Preparation for a Home Inspection:
March Tip:Back To Top
Water Seepage: If water's coming into your home, be sure to add caulk and/or weather stripping to your shopping list. Water leaks can lead to mould, mildew and dry rot. Evidence of same at the home inspection can kill a home sale deal or cost you double to deal with this issue through the buyer and their agent
Water seepage can come from improperly caulked/ sealed openings such as windows, doors, wall to foundation details, and foundation cracks. It can also come from roof leaks at poor/ inadequate flashing details.
Solutions vary with the problem. Foundation leaks at cracks can be sealed with non-shrink grout and waterproofing material including self draining plastic. Caulking is not near good enough for this tough environment.
Seepage through windows can occur at the window to frame joint. In this case, removing the window and applying a proper membrane seal and foam insulating gaps before applying the window will provide not only a long term solution, it will reduce the heat loss and subsequent moisture condensation from poorly sealed window installations. On further investigation during repair review, dry rot or mould might be found and can be addressed at that time.
Seepage can also occur at the operating window and frame joint. Consequently, installation of new weatherstripping is in order. Talk to your local window service agent for solutions specific to your type of windows.
For the long term, sealing gaps, joints, and cracks with the proper sealant solution can save up to 5% on your home heating and cooling bill annually. It can also save you the cost of repairing wet drywall and the development of moulds and mildews. All in all, a great value for effort.
Hazardous materials: Older homes may contain lead-based paint, asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon gas, and/ or toxic molds. Any of these could eventually cause serious health problems.
Identifying these items during the due diligence of a home purchase is both important and timely. The timeliness is that you don’t own the home yet and therefore you don’t yet own the problem.
Each of these subject hazards can be assessed for extent and dealt with prior to move in. Many home inspectors carry carbon monoxide detectors and use them as a standard investigative measure during the home inspection, but have this verified prior to the inspection because it is not part of the home inspection industry standards of practice.
Radon gas is a possible issue in some areas of the Okanagan and can be tested using the short term method over a three day period. Asbestos sampling can be conducted on products known to contain asbestos. Some home inspectors provide this service as an addon to their home inspection. Be sure the testing agent/ inspector has a demonstratable professional record for this service.
Toxic moulds can emanate from past floods, poor space ventilation, and marijuana grow ops (any indoor hydroponics). There are both visual and physical sampling methods to confirm if toxic moulds exist in the home. As the consequences can be very serious, a Professional expert in both the identification and remediation of toxic environments should be consulted. Some home inspection companies will conduct mould testing, but their expertise is likely limited to sampling only.
Go Green for Spring!
1. Reduce your thermostat by 10 degrees. Even for just the 8 hours your family is out at work or school, will save you another 10% on your energy bill.
2. Get a high-performance shower head. This will use 60% less water and most are designed to produce the same feeling of water pressure.
3. Clean your lint trap regularly. Doing this simple task can reduce you families energy use by 30%.
4. Replace major appliances with Energy Star Appliances. This can be a big investment to purchase new appliances for the sake of having a green home but they end up paying for themselves in the long run. They will reduce your energy costs and help the environment.
5. Install double-pane windows. Also a big investment, but will pay for itself as well.
Make Your Home "Inspection Ready"
Steps you can take before a professional home inspector conducts a property inspection
From routine maintenance, to detecting conditions that could signify the need for major repairs, there are many simple steps your seller can take ahead of time to prepare their home for a professional home inspection. In addition, on the day of the inspection, attention to a few details can go a long way to ensuring that everything goes smoothly.
Disclose past catastrophes such as fires or floods, or if the property was ever used as a marijuana grow house or meth lab. Provide building permits and plans for any major renovations. Disclose any work that was completed without the proper permits .Provide invoices and warrantees for major improvements, roofs, furnaces, and appliances
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE - EXTERIOR
Repair damaged masonry on walkways and steps. Seal any cracks in the driveway. Repair minor defects in exterior wall materials. Recaulk around exterior windows and doors. Replace damaged or missing shingles. Recaulk around flashing. Clean debris from gutters and check downspouts for proper drainage.
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE - INTERIOR
Repair leaky faucets and fixtures. Recaulk around bathtubs and sinks
Have an electrician inspect receptacles and switches and make any necessary repairs. Repair any cracked or broken window glass and loosen any windows that are painted shut. Arrange service for the furnace and central air conditioning. Have the chimney swept. Replace batteries in smoke detectors and install detectors where missing
ON THE DAY OF THE INSPECTION
Allow sufficient time for the inspection - the average Pillar To Post inspection takes between 2.5 and 3 hours. Be sure that keys are available for any locked doors. Allow access to storage sheds, attics, yards,crawlspaces, basements, and garages. Provide access to components such as electrical panels, water meter, and gas meter. Move objects from around the water heater, furnace, and air conditioner to allow unimpeded access. Clear paths of snow and debris.
Installing your own wall to wall carpet isn't a job everybody wants to take on. It can be hard on both your knees and your back, and if you don't get it right, everybody can see where you messed up. However, installing carpet isn't "rocket science," and by using some specialized tools (available at most tool rental outlets) and being prepared to take your time, installing carpet is a job you can do yourself.
Your first step is to get rid of the old carpet. Start by removing the moldings around the floor and take the door off the entrance, so you can get the old carpet out and the new carpet in easier. Give the old carpet a good vacuuming so you won't be breathing in dust, and then use a utility knife to cut the carpet into strips about 18 to 24 inches wide.
Start at one end and pull the carpet off the tackless strips and roll it up in sections. Some people feel that you can reuse the existing underlay, but in most cases it will be worn out just like the carpet, so you're better off getting rid of it as well.
Remove the existing tackless strips and make sure the floor is clean and dry. This is a good time to check your subfloor and securely fasten any floorboards that may be loose so they won't squeak under the new carpet (use 1 1/2" screws into the underlying floor joists).
Install new tackless strips around the perimeter of the room, but not in front of doorways. Leave a space of about 1/2" between the strips and the wall, and be sure the pins or tacks face towards the wall. (They're called tackless strips even though they have two or three rows or very sharp tacks, because using these "tackless strips" means you don't need to "tack" carpet down.) At corners, make sure the tackless strips are butted tightly against each other.
August back to top
Poor Indoor Ventilation
Without proper indoor ventilation not only will unsavory odours build up over time in your home, but also the development of moulds and mildews from excess moisture build up over time. Poor ventilation leads to common health related building illnesses that can leave you literally sick and tired.
Good ventilation is the solution to many household odours and health concerns. This not only includes ensuring range hoods and washrooms vent directly to the exterior, but also that your mechanical system delivers fresh filtered air to all rooms of your home on a regular basis.
You will visually know if your house has poor ventilation by observing condensation on the bottom of the glass portion of your windows. Condensation over time will cause brown/black “gunk” to build up on window sills. If you are wiping up water from the base of your windows weekly, then you are generating too much moisture in your home. Interestingly, the gunk isn’t usually the “bad mould”, but it is does demonstrate that your overall house environment is conducive to “bad mould” growth and requires upgrading. Economical solutions include the following:
1. Install externally venting kitchen and washroom exhaust fans. Most homes newer than the early 70’s are vented this way.
2. If you do have kitchen and washroom exhaust fans, make sure that your kitchen fan is not merely a recirculating fan (doesn’t exhaust to the exterior – you can tell by placing your hand over the vent in the front of the range hood) and that the washroom vents are piped directly to the exterior.
3. Make sure the dryer is properly ducted to the exterior to reduce condensation in the home from poor ventilation.
4. If your house is blessed with a gas or electric forced air heating/cooling system, take full advantage of it by ensuring the fresh air intake is free of air restrictive debris; your furnace runs on a timer to ensure fresh air ventilation throughout the house for a minimum of 6 hours a day; and the induct air filter is at least a pleated well fitting type. There are a range of even better air filters at your local building supplies store depending on your sensitivies (the price increases accordingly.
5. As well, a wall mounted humidistat will tell you what the relative humidity is in your home. If the humidity level is over 55%, then mould growth is possible. Over 65%, mould growth is probable with resulting health effects. Install a humidistat controlled ventilation system to reduce abnormal levels of humidity on the home. This can be wired to a washroom exhaust fan to take advantage of an existing ducted system.
6. Not sure? – do the smell test as you walk into the home from the outside. Proper ventilation will give you a fresh (okay call it healthy) feeling in your home. Inadequate ventilation will leave the house feeling stuffy.
September back to top
For a healthy environment, make sure you are getting sufficient ventilation in your home.