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.
Nancy has been with Abarent for over 4 years. Nancy brings a working knowledge with experience in construction for many years. Nancy is the “voice” of Abarent Construction Ltd and is there to greet client’s most days with their requests and questions. Her knowledge of our company and industry is always helpful and reassuring. She takes her role as Office Manager and client’s interests personally and works hard to ensure everyone is taken care efficiently.
Ron brings a strong construction background to the Abarent team and knows how essential it is to be a driving force in the company managing all operations using his extensive experience in all fields of construction. Ron enjoys working closely with office staff paying close attention to detail always making time to work along side the field staff. Ron’s works on building relationships with Abarent’s clients through each of their construction processes. Ron’s commitment to the Abarent team is widely felt and reflects in our projects and our client satisfaction.
Maxine brings her experience from the promotional and marketing world to Abarent Construction Ltd. Along with her marketing efforts Maxine lends a hand at the office when needed during the busy season. You can always find Maxine hard at work with a smile on her face greeting Abarent clients.
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