Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Fix in Time Saves Nine

For some people, home maintenance is a fun and exciting prospect, usually accompanied by a ceremonious trip to Home Depot and a Saturday afternoon of tinkering. For other people, it can be a rather frightening (and expensive) concept. Regardless of how much or how little joy you get out of doing simple fixes around the house, the truth is that neglecting small repairs can lead to costly problems down the road. If you happen to live in a house with brickwork, it might surprise some people to think that a loose brick or two can lead to water seeping behind the bricks and doing damage to the framing of the house. Repairing brick and mortar can be a labor intensive job, which means the longer you wait, the more damage will need to be repaired and the more expensive the job is going to be. It's better to identify small issues and address them before they become costly problems. It's the same thing with cracked grout. If you have tile in a wet zone such as a bathroom or a kitchen, cracked grout can lead to water seeping underneath the tiles and not only damaging the tiles themselves, but also the subfloor. It's much simpler (and cheaper) to address cracked grout than to rip out the subfloor because you've got mold. Home maintenance is a fact of life, and ignoring a problem will not make it go away. It's better to maintain things as you go than to put maintenance off and have to replace.
From the Montreal Gazette:   

Mike Holmes: A fix in time saves nine

Simple repairs ward off costly problems Simple repairs ward off costly problems Simple repairs ward off costly problems Simple repairs ward off costly problems

Replacing bad windows in your home can help save on monthly energy bills, and prevent future water damage.

Over the years I’ve seen a few fixes a lot of homeowners tend to ignore and that lead to bigger problems down the road. Some of these fixes are easier and less expensive than others, but every single one of them will save you money in the long run, no exception.

Cracked or crumbling grout.

I don’t care if it’s in your shower, on the bathroom floor or in the kitchen: cracked grout or grout that is starting to crumble lets water and moisture get in behind tiles. It also downgrades the look and value of your home.

As soon as grout starts to fail, call the contractor who installed your tiles and find out exactly how your tiles were installed. Then find out what the grout and tile manufacturer recommends for proper installation. Did the contractor follow the right protocols? Was the grout sealed? It shouldn’t be. Grout needs to breathe so if any moisture gets in behind your tile it can escape.

Crumbling mortar.
The mortar between exterior bricks needs maintenance. Crumbling mortar can cause bricks to come loose, causing a huge safety hazard. Water can make its way behind the bricks, possibly damaging wood framing and sheathing, and leading to complications such as mould and poor indoor air quality. In some cases, crumbling mortar can allow toxic gases — like CO emissions — to seep in.

The fix for crumbling mortar is called pointing, or tuck-pointing. That means scraping out the old mortar and replacing it with new mortar. The new mortar going in should seal the gaps between the bricks. Water should never sit on top of exposed brick because it will seep in and cause bricks to flake or spall, and that reduces bricks’ lifespan.

The cost of tuck-pointing is labour, not materials, so the longer you wait, the tougher — and more expensive — the job is.

Bad windows.

Bad windows also lead to major heating and cooling losses, which you pay for every month. Multiply that by however long you plan on living in your home and you can see how replacing bad windows pays for itself.

Not planning on staying put? Well, replacing bad windows can boost your home’s resale value.


Water stains on walls or the ceiling must be addressed immediately. The stains mean water is penetrating the interior structure of your home — and there’s enough there that it’s starting to seep through the drywall. Again, moisture boosts the chance that mould will grow, and once you’ve got mould, you’ve got a serious problem.

 Flickering lights.

They usually signal bigger, more dangerous electrical trouble and potential fire hazards, such as faulty wiring and short circuits. If you have flickering lights in your home call a licensed electrical contractor. An electrical fix could save your home and your life.

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

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