External Care


An airbrick is a brick that has perforations through it, and can often be seen at regular intervals around you house (often either the first or second brick from the floor externally). The airbrick allows air to circulate under your internal floor from outside, aiding ventilation, which prevents rot/damp etc. As with your damp proof course, it is important to ensure nothing is covering or blocking the airbrick. Please note those houses with concrete floors will not necessarily have airbricks.

Damp Proof Course (DPC):

This is the thin black line that goes around your house, visibly seen on the outside of your property about 150mm (15cm or 6 inch) from the floor. This stops rising damp, and is an integral part of your homes defence against water penetration. Rising damp occurs when water is sucked up by your bricks from the ground, without being stopped. Your DPC stops this. It is important to make sure that nothing obstructs or bridges this line. The most common cause of obstruction is stacking items at the side of your house against the wall, i.e. wood, sand, soil, plants etc.We advise that you are always mindful of what is leaning against your house externally. Also be aware of adding external rendering, which is another common cause of the DPC being bridged.


Gutters are used to transport water from your roof to the drain below in a controlled manner. Next time it is raining, check to see that water is not overflowing from the top of the gutter, and also that your gutters are not leaking from where sections have been joined together.If your gutters are leaking when it is not raining, you may have some type of build up or blockage. Debris therefore needs to be removed on a regular basis to stop water overflowing.We recommend cleaning out your gutters late autumn. And remember, if you do decide to do this yourself, always follow Health and Safety guidelines on safe ladder use.

Outside Taps:

This is a real must for winter! Outside taps have a tendency to freeze during the colder months, causing damage to the tap, and possibly resulting in a burst water pipe, which can be costly to repair. The remedy is to turn the tap off by its internal isolating valve, often located on the other side of the wall to the tap. Also, wrap some insulation foam around the tap itself, shielding it from the frost.


Check for any tiles that are out of line, cracked, or missing, including your ridge tiles (the oval tiles right at the top of your roof). This can often be checked just by standing a distance away from your house and looking up, or for a more detailed picture, grab some binoculars. While you’re looking, check your chimney. If the flashing (the grey lead around the base of your chimney) looks loose, or you can see cracks, it would be a good idea to get it checked over, as failure could result in water leaking down your internal chimney breast.Your roof is your first line of defence against water penetration, and we would advise doing the checks mentioned every 6 months, or after high winds.


Always check for gaps and cracks in your mortar, which water could penetrate. If mortar has come loose, repoint immediately. If you do see cracks in your walls, it is always a good idea to get them checked out by a specialist engineer. Not all cracks indicate there is a problem, as buildings do move over time, but it is always best to air on the side of caution, and often it costs nothing to get an opinion.

Windows / Doors:

Wooden windows and doors will crack, warp, distort and rot if not properly protected by painting. UPVC doors and windows, although not requiring as much maintenance, still need checking for cracks. With all windows and doors, check the seal where the door frame meets the wall, as cracks can also cause water penetration into your home. Ensure all doors and windows close correctly, but also note adding layers of paint over the years will cause doors not to open and close as well as they once did, and will therefore need adjusting.It is a good idea to check doors and windows every 6 months, and re-paint every 2-3 years.