Checlist for Exterior Home Repairs

Surface finishes

Where a house is covered with one of the standard finishes, such as cement rendering, pebble dashing, roughcast, Tyrolean effect or silicone-nylon-fibre surfaces, check carefully that the surface is in good condition.

Small defects in mortar-based finishes can be filled in with a mortar slurry, but if a large patch is faulty, or ‘blown’ from the surface, this should be hacked back and the section replaced. The area of treatment should first be cleaned, and an equal part of water and PVA applied to prime it.

Broken masonry, such as on the older type of window ledge and steps, can be similarly repaired, by hacking back the damaged area, cleaning and priming. You may have to use timber shuttering to hold the new mortar in place while it is ‘green’.


Among causes of damp is earth, piled against walls, which may bridge the damp-proof course, letting wet penetrate the home. This can seriously damage plaster and, if not attended to at source, will leave the surface ‘dead’ and cause plaster to ‘blow’ away from the wall.

Damp can also be caused by blocked air bricks, where there are suspended wooden floors. Air bricks should never be blocked off and should be left clear. Blockages, such as leaves, can be removed easily by a piece of stick.

Blocked air bricks can lead to the emergence of wet rot and, in its wake, dry rot. All plants should be kept well clear of brickwork and all shrubs cut well back so that leaves and soil cannot silt up the area.

Scraping away lichen and moss will discourage dampness. Apply a fungicide to stop fungal growth.

Similarly, air vents in bathrooms, kitchens and so on should be inspected to make sure that these are free of birds’ nests or other blockages.

Timber infestation

Dry rot is the most serious form of fungal decay in timber. It feeds on damp timber and reduces it to a dry, brittle state. Dampness and poor ventilation are the prime causes.

Wet rot starts in wood containing 20 per cent or more of moisture. The spores can spread to attack sound, dry timber. Affected timber must be hacked out and burnt.

Wood-boring insects are another menace. The first indication is the presence of tiny flight holes in timber. Insects have, by this time, taken toll of this timber and left. Damaged timber is weakened and may contain grubs, and should be removed and burnt. All sound timbers, in situations where infestation has occurred, should be thoroughly treated with a timber preservative.

Sealing gaps

Gaps between woodwork and brickwork can be sealed with a proprietary mastic.

These are available in ‘guns’ or in applicator tubes, enabling a strip of mastic to fill the gap neatly without spillage on to surrounding brickwork.

Timber joints

Where cracks appear in the joints in window frames, doors and sills, deepen and clean any opened areas, using a two-part resin, an exterior-grade cellulose filler or a glass-fibre compound to fill the gap. Joints can be rubbed down and repainted when dry.

Where joints have become loose or broken you may have to take the frame apart, clean the joints and replace damaged tongues. In extreme cases, you may have to buy a new frame or make one. You will need a sash cramp to repair damaged frames.

After a sustained damp spell, window and door frames may have absorbed a great deal of moisture, causing the fibres to swell. Another cause of sticking is freshly applied paint.

Allow damp windows and doors a sufficient drying-out time, and open and close the door or window, inspecting carefully in order to locate the point of friction. This can then be removed with glass-paper, a block plane or a planer-file. Remove only a small section of surface at a time, and frequently test the opening and closing.

Windows and doors

All hinged windows and doors should be oiled and putty made good where necessary. Tighten all loose screws on windows and doors. Check the cords on sash windows. If they appear frayed they should be replaced. Metal windows should be checked for rust and cracked panes replaced.


External timber – particularly wood cladding – should be repainted or treated against the effects of sun and weather with a suitable preservative. Timber loses its colour by the bleaching effects of the sun and is susceptible to rain and moisture. Damp can lead to fungal growth.


Drain gullies collect grease and blockage can occur. There should be a grating over the gully and this should be scrubbed with a wire brush and hot water, soda and disinfectant.

Cast-iron manhole covers should be examined carefully for damage or for broken seals. If the cover is broken, buy a new one complete with metal rim. These come as a matched pair to be virtually airtight. Manhole rims should be bedded in a layer of heavy grease to make an airtight seal.

Inspect the inside of manholes. Any waste accumulation forming on the interior benching can lead to eventual blockage. This should be scrubbed with hot water and disinfectant. Damage to benching can be repaired by first cleaning and bonding with PVA, and repairing with sharp sand and cement.


Garage floors and driveways tend to collect grease and petrol patches. Where there are no proprietary solutions available, a strong solution of detergent or domestic soda in hot water, scrubbed on to the affected areas and then rinsed, should remove grease.

Frost has a habit of cracking concrete which has been laid too thinly – usually less than 150mm. Stabilize a larger surface which you plan to re-concrete with a solution of one part PVA to five parts of water. Allow this to dry. Next, coat the area with a primer of three parts PVA to one part of water. Add one part of water to one part of PVA to the new concrete, and lay concrete when primer is tacky.

Old concrete can be refurbished with a coat of cold-laid asphalt. First, make good damaged areas and even up low levels. Clear surface dirt of grease and treat the concrete with an asphalt primer before laying and rolling.

Garden structures

Timber fences and sheds should be treated with a suitable preservative if unpainted, and repainted from time to time. Garden posts may have to be reinforced and repainted from time to time.

Sheds or garages often have old corrugated roofing which may develop leaks between joint overlaps. A mastic solution can be inserted between these, or a bituminized preparation or a proprietary sealing strip can be used.

Plastic acrylic sheeting, in corrugated, flat or box-profile form, should be checked at the point where it meets the roof at the wall plate to ensure that joints are watertight. A proprietary glass-fibre or aluminium flashing strip can be used for this seal.

Flat-roof coverings should be inspected. These are usually cold-lay bituminised felt or a hot, rolled bitumen. Sections of felt can be renewed or overlapped or new bitumen applied. On some surfaces, liquid waterproofing agents can be used to bind the original surface and prolong its life. In some, minerals or fibres have been added to provide added durability.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Checlist for Exterior Home Repairs


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