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Sun, Nov 27th - 5:43AM

Your Home's Cladding - By Angus Real Estate Agents

Cladding is a layer of material that covers the exterior of a building in order to protect the structure from outside elements such as wind, rain and fire. Cladding does not just refer to weatherboard type products; it also refers to metal, brick and cement sheeting. It can be installed on the walls or roof of a building.

Stucco: Traditional stucco is cement combined with water and inert materials such as sand and lime but many homes built after the 50's may resemble stucco but they actually use a variety of synthetic materials to achieve the same look. Stucco can be tinted to the colour you want and then the need to paint is gone forever. Synthetic stucco siding is lighter then the traditional and is more likely to suffer damage from a hard blow. It is often compromised of foam insulation board or cement panels screwed to the walls and the stucco is applied around it.

Traditional stucco is made of lime, sand, and water. Modern stucco is made of Portland cement, sand, and water. Lime is added to increase the permeability and workability of modern stucco. Sometimes additives such as acrylics and glass fibers are added to improve the structural properties of the plaster. This is usually done with what is considered a one-coat stucco system, as opposed to the traditional three-coat method. As a building material, stucco is a durable, attractive, and weather-resistant wall covering. It was traditionally used as both an interior and exterior finish applied in one or two thin layers directly over a solid masonry, brick or stone surface. The finish coat usually contained an integral color and was typically textured for appearance.

Fiber cement is a composite material made of sand, cement and cellulose fibers. In appearance fiber cement siding most often consists of overlapping horizontal boards, imitating wooden siding, clapboard and imitation shingles. Fiber cement siding is also manufactured in a sheet form and is used not only as cladding but is also commonly used as a soffit / eave lining and as a tile underlay on decks and in bathrooms. CSR Fiber Cement sheet cladding - dwelling addition, Hardys Bay, NSW, Australia Fiber cement siding is not only used as an exterior siding, it can also be utilized as a substitute for timber fascias and barge boards in high fire areas.

Vinyl siding: Vinyl siding is one of if not the most popular type of siding. Unlike wood , this durable plastic will not rot or flake. Vinyl is available in several colour and it is said that it will never have to be painted. Advertisements say that vinyl siding is permanent and although it will last a very long time, it is less durable then wood or masonry. Heavy winds have been known to lift panels from the wall and windblown debris and strong hail can puncture it. New technologies are making this material stronger but the sheets may still crack if struck by a lawnmower or snow blower and unfortunately panels cannot be patched, they can only be replaced.

Engineered wood siding is easier and less costly to install than real wood siding. It is lighter in weight than wood and features advances that make installation easier, like LP's SmartLock self-aligning edge design. Engineered wood siding can be purchased pre-primed, ready to paint, or pre-finished in any number of finish options, which reduces the field and labor time once installed. The boards are coated with a moisture-resistant overlay that is embossed with a cedar-grain pattern for an authentic appearance. The process of treating each wood wafer with zinc borate, using a heavy-duty exterior glue, and pressing the product under heat and pressure, results in one solid piece of wood.

Having a Professional Home Inspector inspect your home prior to purchase will allow your new homes cladding to be inspected by a Professional like the Barrie Home Inspector. He will inspect for cladding of siding failure or poor installation techniques. Having all the information available is paramount prior to purchasing real estate, whether for investment or for your new home.

Want to find out more about choosing a Certified Home Inspector in Barrie ON, then visit the Barrie Home Inspector's site on Home Maintenance Tips by Barrie Inspector


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Sun, Nov 27th - 5:41AM

Alberta's Tar Sands - by Innisfil Real Estate Agents

Oil sands reserves have only recently been considered to be part of the world's oil reserves, as higher oil prices and new technology enable them to be profitably extracted and upgraded to usable products. They are often referred to as unconventional oil or crude bitumen, in order to distinguish the bitumen extracted from oil sands from the free-flowing hydrocarbon mixtures known as crude oil traditionally produced from oil wells.

The tar sands are huge deposits of bitumen, a tar-like substance that's turned into oil through complex and energy-intensive processes that cause widespread environmental damage - polluting the Athabasca River, lacing the air with toxins and turning farmland into wasteland. Large areas of the Boreal Forest are being clearcut to make way for development in the tar sands, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

Greenpeace is also concerned with the social and health costs of the oil sands. First Nations communities in the tar sands report unusually high levels of rare cancers and autoimmune diseases. Their traditional way of life has been threatened. Substance abuse, suicide, gambling and family violence have increased in the tar sands. The thousands of workers brought in by oil companies face a housing crisis in northern Alberta.

While the tar sands are often touted as Canada's economic driver, from a social costs standpoint, Albertans are paying a hefty price. The Alberta government has been cutting essential social services from hospital beds to Aboriginal services, while oil companies rake in record profits. And while the tar sands create jobs in the short term, two out of three jobs are in construction, meaning once the initial work is completed, those jobs disappear.

The Boreal Forest is a highly complex ecosystem that supports a vast array of plants and wildlife including grizzly bears, wolverine, woodland caribou and over a billion birds. It represents more than 25% of all ancient forests left on the planet and is a source of clean water for millions of Canadians. The Boreal Forest is home to hundreds of First Nations communities that depend on the forest for their sustenance, jobs and traditional activities. Many of the areas under development in the Boreal Forest are subject to land claims and disputes.

Many of the people opposing this type of development cite the Global Changes to weather patterns that will wreck havoc on all of us. This is a global justice issue, because climate chaos is inherently discriminatory against the poor and the weak. A hurricane that strikes Haiti and Florida with the same force is virtually guaranteed to hurt Haitians more, because Haiti has fewer resources to protect its citizens against hurricanes. More Haitians have inadequate shelter to start with; the infrastructure for emergency response is weaker; the health care system is weaker. So any action which has the effect of making hurricanes more intense is going to have disparate impact on Florida and Haiti, for the future as far as we can see.

Want to find out more about Barrie's Premier Home Inspector, then visit the Barrie Home Inspector's site on how to find Barrie's WETT Inspector for all your fireplace, wood stove and pellet stove inspections.


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Sun, Nov 27th - 5:39AM

Asbestos In Your Home - by Innisfil Real Estate Agents

Asbestos has also been found in many products around the house. It has been used in clapboard; shingles and felt for roofing; exterior siding; pipe and boiler covering; compounds and cement, such as caulk, putty, roof patching, furnace cement and driveway coating; wallboard; textured and latex paints; acoustical ceiling tiles and plaster; vinyl floor tiles; appliance wiring; hair dryers; irons and ironing board pads; flame-resistant aprons and electric blankets; and clay pottery.

Vermiculite insulation is the prominent source of asbestos in most homes. Homes built or renovated prior to 1991 may have had vermiculite insulation added to their home. The attic is the most common area where vermiculite was used.

Most homes that have asbestos have had vermiculite insulation added to their attic. Vermiculite can be purchased in various forms for various uses. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large (coarse) pieces nearly an inch long. Vermiculite attic insulation is a pebble-like, pour-in product and is usually light-brown or gold in color

The average home owner cannot tell if a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional. A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released. In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone.

Asbestos professionals can conduct home inspections, take samples of suspected material, assess its condition, and advise about what corrections are needed and who is qualified to make these corrections. Once again, material in good condition need not be sampled unless it is likely to be disturbed. Professional correction or abatement contractors repair or remove asbestos materials.

Asbestos exposure becomes a health concern when high concentrations of asbestos fibers are inhaled over a long time period.[34] People who become ill from inhaling asbestos are often those who are exposed on a day-to-day basis in a job where they worked directly with the material. As a person's exposure to fibers increases, because of being exposed to higher concentrations of fibers and/or by being exposed for a longer time, then that person's risk of disease also increases. Disease is very unlikely to result from a single, high-level exposure, or from a short period of exposure to lower levels.

The Barrie Home Inspector has been trained to identify and inspect asbestos in the home. Hiring a professional home inspector can protect you and potentially save you from thousands of dollars in asbestos removal expenses. Many people may cover insulation like vermiculite with a blown insulating product which makes visual detection impossible without actually entering attic and moving existing insulation. Using the Barrie Home Inspector will provide Peace of Mind when purchasing your next property.

Want to find out more about Barrie's Premier Home Inspector, then visit The Barrie Home Inspector's site on how to choose the best Barrie Home Inspections for all your Real Estate needs.


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Tue, Nov 22nd - 8:23AM

Communicataion in the 20th Century - By The Barrie Home Inspector

Communication begins for all of us when we are too young to speak but convey our messages by facial expressions. This method is known as pre-verbal communication.

Language it the vehicle which allows people to communicated their thoughts and ideas to other people and through print to save those ideas and not only share them with their contemporaries but to pass them down to the generations to come.

In the early 1800's the electric telegraph made long distance communication possible. In the 1870's the telephone was also developed making communication in local areas possible which then spread to connect larger area and eventually the world.

Fewer than five years after its introduction, over 47,000 telephones were being used in the United States. The growth of these communications media accelerated the pace of social interaction, migration, commerce, and government activities.

In the 20th century the radio was invented and this allow an increased mobility for communications, such as ship to ship and police department broadcasts. When the vacuum tube was invented radio then became capable of international communications. Use of electronic surveillance for legitimate purposes such as intelligence and law enforcement investigation, as well as for illegitimate purposes, spurred enactment of a number of laws intended to comprehensively address such activities. Congress enacted the first federal wiretap statute as a temporary measure to prevent disclosure of domestic telephone or telegraph communications during the First World War.

Satellite communication became a reality in 1962 with the launch of the first communications satellite into space. It was the first satellite to receive, amplify, and simultaneously re-transmit signals from earth. The development of satellite communications allowed greater volumes of communications worldwide.

The Internet is a globally distributed network comprising many voluntarily interconnected autonomous networks. It operates without a central governing body. However, to maintain interoperability, all technical and policy aspects of the underlying core infrastructure and the principal name spaces are administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), headquartered in Marina del Rey, California. ICANN is the authority that coordinates the assignment of unique identifiers for use on the Internet, including domain names, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, application port numbers in the transport protocols, and many other parameters


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Tue, Nov 22nd - 6:38AM

Baby Boomers–Investing In Real Estate

According to a CBC poll, " 53 percent of boomers polled said they do not feel confident they'll be able to afford a comfortable retirement. That's up from 44 percent who were concerned about retirement finances in March."

Did you know, the longer you live, the more you'll benefit from delaying the start of your Social Security checks. Although you can start receiving checks as early as age 62, the amount of your checks increases the longer you wait, up until age 70. An analysis by T. Rowe Price financial planner Christine Fahlund found that if you expect to live until at least 80, you'd be better off waiting until after age 65 to start drawing benefits.

Financial planners used to routinely create retirement plans that stopped at age 85, because the chances seemed pretty good their clients would be dead by then. (The average life expectancy at age 65 is 10.3 years for men, 12.4 years for women.) But averages don't tell the tale. You may be in better health than the average Joe or Jane, take better care of yourself or have better genes. Even if you don't, your spouse might; Fidelity Investments has found that the chances of one member of a couple living past 90 are about 50%.

Immediate annuities offer a similar pitfall. They're great in concept -- a way to lock in a lifetime stream of income in return for a lump-sum payment to an insurance company. The problem is that the payments you get typically reflect the prevailing interest rates at the time you purchase the annuity. If you buy an immediate annuity now, you could be locking in rates that are still near record lows.

What boomers think retirement will be like and what it actually is like are two very different things. A case in point: The forever young generation just can't deal with the idea of growing old. Only 13% of pre-retirees (people over 50 who have not yet retired) think their health will be significantly worse in retirement than it is now, while 39% of retirees report that it actually is worse, according to 2011 research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Boomers are untying the knot at a record pace. The divorce rate for people over 50 has doubled in the past 20 years, says the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, compared to a slight decrease in divorce overall. More than 300,000 couples over 50 divorced in 2008, and if the rate continues to grow at current levels that number will jump to more than 400,000 in 2030. What's fueling this trend? Empty nesters who find they are a lot less compatible when the kids aren't around is one reason, says Toronto-based psychologist Tami Kulbatski.


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Tue, Nov 22nd - 4:12AM

Masonry Block Building Tips - By the Barrie Home Inspector

Every block wall-regardless of height or length-should be placed on a secure footing of poured concrete. A block barbecue grill or outdoor fireplace requires a large concrete pad as a footing. The footing must extend down beyond the frost line to prevent heaving in the winter.

For a footing poured in an area where drainage is a problem, lay a drain line along the outer edge of the form. Allow for a drop of about 1" for each 20' of drain line. Backfill over the drain line with about 12" of crushed stone or gravel. In Ontario this is mandatory and must be installed for any building of 100 square feet in size.

Building exact corners is the most important construction of a masonry wall as corners will guide the building of the rest of the wall. A corner pole will make the job easier. A corner pole is any type of post which can be braced into a true vertical position and which will hold a taut mason's line without bending. Two such poles are set up, one on each corner, with the mason's line stretched between them. Corner poles for block walls should be marked every 4 to 8 inches, depending on how high the material is with which you are building the wall. Such marks must be absolutely level when the mason's line is stretched between them.

Set the corner block first. Be sure you are using the correct block. Check the starting corner block, both horizontally and vertically, and take time to get it positioned correctly. All other blocks will align with this starter block, so it's very important to set it exactly. Follow this same procedure as you reach the other corners, laying the first course out about two or three blocks in each direction. Tie a line between two bricks and stretch it between the two corner blocks on the first course.

Corners and lead blocks are generally built 4-6 rows high, with each course being stepped back one block from the course below, creating a pyramid effect. The wall alignment, plumb and level should be checked on these corners before completing the wall. If everything checks out fine, it is now time to fill in each course between the corners.

Because they can be adjusted in size slightly, mortar joints provide some layout flexibility. While the ideal mortar joint is 3⁄8 inch wide, masons routinely shrink joints to as small as 1⁄4 inch or stretch them to as large as1⁄2 inch. Joints that fall out- side this range are unsightly and, with a few small exceptions, prohibited by most building codes.

The Barrie Home Inspector uses his training to ensure every building inspected meets or exceeds the required building code practices. As a Certified Building Code Official he is one of the few Barrie Home Inspector's with Ontario Building Code training in both Part 9 and Part 3 of the Building Code.


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Tue, Nov 22nd - 4:03AM

Hardwood Flooring Tips - Barrie Home Inspector

Installing a hardwood floor is a great way to enhance a room and increase the value of your home. Wood flooring is also one of the easiest types of floors to install, and you can install it with tools you're familiar with: drills, saws, and hammers.

Many different species of wood are fabricated into wood flooring in two primary forms: plank and parquet. Hardwoods are typically much more durable than softwoods.

Solid wood products, on average, have a substantially, or slightly, thicker 'sandable surface', and can be installed using nails. Lastly, solid wood tends to be less expensive than engineered wood, but this, as with the thickness of the 'sandable surface,' depends on the quality of the engineered wood (most inexpensive engineered wood products are 'veneer' wood floors, and not 'engineered').

It is difficult to compare in generalities solid wood floor to engineered wood floors, as there is a wide range of engineered wood floor qualities. Engineered floors typically are pre-finished more often than solid wood floors, and usually are supplied with beveled edges, affecting the appearance.

Engineered wood flooring has several benefits over solid wood, beyond dimensional stability and universal use. Patented installation systems (such as "unilin" or "fiboloc") allow for faster installation and easy replacement of boards. Engineered wood also allows a 'floating' installation (where the planks are not fastened to the floor below or to each other), further increasing ease of repair and reducing installation time.

Cork Flooring is a flooring material manufactured from the by-product of the cork oak tree. Cork floors are considered to be eco-friendly since the cork oak tree bark is stripped every nine to ten years and doesn't damage the tree. Cork flooring comes in both tiles and planks, and can have glue or glues-less installation.

Pick the longest, most visible wall to start your installation. Start by laying down a chalk line 1/2" from the wall and extent it the full length. This is where your first row of flooring will go. Remember for maximum performance strip flooring must be nailed down at opposite directions to the floor joists.

The Barrie Home inspector uses his knowledge on flooring types and systems to provide you with a comprehensive report detailing your new homes information in a clear and concise manner. Whether buying or selling a home in the Barrie, Alliston or Orillia area, ensure your Peace of Mind by contacting the Barrie Home Inspector.


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