Check for corrosion or rotten timber


Check for any corrosion, rotten timber, or loose fittings.

At any time, rotten timber can pose a serious safety hazard if any weight-bearing materials, such as flooring, decking, joists and stairs are compromised and subject to breakage. Warping weatherboards and vertical cracks to brickwork may indicate subfloor failure. It is important to maintain a good protective paint or stain coating on all exposed timberwork, otherwise deterioration such as splitting and rotting will occur, and again this can compromise the protective perimeter.

Gradually warping weatherboards may result because of their exposure to the elements or the house frame drying and warping. These are not severe problems and but need annual checking because they can compromise the protective perimeter. Seal any significant gaps that develop, in order to prevent damaging water or pests from entering.

Any termite damage to the external walls or footings will compromise structure strength and stability. Call a professional to check for termite infestation, which can cause thousands of dollars damage to timber frames and timer homes. The Building Code of Australia provides a range of termite management measures that can be used, including chemical or physical barriers or a combination of any of these. A qualified termite management contractor should perform annual inspections or more often, in high-risk areas.

External blinds and awnings that protect windows and prevent direct sunlight entering are a great idea. However, awning fixtures can rust and come loose in high winds, so check they're secure at the beginning of summer.

Does your house have a pitched, or gabled roof? If so, the external end wall takes a tremendous beating during severe storms. When a house has a pitched roof, the triangle formed by the upside-down 'V' and the front or back external wall is called the gable end wall. Once the gable end wall is damaged, strong winds, rain or hail can enter the house causing much internal damage.

Gable end walls are easy to strengthen and deserve high priority on your retrofit list. Typically, gable end trusses are directly attached to the top of gable end walls. The bottom of the truss must be securely nailed or screwed to the top of the wall and braced to adjacent trusses. This prevents wind from pushing or pulling the gable end at its critical point, where the gable truss is connected along the gable wall. Without adequate bracing, the end wall may be destroyed during high intensity winds.