The homes we live in are one of the most important things in our lives. They provide us with shelter, warmth, safety and comfort, the essential requirements of life. We can spend thousands of dollars on fittings and furnishings, decorating and remodeling, but unless something goes wrong, we don’t think too much about looking after the structure of our homes. Because things don’t normally go wrong very often, it’s easy to just carry on with life thinking the house will stand up to anything, but that’s not always the case.

Preventing problems
The best way to avoid problems with your house is to have a regular maintenance routine. Although a well-built house should last a long time, there are still things that can affect its robustness. By doing some general checks and maintenance, you’ll be able to spot potential problems and deal with them before they turn into something more serious. 

Gutters and downpipes
The guttering system is there to take the rain away from the building so that it doesn’t seep into the house, where it can cause real damage. The main cause of guttering problems is falling leaves and debris blocking the channel, so instead of running away, the water builds up. This can lead to the gutters breaking from the weight of sodden mulch, and if the water isn’t running away, it can start to leak into the house. Water damage is very expensive to fix, so by simply cleaning out your gutters a couple of times a year, you can avoid this problem.

A winter storm, especially a snowy one, can dislodge tiles and slates from rooves, allowing rain to enter the roof space and lead to more of the dreaded water damage. If the tiles drop off the roof, it’s easy to spot them and get them replaced, but unless you have a check over at regular intervals, you won’t necessarily spot damaged or dislodged tiles that are still on the roof. A simple visual inspection will enable you to locate any tiles that need fixing or replacing before the rain starts to get in.

The construction materials used in building houses are subject to strain from expansion and contraction caused by moisture levels, particularly new builds. If you see cracks appearing in the paintwork or plaster, this is probably the cause and isn’t anything to worry about if it’s just on the surface. If, however, you see large cracks in the walls or foundation cracks, this could be a sign of something more serious. The ground below us can shift in the normal course of events, so you don’t need to have had an earthquake for subsidence to strike. If you spot these kinds of cracks, get them professionally assessed before they get any worse.

Tree roots
 If you have trees growing near your house, just keep an eye on how big they get, and if they are too close get some expert advice on whether they should be taken down. The tree’s roots can extend right under buildings, and as they grow, they swell and push against the foundations, and can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked.

When something does happen, we often feel ill-equipped to deal with it and find it quite stressful; after all, if there’s a problem with our home, it affects us quite literally where we live. Take care of your home, and you will always feel safe and secure.