on height. Downpipes may also need to be flushed with water to ensure they are clear of obstructions and allow proper drainage.

Dangers of neglect: Neglecting gutter maintenance can lead to clogs, resulting in water overflow and potential damage to the home’s exterior, interior and foundation. Water overflow can also attract pests and insects, further compromising the home’s integrity.

Tradie for the job: While gutter cleaning is a task that can be performed by homeowners if they have the necessary equipment and feel comfortable working at heights, hiring a gutter cleaning service or roofing contractor is advisable. These professionals have the expertise and equipment to safely and effectively clean gutters and downpipes, reducing the risk of accidents and ensuring thorough maintenance.

Water Pooling

What’s involved: Resolving water pooling typically involves a combination of a diagnostic assessment and repairs. This can include repairing or installing drainage systems, addressing gutter and plumbing issues, improving subfloor ventilation, applying waterproofing treatments, or implementing preventative measures.

Dangers of neglect: Pooling water under and around a building can lead to various structural and moisture-related issues. Identifying and addressing the causes of pooling water is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the property as it’s a major cause of foundation and floor movement. Dampness issues can also cause mould and mildew growth, affecting indoor air quality and potentially causing health problems for tenants.

Tradie for the job: Drainage specialists or waterproofing contractors can assess the property’s drainage system, identify areas prone to pooling water, and recommend appropriate measures to mitigate the issues.

Builderscrack.co.nz matches property owners that need work done with the right local pros using innovative, patented New Zealand-made tech. From Kaitaia to Bluff, builders to cleaners, repairs to renovations. Done!

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