Winter a chance to assess and plan

by Andy Bryenton

After a long wait, the cold and rain of true winter are with us at last. For many, it’s a time to retreat to the warmth and comfort of home and hearth, glad to be out of the elements. For many of us, the insidious damp and relentless winds pry at our home’s defences, revealing issues, which must be addressed.

There’s an old saying when it comes to buying a home; ‘view it during the depths of winter’. Cynical as it may sound, this is not terrible advice for a person wanting to assess any needful renovations to make a structure cosy, warm and watertight. New regulations for building have made universal insulation and better weathertightness practices a reality, but with many of our homes dating back decades, winter is a time that reveals flaws should they exist. The key is knowing where to turn to nip developing issues in the bud.

That is because, as any builder or tradesperson will tell you, small issues unaddressed can lead to bigger ones later. That condensation on windowpanes can lead to rotten frames and timbers or peeling paint. A small leak in the roof can hint at major rot or loose tiles. Where a draft gets in now, water may come in tomorrow, or worse, rodents and other pests.

The other advantage of making an honest assessment in winter is that you can plan ahead to avoid the same problems in years to come. It may be too late to install the fireplace you want before the end of this winter, but knowing it’s a good idea means it’s time to consult now. This is the time of year when you’ll know for certain which rooms require heat pump air conditioning. Cold feet in winter mean it’s time to talk about new carpets to be laid in the coming months. If a roofing job is needed, the best time to lift the iron is of course summer. Book well ahead, as local roofers have big workloads!

With many options on offer to improve your home, banishing damp, cold and mould, take the time this winter to make a list of things that would rectify problems or make things more comfortable. With a solid plan, it’s easier to tick tasks off the list before winter 2020 arrives.