River View Gardens, Barnes

Exterior Decorating this Spring

Spring is here and this is the time to get the outside of your
property repaired & repainted
Exterior decorating has several purposes:
1) Protection and preservation of the fabric of the property.
2) Refreshing the property’s appearance.
3) Increasing the value of the property.
4) Making the property easier to sell.
Of these, the most important is Number 1) preserving and protecting the fabric.
Timely repair and protective repainting not only makes your house or building look better, it protects it from the weather and environmental pollutants, and prevents costly repairs.
I often visit properties to quote where the gutter boards and fascias are rotting due to gutter leaks not having been fixed at an early stage or blocked gutters and downpipes having been left uncleared. This results in new fascias and gutter boards- an expensive repair- and completely unnecessary if timely maintenance had been carried out as part of regular exterior decorating.
This can become a very serious problem- I was called to a five storey mansion block in South West London late last year where the roof hopper had been left blocked some months before and over the following six months rainwater had overflowed and run down the corner brickwork at the back of the building. The water had gradually penetrated through the rear walls of all five apartments at the same rear point of the building. The walls in the same place in each apartment had suffered bad water damage- wallpaper was ruined, the plaster was damp and needed to be hacked off and re-plastered and all five apartments needed to be redecorated internally- repairs costing thousands of pounds- all for the sake of regular maintenance not having been done.
The same can happen to other woodwork in the property- sash windows, wooden window sills, doors and door-frames are all susceptible to wet-rot if not properly maintained and repainted at appropriate intervals. Replacing or repairing rotten frame members — or, if needed, whole doors or windows, can be very costly- and again, if regular protective and professional repainting had been carried out, these costs could have been avoided.
What is regular maintenance and repainting of the outside of your property?
In Central London, that’s pretty much anywhere within the North and South Circular roads, the pollution from traffic and the dirt of the city cause paint surfaces to degrade after about five years- It can happen more quickly than this if the property is on a busy main road- and of course this time scale assumes the painting has been carried out with due diligence, proper preparation of surfaces, and good quality materials by a good and conscientious painter.
So, for most properties in Central London, I would advise repainting of the exterior every five to seven years. At this time a close inspection can be made of the roof and the other structural parts of the building and any needed maintenance carried out in a timely fashion before surfaces have become so defective as to require major repair or replacement.
In the next article I will talk about the other reasons for timely and regular exterior decorating- appearance, property value and saleability.
David Banks
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