Apr 3, 2012
UK homeowners are champions at spotting and dealing with common maintenance problems inside their homes, but are risking a potential £10,000 bill for repairs by failing to check for issues on the outside.
As around one in five people (18%) or nearly ten million adults prepare to work on their homes this weekend, research from Aviva reveals that despite being clued up on common indoor DIY or maintenance, potential outdoor problems such as defective chimney stacks, missing roof tiles and blocked guttering remain unchecked.
Only 15% of people check their chimney stack on the monthly basis that surveyors recommend, and 21% admit they’ve never checked this area of the house. Defective stacks can lead to damp problems in your home and cost up to £1000 to fix. And one in ten UK homeowners never check their roof for signs of slipping or missing roof tiles, leaving themselves at risk of a hefty repair bill of up to £5000 if a problem went untreated.
So Aviva is calling on homeowners to carry out their very own home “MOT” this weekend to ensure that common problems beyond the front door don’t become something more serious that could cost thousands to repair.
Heather Smith, director of home insurance at Aviva, said: “Our research shows that our homes really are our castles and we are taking a great deal of care to make sure there are no unexpected problems lurking in the nooks and crannies of bathrooms, bedrooms and lofts.
“That protective spirit is great to see, but many of the common and expensive problems that affect homes often begin outside the home. For example, damage from damp that seeps in through leaky external walls, standing water on flat roofs, and missing roof tiles.
“The good news is there are lots of simple and easy ways to keep homes in check and the more people keep on top of little jobs around their home the less chance there is of something more serious going wrong in the long-term.”
Another serious potential nasty lurking in the garden is Japanese Knotweed, which only two thirds of homeowners would recognise if they saw it. Almost half (46%) of homeowners admit never checking for signs of it and 43% think it is not a serious problem, despite the fact that, according to surveyors, it can cost up to £5000 to remove if it becomes entrenched and grows quickly, damaging walls, drains and paving.
Moving inside the home the majority of homeowners can easily recognise problem hot spots. For example, 88% of people recognise that dry rot, which is caused by a certain type of fungi, needs urgent attention. Likewise, the majority of homeowners know that wood-boring beetles, which attack exposed timber frames, need to be fixed by a tradesman (67%), rather than themselves (19%), while nearly half of consumers (44%) check the sealant around their bath and shower at least once a month, as surveyors recommend.
Craig Phillips, the well-known TV personality with over 20 years’ experience in the building and DIY industry, is working with Aviva and TV channel Home, to give homeowners advice on how to look after their homes safely.
“It’s great news that millions of us are planning a spot of DIY and home maintenance this Easter weekend, but for some reason people appear to focus on what’s going on inside their properties and neglect the outside. So with the longer, lighter evenings there’s a perfect opportunity to get outside and have a check around the garden and take a good look at the bricks and mortar! Plus your roof and tiles.
“But budding DIYers should also make sure they stick within realistic limits of what they are capable of and always use the correct tools and gear to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.”