Our Blog

04/03/17

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

Spring Maintenance for Your Home

Worker Cleaning Gutters

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.

Exterior Inspection

Eaves Troughs

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.

Roof

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.

Siding/Cladding

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.

  1. Check for loose or missing sections. Most siding is meant to withstand the elements, but the walls behind your siding are not. Have any loose or missing sections fixed immediately.
  2. Power washing your homes siding can serve two purposes; the first is to get rid of any insects that may be in the seams so they don’t build nests or cause any damage to your home; and the second is to clean any build up of dust.

Windows

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.

Foundation

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.

Sump System

Maintaining your homes sump system will ensure that it provides continued protection to your basement while the ground around your home becomes saturated.

  1. Abarent recommends that you manually activate your pump at least once per month in order to make sure that it is fully functional and hasn’t burned out become clogged.
  2. Keep track of the age of your pump and replace it every 2 years or as per manufacturers specifications.
  3. Reconnect your discharge hose (which should have been disconnected over the winter).

Interior Inspection

Furnace

  1. Depending on the kind of furnace filters you use, either clean or replace your filters on a regular basis. This means at least every 90 days, and more often if you have pets or allergies.
  2. Check your heating ducts for dust and animal hair, and remove large amounts. If your ducts haven’t been professionally cleaned for a while, book a cleaning with a professional service.

Weather Stripping and Caulking

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.

Appliances

  1. Vacuum fridge and icemaker condenser coils, as well as the screen of your oven’s range hood. Your appliances’ manufacturer provides instructions on inspection and maintenance. Check your owner’s manuals from the time of purchase, or the company’s website.
  2. Replace old appliances as necessary with energy-efficient models. This can help you save money in the long run.

03/27/17

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

Signs of Foundation Problems

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:

Check the exterior perimeter of your home

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.

Check your drywall and doors

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.

03/20/17

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

How Is The Resale Value of Your Alberta Home Affected

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.

03/13/17

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

Getting More Use Out of Your Basement

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.

Lighting

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.

Flooring

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.

Space Design

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.

03/06/17

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

Why Use a Structural Engineer

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.

Basement Before Repairs

Basement After Repairs

basement after

Qualifications of a Structural Engineer

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:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at an accredited post secondary institution (4 – 5 years).
  • Work as an Engineer In Training (EIT) for a minimum of 2 years under someone with a Professional Engineer (P. Eng) designation.
  • Successfully complete a professional practice exam in their respective province.

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:

The APEGA Permit To Practice

“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

Stamp

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.

Engineering Reports

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.

Engineers Stand Behind Their Word

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.

03/18/15

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

Identifying a foundation repair opportunity

What to do about a foundation repair crack in your basement?

As homeowners, one of the biggest problems that generally don’t get noticed until it’s too late is a foundation repair crack. We’ve found a short, helpful article that should give you a general idea of what to look for when you see a crack in your basement foundation. We’ve found a couple informative blog posts that should give you a primer on identifying foundation repair cracks, and actions you can take to fix this. If you need us ,don’t hesitate! Give us a call.

Read on in these two blog posts : How to recognize a problematic foundation crack and what to do about it & Basement Cracks & Shrinkage.

11/03/14

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

How To Repair Foundation Leaks & Cracks

Beginning Foundation Crack Repair and Foundation Leak Repair – How do we start?

Firstly, there are a multitude of methods used in the industry for repairing foundation leaks and cracks.  Not all of them are appropriate for every situation, however. As a customer,  it is important that you understand what your choices are, and the real differences between all of them.  At Abarent, we have created a document that goes over a comparison of the different ways you can go about repairing foundation leaks, helping you assess which method is the right one for your situation.

Obviously costs can vary dramatically between methods.  How you choose to begin your foundation leak repair or your foundation crack repair, and which contractor you hire should be an informed decision.  Make sure you are informed and have an idea of what you might need. Ask questions to your contractor so that your leaky basement issue is resolved once and for all.

Click below for Abarent’s guide to repair foundation leaks:

https://www.abarent.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/What-are-the-Differences-in-Methods.pdf

 

 

11/03/14

Posted by: Abarent Construction Ltd.

What Should I Do If I Have a Leaking Basement?

 

Basement Leak Repair

A leaking basement wall or a leaking basement in general can occur from a multitude of sources. Read on for Abarent’s tips on how to troubleshoot the problem, and how to get help.

In order to begin diagnosing the problem, have a look at where the water appears to be coming from in your leaking basement.  If the drywall is wet and damaged, have it cut out of the way and removed.  Exposing areas can sometimes be very helpful in determining the true origin of your basement water seepage issue.

Here are some typical causes:

Basement Plumbing leaking: Something as simple as a leaking drain line or water supply line can lead to a puddle on the floor.

Basement Window leaking: Wind blown rain can often push moisture in around the edges or track of a window.

Window well not draining: Debris may have plugged up a window well drain or there may be no drain existing.  Is there a water line on your window?

Basement foundation wall crack: This may be something that you don’t know the answer to. At Abarent, our trained eyes can often spot symptoms that indicate the presence of foundation cracks that are contributing to your leaky basement.  If drywall is wet however, cut it out of the way, so we can all see what is behind it.

Need for Weeping tile repair: Many houses built prior to 1958 do not have weeping tile and some houses that have existing weeping tile may have issues with that weeping tile.  Our experienced estimators will go through a checklist of symptoms to try and determine what your issue is and provide you with a solution.  It is much like being a detective of sorts.

Sump pump back up or Backwater valve problems: If your house has existing weeping tile, it needs to drain somewhere.  Your house would either have a sump pit connection or weeping tile may be connected to the sewer through a Backflow valve.  A pump failure or pipe blockage may lead to foundation seepage and a wet basement.

If you have a leaky basement, contact us asap. We respond very quickly.

To save parties time, there are several things you can do to help us diagnosis your foundation problem.

  • Try and locate the origin of the basement leak
  • Cut wet drywall out and remove soggy insulation
  • Take note of when you notice the basement seepage issue and current weather (raining or not)
  • Try and be informed on the age of your house and when it was built

Be sure to click on our handy check list to help you when interviewing contractors for your foundation repair project.  We look forward to helping you.

 

 

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