Orillia Home Inspector Tips

Providing Valuable Home Owner Resources for Maintenance

Category: Home Owners

The Value of a Home Inspection

The Value of a Home Inspection.  Getting your home inspected is one of the most vital steps you can take to ensure your new home is everything you expect a high quality structure, safe for your family, and a compelling long-term investment.

Unfortunately, many people do not fully comprehend the mechanics of a home inspection OR what they are required to do to get the most out of it. A big mistake with this process can result in time intensive and costly repairs. Read more to find out what home inspectors feel are the five biggest mistakes home buyers make during the home inspection.

Avoiding an inspection since the home is “new”

It has been observed that even expert homebuyers sometimes make this costly mistake. Their assumption is that by clearing all local codes and ordinances, a home must be in good shape. However, not all home builders are of equal quality. Some take shortcuts to boost their profits at the expense of the future occupants. It requires a thorough home inspection to identify potential problems with the foundation or structure.

Just because the home has passed its code inspection, do not assume that the builder or the contractors have completed all the necessary work. Your home inspector can detect potential problems and alert you to any potentially costly future work.

Choosing a “wrong” home inspector

When choosing a home inspector, you’re actually selecting a professional who is qualified to give your home a top-to-bottom checkup. Therefore, it is vital to go with someone who is knowledgeable, detail-oriented, professional and reliable. First-time buyers often make the mistake of selecting the least expensive home inspection company. Unfortunately, such “low cost” inspectors often lack the resources and experience to thoroughly investigate your future home.

It is important to ask the home inspection company about the licensing, credentials, and experience of the home inspectors who will be inspecting your home.  This is not a decision to be taken lightly!

Not being “present” during the inspection

The  home inspection report will provide you with detailed information about your home, it can never replace  the experience of being a part of the inspection process. The face-to-face interaction inter-action with the home inspector is extremely beneficial since it allows you to ask questions about every aspect of your home as you walk through it.

Ignoring the inspector’s recommendations

Many buyers do not follow-up on the home inspector’s recommendation(s) regarding the property. People may fall in love with the home, and avoid confronting the seller about their concerns. Doing so may result in a very expensive repair, and a bad case of buyer’s remorse. It never fails to amaze me when a seller leaves out an old inspection report how many of the deficiencies are the same and never have been repaired.

It is important to pay attention to the home inspector’s recommendations and solicit a professional estimate of necessary repairs.

Expecting “too much” from the home inspector

Even a professional and experienced home inspector cannot predict the condition of your home in the long-term. The inspector can point out the current problems and potentially identify certain future issues that may eventually arise. Regardless, certain problems are unidentifiable. For example, it is impossible to predict future weather that could impact the quality of the roof.

It is important to remember that a home inspector is hired by to comprehensively review the property in question. The inspector provides you with the report based on the current condition of the home à clairvoyance is not part of the job description!

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Green Algae: How To Defeat The ‘Green Montster’ in Your Water Garden

It’s the scourge of backyard water gardeners everywhere: variously called “green water,” “blanket weed” or “pond scum,” it’s known to scientists as thallophytes and to less-emotional water gardeners as green algae.

Green algae can grow in any environment where there is light and water: in mud puddles, dirt, even in your bathtub. It shouldn’t shock you then that algae can virtually take over a water garden. Algae spores can come in your pond by wind, rain, or on fish and water plants you place into the pond. In extreme cases, algae can bloom into “pea soup,” completely obscuring everything else, including fish and water plants.

Can algae be defeated by backyard gardeners? No – and it shouldn’t be, at least not completely. That’s because algae is an essential part of the natural food chain in all water gardens. Algae keeps the pond “in balance,” helping to maintain a healthy environment for fish and other pond creatures. But there’s another reason why you shouldn’t try to eradicate green algae completely – it’s impossible.

The reason? Backyard ponds have an unnaturally high ratio of fish and plants per gallon of water. While we may believe our water gardens are a “little bit of nature”, they are very unnatural when it comes to biology and chemistry because of this imbalance of flora and fauna. This produces an ideal growing environment for green algae.

So what’s a backyard water gardener to do when it comes to staring down algae?

1. Avoid too many fish in your water garden; more fish mean more poop which breaks down and provides nutrients like phosphates and nitrates for algae to eat.

2. Plant a good amount of aquatic plants in your pond; they consume the same nutrients as algae. You should try to cover at least 50% of your pond with floating plants like lilies, hyacinths and submerged plants like Cabomba.

3. Snails and tadpoles consume pond scum-type algae. Try a few Japanese trapdoor snails and tadpoles.

Sometimes all efforts of “natural” methods don’t seem to work, or you’ve run out of time and patience. In that case, an algaecide can be your answer. Biological filtration can also help; it’s designed to remove harmful ammonia released by fish, decomposing plants and algae, and uneaten fish food.

To conclude: the best way to control algae problems naturally is to minimize the amount of phosphate and nitrate in the water. You can limit these nutrients by limiting the number of fish, limiting the amount you feed them, and adding plenty of aquatic plants to the pond.

 

Painting Tips for Home Owners

Sequence for painting a room is from top to bottom: Ceiling first, then walls, then windows, doors and finally baseboards. Great interior painting is as easy as one-two-three There are many reasons why interior painting is the nation’s most popular home improvement project. Painting can quickly and dramatically transform the appearance of a room, an apartment or an entire home; it’s personally rewarding; it’s inexpensive; and it’s fun. Moreover, interior painting is easy. According to the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute, even novices can often get professional painting results by following just three simple rules Rule number one: Prepare the surface properly Good paint performance depends on good paint adhesion, and paint adheres best to surfaces that are clean and sound. Before picking up a brush or roller, it’s important to make sure the surface is “inviting” to the paint. Accumulated dirt, dust and grime should be removed from walls, ceilings and trim with a detergent-water solution. After washing, the surfaces should be thoroughly rinsed with water and allowed to dry completely. Next, a putty knife should be used to fill cracks, holes and other surface imperfections with either spackling compound or a quality acrylic caulk. If spackling is used, after it is dry it should be sanded smooth and flush with the surface; caulk should be smoothed and feathered as it is applied. Finally, if walls or ceilings have water stains or other serious discol-oration, then before painting, it may be necessary to coat them with a latex or oil-based stain-blocking primer to prevent the stains from bleeding through the new paint. Rule number two: Use only top quality paint Compared with ordinary interior paints, top quality finishes are much easier to work with and offer superior long-term performance. In terms of application benefits, top quality paints won’t spatter or tend to show brush marks. And since they hide better than ordinary paints, a single coat is often sufficient to give a great looking paint job and save on time, labor and cost. Top quality interior paints also are tougher and more durable than ordinary interior paints, according to experts at the Paint Quality Institute. They resist fading, yellowing and staining. And even if they do get spotted or stained, discoloration can often be washed off without damaging the finish. Rule number three: Invest in quality tools To get the most from top quality interior paint, it should be applied with high quality brushes and rollers. Not only will they apply the paint more evenly, but they will also make the job more effortless The best brushes tend to be well balanced, hold a lot of paint and apply the paint evenly. Look for brushes with tightly packed bristles and test them for springiness. And be sure they don’t fan too much. When applying the more popular latex or water-based interior paints, it’s important to use brushes and rollers with synthetic bristles and covers. They’ll maintain the proper stiffness and keep their shape regardless of the amount of water they’re exposed to. Most oil-based or alkyd paints can be applied with brushes and rollers made either of synthetic or natural materials. Remember. interior painting can be as simple as one-two-three. But there are no shortcuts. Good surface preparation, top quality paint and high quality tools are all essential to get the best Ceilings First cut in a 2 inch wide strip with a brush around the edges of the ceiling. Switch to a roller (usually 3/8 or 1/2 inch for flat paints) with a 4 – 5 ft extension pole.. Staring at a corner, paint a section about 3 feet square. Use a zigzag pattern, paint a W” pattern on the ceiling, which will disperse the paint on the roller evenly. Fill in this 3 ft section without reloading the roller until you have complete coverage of this section. Continue to cover the ceiling, working across its shortest dimension in 3 foot square sections, overlapping while paint is wet to minimize lap marks. Walls Starting at the ceiling, cut in 2 inch strip with a brush. Continue with the brush to cut in 2 inch strips in corners, around windows, doors, cabinets and baseboards. Note – there are tools available at your paint retail outlets that help make this “edging” job easier. Other “tricks” include sliding the roller cover off the holder slightly so the rollers edge gets closer to ceiling, window or door. Switch to a roller and paint in a vertical direction using a zigzag pattern. Push the roller upward on the first stroke, then form an “M” pattern to evenly distribute the paint on the roller. (working in 3 ft sections is recommended). Fill in the “M” pattern without reloading the roller until you have complete coverage of the area. Continue with this approach until the wall is finished. Touching up spots you missed when the paint is wet will help minimize sheen potential sheen differences. Most manufacturers recommend that when you finish one wall, make sure you have enough paint to complete the next entire wall. Starting with another can of paint in the middle of a wall can result in slightly different colors, which will be perceptible side by side, but not wall to wall. Doors Open door wide to reach all parts to be covered. Protect hinges and other metal with masking tape. Always start at the top. If the door is paneled, paint the panels first, the horizontal sections next and finally the vertical sections. If the door opens into the room you are painting, use the same color on the latch edge that you have used for the rest of the door. If it opens into the next room, do not paint the hinged edge. It should be the same color as the other room Decks Due to the growing popularity of decks, there are now a wide variety of Deck finishes – ranging from conventional penetrating ones to new water based latex ones. In the alkyd category, there are clears, semi transparent and opaque finishes. In latex, semi transparent and opaque. Many homeowners are starting to use the semi transparent or opaque to maximize the protection and duration of their deck coating. Begin by cleaning and power washing to remove dirt, mildew and old coatings. If you are using a clear, penetrating coatings, deck brightening products help restore a “new wood” look to the wood.. Both sides of the railings should also be powerwashed. Brushes and Rollers – Once the deck is clean and thoroughly dry, start with a brush on the outside of the deck, on tops of the railing and work your way down to the deck, then in toward the house. Then switch to a roller for the deck, starting at an outside edge and working toward the house. Use even pressure on the roller on each board to give uniform coverage and sheen. Spraying is another way to coat decks – faster than brush/roller, but you must be sure to protect scrubs etc. from overspray. Spray equipment can be rented at many paint stores, home centers or rental companies. Check with a paint professional for tip size and pressure setting – which will depend on the type of coating you use. Spray railings first, unless the railings are to be a different color than the deck. Then the deck should be coated first. One trip for protecting plants or other objects from overspray is to tape kraft paper to the outside of the railing, which will catch the overspray. When spraying the deck itself, spray evenly over a six foot square area, then go over that area with a 1/2 inch nap roller to spread coating evenly into deck. Continue this procedure in sections until deck is covered. Be sure to use a large shield (such as 4 ft square piece of cardboard) when painting alongside the house to protect it from overspray. Windows Of all the woodwork in the home, windows suffer the most stress. Constant exposure to temperature changes and condensation means that windows often need to be painted more frequently than doors, moldings and trim. Unfortunately, the process involved in painting windows can be confusing. To simplify things, the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute offers some window painting guidelines that can save you time, money and aggravation. Start by gathering the right tools for window painting: a 1 1/2″ or 2″ quality brush (use synthetic bristles if you are painting with one of the popular latex interior paints); a cutting-in brush for precision work; a paint shield or masking tape; a screwdriver; enough top quality paint to complete the job. Remove locks, curtain hooks and other hardware from the windows. This will speed your work and produce a better-looking paint job. Double-hung windows For double-hung windows, follow this six-step procedure: 1. Raise the bottom sash and lower the top sash most of the way, so that there is a 6″ overlap. Paint the bottom horizontal section of the top sash, then the accessible vertical members. Use care to keep paint from getting in between sash and frame which can “glue” the window in place. 2. Nearly close the upper and lower sashes, then finish painting the rest of the top sash. 3. Paint the entire bottom sash. 4. After allowing the sashes to dry, paint the window frame. 5. Close the windows and paint the exposed parts of the runners. If your windows have sash cords, avoid getting paint on them. 6. Paint the window sill and apron. Casement windows If your home has any casement windows (windows that open out or in, rather than up or down), use a different technique: 1. Open the windows and paint the top, side and bottom edges. 2. Paint the crossbars and frame casings. 3. Complete the job by painting the sill and apron. Regardless of the type of windows you are painting, if you have a steady hand, you can keep paint on the frame and off the glass by using the cutting-in brush. But be sure to overlap the paint onto the glass slightly to help seal off moisture and drafts. There are two other techniques for keeping paint off of the window panes: holding up a paint shield as you work or applying masking tape to the glass. When using tape, press it firmly to the glass to keep excess paint from creeping beneath it. (If stray specks of paint get onto the glass, simply remove them with a razor blade.) Remove the tape before the paint dries to a hard film. Some final tips from the experts at the Paint Quality Institute: Before starting to paint, repair any damage to the window and properly prepare the surface. This can be done by scraping off old paint, then sanding, and priming any spots where bare wood shows. (Get more advice on surface preparation at your local paint retailer, hardware store or decorating center.) Paint windows early in the day so that they have enough time to dry before you close them in the evening. Finish painting each piece in the direction of the wood grain.

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