Buying, selling or running a home – everything you need to know about your home and garden!

General maintenance repairs – a checklist

Your home is likely to be your biggest investment, so it’s important to maintain it to a good standard. To help you do this, here’s a checklist of things you (or a chartered surveyor or other expert acting under your instruction) should look at in diagnosing potential problems.


Chimney stacks should be vertical, though a slight lean/twisting is not necessarily a problem.

The chimney pots should be secure and in sound mortar.

The mortar pointing should not be too weathered.

Flashings to the chimney and the roof should not be mortar but should be lead or equivalent.


The roof should have an even surface and not have any significant undulations or distortions.

The tiles or slates should be correctly aligned and secure. The material for the surface should not be too weathered.

Roofs should be checked after each bad storm and repaired immediately if required.

Flat roofs will need to be repaired regularly and on average will only last for about 13 years.

Rainwater fittings

All gutters should be secure and correctly aligned.

Timber gutters should be renewed immediately.

Cast iron sections will need painting regularly, although systems in this material are now getting old and replacement will be necessary soon.

Gutters should be cleared of leaves, vegetation, Action Men and tennis balls etc at least annually to ensure that an adequate volume of water can be efficiently channelled away.


All wall surfaces should be vertical and free from distortion and cracking. (Structural movement)

Mortar and render should not be badly weathered. If tapped with a solid object the render should not sound hollow. If either of these defects is apparent, repointing or repair to the render will be required.

Cavity walls in houses over 50 years old should be checked for rusting and deterioration. A specialist should carry out the inspection of the cavity wall ties; this inspection can be free. Failure to repair corroded wall ties could result in partial collapse of a wall and therefore they should not be neglected. Contact for a free inspection.

Damp-proof course (DPC)

The damp-proof course should be 150mm (6 inches) above ground level.

Flowerbeds, poor repointing, boundary walls, paths etc should not bridge the DPC.

Air bricks

All air bricks should be clear and unobstructed.

Windows and woodwork

Rotten wood should be cut out and repaired.

Poor paintwork will need to be burnt off, sanded and repainted.

Windows should be draughtproofed and at least one should be able to be opened freely.

If the windows have deteriorated to the point that they require renewal, replace them with a more durable type and with at least double glazing to save the environment and your fuel bills.