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Category Archives: Foundation

3 Tips to Spotting Foundation Problems

By | Foundation, Ottawa, Winter | No Comments

If your house has foundation problems you can experience problems both inside and out. Here are three tips to help you spot foundation problems in your home:

Interior Problems

Inside your home you will notice a number of issues that will be easy to spot. First you will notice issues such as doors and windows that are always jamming or that can’t seem to latch properly. You might also see cracks in your walls. This is usually more noticeable above doors as well as windows. You can also see them where your ceilings and walls meet. If you have concrete floors beneath tile or vinyl there can also be cracks appearing in your floor coverings.

Basement Problems

Inside your basement you can find some telltale signs you have foundation problems. One sign is a musty smell that can be caused by dampness seeping through your foundation. You might also note a chalky, crumbly substance on your basement walls or brown staining that looks rusty. Cracks can appear in your walls or floor. This can be harder to spot in a refinished basement. However if you see signs of buckling or mould on your drywall this can also be a sign you have seepage issues.

Exterior Problems

If you do notice any of the above basement or interior issues take a walk outside your house. Look at the foundation and see if you can spot any obvious damage. If you see hairline cracks appearing between concrete blocks do not be too worried about these as they are common and can occur for any number of reasons. What you do want to worry about is L-shaped cracks which might require repairs. They are not major but if left unchecked could lead to leaks. They are usually the most noticeable at steps if your home is built into a hillside for example. Bigger concerns include stair step cracks which might appear with bulging. Cracks wider than a quarter of an inch can also be dangerous.

The worst cracks are horizontal. Horizontal cracks are an indication you have water saturation occurring when the soil freezes. This can force the foundation to break leading to serious leaks and water damage.

Take a walk around your house in the spring and fall to watch for signs of problems. This way you can be proactive in addressing issues before they become serious.

5 Problems that Can Affect your Home in the Winter

By | Foundation, Ottawa, Professional Tips, Winter | No Comments

The constant changes of winter weather can pose some issues for your home. Here are five problems you should prepare for to keep your home safe and sound this winter:

Ice Dams

Ice dams form at the edge of your roof and force water back up the shingles leading to leaks. When your roof is poorly insulated and your gutters are in poor condition ice dams can cause serious water damage due to leaks. In order to avoid ice dams you can do the following:

• Clear your gutters of debris
• Add gutter guards
• Make sure your attic is insulated and properly vented
• Install a membrane to repel water in your attic

Freezing Pipes

Pipes that are vulnerable to freezing include those in the attic, on outside walls as well as in crawl spaces. Freezing pipes will expand and often burst leading to costly water damage and even potential flooding. To avoid freezing pipes you can:

• Insulate outside walls, attics and crawl spaces properly
• Seal all holes in the outside of your home such as those around cables
• Allow a slow trickle of water from faucets leading to vulnerable pipes
• Use insulating sleeves on exposed pipes

Roof and Wall Issues

Your roof and walls protect your home from the cold. If there are any leaks or openings it will make your home more vulnerable. To avoid leaks and issues you should:
• Have a roof inspection to ensure your shingles are all secure
• Seal any cracks in your masonry between bricks as well as in the foundation Ottawa homes may see damage

Heating and Fireplace

You may heat your home using a fireplace, furnace, space heaters and even a wood burning stove. Each of these heating elements has its own risks. Make certain you:

• Avoid anything flammable coming into contact with any of your heat sources
• Avoid having too many heaters and other electrical items plugged into one source
• Have your fireplace and furnace serviced as the winter approaches
• Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working

Floods

Take care of these flood threats:

• The foundation Ottawa homeowners have should be kept clear of snow
• Keep street basins clear to allow for drainage
• Remove property obstructions that could force water towards your foundation to avoid leaks

Being prepared will help you avoid costly damage from these five common winter problems.