Barrie Home Inspector's Blog - -
Thu, Jan 22nd - 9:05AM
Caulking Your Home - Protecting Your Investment
Picking the right caulk can be the hardest part of any caulking job. Most hardware stores carry dozens of different products, each promising better results than the other. If you use the wrong caulk, the joint will fail long before it should, which means that you'll need to do the job all over again. Although some manufacturers now include helpful job-specific labels, others provide little information or overstate their products' performance. Here's how to pick the right product for whatever job is at hand.
Despite the dizzying selection, caulks are all made from one of four base, or backbone, polymers: latex, silicone, polyurethane or rubber. The base polymer determines specific characteristics, such as what materials it will adhere to, how easily joints can be smoothed, durability and paintability. Most caulks are sold in long tubes, and you apply them using an inexpensive, hand-pumped caulk gun.
Also labeled as acrylic caulk, vinyl caulk or sealant, water-based latex products are the easiest to use, the least expensive and handle the widest range of applications. Latex caulks don't contain volatile chemicals, which means you can smooth joints with a wet finger and clean up excess with soap and water. All latex caulks can be painted, or you can also find a wide palette of pretinted caulks.
Latex-based caulks break into two sub-groups: less expensive acrylics and better-quality "siliconized" latexes. Acrylic latex is fine for sealing areas that won't face major temperature changes or high moisture levels, such as interior windows, doors and trim. Siliconized latex caulks contain a small amount of silanes (a form of silicone) to promote better adhesion. (This is not the same as 100 percent silicone caulk; see below.)
The best siliconized latexes are a good choice for heavy-duty work, such as exterior windows and doors, and caulking seams in kitchens and bathrooms, and to keep moisture out of walls and floors.
Silicone sealants were first used to bond glass panels to skyscrapers - afar more demanding job than most home improvement projects. Because they stay flexible at all temperatures, are completely waterproof, bond well to almost everything and won't support mildew growth, silicones are used around sinks, tubs and shower stalls.
Silicones come in two types: neutral cure or acid cure. Acid-cure silicones work best on nonporous surfaces such as glass and glazed tile, but they can corrode metal and etch some plastics. Neutral-cure silicones work well on metal and wood .
Silicones aren't perfect. For starters, these caulks are hard to smooth, and most won't hold paint (one exception is GE's new XST paintable silicone). If you need to recaulk, the old residue is almost impossible to remove.
Polyurethanes excel as outdoor caulks. Since they are non-corrosive, extremely tear resistant and stick reliably to almost anything, they're a good choice for joints between dissimilar materials, such as metal-to-masonry joints around chimneys, wood-to-concrete joints at the sill plate, and masonry joints in driveways and concrete slabs.
Polyurethanes are not naturally ultraviolet resistant, so exterior joints should be painted or otherwise protected from sunlight. Tooling joints isn't as easy as with latex caulks, but easier than with silicones.
The biggest downside to this type is price: Polyurethanes are more expensive than most other caulks. Use them where strength, durability and weatherproofing are most important.
These products are made with synthetic rubber compounds such as isoprene, butadiene, nitrile and styrene. Rubber caulks will also stick to almost everything (but they melt styrofoam) and will even work with damp and oily materials. Their biggest downside is their smell; the solvents used are highly flammable and dangerous to breathe. For that reason, this caulk should only be used outdoors. Another drawback is shrinkage: After the solvent evaporates, the bead can shrink by as much as 35 percent.
Handy? Get Your Gun
For most projects, you'll want to use a standard 10-ounce caulk cartridge. For it, you'll need a caulk gun ( above ). There are two basic types of hand-operated guns. Ratchet guns (about $3) have a notched piston, which pushes the caulk out. To stop the flow of caulk, you have to twist the piston with your free hand to disengage the ratchet. Smooth-rod guns ($5 to $10) are easier to use. To release piston pressure and stop the flow of caulk, you simply press the quick-release plate above the handle with your thumb.
For small jobs, like caulking around a new faucet or making minor repairs, consider buying a squeezable tube (right).
LAYING A PERFECT BEAD
Once you've decided what caulk to use, the perfect caulk job depends upon careful prep work and application. To clean old caulk and soap scum from tiles and porcelain surfaces, first use a razor knife or caulk remover then wipe down the entire surface with a residueless solvent, like isopropyl alcohol. Remove any mildew with a solution of one part bleach to two parts water. For stone, brick and concrete surfaces, use a wire brush to remove dirt and crystallized minerals, then vacuum up loose debris. With wood, scrape away loose paint and old caulk, then prime any bare spots.
Most caulks are designed to be used between 40 and 90 degrees. On the lower end of their working temperature, most caulks get thick and difficult to squeeze out. To prevent this, keep the tubes indoors until you need them, or store them in an insulated cooler when working outside in the cold.
These removable caulks are good choices for sealing drafts around older, double-hung windows.
To start a tube, most pros cut the tip of the tube at a 45-degree angle, although some prefer a straight cut for caulking corners. Whichever style you choose, don't make the opening too big. Cut the tip where its diameter matches the width of the gap you're filling. Then poke a hole in the tip to release the caulk. (Most caulk guns have a handy fold-out tool for this.)
Caulked joints should have a concave shape, with thick sides to ensure good adhesion and a thinner middle to allow the joint to expand and contract. If the caulk sticks completely to the back of the crack it will be less able to stretch and more likely to pull away or tear. To prevent this, you can use a plastic foam backer rod in gaps over one-quarter inch thick. Available in several diameters, backer rods not only prevent sagging, they also provide extra insulation and save caulk.
For an extra-neat caulk job, mask both sides of the gap with painter's tape. As you caulk, maintain even pressure and keep the tip moving.
To apply the caulk, the pros are equally divided between the push and pull methods. Pull advocates say their method produces a smoother bead, while caulk pushers claim their method forces more caulk into the joint. Whichever you choose, the key is to squeeze out an even, full bead that completely fills the crack. As you near the end of the joint, release the handle pressure to avoid excess.
Finish by smoothing the bead. This tooling does more than smooth the surface: It forces material into the gap, fills minor voids and pushes material against the sides to ensure good adhesion. The most common tooling device is your finger, but you can also use an ice cube, the back of a spoon or a commercial device. Whatever you use, try to tool the joint just once: Overtooling can remove too much material from the joint. Minor bumps can be trimmed off with a razor blade after the caulk has cured.
Tue, Jan 20th - 7:12AM
Canadians To Get Money For Vermiculite Insulation
Canadians maybe entitled for some compensation from the W.R. Grace and Co settlement proposal in response to allegations of health problems associated with Zonalite and other vermiculite products produced by the Libby mine in Montana. There are forms and information available here.
In September 2008, W.R. Grace and Co. proposed to pay $6.5 million to settle a lawsuit launched by Canadian homeowners. Thundersky called the settlement 'an insult' though Montreal-based Michel Bélanger said settling with the company may be the only viable option since the company is facing bankruptcy in the U.S.
Vermiculite is a mica-like mineral mined around the world and used in a variety of commercial and consumer products because it is fire-resistant and has good insulation qualities. Of concern is vermiculite ore produced by the Libby Mine in Montana from the 1920's to 1990. It was sold as Zonolite® Attic Insulation and possibly other brands in Canada during that time. Vermiculite from the Libby Mine may contain amphibole asbestos. The Libby Mine supplied the majority of the world market in vermiculite-based insulation.
Products made from vermiculite ore produced by the Libby Mine were not widely used after the mid-1980's and have not been on the market in Canada since 1990. Not all vermiculite produced before 1990 contains amphibole asbestos fibres. However, to be safe and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that if your building has older vermiculite-based insulation, it may contain some amphibole asbestos.
EPA and ATSDR strongly recommend that: Vermiculite insulation be left undisturbed in your attic. Due to the uncertainties with existing testing techniques, it is best to assume that the material may contain asbestos.
You should not store boxes or other items in your attic if retrieving the material will disturb the insulation. Children should not be allowed to play in an attic with open areas of vermiculite insulation. If you plan to remodel or conduct renovations that would disturb the vermiculite, hire professionals trained and certified to handle asbestos to safely remove the material. You should never attempt to remove the insulation yourself. Hire professionals trained and certified to safely remove the vermiculite.
The U.S. EPA has stated there was no danger as early as the year 2000, and Health Canada was reportedly telling people that if left un-disturbed that there was little of no danger. The mine in Libby Montana was aware of problems with asbestos as early as the 1960’s but failed to act, presumably putting financial gain ahead of worker safety. There are disturbing similarities between the tobacco industry and the vermiculite insulation company actions when faced with the knowledge that they are actually causing severe health problems to the public, they bury the reports and merrily continue business as usual.
The following are available for information:
Claim Forms, Judgement and Information.
Wed, Jan 14th - 2:15PM
Repair A Crack In Concrete Or Masonry
Repair A Crack In Concrete Or Masonry by the Orillia Home Inspector
A crack in concrete or masonry, left unrepaired, may cause more serious problems and result in a more expensive repair. A crack in a concrete sidewalk or driveway, for example, admits water which can erode and settle the soil under the walk causing the concrete to break or sink. In cold climates, cracks in masonry chimneys, foundations, and virtually any concrete/masonry structure exposed to the weather admit water, which expands as it freezes and widens the crack. A repair will look better, prevent further damage, and, in the case of walks and stairs, may improve safety.
There are three repair options readily available to do-it-yourselfers. In many cases they cannot be considered permanent repairs and may therefore need to be repeated. Large reappearing cracks in a foundation, chimney, or other structural application may indicate a more serious problem that should be evaluated by a structural engineer or concrete/masonry contractor. Here are the DIY repair options we suggest:
Vinyl concrete patching compound, for cracks 1/4 inch or wider;
Pourable grout that is specifically designed for cracks in concrete. It will fill cracks up to 1/2 inch wide but it is especially useful for very narrow cracks (horizontal surfaces only);
Acrylic latex caulk specifically designed for filling concrete and masonry cracks (cracks from 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide).
Read product label cautions. Concrete patchers, for example, may cause burns. Protect your skin with the proper clothing and gloves and wear a dust mask and goggles.
Protective clothing as needed
Mason’s hammer or small hand sledge hammer
Dust mask, goggles, and gloves
Broom or brush
Mason’s chisel or wire brush
Vinyl concrete patcher and pointing trowel or
Air compressor or canned air
Pourable grout or
Garden hose and nozzle
Acrylic latex textured caulk for concrete, caulking gun, sand or foam backer rod, and trowel
1. Clean the Crack
Whatever your repair approach, you must start with a clean surface for proper bonding. Remove loose materials with a stone chisel or wire brush. Then use an air compressor (if you have one) to blow dust out of the crack - don’t forget to wear goggles and a dust mask - or blast out the dirt with water using a garden hose and nozzle.
If your crack is small and you don’t have an air compressor and don’t want to use water to clean out the crack, you can use canned air (commonly used to clean photo and electronic equipment).
2. Undercut Very Wide Cracks
Concrete expands and contracts in response to temperature changes and often the material used to fill a crack will pop out under pressure. The repair will stand a better chance of staying put if you use a 5-lb. sledge or mason’s hammer and mason’s chisel to chip away at the crack until it is wider below the surface than it is at the surface. Practically speaking this is only reasonable to do for crack wider than about 1/2 inch.
3. Fill the Crack
Using vinyl concrete patcher: Prepare only the amount of material that will be used within about 20 minutes. Mix the powder with water as directed, and wet the walls of the crack with a hose or spray bottle. Use a pointing trowel to press the material into the crack in layers no thicker than 1/4 inch. (The material shrinks as it dries, and if you apply too much at a time it will crack!) Allow each layer to dry for at least a few hours before applying the next. When the patch is flush with the surface, hold the trowel flat and use a swirling motion as shown to blend the material into the surrounding surface.
If the surface being repaired is rough, such as a sidewalk, brush the patch material with a block of wood or (for an even rougher texture) a stiff broom.
Using textured caulk: Caulk must be applied to a dry surface only. If the crack is deeper than 3/8 inch, fill it to within 3/8 inch of the surface with clean, dry sand (for a horizontal surface) or foam backer rod (for horizontal or vertical surfaces). Cut off the tip of the cartridge on an angle to make a 1/4-in. to 3/8-in. hole. Fill or slightly overfill the crack and then smooth it with a wetted trowel or block of wood.
Using pourable grout: Wet the surface as with concrete patcher (above) and fill deep cracks with sand to within 1/4 inch of the surface, or pour in the grout in layers no more than 1/4 inch thick. Cut the tip of the container off to create a hole a little smaller than the width of the crack. Allow complete drying between applications. Slightly overfill the crack to allow for shrinkage.
Fri, Jan 9th - 6:39AM
Tips for saving energy and money
Tips for saving energy and money - National Resource Council
One of the biggest untapped sources of energy we have is the energy we waste. Using energy more wisely yields huge benefits for all Canadians:
Energy supplies go further
Improved air quality and environment
Conserving energy at home
Our homes use a lot of energy and are responsible for a large portion of our air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Canadian homeowners use power to run their computers and televisions, as well as other appliances that run on gas or electricity, like fridges, stoves and furnaces. The following list of energy-saving ideas lets you see how you can make a difference by conserving energy in your home.
Use energy-efficient products/appliances
You have choices about saving energy when you shop for your home. ENERGY STAR®-qualified products and appliances use less energy than conventional models and give you years of energy savings.
Lighting: Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use less electricity and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
ENERGY STAR® CFLs use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs. It's a good idea to use CFLs for outdoor lighting and for your porch, kitchen and family room - all of the places where you spend most of your time!
One 100 watt incandescent bulb produces the same amount of light as two 60 watt bulbs and uses less energy.
If everyone in Canada switched just one bulb in their home to a CFL, Canada would save over $73 million in energy costs that year.
Holiday Lighting: During the holidays, replacing five strings of traditional incandescent lights on a Christmas tree with LED lights would save about $7 that year alone!
Showers: An energy efficient shower head or flow controller reduces energy costs without affecting water pressure.
A low flow shower head saves as much as 60 percent of the water used by a conventional fixture.
Refrigerators: Your refrigerator accounts for 11 percent of your household's total energy consumption, so buying an energy efficient model makes good sense.
Today's energy efficient refrigerators use 50 percent less energy than models made 10 years ago. Look for an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model to be sure of your refrigerator's efficiency. You might also consider retiring that older, second refrigerator - or at least unplugging it when it is not really needed.
Clothes Washers: A water level control or a small load basket helps you save water when washing smaller loads.
Front loading clothes washers use about 40 percent less water per load and 50 percent less energy than top loading models. Look for an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model and wash in cold water whenever possible to generate further savings.
Dryers: A dryer with a sensor that turns the machine off automatically when clothes are dry helps save energy.
You will get the most out of your clothes dryer if you clean the filter before every load.
Freezers: A freezer that is too big for your needs wastes energy and money. A rule of thumb is to allow 130 litres of freezer capacity per person. Chest freezers are more energy efficient than upright models: cold air stays in better when the door is opened.
Dishwashers: Today's dishwashers are about 95 percent more energy efficient than those bought in 1972 your old one may be costing you more money than buying a new one.
Using a dishwasher saves energy: five minutes of pre rinsing dishes under the tap can use up to 115 litres of water. Look for an ENERGY STAR®-qualified model for the greatest energy savings.
Toilets: A low-flow toilet uses 6 litres or less of water and can save up to 10 litres per flush.
Microwaves: You can save up to 50 percent of your cooking energy costs by using a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven.
Microwave ovens cook food faster than conventional ovens because the energy goes directly into heating the food, not the oven or utensils.
Electric Kettles: Energy is saved when you boil water in an electric kettle instead of on the stove element.
Air Conditioners: An air conditioner works just like a refrigerator. It takes heat from the space that is being cooled and transfers it to another place.
Setting the thermostat of your room air conditioner at 26°C (79°F) provides the most comfort for the least cost.
Energy-efficient Furnace: Few household items provide as significant an energy savings, and return on investment, than an energy-efficient furnace. You can save up to 25 percent of your home-heating costs in just one year and reduce your household GHGs at the same time. Within seven years, you'll have recovered the initial cost of your new furnace too. When buying an energy-efficient furnace, look for a model with an energy-efficient fan motor that can save 20 to 50 percent of the electricity needed to power a continuously operating fan motor.
Fireplaces: If you have an open fireplace that is rarely used, consider sealing it with a removable blockage system. Kits are available at hardware stores and building supply outlets.
Insulation and Caulking: The cost of improving the airtightness of your home is low compared with the subsequent fuel savings and increased comfort. There are many insulation and caulking products suitable for the job.
Silicone caulking is ideal for metal, glass, glazed tile and plastic surfaces because it sticks, flexes and does not shrink over time. Acrylic latex caulking is a general purpose sealant that sticks best to porous materials like wood and concrete.
Consider having a professional help you reduce your home heating needs by up to 20 percent by eliminating drafts and leaks around the foundation, attic hatches, window air conditioners, doors, plumbing stacks, attic penetrations such as pot lights, and exterior penetrations such as the dryer exhaust, water pipes, and electrical and cable connections.
Weatherstripping: Weatherstripping prevents air from leaking through gaps around doors and the moving parts of windows.
Weatherstrip doors with a durable material that withstands traffic but is flexible enough to adapt to changes caused by varying temperatures. Replace worn weatherstripping periodically — it does not last forever.
Storm Doors: You can improve ventilation and increase the comfort of your home during the summer with the use of storm doors with screens.
Thermostats: Lowering the thermostat setting at bedtime and before leaving the house reduces your energy bills without affecting your comfort.
By lowering your thermostat, you can save two percent on your heating bill for every 1°C (2°F) it is lowered. Install and use a programmable electronic thermostat (available for both central and baseboard heating systems) and use its features that allow you to drop the temperature at night or when you are away. For the most energy- efficient thermostat, look for one with the ENERGY STAR® label.
Water Pipes: Insulate at least the first two metres (approximately six feet) of metal water pipes (hot and cold) from the water heater, as well as any pipes running through unheated spaces.
Home Electronics: Your home electronics and computers have many energy-saving features. ENERGY STAR®-qualified equipment are already rated so you can understand the energy savings associated with their use, but you can make a difference too by using power-saving standby settings. Better yet, turn your office equipment off completely when they won't be in use for extended periods. Many people believe that personal computers last longer if they are never turned off. This myth dates back to the days of older mainframe computers. And don't forget to turn out the lights when you leave!
Unplug chargers for cell phones and other small electronics when you are not charging anything. They draw power even when the equipment is not charging.
Conserving energy in the yard
Consider a low maintenance lawn that requires less water by:
reducing the size of your lawn;
selecting plant material such as native grasses, shrubs and trees;
using rain barrels to collect rain water and roof drainage;
mulching to reduce evaporative losses around shrubs and trees;
planting trees and shrubs in your yard to shield your home from the wind; and
planting deciduous trees on the south side of your house to provide summer shade.
Conserving energy at work
Energy-saving options abound in your workplace. Just like at home, you can ensure that your office equipment always converts to standby mode when not in use, or you can turn everything off completely at the power bar. If you have an office with a window, natural light may well provide enough illumination for at least part of your work day.
And think about the paper you could save if you conducted more of your business by e-mail and resisted the urge to print, photocopy or fax materials. Recycled paper is a great choice too when you are developing draft documents, taking notes or sending internal mail.
Conserving energy on the road
Transportation accounts for about one quarter of Canada’s GHG emissions and is a major contributor to smog in our urban areas. Add to that the reality of rising gasoline prices and you have an excellent reason to tune up your driving habits to save money and fuel and to improve the air we breathe. Check out these tips you can take on the road.
Avoid aggressive driving. Quick starts, hard stops and rapid acceleration can increase fuel consumption by up to 35 percent.
Drive at the posted speed limit. Reducing your cruising speed from 120 to 100 kilometres per hour will decrease fuel consumption by about 20 percent.
Avoid needless idling. Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it would take to restart your engine.
Drive only when you need to. Leave your vehicle at home whenever possible by walking, biking, in line skating, carpooling or taking the bus to nearby locations.
Plan ahead. If you have to drive, plan the most fuel efficient route in advance.
Use your vehicle’s air conditioner sparingly. Using your air conditioner in stop and go traffic can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent. Try opening the windows or fresh air vents to cool your vehicle.
Measure the inflation level of your tires once a month. If just one tire is under inflated by 56 kilopascals (8 pounds per square inch), it can increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption by 4 percent.
Use cruise control. On dry, flat, wide open highways, cruise control improves your fuel efficiency by helping you maintain a steady speed.
Maintain your vehicle properly. A poorly maintained vehicle consumes more fuel and produces higher levels of emissions. It also requires expensive repairs and has a low resale value.
For more energy-saving tips or more information on the Government of Canada’s ecoENERGY Initiatives, visit http://ecoenergy.gc.ca/index-eng.htm.
Check your local gas and electric utility for other energy-efficiency information and programs.
For more information, media may contact:
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada
Inquiries from the general public - please call:
Telephone 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
|Barrie Home Inspector
|Orillia Home Inspector
|Alliston Home Inspector
|Barrie Home Inspections
Fri, Jan 9th - 6:25AM
Mike Holmes and The Home Inspector
Mike Holmes, from Holmes on Homes, had an interesting show on TV the other night. Typical situation, older couple had purchased an older home that had had a lot of work done on it but did have a Home Inspection prior to purchasing. The estimated cost at the end of the show was $100,000.00 in repairs and upgrades. These people had no experience in home owning or renovations and placed all their trust in the Home Inspector. Too bad they didn’t spend any time checking out his qualifications, they would have probably found he was one of the latest people to jump into the “lucrative” home inspection industry with little of no training.
The visible signs that were missed were poor electrical installations, poor plumbing venting and drains, smell of sewage, smell of mold in basement. The furnace was on it last legs and the water from the sump pump was running back into the house. The house had had a lot of renovations done and apparently no permits had been taken out, indicating a handy man had probably done most of the work.
Once the proper inspection started taking place the visual clues led to further investigation which necessitated the removal of drywall and carpet to expose even more problems. The electrical in the house ended up being totally redone with some of the wiring exhibiting charring which could have caused a fire at any time. The hot water tank and furnace were exhausting into the chimney which was totally open on the first floor allowing dangerous gases to enter the home and could have even caused death. The basement plumbing had to be completely redone and vented. An abandoned open well was discovered in the front yard which had to be filled in. The carpet, when raised, was covered in mold and one area of the house had thousands of carpenter ants living in the basement wall.
Obviously this home inspector was poorly trained and probably had no prior experience in home building or renovation. There are factory workers in our area who have taken part-time night courses and are now promoting themselves as professional home inspectors. As always CAVEAT EMPTOR –BUYER BEWARE
The home owner has to bear some responsibility here as they have to ensure that the people they hire are in fact qualified and experienced enough to perform the work required. Unfortunately in this case it was only the home owner who paid the price, but that is result of having an un-regulated industry where anyone can promote themselves as a professional
Sat, Jan 3rd - 5:54AM
Prepare for Your Home Inspection
This first section will
deal with home owners who are still living in their homes and will be having a
home inspection to have condition removed from Real Estate Offer.
Ensure your annual
maintenance items have been done, which are not limited but can include the
- Check all eaves troughs
to ensure not blocked, splash pads are installed correctly, downspout supports
are intact, no low areas in area of discharge, gutters are well supported and
- Basement window wells are
debris free, drains are filled with clean stone or covered with screen, screens
are intact and correctly installed.
- Exterior siding is
secured. Re-secure any loose pieces of siding, this can sometimes be as simple
as snapping back into place or sliding siding into neutral position to cover
gaps from expansion or contraction.
- Re-caulk any exposed
holes on doors, windows, exterior
electrical fixture, flashing and any area where water entry may be a
- Re-level any patio stones
that have heaved from frost.
- Replace any rotted boards
on wood decks and porches. Ensure all hand rails are secure with all guards
- Check your attic to see
if any problems have occurred from last inspection or if any work was done, that
insulation was properly replaced.
- Test your GFCI outlets
and ensure they trip and reset. These will be located on exterior outlets and
all bathrooms in newer homes. Newer homes will have arc fault protected devices
in bedroom and kitchen, which should also be tested.
- Open and close all your
doors and windows to ensure proper latching and operation. Check for door stops
and any holes created by door knobs hitting drywall. Repair and Replace as
required. Most problems can be fixed with minor adjustments.
- Check all your lighting
fixtures to ensure proper operation.
- Check your sump pump to
ensure it has a proper fitting cover and will operate when tested.
- Check your furnace filter
and replace if dirty or ripped.
- Check all your visible
wiring in basements to ensure cables are not touching any hot air ducts. There is no issue with wires touching cold
- Make sure your electrical
panel and attic hatch will be both accessible by home inspector. Most professional inspectors will definitely
- You might want to have
mason or siding installer repair any visible cracks, missing, chipped, damaged
or loose brick or siding. This cost will be taken into account by any
prospective buyer and having done prior to selling only improves your homes look
This section will list
some of the more common issues
Water and Moisture Problems
Most new home purchasers
in the Barrie area place water and moisture damage high on their list of items
they want identified. It would only make sense to look for any visible concerns
and have them repaired prior to listing your home. Covering sump holes and
removing any source of water and moisture will usually also eliminate the
unpleasant odour associated with moisture problems.
Remove any old stains
that might be present from past leaks or renovation projects. Installing new
drywall and painting is preferable to leaving water marked material or rotted
drywall material exposed to view.
Inspect your bathrooms
and look for any mildew or water staining. Check caulking around bathtubs,
showers, sinks and floor joints. If your bathroom window is in your shower area,
inspect for rotted wood and missing caulking. Replace and repaint as
Two items that pop up
during inspections is the fume barrier and door closure in the garage. Newer homes are required to have fume barrier
between shared walls separating living area and garage. Most homes have drywall
which is required to be taped but not painted. Check your walls and ceiling as
patch any holes or gaps that have occurred. The other item that is required when
newer homes are built is the automatic door closure on the interior door. This is required at construction but can be
removed by home owners at their own discretion. This item will be noted at time
The attic will be checked
for adequate insulation and proper ventilation. Many home owners will enter
their attic to install pot lights or ceiling fans etc and fail to replace
insulation when finished. Even some in-experienced home inspectors will tramp
around the attic and compress or move insulation without replacing.
Soffit baffles should be
installed in any attic where the insulation can block soffit ventilation area
between sheathing and installed insulation. This can lead to ice dams and
premature shingle replacement.
Check furnace filter and
replace if dirty. Look at flame on gas furnace and if there is a lot of visible
orange and yellow flame during operation have serviced by qualified technician.
Look for signs of leaking water in furnace cabinet or excessive rust on exterior
or interior of cabinet. If you have a
humidifier installed on duct work, check to ensure it is working and the filter
is in good condition. If humidifier is
not in working condition I would recommend replacing or removing.
Check your panel for
neatness. No visible open holes in panel, wires neatly stapled and circuits
clearly identified. If you are un-sure about any of these items I would
recommend having a certified electrician inspect and make any necessary
Have any inspection and
building permits that were taken out for renovations. If any work, maintenance,
service or upgrades were performed on any of your homes systems; it is a good
idea to have these items available for prospective buyers. This will allay any
fears that your home had work performed by un-qualified personnel.
Real Estate Agent
Your listing real estate
agent can be one of your best resources for identifying items that will cause
concern and affect the sale value of your home. Take the time to thoroughly
inspect every part of your home with your agent and repair all questionable
items prior to listing.
In-Complete List of Items
This list is not a
complete list of items that can or should be checked. The average home can have
countless more items that could and should be repaired prior to listing your
home, this is just a brief overview that lists some items found during an
average home inspection. My
Pre-delivery inspections of new homes would probably average out at thirty items
per inspection, with most items being found in most homes but some items unique
to that one particular home.
Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware Experience and training can not be
accomplished over-night, always verify who your hiring.