External House Maintenance

Exterior cladding

Any form of exterior cladding needs careful maintenance if it is to continue to look attractive. Thorough preparation of the sub-surface is essential.

  • Hardwood cladding looks better if treated with a timber preservative. This seals the wood, yet allows the colour and grain to show through. Wood that has deteriorated and lost its colour should be treated with a proprietary timber restorative before the sealer is applied.
  • Aluminium cladding, if new, should first be treated with a coat of zinc-chromate primer. If the surface has previously been painted, rub down the old paint with white spirit and apply zinc-chromate primer to any bare surface areas before re-painting. Apply one undercoat and two top coats of an alkyd-resin paint. Metal garage doors are similarly prepared and finished.
  • Painted timber cladding (softwood and hardwood). On new wood apply a primer coat. If the wood is particularly resinous, such as cedar and some pines, use aluminium primer, as this provides a better seal. Finish with one undercoat and two top coats of alkyd-resin paint. Redwood, such as cedar, can be treated with a preservative or painted with a clear polyurethane varnish.

Concrete sills

Concrete sills often become damaged and deteriorate with age or movement in the structure of a house. Usually, it is easier to chip off the damaged area and remortar the surface than to make patch repairs.

Repairing. The tools you need are a hammer, cold chisel, bucket, trowel, steel trowel and wooden float, a wooden batten longer than the sill and a water brush.

1. Remove the upper layer of the sill to a depth of 11in. (4 cm), using the hammer and cold chisel.

2. Moisten the surface and apply a layer of mortar, cement and sand in proportions of 1:4:1. Hold the batten at the front edge of the sill to give a straight line. The mortar should be filled right up to the batten. Push the cement mortar well into the corners and under the sill.

3. After removing the batten, smooth over the mortar, making a slight slope to the front and rounding the front corner. Use the steel trowel for this. Flatten the surface with the wooden float. Work in circular movements.

4. Allow the surface to dry out for about two hours.

5. Finally polish the area with the steel trowel, moistening the surface with water flicked from the water brush.

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