The Charm of a historic New Zealand villa is unmistakeable. In order to keep your villa charming it takes some 'must do' maintenance and upkeep. Maintenance is needed to ensure the longevity of any home, but the difference for a historic villa is similar to that needed for a restored classic automobile, it simply requires a bit more attention than a modern home or vehicle.
Most handy kiwis can do basic home maintenance themselves but some jobs may call for a professional. At Inti Construction we have worked on plenty of Far North villas in various states of 'charm'. To help villa owners we have put together a list of our top three 'must do' home maintenance tips to keep your villa in tip top shape:
#3 - Paint is key
The Quality craftsmanship of the builders who built these historic villas, as well as the materials used to construct them will easily last the test of time if maintained properly. A quality paint job ensures another water tight barrier protecting the wood underneath against water, rot and mould. Make sure that whoever you engage to paint your villa does a proper prep of the surfaces involved. All surfaces should be sanded back to sound paint beneath or bare wood if necessary.
Remember paint is a critical element of your Building Envelope and not merely something that makes the house look pretty.
#2 Easing of the joinery
The craftsmanship and skill of the carpenters who built the villas and their beautiful wooden windows and doors was fantastic, the fact that New Zealand has villas from the mid 1800s is testament to that. However, often with the house settling and the wood swelling due to a porous paint job, easing of the joinery is required to bring it back to its original function and beauty. When easing the builder/carpenter removes the window/ door, resizing it to ensure proper fit into the space again, sanding and refinishing with new paint. Easing of the joinery is crucial, not only allowing you to open windows that were previously swollen shut, but it also prevents the painted surfaces of the joinery from scraping on each other allowing water to penetrate into the wood beneath (causing the same problem again). Have your builder replace hinges and hardware if required at the same time.
#1 - Building Envelope
It is imperative that the roof and cladding are weather tight. Check your villa for rotten and or borer affected weather boards, corner boxes and scribers. Any affected boards require urgent removal and replacement. Timber rot is like cancer, - if not removed it will continue to spread and before long your villa will require serious and expensive structural repairs.
The same is true for the roof. If there have been small historical leaks in your villas' roof you may have moisture damage to critical structural components which could fail as a result. Most insurance policies may not pay out for damage of this nature as it is deemed "gradual and avoidable damage". Always best to address any issues immediately.