July 2014 – Blog Post

Welcome to the July 2014 blog post from Dean Taylor Property Care Services.

In this issue…

General news:                    Checkatrade, Hedging progress.

 

What to do this month:     Waterproofing your sheds & outdoor buildings

Video of the month:           How to prepare a wall for painting & decorating

General news

www.checkatrade.com

I am pleased to announce that I am now a fully certified member of Checkatrade.com, a website which helps people find tradespeople that they can trust.

I had to go through quite a strict selection process to get on board. I was visited by Checkatrade staff at work who took details of 12 references from previous customers, together with dates and details of work done, as well as proof of insurance etc. Checkatrade then spoke to all 10 people to verify what I had told them and that the references were really theirs.

Those initial reviews were not published, but I now hand Checkatrade reference sheets out to all new customers and my first references are online – my current average is 9.7.

Checkatrade started on the Isle of Wight and has steadily spread northwards. It is a brilliant idea which gives customers peace of mind when they need work doing.

You can check out my Checkatrade page here.

Our Great Front Garden Makeover

Just a quick update on our front garden which we finally got round to doing something with earlier this year. Just over two months in, the 94 new trees we planted are doing well with only 4 trees that haven’t taken.

We just got in there before it got too late in the season. Trees are best planted while they are dormant – ie during the winter months – and we nearly left it too late this year just like we had done in previous years.

But luckily our selection of mostly native trees have taken to their new home and are already starting to look a like a hedge. We also added a variety of wildlife-attracting plants including buddlejas (loved by butterflies) and these are also doing well. We have been very careful about keeping them well watered which is crucial for young trees as they get established.

I will post again later in the year about hedging with more details and some links if you are considering adding a hedge this winter.

What to do this month – Waterproofing your outdoor buildings

We’ve had some belting weather recently and judging by many of the calls I’ve been getting everyone’s been thinking about improving their outside space.

It’s important to remember the more mundane work too and one thing that is much easier to do while the weather is good is checking and fixing (or replacing, if necessary) shed and garage roofs.

The storms of last winter meant that I got lots of calls from people whose shed roof had blown off or the roofing felt had been damaged and the rain was seeping in. That can be disastrous for any expensive tools, furniture or equipment you are storing in there and can damage your shed in the long term.

Even if a winter isn’t too harsh, just general wear and tear can eventually test the strongest of roofs and felts. Best advice is to give everything a good check over at least once a year.

Here are a couple of photos of a garage I recently re-roofed. This is a slightly pitched roof which had been leaking for some time, but luckily the roofing timbers were still in good condition so did not need to be replaced. It was also overgrown with ivy which was adding a considerable weight. I cleared the ivy and used corrugated roofing sheets and it is now a dry space again.

     

Safety first

Replacing a shed roof will entail working at height so it’s important to put safety first. Check all equipment like your ladders are up to the job. Also, many roofs will not support the weight of someone working up there so double and triple check before you go up and you may need to prop the roof from inside. If in doubt, do not attempt it.

Asbestos

Asbestos can also be a very unwanted discovery especially if your building is a garage or larger shed and was built some time ago. If the roof is a grey, corrugated material and is NOT stamped with NT, then it is may well be asbestos cement. The good news is that if the asbestos is still in good condition it probably isn’t immediately dangerous – the fibres become a health hazard when they are breathed in, so watch out for any areas that look to be crumbling or flaking and act as soon as you find any.

If you think you do have asbestos in your roof, never use any tools like a saw or wire brushes on it as they could release the fibres. And if an asbestos roof is leaking it is probably at the end of its useful life and should be replaced.

Repairing shed roofs

If the roof is covered with roofing felt, small areas of damage can sometimes be repairable without replacing and re-covering the whole thing. There are a wide variety of products such as this spray from Ronseal which is a spray-on mastik which claims to seal and repair water leaks on a range of roofing materials. This paste from Good Ideas claims to be able to stop leaks just about anywhere, and says on roofs it will bridge tears up to 10mm, although I have never tried it.

 

Most sheds are roofed using roofing felt and as with most things there are different grades. You generally get what you pay for, for example this roll costs £25.99 for 10m x 1m. However this roll costs £34.99 for 8m x 1m but has a 15-year guarantee and because it has added polyester, claims to be gale and storm resistant. It all depends on the building, its position and the wear and tear you are expecting. A rabbit hutch in a sheltered corner of the garden will obviously take a lot less battering than a large shed on the brow of a hill.

If you do decide to re-roof your shed yourself, once you have removed the old felt, take extra time ensuring the roof is flat and smooth before you put your new felt down. A couple of old sticking out nails or jagged bits of timber could quickly ruin your new felt – and your mood!

Video of the Month

I’ve been doing some work recently on a very exciting painting and decorating job, which is something I always love doing.

More details will follow as and when I can tell you them, but in the meantime here’s a link to my latest YouTube video on preparing a wall for decorating. It covers how to cover a radiator and also how to mask up around woodwork before painting.