We have become a nation of DIYers, with every weekend and public holiday presenting the perfect opportunity to do some home repairs, install some shelves, or build some tables and chairs – anything in the mission to beautify our homes.
But there is something that many weekend warriors have forgotten and this lack of attention has the potential to put homeowners at risk of an enormous bill to the tune of £10,000!
It’s quite simple, many DIY enthusiasts focus most of their energy on the inside of their homes and completely forget about the outside. They’re so busy worrying about what colour to paint the spare room and whether they have the skills to distress their dresser that they forget about basic exterior home maintenance. They fail to check for things like chimney stack issues, missing roof tiles and blocked gutters.
In April 2012, PropertyWire reported that a miniscule 15 per cent of homeowners will check the chimney stack regularly as recommended by the experts, and 21 per cent acknowledge never having checked this part of the home; notwithstanding the reality that many of these homeowners are aware that defective chimney stacks lead to damp issues, which can cost in the region of £10,000 to have repaired. The bill you’ll get for repairing or replacing broken or missing roof tiles is moderate by comparison at around £5,000.
For most people, it’s a case of out of sight out of mind. We don’t think about the chimney stack, we don’t see loose or broken roof tiles, and we don’t think about blocked gutters or drains until suddenly we have a major problem – and this is the very reason the bills are sky high.
At this point, ordinary Joes don’t have the skills to fix the problems, so we have no choice to call in professionals. But even then, we’re still at risk – at risk of lacklustre workmanship. That’s why you should never just call the first repair person you come across; rather research them online and see if you can find any customer reviews. You should also check relevant professional associations to make sure they are properly registered and licensed and approved.
Finally, you also need to find out if they guarantee their work. You don’t want someone who will fix the problem on the surface and neglect the more serious underlying issues that will cause the problem to come back, probably worse than before.
Forgetting the little things is a problem that affects us all; so if you’re like the rest of us ‘notes-to-self’ usually get lost in our mental filing system (under miscellaneous) are only remembered once it’s too late. It’s good practice to get into the habit of creating an annual to-do list with dates for checking things like the boiler, gutters, tiles, windows, drains and chimney. Keep the list somewhere conspicuous, like on the fridge, and make it big, bold and colourful so you can’t ignore it.
The trick, of course, is to actually complete the things on the list. But the satisfaction of ticking off items and escaping the sinking guilt of always seeing the glaring reminder of your laziness are big motivating factors. This way you’re on top of the situation and can prevent, as far as is possible, a little issue snowballing into a major problem with a big price tag attached.