Now that Spring has arrived in Alberta, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning. We put together this list of exterior and interior inspections and fixes you can do before a problem gets out of hand.
You should clean you eaves troughs to allow for proper drainage and inspects the walls for any signs of water staining that may have been caused by the eaves overflowing. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris. Improper drainage can lead to water getting into your basement or crawlspace.
A visual inspection of your roof should be done to identify any damaged shingles or roofing materials as well as any areas that pests can use to gain access to your homes attic.
There are several different types of siding that your home may have. Regardless of the type, there are some general things that you should watch for in order to maintain the protective envelope of your home.
Monitoring the state of the caulking and weather proofing around your windows can prevent air infiltration and any other elements that may lead to heat loss or even mold. Simply adding weather stripping and replacing the caulking can go a long way.
Inspect concrete wall for signs of cracks or movement. The sooner you identify and deficiencies in your foundation, the less likely you are to experience any unnecessary damage loss of structural integrity or water damage inside your home. Always have a qualified professional assess the scope of work that needs to be done in order to properly fix any deficiencies that are found.
Maintaining your homes sump system will ensure that it provides continued protection to your basement while the ground around your home becomes saturated.
Inspect the caulking on bathtubs, showers, sinks, and back splashes twice a year, and repair as needed. Check and repair weather stripping around exterior doors, windows and vents to the outside.
There are some obvious signs of foundation problems that you can see inside your home like fractures in the concrete or efflorescence and water staining along the walls, but if you have a finished basement then looking for those signs isn’t always an option.
Here are some other ways to identify a foundations problem:
Remember that you are not just looking for fractures on the walls, but any bulges or leaning. You also want to pay attention to the grading of your yard, is it shedding away from your home or towards it? Depending on what you find you maybe able to mitigate the problem by re-grading or repairing your eaves trough.
Inspect your drywall for cracks or shifting, and check your doors to see if they catch or jam as you open and close them. This could indicate that your foundation is settling and there could be a structural issue that needs to be addressed.
Whether you’re currently experiencing a problem, buying a home, or just want to put your mind at ease getting a professional opinion is always a good way to start! Learn more about our detailed Inspection Services.
Something that we find a lot of clients are worried about when considering options to fix their foundation is whether it is going to affect the resale value of their home. This is a reasonable fear and usually stems from the assumption that if they have any repairs done it will be like a red flag to any potential buyers who may then try to use it to negotiate a lower offer.
In any event, a homeowner must disclose any existing issues and repairs that were completed as a result. However, if the repairs were done properly and by a reputable contractor then in most cases they will have no affect on the value of the home at all. In fact, by repairing the existing issues prior to the sale of your home you are preventing an opportunity for the potential buyer to use the issues as a negotiation tactic and in turn preserving your homes value.
There are a few steps that you can take in order to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your homes value, most of which is carefully selecting the right contractor for the work.
For more information on properly selecting a contractor, check out our helpful guide with questions you should be asking before signing on the dotted line. We also have a printable checklist to keep handy.
Far too often the basement becomes a storage unit or an under-utilized dead zone. This may have happened because it was left unfinished or the windows are too small and don’t provide enough natural light. It could also be that the layout isn’t suitable for your needs.
The options for turning your basement into a space that you are excited to use don’t have to be daunting.
One of the biggest factors that contribute to a basement feeling like a dungeon is the lack of natural light. If you plan on renovating, consider having the windows enlarged and possibly adding more. Building code now requires having more than one way out of a basement. So making the windows large enough to act as means of egress will also help you maximize the amount of natural light entering the space.
Adding some recessed lighting in the ceiling and some wall-mounted lighting can also help make the space more inviting and allow it to accommodate a variety of uses.
Finding an option that suites your style and is water-resistant is an absolute must when choosing flooring for your basement. Using the existing exposed concrete slab and adding the proper paint, stain, or epoxy to it can allow for a high quality look without worrying about water damage in the event of a flood.
Many older homes in Southern Alberta were built without the use of a vapor barrier underneath the floor slab, so installing a subfloor to allow the concrete to breath will go a long way in preventing any future problems as a result. This option opens up the possibility of using vinyl tile or laminate hardwood on top of the sub floor.
No matter what option you use, it is important that it is installed by a qualified professional to reduce the possibility of damage from moisture and mold.
When you’re deciding what to add or change you want it to be an extension of the rest of your home. Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, bringing in an experienced draftsperson can enable you to explore a variety of space designs to get the most out of what you have or do a complete makeover. Even something as scary as cutting bigger window openings in your foundation can be done with very little stress.
The key is in the planning! When you make any changes to your home you need to be sure that whomever you hire is designing to current building code standards and addresses all of the aspects that the design may have on the functionality of the space.
Have more questions? Contact us for help.
Having a structural engineer involved in the repair process for your project can be beneficial for many reasons. Your home foundation is something that is susceptible to a variety of factors that can easily have an affect on its structural integrity. Most homes were designed and built to fit under a generalized set of rules. An engineer brings a specific set of skills to every project so that we can evaluate where those rules fell short. Abarent is equipped with an APEGA Permit to Practice and an in house Engineer who they can work with to come up with a customized solution for the underlying cause of the fracturing or settlement that is occurring.
Unfortunately in this industry we all too often find ourselves at a project where one of our competitors has tried to repair a foundation using poorly and/or under designed solutions. It is important to use a qualified professional with the necessary credentials and experience in order to ensure every project is being completed properly and your investment is not being compromised.
An engineer is a person that is trained and skilled in the design, planning, and construction of an existing or new structure (residential and commercial). To become an engineer in Canada, they must possess and adhere to the following qualifications:
Once an engineer meets these qualifications they may then receive their P. Eng designation and are then bound by their provincial code of ethics.
Some things to look for when trying to determine whether an engineer meets these qualifications are:
“Any company that engages in the practice of engineering or geoscience in Alberta as part of its business must have a Permit to Practice with APEGA.” Company Permit To Practice. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2017
The stamp is issued to a professional engineer by the association (APEGA for example) and comes bearing the engineering associations seal.
An engineer will use their stamp when when they are authenticating documents. The stamp will be accompanied by the engineer’s signature and the date the document was authenticated.
Once an engineer has had the opportunity to do a thorough inspection of the foundation they can then identify any underlying causes of structural issues that the foundation may have. They may provide a description of a recommended course of action to repair the damages and prevent any further issues if deemed necessary. This report can serve as a plan for contractors to follow during the repair process or it may be required prior to the sale of a home.
In some cases a contractor may offer to do an inspection report, but they maybe more inclined to suggest repairs that help their bottom line. Having a licensed engineer complete the report ensures that the recommended remediation plan isn’t being padded with unnecessary items that aren’t required to fix the problem.
When an engineer receives their designation they are bound by the governing body for their respective provinces. They are legally liable to prevent against harm or loss to another person as a result of their work. Having an engineer diagnose a problem or create a repair / design plan can enable you to move forward without needing to get another opinion from an unqualified contractor.
Learn more about the engineering services we offer and let us know how we can assist you.
Travis has 10 years of experience in the construction industry, 5 of which have been with Abarent Construction. Working in various capacities from customer service to working in the field; Travis is a valuable asset to the team. Recently, Travis has graduated college with a diploma in Architectural Technologies. He brings with him his knowledge of building science and technical drawings while working closely with our structural engineer to create construction drawings for many of our structural projects. Outside of work, Travis plays an active role in the community and enjoys spending time with family.
Water damage to a basement is costly, both on your wallet and on your nerves. There are several options for basement flooring, but not all of them are ideal in situations of flooding or water leakage, which can damage your floor and floorboards. Ideally, you want to use materials that are cost-effective (won’t cost you a fortune should they need to be replaced) and offer a quick dry time without the risk of mold.
The following basement flooring options are best suited for all basements, but especially for basements that are prone to water damage or have a history of water damage.
The least expensive and worry-free basement flooring option is your existing concrete. Rather than cover your concrete with additional materials that risk damage or mold in a water prone basement, keep your concrete exposed with a stone-look finish. There are paints, stains and epoxies available specifically for concrete floors that can add a rustic and elegant finish to your basement floor, without the added cost should your basement flood.
Luxury vinyl tiles are elegant, water-resistant, and warm underfoot without the risk of chips or cracks like ceramic tile.The tiles install easily over concrete, with or without grout, and come in a wide range of style options, such as hardwood, slate or a stone-look finish. If water leaks or spills on the floor should happen, it’s no problem, just grab the mop, wipe, and you’re done. Vinyl flooring is made from synthetic materials rather than organic, such as plywood, hardwood and carpet, so it stands up against moisture far better.
Laminate hardwood floors are a suitable basement flooring option because it is not real wood, which would get severely damaged should your basement flood, yet it looks like wood. The plastic coating of laminate hardwood adds durability and easy clean-up for those who are tougher on their floors.
However, what’s critical for laminate flooring is the subfloor system you install along with it. Many subfloors include plywood which, once wet, can be costly to replace and has a higher risk of developing mold. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you want to add an extra layer of protection to give the flooring the ability to dry. Products like Amdry Insulated Subfloors are designed specifically for subfloor systems that require better insulation and air flow between floor and concrete.
All of the basement flooring options above offer durability, water resistance and cost-effective solutions to water prone basements or basements with a history of water damage. Make sure that the basement flooring option you choose is installed by professionals who use materials that will reduce the chance of damage and mold created by excessive water, just like you would contact professionals to aide in a basement flooded by water.
Does your basement need waterproofing or water leak repair? Contact our professionals at Abarent Construction.
Support and stability are two of the most important aspects of any home. When it comes to major repairs, sometimes it’s the small warning signs that lead you to find the bigger, more concerning issues for your foundation. The only problem is, how do you know when you to seek expertise for something that seems quite small but if left too long, could potentially lead to something more costly?
Foundation shifts and settling are common for any home and coming across small cracks can be quite a normal find. We have noted 3 seemingly small signs to keep an eye out for and when you may need to call in the experts.
Small, diagonal, and interior cracks can be caused from a variety of issues but any crack wider than three millimetres in width should not be ignored. Have a professional inspect the crack if you notice any wide cracks on interior and exterior walls.
Got a leak in your roof? This can be a sign of foundation shifting. Continuous leaking can lead to more serious foundational issues like rotting or warping wood. Get someone to come out and take a look if you have had a continuous leak in one area of your home.
Have you noticed water collecting near the foundation of your home? In many cases, collecting water can be a sign of problematic drainage. Seek an expert’s opinion of the pooling water, just to be safe. Drainage issues can become a costly repair if paired with a crack in the foundation of your home, which eventually can lead to significant water damage and foundation issues.
As with any home repair, small warning signs can be easily detected with the help of an expert.
Abarent will help you perform foundation inspections and foundation repair before they become a major problem. Notice any of these signs? Call an Abarent expert to come take a look.
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