I am also a fan of another Canadian home renovation show, Love It or List It.
The lives of home owners change and sometimes their homes no longer fulfill their needs. They are faced with a tough decision. Do they move or do they renovate?
Hilary the designer renovates their home while David the Realtor, tries to find a preferable home. At the end of the show, the home owners make a decision whether to - Love their house or List it.
I'm not sure of the stats but it seem most owners choose to keep their house. Hilary is kicking David's butt. (Hear the Designers/Renovators cheering and Agents booing)
Check out their website here .
A.E. Cross House, Early 1900 & 2006
They also have a page about planning your escape which you can find here.
They had one good piece of advice that I never thought about. If you live on a street with a back alley, make sure there is a street address on the back of the house or garage. Paramedics might needlessly waste time, trying to find your home.
Suggesting a contractor because they have a well thought-out website is not prudent. However, professionalism in one area usually reflects an overall commitment to professionalism.
This post was unsolicited. It is not meant to be an endorsement of the company. The Home Inspector Industry's Code of Ethics frowns on making referrals to specific Contractors.
If you think your foundation has serious problems or you are dealing with water problems it is recommended you contact a qualified contractor. Shop around and check out Basement Systems Calgary's site. it has some good information, specific to the Calgary area. They also give free estimates and have letters of reference.
You can find their website here.
It is obvious, not all cracks are equal. A half inch crack in a 50 year old house, with no water damage present, is much less of a worry than a half inch crack in a 3 year old house.
Concrete is rigid. Some cracks will be present. Cracks from shrinkage is less of a worry than stress-induced cracks. However, they should be filled with proper sealant and monitored.
Horizontal cracks, are generally, less a problem for the structure of the house than vertical cracks. They still need to be noted, repaired and monitored.
Again the size of the crack, in relation to the age of the house and recent environment changes, dictates how serious the matter is. An example of environmental change, is frost heave. In Calgary, this is generally more a concern for homes in newer communities.
Home inspectors note and report the presence of cracks. Structural Engineers, Soil Mechanic Engineers or Qualified Contractors, determine the seriousness of the problem and, if any, recommend remedial action.
The Cowsills were famous for being the inspiration behind the show the Partridge Family. However in the Calgary music scene, Bill was best known as the lead singer of the band, The Co-Dependents.
Read more about Bill at wikipedia.
"...inspectors turned in the results of more than 13,000 home and building inspections and found 15 percent of GFCI's were not working properly".
Read more at, simple device can prevent electrocution.
From: The National Association of Home Builders/Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. (view)
"The life of a roof depends on local weather conditions, proper building and design, material quality, and adequate maintenance. Slate, copper, and clay/concrete roofs have the longest life expectancy – over 50 years. Roofs made of asphalt shingles last for about 20 years while roofs made of fiber cement shingles have a life expectancy of about 25 years, and roofs made of wood shakes can be expected to last for about 30 years".
I found the chart below but was unable to establish its original source.
This house, at 1111 7th St. S.W. in Connaught, most recently the Da Michelangelo Restaurant, is the former home of Dr. George F.G. Stanley, an esteemed historian, educator and public figure best remembered across Canada as the designer of the Canadian Flag.
Read more here, at the Calgary Heritage Initiative forums.
The problem is, Building Science Tecks, Architects, Engineers, Manufacturers and Roofers, don't fully agree on how much ventilation is required. Further, there is some debate on the best way to ventilate. There are many climatic consideration as well.
To top it off, Provincial and State codes vary.
Here is an attic ventilation calculator.
I realize retro renovations are not to everyone's tastes. Lots of people follow the retro movement because it is trendy. I suspect though, there is a bit of counter-culture mixed in.
Check out Retro Renovation here.
The government of Alberta, Municipal Affairs section, has tried to make these suites safer. You can check out some of their safety standards for secondary suites here.
Some stuff is common sense though.
Make sure there are working smoke alarms and CO2 testers.
Double check - at least one window in the bedroom can be exited easily. No locked bars or obstacles blocking the window on the outside.
Next, make sure there is a fire extinguisher beside the exit.
This list is not exhaustive. There is a lot more that can be done to make sure people are not needlessly injured or killed.
The City of Calgary also maintains a network of paved multi-use pathways. The dedicated pathway network in Calgary is among the most expansive in North America and spans 635 km.
There are also about 290 km of signed on-street bicycle routes. The pathways connect many of the city's parks, river valley, residential neighbourhoods, and downtown. Even the airport is on the pathway network. Calgarians make year-round use of these paths for walking, running, and cycling to various destinations.
Only 50 years ago!
Read more at wikipedia.
"Alligatoring" produces a pattern of cracks resembling an alligator hide and is ultimately the result of the limited tolerance of paint or asphalt to thermal expansion or contraction.
It is all for a good cause.
A link to their Calgary Website is here.
This came from a Cape Cod Inspector who is both a Home Inspector and an Engineer. You can read the rest of the post here.
This Tennessee Inspector brings up some very good points. You can read the rest of his article here.
The government still has not made a final decision. It seems like a no-brainer though. There should be some kind of regulation. How much and what kind of regulation is a bit tricky. I suspect the real fight will be over who gets to govern. Historically, this is when the blood flows.
The article is from May 2009. There should be a final decision by the end of the year.
If you are listing your house take the time to inspect and clean all your Eaves and downspouts. Make sure your downspouts are free of debris. Also, it is important there is a pipe connected to the bottom of the downspout moving water away from house. It is preferable the pipe does not cross over a sidewalk.
Realtors tell home sellers this all the time, yet not everyone listens.
Most home safety is common sense. If you are looking for more information check out the Home Safety Council here.
The picture to the left is a receptacle type you might find in the kitchen and the bathrooms. If you can't find one, it does not necessarily mean you don't have protection. There should be GFCI circuit breaker in the main service panel, sevicing the required area.
Different areas have different code requirements, to be on the safe side, ask you Electrical Contractor to double check you have protection and your service meets current codes.
Read more at the circuit detective.
A word to all the "Handyman Harrys". Yes, you are better off getting an Electrical Contractor.
It is easy to see the influence the Catholic Church had in the early part of the century. Lacombe, Grandin and St. Mary's are all names of current High Schools in Calgary. Who knew a 100 years later, homes in this area would sell for as much as a million dollars. A link to the history of Lindsay Park area is here.
M1502.5 Duct construction.
Exhaust ducts shall be constructed of minimum 0.016-inch-thick (0.4 mm) rigid metal ducts, having smooth interior surfaces, with joints running in the direction of air flow. Exhaust ducts shall not be connected with sheet-metal screws or fastening means which extend into the duct.
M1502.6 Duct length.
The maximum length of a clothes dryer exhaust duct shall not exceed 25 feet (7,620 mm) from the dryer location to the wall or roof termination. The maximum length of the duct shall be reduced 2.5 feet (762 mm) for each 45-degree (0.8 rad) bend, and 5 feet (1,524 mm) for each 90-degree (1.6 rad) bend. The maximum length of the exhaust duct does not include the transition duct.
M1502.2 Duct termination.
Exhaust ducts shall terminate on the outside of the building or shall be in accordance with the dryer manufacturer’s installation instructions. Exhaust ducts shall terminate not less than 3 feet (914 mm) in any direction from openings into buildings. Exhaust duct terminations shall be equipped with a backdraft damper. Screens shall not be installed at the duct termination.
M1502.3 Duct size.
The diameter of the exhaust duct shall be as required by the clothes dryer’s listing and the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
M1502.4 Transition ducts.Transition ducts shall not be concealed within construction. Flexible transition ducts used to connect the dryer to the exhaust duct system shall be limited to single lengths not to exceed 8 feet (2438 mm), and shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 2158A.
Inspectors talk a lot about window egress. Collins Essential English Dictionary defines egress [ee-gress] as; 1. the act of going out and, 2. a way out or exit [Latin egredi to come out].
Basically, can you get out the window in an emergency? It is something to think about this summer before it gets cold. It does not matter where you live house or condo - have a mini emergency drill.
Think about which window you would climb out of? Can you get out the of that window? What would make the job easier? Is there anything in the way? Teach your children the best way to exit the home in case of an emergency. Plan ahead.
Mike goes on about "Making it Right" which reminds me of my deceased father. Whenever I helped him build or make something he would tell me, "What ever you do, do with your might. Things done by halves are never done right". I hope I am able to teach my son, what this really means.
You can read more about Mike at wikipedia.
If you decide to go ahead - get in in writing. You know this already. But, what does it really mean? The Canadian Home Builders Association has a great website appropriately named, Get it in Writing that will fill in some of the blanks.
It must be a good site as the Canadian Revenue Agency provides a link on their own site explaining the eligible and ineligible expenses you can claim for Home Renovation Tax Credits, which you can find here.
Get it in Writing is here.
Mike Holmes (the rock star of the home renovation industry) has written a great article for the National Post about Off-Gassing. As a father of a young baby, I found it very informative. You can read the rest here.
I liberated this picture from google images. I suspect it was taken early 1980's. Around 25 years ago. Stuff changes quickly does it not?
I was downtown last Sunday. The traffic was pretty thick. I sat there thinking about all the new Condo development in the belt line. Probably, if you work downtown and it is in your budget - you must be entertaining the idea of moving closing to work.