A little cost-effective DIY maintenance to winter-proof your home now could save you thousands of rands come summer…

After months of harsh sunshine, heat and dry summer conditions, many homes around South Africa will soon be be exposed to the cold, damp and wet winter weather.

“These extremes, coupled with general wear and tear, can cause damage and deterioration to our homes,” says says Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware. “Preventative maintenance is key to not only getting your home ready for winter but also keeping it in good condition all round and maintaining its value.”

Here is Luis’s list of cost-saving DIY maintenance tips to help you protect your house against the elements of the upcoming winter months:

1. Hit the roof

“Start at the top and check your roof for leaks,” says Luis.

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“Look for damaged, loose or missing tiles, lifting or rusted roof sheets, and if your roof is flat, check for signs of blistering or bubbles. Treating potential leaks before the wet weather arrives can save thousands in water damage caused by leaks.”

2. Come clean with your gutters

Make sure that your gutters are clean and clear of debris such as dead leaves and grass.

Blocked gutters overflow and can cause damage to your roof, house exterior and even foundation. Also check for any damage to the gutter system – cracks, sagging, gaps at the joins, etc.

3. Put the seal on

All the wood trim on the exterior of your home needs to be protected from the elements to stop it from rotting. This includes any wood trim around your exterior doors and windows, roof eves and verandahs.

“If these have been painted, check that the paint is in good condition or repaint with good quality paint where necessary. If wood trim is varnished, apply a fresh coat of exterior wood varnish over the old,” says Luis.

“Check wooden decking to see if it needs a fresh application of varnish. Even if your deck is made of treated or rot-resistant wood, it still needs protection. To do this, simply pour some water on it – if the water beads up, then you’re good. If the wood absorbs the water, it’s time to clean and seal your deck again.”

4. Don’t skim the surface

It is not only wooden surfaces that require attention cautions Luis.

“If you have a concrete patio, driveways or walkways, you need to make sure they’re protected as well. All concrete eventually develops cracks and it is important to take the time to inspect your concrete and fill in any cracks before you apply sealer so that water cannot get in over the winter,” says Luis who advises that you apply a concrete sealer to all your flat exterior concrete surfaces.”

5. Check the drainage around your home

Make sure the soil around your foundation hasn’t settled and created areas for water to pool.

If you find a low spot fill it in with some soil. Then go around and check your rain gutter downspouts. Make sure that water is getting moved away from the home – add downspout extenders if necessary.

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