Advice tips and ideas for home owners
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
House and Home
Whether you like it or not, you probably have mould quietly lurking in your home. When it finds a damp place to grow, it can contribute to poor indoor air quality and health problems.
To eliminate mould, clean affected areas that are less than the size of a standard large garbage bag folded in half (1 square metre). Put on protective wear including a long-sleeved shirt, appropriate and properly fitted dust mask, safety glasses or goggles and rubber gloves. These items are generally available in local stores.
Prepare a bucket with water and a bit of dish detergent (preferably unscented) and another with clean water. If you’re cleaning drywall, you can use baking soda instead of dish detergent. Use this solution to clean the surface.
To prevent mould from growing in your home, follow these simple steps:
Look for damp spots. Check basements, closets, windowsills, roofs and around sinks, tubs and pipes.
Fix damp spots right away. Repair any water leaks as soon as you notice them. Clean up immediately after any flood.
Keep your home well ventilated. Open windows in dry weather or use fans as needed and turn on your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking or showering. Let the fan run for a few minutes after you’re done. Make sure your clothes dryer, stove, kitchen and bathroom fans all vent to the outdoors.
Seal tubs and sinks. Make sure the seal is tight, so water doesn't leak into the walls.
Throw out basement clutter. Cardboard boxes and old clothes are great places for mould to grow.
Reduce humidity. Keep humidity low, about 50 per cent in summer and 30 per cent in colder weather. If needed, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity levels. You can use a hygrometer – an inexpensive tool available at most hardware stores – to measure humidity.
Clean often. Regularly clean and disinfect anything that holds water, like humidifiers, de-humidifiers and air conditioners.
If you have a lot of mould, (greater than 1 square metre), if it comes back after repeated cleanings or a family member suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems as a result of mould, consider hiring a professional to clean it up. Remember, a large amount of mould is often the result of a bigger problem, like a leak in the foundation or a major flood, which you may need a professional to help fix.
Find more information at canada.ca/healthy-home. (NC)
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
House and Home
A great home improvement project is finishing your basement. That’s because research shows it gives you a major return on investment, providing you great value for your money. Here are some pro tips to make the most of your makeover:
Know when to hire a pro. It can be tempting to DIY many basement reno jobs to save on costs and maximize your investment. Some tasks are simple for you to do, such as painting and flooring installation. But be careful—for specialized tasks such as HVAC and electrical it’s much better to make the investment and hire a professional to save yourself headaches and money in the long run.
Protect your investment. A basement reno can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re building on a base that allows the natural moisture in your concrete foundation to evaporate and not seep into your finished floors. This starts with a quality subfloor which creates an air gap and barrier between concrete and your flooring, which allows the moisture to naturally evaporate without touching your floors, helping to protect them from mould and mildew, and even small water leaks. It also insulates against cold, hard concrete to keep your floors feeling warmer and softer to walk on. A quality subfloor that helps protect against the ever-present moisture a concrete basement floor emits, is a critical step in your basement renovation, and it can help you enjoy a comfortable basement year-round.
Plan to add value. When deciding on your new layout and what to include, prioritize spaces and projects that give you the best ROI. For example, adding a kitchen and three- or four-piece bathroom will make your basement much more functional. These updates are also huge draws during resale for buyers looking for a multi-family home or to use the space as a rental property. (NC)
Thursday, April 23, 2020
House and Home
Creating healthy environments in our homes is important for our families. Rest easy when you enjoy a cozy night in with these helpful tips for better indoor air:
Keep on top of maintenance. You can save yourself many headaches and problems down the road by sticking to a maintenance schedule. Replace your air filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure your furnace, fireplace, gas stove and water heater are serviced once a year by a qualified expert.
Ventilate your home. Even if it’s cool outside, it’s important to have fresh air throughout your home, especially if you are renovating or using chemical products. You can open windows, but also be sure to check that your mechanical ventilation is working properly. That includes fans, ducts, or more complex ventilation systems. Don’t forget to turn on exhaust fans that vent to the outside when cooking, especially if you’re frying food or using a gas stove, or when showering. This can help eliminate pollutants and remove moisture that can eventually cause harmful mould.
Have a smoke-free home and car. Many of us try to limit our exposure to chemicals in household and beauty products. But all those efforts could be in vain if you still smoke in your home or car, as the burning of a cigarette releases over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. The best way to reduce your risk from smoking-related diseases is to stop smoking. If you’re trying to quit, there are many options to help you, like counselling, a quit coach, self-help books, nicotine replacement therapies, medications and other less harmful sources of nicotine. Making your home and car smoke-free will help protect your entire family and may even help you quit smoking from the dangers of tobacco smoke. Find more information at canada.ca/tobacco.
Article courtesy: NewsCanada
Thursday, April 23, 2020
House and Home
When it comes to roofing, little problems often go undetected until they become major issues, costing a lot of time and money to resolve. An annual roof inspection each spring is the best way to catch any problems before they cause serious damage. Here are five common problems to watch out for:
1. Broken gutters
Failing to repair or replace broken gutters could cause serious issues, especially after a big rainstorm. When your gutters are not properly attached to your roof, they are not able to do their main job: divert water away from your home. This can lead to costly property damage and flooding.
2. Defunct downspout
Downspouts can become dislodged, causing water to flow directly around the foundation of your home. This can lead to foundation cracking, mould growth, and the potential destruction of any renovations you’ve already done. Have your downspouts checked to ensure they are connected and positioned correctly.
3. Chimney deterioration
The older the chimney, the more likely it is to have cracks in the crown (top). When water gets into these cracks during the winter it freezes, which pushes the mortar and bricks further apart and makes the cracks larger. When the ice eventually melts, these cracks can cause your roof to leak and could even result in your chimney falling off your house.
4. Visiting pests
Loose flashing, rotten fascia boards and dormant chimneys all make great homes for raccoons, squirrels, birds, bats and wasps. If you hear strange sounds, or you’re concerned something could get inside, call in a wildlife or pest removal company to get rid of any unwanted house guests and protect the areas where they are entering.
5. Leaky roof
When snow melts and re-freezes, it can act as a wedge under shingles. Once the weather begins to warm up, these ice wedges melt and can leak through your roof. Your roof may look fine as you look up at it from the ground, but a professional will be able to determine any issue and how to fix it.
Inspecting your roof for these common problems is very important and hiring a professional to take on this task is always recommended.
Article courtesy of: NewsCanada
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
House and Home Real Estate Market
Today’s sky-high real estate market can make buying a first home seem like a distant dream. Don’t be discouraged. It might take a bit more planning, but you can do it. Good financial strategy and some real estate research can help you get into your first home sooner than you’d think.
Your first priority is to get your financial basics in order. Reach out to your bank or a financial planner to help you make a plan. A financial expert will be able to find a strategy that best suits your goals. You will also need to plan for your down payment. Many first-time buyers find this intimidating, but good old-fashioned saving is a great start.
Make sure your monthly budget allows you to put some money into savings, and work with your financial planner to help your savings grow as quickly as possible. Government programs are also available to help first-time buyers. You may be able to use savings from an RRSP or other resources — check with your bank for the programs and requirements in your region.
Reaching out to family can also be a win-win, but approach these arrangements with caution. Ensure any loan terms are realistic and clearly set out, and treat these arrangements with the same respect you would give a business agreement.
Once you have your finances in order, look for locations that will get you the best bang for your buck. Skip the high-priced, trendy spots where you’ll pay a premium without necessarily getting a better home. The best deals are often hiding under tacky décor: if you can look past the cosmetic hang-ups and make sure the house is structurally in good shape, you may have a great opportunity in the making.
The main thing is just getting started. Find a realistic strategy that will get you into a home, and then work your way up to that dream home. Think of real estate as a process. You may need to start small or look outside your ideal neighbourhood at first. But once you own a home, you’ll be building equity and value, which sets you on the path to your forever home. (NC)