Main­te­nance tips and DIY ad­vice

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Al­though the NHBRC is not re­spon­si­ble for main­te­nance and DIY, here are a few fac­tors for you to con­sider:


Don’t worry if path­ways or paving de­velop mi­nor cracks as the ground slowly set­tles in the first two to three years.

Damp-proof cour­ses and air­bricks

If soil or other gar­den ma­te­rial is piled up against the out­side walls, it may cover the damp-proof course and cause ris­ing damp.

If it also cov­ers air­bricks, this can lead to dry rot if you have a sus­pended tim­ber floor be­cause it blocks un­der­floor ven­ti­la­tion.

If you are not sure where the damp­proof course is, your home builder will show you. Keep soil and paving about 150mm be­low the course.

Paths along­side the home must also be about two bricks, or 150mm, be­low the damp-proof course and slope away from the struc­ture.

Drainpipes must lead wa­ter away from the walls and foun­da­tions.

Do not let wa­ter stand against walls and foun­da­tions.

Trees and shrubs

Plant­ing trees and shrubs can make your gar­den at­trac­tive, but be care­ful.

Trees and hedges take mois­ture out of the soil. In clay, new plants may cause it to shrink, while re­mov­ing ex­ist­ing trees and hedges may make it swell. Ex­ces­sive shrink­age or swelling could dam­age foun­da­tions.

Do not plant trees or shrubs against walls and foun­da­tions.

Be care­ful not to plant trees near your neigh­bour’s prop­erty. They could cause dam­age to the house or neigh­bour­ing wall and you could be li­able for the cost of re­pair.

Newly planted trees and shrubs may need to be watered con­tin­u­ously dur­ing their early life if they are to get a good start.

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