What’s the problem?

What are you having problems with?

Select the subject matter below and find suitable articles to help you.

Damp
Cracks
Noise
Energy and heating
Pipes and leaks

Damp

Where is the damp showing?

Cracks

Where is the crack?

Pipes and leaks

What is the problem?

  • Blocked internal drainpipes – stains on walls and smells

    Drainpipes leaking from joints – blocked

    Dripping overflows – a possible solution

    Blocked drains – overflowing manholes and gulleys

  • Blocked internal drainpipes – stains on walls and smells

    Leaks from sink and bath waste – stains tend to appear slowly

    Leaks from water supply pipes – stains tend to appear quickly

  • Hammering from badly fixed pipes

Explore all our maintenance articles

Asbestos
Asbestos

Asbestos becomes a risk when it is disturbed through repairs and internal improvements. You have a legal duty to know where it is in your building, so that workers are…

1200 800 Under One Roof
Balconies
Balconies

A sunny balcony is a positive asset to a flat but they can be a source of cold and damp. Inset balconies Cantilevered balcony. The floor should have an asphalt…

1200 800 Under One Roof
Balusters and handrails
Balusters and handrails

Check for loose or missing balusters and shakiness. See stairs.

1920 1280 Under One Roof
Bay and oriel windows
Bay and oriel windows

Oriels are bays that start from the first floor. The oriel bay is supported on a cantilevered stone that is called a corbel stone. Bay windows are built down to…

748 600 Under One Roof
Below ground level
Below ground level

Your tenement may have a basement, sometimes used for living accommodation or sometimes used for storage, cellars or wash-houses. These buildings will often also have a 'dunny' between the basement…

905 800 Under One Roof
Bressumer and other large beams
Bressumer and other large beams

Beams span large gaps and carry the weight of floors and walls above them. The ends rest on walls. They are part of the structure of your building. Often found…

748 600 Under One Roof
Central valley double roofs
Central valley double roofs

Typically found in Georgian tenements, such as those in Edinburgh, these roofs have central valley flat roofs or gutters, and downpipes may run inside the flats. They are vulnerable to…

748 600 Under One Roof
Chimneys
Chimneys

Chimneys easily suffer damage from exposure. The pointing often gets weathered and washed out at a greater rate than on the rest of your buildings walls. This, combined with the…

1024 1024 Under One Roof
Close (stair) walls
Close (stair) walls

Thinner and built on lighter foundations than external walls, close (stair) walls may settle or the foundations may be washed away by leaking pipes, leading to subsidence and separation cracks. The walls…

406 305 Under One Roof
Close / entrance floor
Close / entrance floor

Heavily trafficked and likely to get worn, but a clean and well-repaired close floor will make your building feel welcoming and safe. Problems Hollow sounding floors at ground level may indicate…

406 305 Under One Roof
Cracks
Cracks

Cracks can occur in your building for a variety of reasons. Establish the likely cause for your crack and, if it might be serious, take professional advice. Cracks can occur…

406 305 Under One Roof
Dormer windows
Dormer windows

Dormers need particular attention because they are exposed to the weather and have many junctions between materials that need checking regularly. How dormer windows are built Dormers may have flat…

1024 724 Under One Roof
Drainage
Drainage

Repairs to drainage pipes are a common or mutual responsibility. Pipes only become the responsibility of Scottish Water once they connect to the main drainage system, normally on the edge of…

905 800 Under One Roof
Estate landscaping
Estate landscaping

Even if you live in a house rather than a flat, you may still have common responsibilities that apply to the housing estate around you. Problems may often occur on:…

1200 800 Under One Roof
External brick and block walls
External brick and block walls

Brick walls can be found in all ages of building. The brickwork may form the structure, holding up the roof, or it may be cladding, with a timber kit frame…

406 305 Under One Roof
External stone wall features
External stone wall features

Stone walls are often built with architectural features that not only add to the visual appearance of the building, but also have the purpose of throwing water away from the…

406 305 Under One Roof
Fire safety in flats
Fire safety in flats

Every flat owner should have a fire escape plan and know what to do in an emergency. You can also make sure your flat is as fire and smoke proof…

1200 800 Under One Roof
Flashings
Flashings

Flashings cover the joint between two different parts of the building - such as the join between the roof and the chimney. They sometimes act like gutters and carry a…

406 305 Under One Roof
Flat roofs
Flat roofs

Flat roofs can be found on buildings of all ages. They can be covered in a variety of materials. Seldom flat, they should be laid with a gentle slope (fall)…

406 305 Under One Roof
Floors and ceilings
Floors and ceilings

Noise coming through floors and ceilings can be a real issue for flat dwellers. Individual owners can do much to prevent this problem - and to make it worse. Understanding…

1115 999 Under One Roof
Front and back close doors
Front and back close doors

Front and back doors to your building provide security and help keep flats warm. These doors take a lot of use and abuse, so should be strongly constructed. If replacing or…

2048 1365 Under One Roof
Gable walls
Gable walls

Gables are the end walls of your tenement. Sometimes the gable was originally intended to be a cross wall between two older stone tenements, but the next phase of building…

406 305 Under One Roof
Gutters
Gutters

Gutters take the rain from your roof and channel it away from your walls and the timbers set into the walls that are prone to rot if they are damp…

1024 866 Under One Roof
Lintels
Lintels

A lintel supports the walls and floors above an opening, such as a window or a door. They are part of the structure of your building. The outer lintel is…

406 305 Under One Roof
Lofts
Lofts

You may be able to detect roof problems from inside your loft. Do not attempt to get into your loft unless you have safe ladder access, crawlboards inside the loft…

905 800 Under One Roof
Mullions
Mullions

Mullions are vertical stones between windows.

406 305 Under One Roof
Non-traditional wall types
Non-traditional wall types

The shortage of materials and the need for housing after both World Wars led to the use of non-traditional materials in building. Some four-in-a-block houses and social housing tenements were…

406 305 Under One Roof
Paint removal from stone
Paint removal from stone

Removing paint from stone can cause damage, so removal methods need to be carefully investigated before you go ahead. Graffiti While you are often advised to remove graffiti as soon…

406 305 Under One Roof
Parapet gutters
Parapet gutters

Leaks in these 'secret' gutters often go unnoticed until rot is found in timbers. Parapets will have a gutter behind them. This type of gutter is also found behind a…

406 305 Under One Roof
Precast concrete and system building
Precast concrete and system building

In the 1960s and 1970s, the walls of multi and deck access blocks were formed from precast concrete panels and concrete floor slabs. The system was used in three and…

1200 800 Under One Roof
Railings and ironwork
Railings and ironwork

Cast iron may be found in many parts of older tenements, from drainpipes and gutters, skylights or air vents, through to structural columns. During the Second World War, people were…

1200 800 Under One Roof
Rear walls
Rear walls

Rear stonework tends to be much simpler than front ashlar stone. Cosmetic damage to the rougher rubble stone is less obvious and the walls themselves are often better protected from the…

406 305 Under One Roof
Ridges and hips
Ridges and hips

Ridges protect the top layers of slate and tile. If the ridge capping is blown off, the top courses of slates or tiles can be quickly lost. The ridge protects…

406 305 Under One Roof
Rot and insects
Rot and insects

Timber decay, through rot or wood-boring insect damage, can damage the structural strength of your building and be costly to deal with. Keeping timber dry and well-ventilated will not only…

406 305 Under One Roof
Services
Services

Responsibility for the maintenance of gas, electricity, communal aerials etc., changes at different points from being the suppliers responsibility to a common responsibility, and then to an individual responsibility. But…

1200 800 Under One Roof
Skews
Skews

Skews finish the top of the party wall that protrudes above roof level. Skews are also found at gable ends. Skews divide one tenement roof from another and also act…

406 305 Under One Roof
Skylights and cupolas
Skylights and cupolas

Skylights allow light and ventilation from above. There are a number of different types of skylight. Cupolas are skylights which are raised up, often found on flat roofs or in valleys. Lead flashings protect the joins…

406 305 Under One Roof
Slate roofs
Slate roofs

Slate roofs were commonly used until the 1960s when concrete tiles became more popular. Scottish slate quarries closed at this time but it is still possible to source good second…

406 305 Under One Roof
Stairs
Stairs

The staircase and surrounding walls form an important part of your building's structure. How stairs are built Stone stairs may be 'penchecked', with each step made from a separate piece of…

948 800 Under One Roof
Stone defects
Stone defects

Stone deteriorates through the action of moisture and frost. Stone naturally absorbs water and then dries – a process generally referred to as 'breathing'. The use of cement mortar can…

406 305 Under One Roof
Stone tenement structure
Stone tenement structure

Your building has a supporting skeleton of walls, joists, beams, and lintels which keep it standing. Any repairs required to this structure are important and need to be dealt with…

1280 907 Under One Roof
Tiled roofs
Tiled roofs

Tiled roofs can be found on buildings of all ages as tiles were commonly used to replace slate during tenement renovations from the 1960s onwards. Older concrete tiled roofs erected…

406 305 Under One Roof
Timber kit construction
Timber kit construction

Timber kit buildings, built mainly after 1980, can be clad in many materials. Timber kit buildings have the advantage that the frames can be made off site in the dry, and…

406 305 Under One Roof
Windows
Windows

While window frames and timber cills are an individual repair, if they aren't properly maintained, they can cause damage to the common structure of the building. Close windows, as well…

406 305 Under One Roof

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Mid ceiling

Below ground level

Your tenement may have a basement, sometimes used for living accommodation or sometimes used for storage, cellars or wash-houses. These buildings will often also have a 'dunny' between the basement…

905 800 Under One Roof

Energy efficiency improvements

Adding insulation and draught-proofing can save money and the planet but in…

2560 1707 Under One Roof

Insulating traditional solid walls

Recent research suggests that traditional solid stone or brick walls provide better…

2560 1707 Under One Roof

Flat roofs

Flat roofs can be found on buildings of all ages. They can…

406 305 Under One Roof

Asphalt flat roofs

On stone tenements, asphalt roofs are found on: 'high backs' - raised backcourt…

406 305 Under One Roof
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