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Here’s how to delay your home’s next exterior repaint

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There is no user manual for all aspects of homeownership, from moving, to taking occupation and to maintaining and understanding common and uncommon defects. Albert van Wyk has more than 38 years’ worth of building experience and has put all he has learned into a concise, easy-to-use reference book entitled, The Proud Home Owner. He has granted HomeTimes exclusive access to republish portions of his book to help homeowners make better decisions around buying and selling, as well as maintaining their properties.

General outside maintenancehigh pressure water jet cleaning paving

Use the high-pressure water gun to clean the face brick walls (if applicable) once a year. You will be pleasantly surprised when you see the difference it makes. Use it to clean the driveway and paths too.

Albert says: “A handy tool for any homeowner is a high-pressure water gun”

Use it once a year to clean the painted walls, as it will delay the next repaint. Walls are usually repainted because they are dirty, it therefore pays to use the best affordable paint.

  • Clean the walls before they are repainted.
  • Clean patios and balconies.
  • Wash your car (and hers/his).

Check about an hour after the rain has stopped if there is still water standing in the gutters. The slope of the gutters is sometimes wrong and water does not drain to the downpipes. Standing water will aggravate rusting.

Look out for any cracks or damp. They usually start when the paint starts to blister or peel.

Check the condition of the windows and door frames.

Timber frames must be treated every 6 months. Timber on the west and the north sides of the home get the most sun. Do not use varnish, but a product with a penetrating oil base.

The glazing putty in steel frames gets brittle and cracks before it falls out. Look out for the start of rust spots on steel works like windows, gates and door frames.

The rubbers in aluminium frames can get brittle due to the sun and crack, and special rubbers are required in coastal regions.

Aluminium frames get dull because of the accumulation of polluted air, dirt and grime. It is worse near the coast and industrial areas. Corrosion could start if they are not cleaned.

The bottom tracks of all the sliding and folding doors must be kept clean. Dirt is usually swept into it and causes excessive wear on the rollers and guides.

Awnings and shutters are installed for a special purpose, so keep them in a good condition. Check their operations especially if they are not used regularly.

Do not ignore or overlook the outbuildings, it might be necessary to inspect them more often.

Albert says: “Do not be misled, aluminium frames do need maintenance”

Identify the type of aluminium finish to be cleaned in order to select an appropriate cleaning method. The finish will either be Powder Coated (an organic paint coating) or Anodised (a hard, protective surface finish created by a controlled electrolytic oxidation process).

Never use aggressive acid or alkaline cleaners on aluminium finishes as it might cause permanent damage to the material. Strong solvents or abrasive cleaners can cause damage to the finish. Test clean a small area first. Do not attempt to clean the surfaces when it is hot, as possible chemical reactions may be accelerated.

Always try a solution of warm water and mild household detergent first, before resorting to harsher cleaners.

Gentle rubbing with a polishing compound, applied with a soft, clean cloth is also an acceptable method for more stubborn marks. Be aware that excessive polishing may result in shiny areas which will look patchy.

Various cleaning products for cleaning the frames are available in hardware stores. If an aggressive cleaner is required on any other part of the building, then care must be taken that this does not come into contact with the aluminium frames.


This Victorian homestead, currently run as a successful guesthouse, is meticulously maintained and retains many of its beautiful period details. The home is set amongst a landscaped rose garden and is on the market for R2,295m.

Trim overhanging branches of large trees regularly as they can deposit leaves and twigs in the gutters.

Wooden decks are subjected to continuous direct sunlight and must be monitored regularly for deflection, deterioration and loose joints. The structure must be safe and secure for the purpose that it was designed. Also check the handrail regularly.

Water features must be inspected for leaks and cleaned regularly. Drain the water during spring then scrub and re-waterproof it. Install a safety net over it when there are small children around.

Flower boxes which are constructed with bricks and plaster should be waterproofed on the inside and good drainage must be provided.

Look out for paint and plaster damage on the outside walls. Do not construct a flower box against the building.

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Ask the house cleaners to immediately report any leaks to you. Check regularly behind the toilet where normally a leak will develop.

Be sensitive to the sound of continuous running water in a bathroom. It could be a faulty flush mechanism of the toilet or a leaking pipe in a wall.

Modern taps all have strainers fitted in the front of the spout which sometimes do get blocked, especially in a new house. Unscrew these filters and clean them first when you experience low water pressure before calling a plumber.

You should have the same pressure of the cold and hot water if the installation was done correctly.

Poke your nose in under the sink in order to identify damp with its peculiar smell. Water can leak from the top of the unit or a pipe under the unit.

For more, and to order your copy of The Proud Home Owner, click here, or visit Gauteng Home Inspections if you’re building, buying or doing maintenance


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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