After the cold and wet weather during the winter, the outside of your home has probably taken a bit of a battering. With the mornings starting to get lighter and the hint of spring just around the corner, now is an excellent time to take a look at your home and decide where you need to do repairs and spruce up. I’m not talking about anything major necessarily, just some basic DIY tasks. These will make your home look great and also prevent costly damage.
Here are some jobs you can do to spruce up your property over the coming months.
Winter can be tough for walls – rain, frost and snow can all take its toll and damage the mortar between the bricks. It’s natural over time that this will wear down anyway, so it’s worth regularly assessing your home for any signs of significant deterioration.
Aside from the cosmetic effect, damaged and flaking mortar can lead to leaks and damp – something I’m sure you’d prefer to avoid.
So, what should you do if you notice that sections of the mortar are coming away? The answer is to repoint.
This job isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming – especially if you have a large section or entire wall to cover. You can hire a builder but it works out quite expensive. If you keep on top of the task and do a little bit every year you can save a lot of money.
You need to start by removing the old mortar – the best way to do this is generally with a plugging chisel and hammer. A word of advice: take out the vertical joins first and then do the horizontal ones to minimise the risk of you damaging the actual bricks.
You should remove between 8 and 12 mm of mortar depending on the depth of the mortar in your walls. Once you’ve cleared a section, you can mix up some new mortar using either builder’s sand, hydrated lime and cement or sharp sand and hydrated lime. Make sure it’s a relatively firm mix – it should stand up on your trowel. Use a pointing trowel to apply the mix to the joins – work on the horizontal ones first and then tackle the vertical. Go slowly and make sure the mortar is firmly pressed into the gaps.
Another way to brighten up the outside of your home is to repaint it. This can take a bit of time but is well worth it when you see the finished result. If you plan to do your entire house, you should consider hiring a scaffolding rig to make the job safer, as well as a paint spray gun to speed the process up.
Start by preparing the walls – you need to clean them and remove any old, flaking paint before you begin. Remember to mask off areas around windows and doors. It’s also sensible to put canvas sheets over any plants around your home to prevent them from getting covered with paint.
If you’re using a spray gun, the actual painting shouldn’t take you too long. Do your best to choose a none windy day when clear, sunny weather is forecast to give the paint time to dry – if it rains while it’s still wet, you’re likely to get streaks.
I find it’s often the little details that make all the difference, so to finish the look add some new door furniture to your front door or hang a wall plaque featuring the name of your property, if it has one.
Investing in shiny door numbers, a new letterbox or an interesting knocker will make your home look inviting. These things aren’t particularly expensive to buy and they’ll look especially effective if you also put a new lick of paint on your front door.