After a house is forty or fifty years old, the brickwork can look tired. It puts up a brave fight against the elements but often the battle scars start to become visible. You might notice that the facing breaks off some of the bricks and that the mortar becomes dry and crumbly. It is time for some external maintenance. If you put it off for another year, this problems will only get worse.
We are going to investigate some external coverings that can rejuvenate your building and bring it back to its former glory. The product you use is purely a matter of personal choice, and opinions will differ. At the end of the day, it is your home, so yours is the only point of view that matters.
Inspect The Building
Before you hide the walls, you should survey them to make sure there are no faults that need repair first. You may have to point the mortar courses because the weather can have an adverse affect on them; as I mentioned earlier. Check for cracks that might be the early signs of foundation problems too. You must not ignore them and if you are unsure whether they are significant or not, ask an expert to inspect the property for you. You must deal with subsidence early because it is a problem that will get worse as time passes.
There are specialist companies that will render your building, but a general builder will probably do the job just as well for less money. You must be careful it doesn’t spoil the original architecture. If there is a block with the date on the building, for example, don’t cover it up. A top quality coating should last for decades and is hardy against the elements. You will need to paint it with a masonry product every five to ten years, but that isn’t much of a chore.
Cotswold Stone Cladding
Cotswold stone is an attractive natural material that will enhance the beauty of your home. It is expensive and will take longer to apply than render, but the result is worth it. The contractors must use a special product to fix the stone just as you would wall tiles; then they must grout between them with mortar.
If your home is timber clad and the boards are rotten, you can replace them with a composite material. The new boards are indistinguishable from timber but have many advantages over that traditional product. Firstly, they will not decay like wood. They will last the lifetime of the building, and you will not have to replace them again. They are easy to clean too. You can use a pressure washer to make them sparkle once more. Other than occasional cleaning, they are maintenance-free. You never need to paint them, and the colour will not fade.
If your home looks worn out, you can make it look young again. The coverings are not cheap, so you will need to dip into your savings or fund the improvements another way. That is the subject of my next article. I believe that if you look after your home, it will look after you.