Summer maintenance – what should you look for?

Summer provides the perfect opportunity for most of those all-important checks on your heritage property. Been putting off necessary maintenance for a while? Well, despite Britain’s often disappointing summers, you can make the most of the good days and arrange for those jobs to be done. But what is it that you should be looking for?

External maintenance

  • Work involving mortar, such as repointing, is best done in dry weather – arrange to do these jobs now
  • Obviously urgent roof repairs should be done as soon as they’re spotted, whatever the time of year. If your roofer advises further work, ensure it’s done before autumn and winter arrive
  • While large trees and shrubs add a natural charm to your property, their water consumption is high. This can cause damage to foundations and lead to subsidence. Keep branches and foliage well pruned to help avoid this. It is also worth seeking periodic specialist advice to check the general health of any trees. The last thing you want is dead or diseased trees coming down and causing damage to yours or neighbouring property, not to mention the general public
  • Ideally, plants shouldn’t grow on the side of your house as they can damage stone and mortar. But when they already exist, there’s no denying they add to charm of your home. It’s best practice to trim them regularly to prevent them from blocking gutters or covering windows
  • Flat roofs are renowned for being problematic. It’s easier to check for ponding, blisters, punctures and gutters during nicer weather, to avoid future leaks before they happen
  • In extreme circumstances, hosepipes could have a wider role to play other than just keeping the garden well hydrated. Constant exposure to hot, cold, dry and wet weather can cause hosepipes and connections to deteriorate so it is worth keeping an eye on their condition and effectiveness
  • Oil leaks are not only an expensive inconvenience but can also cause severe and widespread damage that can be difficult and costly to remedy. Check the general condition of your oil tank, pipes and connections for any signs of leaks. It is worth taking regular note of the levels and usage as a bit of a sense check to make sure you are not losing any unnecessarily

Summer in the garden?

As summer means utilising the garden more, there are certain things to consider before holding any seasonal activities:

  • Hosting a BBQ? – Keep all BBQ’s, fire pits or chimeneas well away from the property, particularly if it is thatched. Also use the correct tinder and fuel to avoid sparks rising and landing on the property. If using a gas BBQ just make sure the unit, gas canisters and connections are all in good condition
  • Garden maintenance and bonfires – Hopefully common sense suggests bonfires are not a good idea in close proximity to thatch properties, and we would strongly advise against them. If you do have to use a bonfire they must be a minimum of 50 metres from any thatch property and extreme caution should be used
  • Garden parties – A garden party tends to consist of more people than your average friends and family get together, and may have a more formal emphasis to it such as a large 50th birthday, wedding reception or charity fundraiser. In these instances gazebos, marquees and furniture are covered up to £10,000 under your contents insurance. If you are planning anything in the garden that is slightly out of the ordinary then our advice would be to always notify us beforehand
  • Hot tubs – Fully plumbed in or integrated tubs are covered under the buildings sections of your policy up to the buildings sum insured. Inflatable or free-standing tubs are covered under the ‘items in the open’ section of your contents and has a total limit of £5,000
  • The cycling craze shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you enjoy a leisurely ride with the kids or something a little more serious, pedal cycles are covered up to £5,000 each
  • Ride on lawnmowers – Whatever the value, ride on lawnmowers need to be specified. This cover is subject to the mower being kept within a secure outbuilding and immobilised when not in use

For more advice about your thatch or listed home, visit our advice centre.