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Prevention is better than cure

Attic maintenance

Roof-top maintenance

Roof-top maintenance

Maintenance saves money and safeguards the historic fabric. It saves money because it forestalls deterioration. It makes sense, for example, to clear gutters or to fix a slipped tile - in order to prevent damp causing damage that would spread and have to be put right at great cost sooner or later. The money spent year by year on prevention is far less than the cost of recovery.

Despite such well known proverbs as 'don't spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar' and 'a stitch in time saves nine', individual and corporate owners too often fail to carry out such tasks as:

FIXING a slipped tile to prevent damp causing damage that would soon spread through the roofspace and down to the upper floors.
CLEARING gutters of leaves and pigeon droppings to prevent water overflowing.

CHECKING and repairing downpipes. Small leaks tend to become big ones. If parts of the fabric become saturated, then frost will cause damage.

REPAINTING woodwork - otherwise paint will crack and flake off, dampness will get in and the wood will rot.
INSPECTING all external fabric and, as William Morris put it, 'staving off decay by daily care'.

REMOVING plant growth which unchecked brings its own problems as roots penetrate and widen cracks and joints.

As with all these tasks, the damage will have to be put right sooner or later.

Maintenance safeguards the historic fabric because less material - if any at all - is lost in regular, minimal and small-scale repair than in eventual, disruptive and extensive rescue. The avoidable loss of fabric through neglect diminishes the heritage value of the building and is a waste of resources.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings
The SPAB is an excellent source of advice on practical aspects of maintenance.

For TECHNICAL ADVICE Q&A 10 Maintenance go to

The Society runs a technical advice line for the public: see