Maintenance is a win for more sustainable homes

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Maintenance Week (19-26 November 2021) reminds anyone who cares for a property - regardless of its age, type or purpose - of the straightforward steps they can take to protect their building from winter weather. 

The SPAB knows that carrying out simple, regular maintenance tasks will save money on expensive repairs further down the line, and allow us to live more sustainably. Buildings and construction make up 42% of the UK’s total carbon footprint. Keeping existing homes in good condition will significantly help in efforts to be ‘greener’.

A well-maintained building is not only likely to last longer, it is also most likely to be energy efficient. Damp is the most common cause of damage affecting buildings of all ages. Dry walls are better insulators than ones that are wet, and regular maintenance can help you spot a small problem before it becomes a larger, more costly one. Luckily small steps to keep a building dry can make a big difference. Clearing gutters and checking your roof’s condition once a year are simple ways to help prevent rainwater damage.

Maintenance Week is an annual campaign organised by the SPAB, the UK’s oldest building conservation charity, but their free advice is appropriate for all buildings, whether it’s a 1930s semi-detached or a medieval church.

The experts on the SPAB’s free helpline, generously funded by Historic England, (open from Monday to Friday between 9.30am -12.30pm on 020 7456 0916) are there to answer your questions and can provide names of professionals in your area, if needed.   

Caring for your old home interiors can be a daunting task. It can be hard to know what are the best cleaning techniques and what are the safest products to use. The SPAB is running an afternoon workshop with Icon (Institute of Conservation) on Thursday 25 November where specialist speakers will take you through their tips on safe cleaning techniques, how to spot and resolve problems, and more. Book a place on the Good Housekeeping online workshop now.

Visit the website ( for practical advice and join the conversation on social media using #MaintenanceWeek.

Gutters Day (Friday 26 November) is SPAB’s light-hearted reminder to look out for potential problems and take action where necessary. Take a few minutes on Friday 26 November to check on the performance of your property’s gutters and down pipes. Look out for cracks, breakages, and blockages from debris including earth, twigs, leaves and bird’s nests.  


 Maintenance made easy: the SPAB’s Top Ten Tips   

  • Take a few moments to check the state of your roof for slipped or missing tiles. If you are standing outside a pair of binoculars can be useful to help you spot any faults. Inside the roof space, look for gaps or daylight showing through the roof overhead.  
  • Outside, look for blocked downpipes. It’s best to check during heavy rain to see water coming from any leaky joints – in dry weather look for stained brickwork.   
  • Each autumn and spring, clear any plants, leaves and silt from gutters, hopperheads, flat roofs and drainage channels.   
  • Check ground level gullies and drains to make sure they are clear of debris like leaves, twigs and even toys.  
  • Remove potentially damaging vegetation from behind downpipes by cutting back or removing the plant altogether.  
  • Use a hand mirror to look behind rainwater pipes as splits and cracks in old cast iron and aluminium often occur here and are not easily noticed.  
  • Fit bird/leaf guards to the tops of soil pipes and rainwater outlets to prevent blockages.  
  • Have gutters refixed if they are sloping the wrong way or discharging water onto the wall.  
  • Regular painting of cast iron is essential to prevent rust – and keeps your property looking good!  
  • Remember to take care at all times, wear protective gloves when necessary and never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.  


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