Horizontal Rain and Chimney Leaks

November 19, 2013 · Filed Under Home Maintenance · 2 Comments 

So last week we had a lot of rain.  Not unusual for this time of year.  The rain was horizontal.  Not unusual for St. John’s.  The unusual part of this was I had a leak in my attic.  I had new roof shingles installed earlier in the year so I doubted it wBasic Chimneyas that.  I had a peak up in my attic and determined the water was entering from my old chimney.  The chimney was not in use so we just decided to leave it alone years ago.  Out of sight out of mind right?

Doing like anyone would do when “tragedy” strikes, I fired up ye ole internet and proceeded to Google my way to an answer.

Apparently chimney leaks are quite common and quite annoying.  Some sites actually compared them to be as annoying as skylights.

Crown leaks

The chimney crown is the top cement part of the chimney.  If cracked water can find its way into the cracks with potential then to enter your home or attic.  Small cracks WILL lead to bigger cracks so it’s best to address this problem as soon as possible.

Flashing leaks

The flashing is the place where the chimney bricks meet the roof.  Typically an aluminium flashing is installed and then shingles on top.  This is then sealed with black pitch or tar. Tar can dry out over time and crack.  Be sure to watch out for this.  Flashing leaks appeared to be the greatest cause of leaks in a chimney.

Mortar and brick cracks

I didn’t realizChimney mortare this but bricks and mortar both allow water to pass through, i.e. they are not water proof. Water can seep in and freeze in the winter.  If we all remember grade two science classes, water expands when frozen causing cracks in the mortar or brick.  And to make matters worse, if you add a water proofing material on the exterior of the chimney when the bricks are already wet, the water has no place to exit, except for the inside of the chimney and hence will end up inside your house.

Lack of chimney cap (cover)

It’s amazing to drive around St. John’s and notice this now, but there are quite a number of homes that have chimneys yet lack the chimney cap.  Leaks can occur when rain falls directly into the chimney flue. Seems obvious enough.  Guess who now has a chimney cap on his house :)

The Bottom Line

Remember, home maintenance is important.  While replacing a chimney can be VERY expensive it’s best to not leave a deteriorating chimney and forget about it. If you see a small crack or deficiency, call a local chimney expert and get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.  Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.

How to decide if you should replace your windows

April 4, 2012 · Filed Under Energuide Info, First Time Buyers, Home Maintenance · Comments Off 

One of the most prominent features of any home is the windows. When they are well maintained they have a positive impact on the impression people (such as potential buyers) will have of your property. The opposite occurs, of course, when your windows look old and worn.

So does that mean you should replace your windows?

That depends on a number of factors. Window replacement can be an expensive renovation. Here are a few things to consider before making your decision.

  • Do your windows get frost or condensation build-up on the interior side? This could be a sign that the windows are not keeping out the cold as well as they should.
  • Do you see water infiltration or mildew on the interior sides of any of the window sills? This means that moisture is creeping in from the outside, and you need to get those windows repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  • If your windows are double-paned – (two panes of glass) – check for any signs of moisture in between the glass panes. Moisture indicates that the thermal seal is broken and at a minimum, the glass will need to be replaced.
  • Take a look at your windows from the outside. Is the trim rotted or cracked anywhere? Are there dark spots or any signs of rotting on the wood frames? Repairs or replacement may be required.
  • Check the operation of your windows. Do they open and close easily? This is important because some windows, such as those in bedrooms, are often designed to be big enough to use as an exit in case of a fire.
  • Finally, are you happy with how your windows look? Do you feel that your property will look significantly better with new windows?

Although they are expensive, replacing windows has a lot of advantages. Depending on the efficiency of your current windows, replacing them could cut your energy costs by 10-20%. In addition, new windows block out more exterior noise, making your home quieter.

Want more tips on increasing the value, and enjoyment, of your property? Call Fraser or Stephen Winters today.

Protect, Maintain and Enhance the value of your home with HouseLogic

February 19, 2010 · Filed Under First Time Buyers, Home Maintenance, Real Estate Articles, Tips for Selling your Home · Comments Off 

Interested in ways to seal air leaks around the house to lower your heating bill?  How about saving energy with home lighting?  Planning on redoing the kitchen or bathroom?  Enter HouseLogic, a comprehensive website aimed to assist you in 100’s of home remodeling, energy saving tips.  Best of all….it’s FREE!

Earlier this week, the National Association of REALTORS (American version of CREA) launched a new website, entitled HouseLogic.  This web site is designed to help home owners make smart decisions to maintain, protect, and increase the value of their homes. HouseLogic will help consumers take responsible actions pertaining to what is likely the largest investment of their lives.

With content covering home improvement, maintenance, taxes, finance, insurance, and even ways you can get involved in and enrich your community, HouseLogic can help you increase and protect the value of your home by helping you make confident decisions.  (remember this is an American site so the taxes and finances, insurance may not be applicable here in Canada)

Create to-do lists, and set project reminders, get costs estimates on various renos and home improvements (in USD). A very informative website that has it all.  Be sure to check it out.

4 Simple Ways to make your home irressistible

February 8, 2010 · Filed Under Home Maintenance, Tips for Selling your Home · Comments Off 

There are dozens of ways to make your property more enticing to potential buyers.  For example, you can invest in  getting your home professionally “staged”, which involves making it look a little like a model home.  Or, you can do a major renovation to improve your home‘s look and value.

But what if you don’t have a lot of time and are on a limited budget? What can you do today to make your home irresistible to buyers tomorrow?  Here are some ideas:

1. Paint
It doesn’t cost much to paint key areas of your home, like the foyer, kitchen or master bedroom.  Yet the impression it makes on buyers is significant. In fact, compared to most other types of home improvement projects, painting gives you the highest payback when you sell.

2. Create space
Homes naturally get cluttered over the years.  Even a double car garage can seem claustrophobic if there are a lot of boxes, equipment and other items stored in it.  Go through each room of your home and do a major decluttering.  It will  make your property seem more attractive and, when you sell, make moving easier too!

3. Clean and tidy
Obviously, you’re going to make sure your home is clean for viewings. But you’d be surprised what a homeowner can miss and a buyer notices. Closets, laundry rooms, side yard, basement furnace room and all other nooks and crannies should be as tidy and clean as possible.

4. Roll out the red carpet
Not an actual red carpet! But you do want the entrance way to your front door and into the foyer to make the best impression possible.  After all, those are the areas that a buyer sees first. Make sure walkways are clear and clean. Ensure that when a buyer opens the front door and walks in, the impression he or she gets is that of a great looking place to live.

These four tips don’t take much time or money to implement. Yet, they can all help make your home even more irresistible to buyers than it is today.

Want more tips on preparing your home for sale?  Curious to know the value of your home? Contact Fraser and Stephen Winters today for a FREE home market evaluation.

Newfoundland Temperatures getting colder! Time to explore ecoENERGY Retrofit and Home Renovation Tax Credit programs

September 9, 2009 · Filed Under Energuide Info, Home Maintenance · 3 Comments 

What a great summer we are having (or is it had).  Unfortunately you can feel the Newfoundland nights getting colder.  On that note, it might be a great time to think of ways to make your home more energy-efficient AND receive grants through the ecoENERGY Retrofit Program. There you can find a list of improvements and retrofits that are eligible under the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program and the corresponding grant amounts. The maximum grant you can receive for a home is $5,000.  Don’t forget the Home Renovation Tax Credit.  You can claim a non-refundable tax credit on your 2009 income tax return based on eligible expenses incurred for work performed or goods acquired after January 27, 2009, and before February 1, 2010 resulting in a maximum tax credit of $1,350.

Possible Tax Credit for Home Renovations in Jan 27 budget

January 15, 2009 · Filed Under Home Maintenance, Real Estate Canada · Comments Off 

In 12 days the government is set to release the details of the budget and is  expected to deliver up to $30-billion in stimulus to soften an economic downturn.  Among the items on the agenda is the potential to offer a tax credit for home renovations.

Still in the infant stages they are toying with this idea and whether to offer a tax credit for home renovation in general, or merely for retrofits and upgrades that increase energy efficiency.

A few of the negative drawbacks we can expect to see for a national program  such as this reno tax credit is that they are typically difficult to administer, hard to monitor and susceptible to fraud.

Personally I thought this would be accepted with open arms, but after reading some of the comments left on the Globe and Mail article opinions are quite mixed.

Read the full article in the Globe And Mail – Plan offers tax credit for home renovations

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