The annual National Maintenance Week campaign raises awareness of the importance of regular care to maintain a property. With the week taking place from Friday 17th November to Friday 24th November, it's also a perfect opportunity to give your home a health check before the wet and cold weather over winter causes any problems.
Whether you own or rent an old house or modern flat, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the charity behind National Maintenance Week, have shared their top ten tips to help make maintenance easy:

  1. Take a few moments to check the state of your roof for slipped or missing tiles. If you're standing outside, a pair of binoculars can be useful to help you spot any faults. Inside, look for gaps or daylight showing through the roof overhead.

  2. Look for blocked downpipes (best done during heavy rain to see water coming from any leaky joints - or in dry weather look for stained brickwork).

  3. Every autumn, clear any plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopperheads, flat roofs and drainage channels. It's a good idea to do this in spring too to deal with anything that might have found its way into the wrong place.

  4. Check ground level gullies and drains to make sure they're clear of debris like leaves, twigs and even things like balls and toys - and have them cleaned out if necessary.

  5. Remove potentially damaging vegetation from behind downpipes by cutting back or removing the plant altogether.

  6. Use a hand mirror to look behind rainwater pipes as splits and cracks in old cast iron and aluminium often occur here and are not easily noticed.

  7. Fit bird/leaf guards to the tops of soil pipes and rainwater outlets to prevent blockages.

  8. Have gutters refixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall.

  9. If sections are beyond repair, make sure that replacements are made of the same material as the originals (on older houses, this is sometimes lead, but more usually cast iron).

  10. Regular painting of cast iron is essential to prevent rust - and keeps your property looking good!

And here's a very important extra tip: remember to take care at all times, wear protective gloves when necessary and never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.

If you'd like more advice and helpful information, you can keep up with National Maintenance Week on Twitter by following the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings account and the #NMW2017 hashtag.