Watch out for wear and tear

Nothing stays shiny and new forever. Furniture gets scuffed, curtains fade in the sun and, after a while, parts of the building like roof tiles or pipes can deteriorate too.

It's called 'wear and tear' – a term used by all insurance companies – and it's something you should know about, because you can't claim for damage caused by every day wear and tear.

Take an old roof with worn tiles or a rotten window frame – rainwater could get in and cause damage. Insurers usually exclude wear and tear so it’s unlikely they would pay for repairs to the roof or the window frame.

That's why it's so important to take good care to keep everything shipshape. So here are our top watch-outs for maintenance around the home.

Top tips for wear and tear

Up on the roof

Over time, wear and tear will take its toll on your roof and guttering. Check your roof regularly - look for any broken, slipped, or missing tiles. Check that your gutters are working well and not blocked up with things like fallen leaves and moss. Gutter guards can help keep them free of autumn leaves.

Doors and locks

Your locks keep your home secure. But wear and tear from everyday use can eventually mean they start to stick or get stiff, or seals and catches become loose. If they don't work like they should, get an expert to service or replace them.

Boiler and plumbing

An annual service keeps your heating system working well and can help spot any problems before they lead to a breakdown. It's also a good idea to remove air from the system with a radiator key – use an old rag to catch any drips. You don't want burst pipes, so before winter sets in, check that their insulation is keeping them cosy.

More tips for wear and tear

In the kitchen

When 'white goods' like washing machines and fridges go wrong, it can get messy with drips and leaks – so do get it checked straight away if you notice they're misbehaving. And do make sure you don't forget any maintenance the manufacturer recommends, like defrosting or cleaning filters.

Big screen entertainment

TVs, computers, tablets... your favourite devices give hours of entertainment, but eventually they'll show signs of wear and tear. An expert could help if they stop working properly and are not under warranty. As with any electrical equipment, don't take any risks if you think there's a serious fault.

Flat roof

Sun, rain, sleet, hail, snow... the average flat roof will need regular maintenance, as the tar cracks after a few years' exposure to the changing weather. Do a visual check if you can for any cracks, or get a pro with a ladder to take a look. Keep an eye out, too, for any damp or stained patches on a ceiling that's under a flat roof.


Hot sun and lashing rain can lead to wear and tear in windows and frames – the classic flaking paint, cracking wood or loose rubber seals. Take the time to give them a careful inspection, and get any problems sorted before winter bites.

Bricks, mortar and render

Cracks. If little bits of mortar start to fall out of brickwork walls or chimneys, or if cracks appear in rendered walls, it could lead to damage if water gets in where it shouldn't. Get the mortar repointed, and fill or replace any faulty render.

Damp or mould

Mould doesn't just look nasty, it can be harmful too - so always look for the root cause if you see damp or mould anywhere in your home. If wear and tear has let moisture into the structure, it's likely to get worse over time, so do call in expert help if needed.

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