Maintenance of Buildings | Guide For Your Home Maintenance - HOMESLIBRO - HOMESLIBRO - Blogs on Home Related Solutions


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Maintenance of Buildings | Guide For Your Home Maintenance - HOMESLIBRO

In this article, we will very briefly consider some of the other major items of maintenance that we should carry on to keep the building in good shape. Good maintenance enhances not only the beauty and performance but also the useful life of the building.


Maintenance of Buildings


How to Clean Paintwork? 

Washing Paintwork

Washable paints can be cleaned by washing with clean water. Soda, soft soap and other alkaline substances are injurious to most paints. If at all they are used to remove difficult stains, they should be highly diluted and rinsed off the paint with clean water as soon as the dirt is removed.



It is advisable to repaint surfaces before the old paint disintegrates and while a compact and continuous film still exists. The life of paint depends on its quality. For example, today's exterior paints have been developed so that frequent repainting of external surfaces of high rise buildings can be avoided. They are costly but they remain intact and retain their brightness for a long time. We should also choose the correct paint suitable for the exposure condition. Thus, it is better to paint the underside of a wet area such as a bathroom and walls where dampness can penetrate with paints which can breathe (such as cement paint).


Paints on Steelwork

Careful observation should be made on painted grills, rolling shutters, etc. They should be regularly cleaned with clean water. If any parts get rusted, it should be removed and the surface repainted. Steel windows, if used in buildings, require special attention.





How To Maintain Your Doors And Windows?

Both the woodwork and glazing have to be regularly maintained.


Care of Woodwork

Most woods, except teakwood, get deteriorated with time unless they are regularly painted and kept free from water and direct exposure to the sun. Door frames adjacent to wet areas such as bathrooms get affected by rot. Both dry and wet rots grow in moist conditions. They can be prevented by proper ventilation and painting. Similarly, doors and windows which are directly exposed to the sun split up due to heating. Hence, these should be shaded and regularly painted.


Usually, panelled wood shutters or plastic shutters are provided as bathroom doors. The underside of these wood shutters including the bottom edge is usually protected by U-shaped aluminium sheets and painted with waterproof paint so that water does not affect the bottom edge. This precaution is especially applicable to flush doors for bathrooms. Stains and dirt on painted doors can be removed as in painted walls.


Care of Glazing

While putty glazing is used for ordinary wood, glazing with beads is usually carried in teakwood. Both of these do not get damaged quickly but they should be inspected at regular intervals. Putty glazing can get cracked with time.


Cleaning Glass in Doors and Windows

Glass fitted to doors and windows should be cleaned regularly with clean tepid water. Glass cleaning liquids are available on the market to remove dirt and stains. The less expensive version can be made by mixing 2 tablespoons of household ammonia or white vinegar with 1.25 litres of water. This solution is put into a spray bottle and applied with a sponge or rag. Wring them out thoroughly to avoid drips. Start from the top and work downwards. A cotton swab or toothbrush can be used to take dirt from corners.

Dry the window with crumbled newspaper or paper towels or chamois. Wipe one side horizontally and the other vertically so that if streaks are left we know which side it is and can remove them. The streaks are to be removed by a soft, dry cloth. Ordinary printed newspaper (with printer's ink) dipped in water is considered a good material for cleaning windows and automobile glass.



How To Maintain Your Sanitary Appliances?

Discolouration of fittings and growth of fungus and algae are the main problems. Sanitary appliances (ceramic wares) need frequent cleaning to maintain them in good condition and also to preserve their appearance. A solution of chloride of lime (bleaching powder) in hot water will remove surface stains from a ceramic ware. To restore the lustre of porcelain and glazed surfaces, a cloth moistened with hot water and a little paraffin will be found very effective. Abrasive powders or acid solutions are harmful to these surfaces. There are also a number of ready-to-use chlorinated cleaning materials available in the market for cleaning sanitary appliances. However, they are usually very costly. If the sewage is to be treated by a septic tank, we should not use chemicals and detergents that can kill the bacteria in the septic tank.



How To Maintain Your Water Supply Taps and Fixtures?

Taps and other fixtures should be repaired as soon as they become defective. Taps, chrome fittings, tubs, basins, wall tiles, etc. can be easily cleaned with liquid ammonia in water (one tablespoon of ammonia to one litre, if water). Materials for polishing metals are also available in the market. The sumps and overhead water tanks should be cleaned regularly The overhead tank should be kept well covered with no holes. Malarial mosquitoes breed in fresh water. If the tank is exposed to sunlight algae which is harmful to human skin can grow in unchlorinated water.



How To Maintain Your Drainage System?

In order to avoid nuisance and unhealthy conditions, soil and waste-disposal systems must be kept clean as well as in good working order. The main items to be looked after regarding the maintenance of the drainage system are discussed further.


Fittings inside the Building

Water taps, waste pipes (pipes from washbasin or sink to the floor trap), traps in fittings, floor traps, gratings above floor trap, etc. should be examined periodically by passing water through them and examining their performance. Otherwise, they are liable to get jammed especially when the water supply is not too good. Gratings in bathrooms require a frequent inspection as they are liable to be clogged with hair, oil, etc.

If drains are not working properly, drain cleaning compounds, which are available in the market, used to remove the block. Sometimes, physical methods will be required to clean them.


Waste and Soil Pipes

These pipes and their fixity to walls should be examined during the painting of external walls. If fixings are damaged, they should be repaired. (Many of the pipes in old buildings are AC pipes which are brittle but cheap. Nowadays, PVC pipes are more often used in Class I and Class II buildings.) Wire balloons on the top should be checked and replaced, if necessary.


Gulleys, Manholes, Manhole Covers and Drainpipes

These should be examined regularly and before the onset of the monsoon. The outlet to the sewer should be checked so that backflow from the street sewer to the house drain does not happen in the rainy season. Cockroaches that breed in dark sewers and manholes should be destroyed by chemical sprays. There should be no stagnant water in the drains to breed mosquitoes.


Roof Drainage System

The roof drainage system should be inspected before the rainy season. Gutters, especially (horizontally placed ones) must be cleaned and leakages repaired before the onset of the rains. Any leak from the roof drainage system should be identified and repaired during the first pre-monsoon rains.



How To Maintain Your Septic tanks?

For efficient working of a septic tank, grease and slow decomposing matter, etc. should not be put down the drains (a grease trap in the line is desirable). Avoid drain-cleaning chemicals which can kill the bacteria in the septic tanks.

The digested sludge should be removed when the depth of the sludge and scum exceeds half the depth of the tank. A portion of the sludge should be left in the tank to act as a seed for the fresh sewage. Adding 1/4 kg of brewer's yeast to the tank will hasten the septic tank action if such action is dull. Warning signs of a defective system include foul odours from the drains or the tank and also the growth of lush vegetation over the tank. If water backs up in the drain, it indicates clogging by sludge and scum.



How To Maintain Your water supply system?

It is very important that the water supply system should be maintained in a good and sanitary condition. If the supply is from a municipal water supply line to a sump, from the sump to an overhead water tank and from the water tank to the various distribution points, then periodic draining, cleaning, drying and whitewashing of the sumps at least once in 4 months should be carried out in all public buildings (January, May and September may be chosen for this purpose).



How To Make your building leakproof?

Repair of corrosion of RC roof due to corrosion of steel is explained in this article.



How To Maintain Your Electrical System?

it is advisable to have an ELCB trip switch in the electrical system of all buildings. This will show up any earth leakage. Electrical switches, especially those in the kitchen are liable to be clogged up by grits laid in switches by small red ants. These need cleaning. Anti-ant chemicals for placing in switch boxes are also available in the market. Bearings, condensers, regulators, etc. of fans have to be attended to if their performance is poor. If the connecting plugs of equipment especially of like high amperage like heaters, air conditioners, etc. are loose, they are liable to 'get heated up and burnt. They should always be plugged in properly (tightly) or should be connected through fused outlets. It is advisable to have phase-changing devices in the electric supply system so that if one phase goes out, the connections can be made to another available phase. Much savings in electricity can be made if we use modern fluorescent lamps for lighting and capacitance type of regulators for fans.



How To Maintain Your Tall Trees Near Buildings?

Tall trees that grow near the foundations of walls of a building can cause a lot of trouble by sending their roots under the building to take away the moisture in the soil. This can produce cracking of walls and flooring in the ground floors. Trees that send their roots laterally cause more trouble than those that send their roots downwards only. If large trees are allowed to grow near the foundation, then trenches along the walls by the side of these trees should be made and the roots should be cut and painted with chemicals (or coal tar) to retard their further growth towards the building. Framed buildings with deep foundations are less affected by tall trees than buildings with load-bearing walls.



Regular maintenance of buildings is necessary to keep them good in appearance and performance. This is especially necessary for public buildings which are used by many people and are to be maintained by a responsible agency. It is desirable to have a schedule of items to be attended to so that those responsible for the work can attend to them regularly without being told to do the necessary items of work.

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