Archives for Home Maintenance

Pink and purple magnolia flowers on asphalt shingles roof


In Ottawa, there are two sights that remind homeowners it’s time for spring maintenance: bikes on the road and geese in the sky. With the recent double-digit temperatures, it seems spring has won its annual wrestling match with winter. And, as spring fever sets in, you may want to store your parka and get at those spring maintenance chores.

A great place to start is making sure the melting snow and runoff flows freely off your roof and away from your home instead of seeping in or collecting at the foundation. Improper drainage can cause problems like foundation flooding, soil erosion, water in the basement or leaks in the attic crawl space. Water damage is an expensive nightmare every homeowner wants to avoid. Here are some tips to take advantage of the weather and get a head start on spring.

The Roof System

A record-breaking snowfall dropped over 50 cm one February day, so Ottawa homeowners are well advised to perform a roof inspection in case the sheer weight of the snow caused damage. Depending on moisture content, snow weighs about 1.25 lbs/sq ft for each inch of depth, so 50 cm is a heavy load.

Avoid a dangerous climb and use binoculars to survey the roof. Identify damaged shingles, soffits, fascia and flashing. If the roof is metal, check for corrosion. Inside the house, check the attic and roof deck for any structural deformations. Examine walls and ceilings for water stains or cracks.

Nature can leave more garbage in spring than in fall, so gutter cleaning is high priority. Clear all debris from eaves troughs and downspouts. Check for water stains, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains can mean that your gutters are not containing the roof runoff and they should be repaired or replaced.

Make sure downspouts drain away from your home’s foundation. If necessary, add extensions to carry water at least 3 to 4 feet away.

If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones for signs of water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence which indicates groundwater is “wicking” into the masonry and it could need replacement.

The Foundation

Unblock the drainage paths around your home so the snow melt flows away from your foundation. Open access to sewer drains that are on the street in front of your property.

Check inside the basement, inspecting the walls for evidence of a leaking foundation.  If your home is on a slope, you may need to install a sump pump or an exterior drain pipe leading away from the foundation.

Smooth low areas in the yard or near the foundation with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and costly damages. Also, when water collects in these depressions in summer, it creates a perfect breeding ground for insects.

Although winter may still rear its blustery head, you’ll be happy you switched to spring fever mode and started the chores.


The post Time To Get Out The Spring Maintenance Checklist appeared first on Team Realty.

Source: Blog



Ottawa’s freeze-thaw weather patterns often create sparkling icicles that look magical. But, they actually identify a dangerous — and potentially costly — hazard, an ice dam. Imagine coming home from work to find water streaming down your interior walls and soaking into the hardwood of your foyer. What would you do?


What Is An Ice Dam


After frantically tracing the flow, you would find that a pool of water had formed behind a thick ridge of ice in the gutters – hence the term ice dam. Snow on the roof had been melted by heat loss, causing water to collect behind the dam. And, the water was seeping through the shingles and into the house exposing it to significant potential damages.


After calling three roofing companies and getting no answer, you climb up a ladder to the second level, stand on a stool at a precarious angle, hold the gutter for support with one hand and use the other to smash the ice with a hammer. Eventually, you clear the dam but not before almost sliding off the roof … twice.


How To Remove An Ice Dam


Luckily, in this hypothetical case, there was only minor water damage, but the do-it-yourself approach was very risky and you did bend the gutter. Homeowners experiencing the effects of an ice dam — or those worried about a leak — should hire a professional roofing company to remove any ice buildup and assess for further preventive measures.


Safe removal of snow and ice should be accomplished by qualified technicians, who are fully trained in fall-arrest prevention, use the appropriate safety gear and equipment and have full insurance coverage. Instead of using hammers, chisels and salt, they will steam away the ice and remove excess snow with rakes designed for the purpose.


How To Avoid Ice Dams


To prevent ice dams, you must keep heat from reaching the roof, so the snow won’t melt in the first place. That goal is accomplished by insulating and ventilating the attic space to maintain the roof surface at, or near, outdoor temperatures. Any breach into the attic from the heated living space needs to be insulated. For homes with finished attics, this may involve opening up the ceiling.


Periodically check your roof for snow coverage because the snow’s weight alone, which should not exceed 20 to 25 lbs/sq ft, can cause damage. Depending on moisture content, snow weighs about 1.25 lbs/sq ft for each inch of depth, so 20 inches is a considerable burden. And, if you see icicles, investigate further. Professional roofers can provide accurate measurements, remediation or maintenance on a scheduled or as-needed basis.

The post Why Homeowners Should Beware of Icicles appeared first on Team Realty.

Source: Blog

Window cleaning_Small


Should removing and cleaning the window screens be part of your winter maintenance routine? According to this post, there are several benefits to be gained. Simply put, dirty mesh blocks light, heat and the view. For example, you get 30 to 40 percent more light coming in without screens on the windows.  More sunshine means you need less artificial light and can save on energy costs.


In addition, removing the screens increases the solar energy getting through to the windows. Improved solar heat gain reduces the need for mechanical heating saving on heating bills. Also, during a storm, snow gets caught between the window and screen which can damage the frame.


Wait until after the first freeze, to avoid bugs, and take the opportunity to inspect and repair the screens, where necessary.  To avoid damage, vacuum the screens with a brush attachment. Then, use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub them with a solution of dish soap and water. Don’t push too hard or the screen will be damaged. Rinse the windows with a hose, wipe them down on both sides and let them dry in the sun.


Remember to mark each screen with its corresponding window to make spring installation easier.  Finally, store them in a dry place where they won’t get damaged.  To read more click here.

Source: Blog

Prohibition Sign Cockroach


To prevent an onslaught of pests from occupying your house as the weather cools, simply  follow the National Pest Management Association guidance presented in this post from Bob Villa. Seal cracks in the exterior envelope, especially where utility pipes enter, with silicone caulking.  Fill larger gaps inside your home with steel wool. Pests avoid the roughness of the steel fibers and rodents cannot gnaw through it. Repair ripped window screens, door sweeps and loose mortar in the basement foundation, screen dryer vents and chimneys and replace weather stripping to seal these ideal entry points. If you suspect an infestation, hire a licensed pest control professional to assess the situation. To read more click here.

Source: Blog