Advice Note 1 - Damp
Maintenance makes a difference - never put it off!
Damp is a potential problem for any building and can cause serious structural damage. The UK's wet, blustery weather and the recent run of harsh, cold winters underlines the importance of regular care: your money can be saved by tackling a few important maintenance tasks.
There are several types of damp, including rain penetration and condensation, and they are completely different. One is caused by poor external maintenance and the other by internal condensation that may be caused through poor ventilation.
Gutters should be clear of autumn leaves, twigs, old bird nests etc and be working properly. Any gutter that slopes the wrong way or discharges water onto the wall should be re-fixed. It is wise to check that down-pipes are working correctly.
Even a relatively small gap in the roof can let in damaging amounts of water. Roofs can be checked from the inside by looking for chinks of daylight in the attic. Outside, you might find that using a pair of binoculars helps to get a good clear view of potential problem points, especially damaged or slipped tiles.
Windows are another problem area and should be checked for decay, if possible by washing paintwork, rub down and repaint where necessary.
Many people do not realise that vegetation growing on or near a house needs monitoring. Trees and bushes should be pruned back. Ivy growing on a wall can trap moisture where decay may result and such vegetation should be removed, cut back or pruned carefully as soon as possible.
Inside, make sure that bathroom fans are working properly and that the whole house is aired regularly.
And here's a very important extra tip - remember to take care at all times. Wear protective equipment when necessary and never work at heights or use ladders if you are alone. If in doubt always seek help from a professional.
Any further advice on the above may be sought from Shropshire Council’s Conservation Officer: Ben Williscroft, E-mail: Ben.Williscroft@shropshire.gov.uk
Advice Note 2 - Roofs, including leadwork, guttering and dormer windows.
Owners of Georgian houses in Ludlow find that they shoulder a serious responsibility to preserve the character and appearance of these, mainly listed, buildings, however small. This applies also to their roofs. The roofs of Georgian houses were usually designed to be invisible from below (so it is important to keep an eye on the area behind parapets where debris collects), but in Ludlow with its hilly streets, they form an important part of the streetscape as well as the view from Whitcliffe. In this area, Georgian houses are generally roofed with slates or brown clay tiles.
The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the correct materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http://www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Historical Building Repair/Roofs). Another useful website is http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm
Advice Note 3 - Brickwork
The façades of the Georgian houses in Ludlow with their weathered bricks make a crucial contribution to the main streets, even if some of them are additions to earlier buildings which have received new façades to reflect the latest fashion. The town contains some excellent examples of Georgian brickwork, notably 39 Broad Street and (a little later) 16 Castle Street. There is also an interesting use of local stone shaped as bricks at 27 Broad Street and 4 Brand Lane. Unfortunately, in the past, there has been some poor repointing with cement which not only looks ugly, but which does not allow the bricks to breathe. Pointing should generally be done with lime mortar and should never project proud of the bricks themselves. Wherever possible, repairs should use reclaimed or carefully sourced bricks. Some brick exteriors have been rendered or faced with roughcast, and it seems to have become acceptable in the town to take the cheaper option of painting directly onto the bricks, but these practices lead to damp and deterioration.
The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http:/www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Advice/Historic Building Repair/Brickwork).
Other useful websites:
Building Conservation: http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm SPAB Technical Notes on Brickwork: http://www.spab.org.uk/advice/technical-qas/technical-qa-2- brickwork/
Advice note 4 - Render, Stucco and Plaster
Ludlow has many examples of rendered finishes on both brick and stone. There is an obvious example of the latter at Stone House in Corve Street, and the stone drum towers at the Broad Gate have been rendered and cut to look like dressed stone, probably in the eighteenth century. At that time render was also applied to half-timbering, although most of this has now been removed.
Render should always be repaired on a 'like for like' basis. It is not advisable to strip it from brick or stone as the material underneath may be in a poor condition or was never intended to be exposed.
Houses with render or stucco exteriors should be painted in cream or soft colours, not bright white, and with due respect for their neighbours. Chemical damp treatments (ie DPC) should never be used.
Owners should always remember that repairs and alterations to listed buildings require Listed Building Consent, and in Conservation Areas advice and permission should be sought before work commences.
The best advice on repair, reinstatement and sources for the best materials is freely available on the website of the Georgian Group, http://www.georgiangroup.org.uk (click on 'Advice/Historic Building Repair/Render, Stucco and Plaster).
Other useful websites:
Building Conservation: http://www.buildingconservation.com/books/heritage-retrofit.htm
RENOVATING OR MAINTAINING HISTORIC BUILDINGS
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