Most home occupants in Australia are made aware of the need for home maintenance or repairs by visibly apparent indications – Archicentre Australia warns that those areas that are not visible also need regular checks.
The national architect’s advisory service says sub-floor areas and roof spaces are particular areas that are often neglected.
“If it can’t be seen, it shouldn’t be ignored,” says Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev, “if left unattended these issues can become major problems.”
He says with sub-floor areas it is important that debris is removed to help with mitigation against vermin – especially termites – also to provide ventilation, which is vital in controlling sub-floor dampness and associated damp related deterioration.
“Damp sub-floors often make the house smell musty and mouldy while stumps, bearers and joists rot faster when subjected to damp and mould. This aside, it’s straight out unhealthy.
“Black mould may appear on walls, and sometimes white ‘beards’ of mould may appear under the house.
“Homes which sit on timber stumps as part of the sub-floor structure will eventually be subject to stump rot. Stumps deteriorate first just below ground level and the best way to extend their life (if they are still viable) is to keep the ground dry. Otherwise, timber stumps should be replaced with concrete stumps. ”
Peter Georgiev says damp sub-floor conditions can also attract destructive timber pests. “Examine the sub-floor for signs of termites as they build mud tunnels under concrete slabs, over stumps and base walls to get to timbers in the house.
“The first line of defence for termites and borers is to keep the sub-floor dry and well ventilated and remove loose timber off-cuts or builder’s waste as this provides tasty fodder for hungry termites.
“If you find or suspect a termite infestation, contact an independent timber pest inspector without delay. Do not attempt to remove or disturb the nest or mud-tubes yourself as this disperses the colony and makes control more difficult.”
Peter Georgiev says it is also necessary for occupants to maintain the roof space.
“The roof frame and rafters can warp and deflect over time and usually there is little chance of a serious problem developing – but, re-roofing with a material heavier than the original covering can do serious damage unless the framing is strengthened.
“If you notice unusual smells when examining the roof this could indicate the intrusion of animals or water. Animals can cause damage such as stained ceilings and chewed wiring so remove them as soon as possible and get an electrical safety check once the pests are gone.
“Make sure your insulation is appropriate for your climate, spread evenly throughout the roof space and kept well clear of downlights, electrical transformers and other heat generating devices.
“Uneven or inadequate insulation can lead to heat leakage or uneven heat gain and increased energy bills. Electrical hot spots can be a serious fire hazard.
“Also, check the roof space after it has been accessed by a tradesperson as they are not always the most diligent in leaving the space as they found it,” he adds.
For more information go to www.archicentreaustralia.com.au
This media release has been written and distributed by:
Peter Georgiev, Director
Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street,
Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102
Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950