Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Time Is Home Maintenance Time

For many people, including Mike Holmes, spring time means one thing... HOME MAINTENANCE! Once the snow thaws, it's time to see how your home has weathered the winter. Luckily for me, there is no snow in my part of the world, but for many, snow on roofs and around their homes can lead to leaks and puddles of water which can seep into basements. Spring is also a good time of the year to look for evidence of pests such as termites. Because I live in a desert climate where it snows very infrequently, spring for me means checking the irrigation system to make sure our 18 grain ultra hard water has not damaged any of its internal parts (it did this year, and we had to replace a diaphragm in the valve of the drip system.) It means checking the landscaping for dead plants that didn't make it through the winter and promptly replacing them so that they'll be blooming and beautiful in time for summer. It also means checking for cracks in the drywall and stucco from the contracting and expanding brought on by rapidly changing temperatures. Spring maintenance also means being on the lookout for pests. In our case, this means watching for snakes and scorpions coming out to play in the warm weather, and making sure there are no dens behind your shed. Regardless of where you live in the world, reading Mike's article on home maintenance will give you a better perspective on how to keep your home in tip top shape, regardless of the climate.

From the Ottawa Citizen:

Mike Holmes: It’s home maintenance time

Problems in your house tend to be more visible after winter, making spring the perfect time for a checkup

A thorough assessment of your home’s exterior in the spring can flag important issues that should be corrected as soon as possible.

OTTAWA — We’ve set our clocks one hour ahead. St. Patrick’s Day mayhem has wrapped. And Easter is about a week away. I’d say all signs point to spring.
This week — March 20 to be exact — marked the beginning of spring. And when most people think of spring they think April showers, the birds and bees, maybe a barbecue or two. I think of home maintenance … and my boat (but that’s another column).
Spring is that special time of year when we give our homes the once-over to see how well they’ve made it through the winter.
What are we looking for?
The first thing I would do is check for water stains in the attic, especially around the rafters. The roof is your home’s first line of defence. The attic can tell you if it’s holding up.
With the extra precipitation and melting snow that’s typical of spring, it’s also important to check for water pooling on your property. Puddles in your yard or along your fence could signal a grading issue. You will need to call in a professional landscaper to regrade the property or it will get worse every year. A grading issue can lead to costly problems such as water coming into the basement.
Also, check for cracks or holes in your home’s exterior walls and foundation. Holes usually can be filled in with expanding foam if they aren’t major. Not all foundation cracks are serious, but some might need extra attention. If you find any cracks — either outside or in an unfinished basement — mark them with tape and check them again after a few months. If they do not change, fill them in with an epoxy injection; but if they do get worse, call a structural engineer.
Look for pellet-shaped droppings or shed wings along the perimeter of your home; they could mean termites. Get rid of any leaves and debris along your exterior walls where animals can nest. Also, clean out the gutters and check if they’ve corroded or disconnected. If there are any shingle granules, get your roof checked.
Check the mortar in between bricks. If it’s been eaten away, it will need repointing. If you have a stone path that was dry set (instead of set in mortar), brush stone dust or sand in the joints. This locks the pavers and prevents weeds from growing in between the stones.
Spring is also a good time to check the air conditioner. Disconnect the electric power and clear away leaves and debris on the unit. Vacuum the grill and register inside and change the furnace filter. Plug it back in and turn it on to see how it works.
Also, consider getting a home maintenance inspection, which can point out any issues in your home and let you know which ones need to be addressed first. After winter, problems in your home should be more visible, which is why home maintenance inspections are popular in the spring.
But be careful. Not all home inspectors are created equal. Hire a qualified, licensed inspector who knows what they’re doing. How do you know if they’re qualified? Ask a lot of questions and check out the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. fact sheet Hiring a Home Inspector.
Catch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit For more information on home renovations, visit

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