Eight areas to monitor to protect your home’s value and avoid costly repairs.

Whether old or new, a home is an investment worth protecting.

“The difference between a house the owner has paid attention to and one they have not can be amazing,” said Mike Becker, a home inspector for Calgary and surrounding areas with Pillar to Post Home Inspectors.

Homeowners can maintain the value of their investment by monitoring these areas of the home:

1. Property and Site

“After buying a new home, the grade and property may be in a state of settling and the most important part of this will be drainage,” said Becker. “Mature lots will typically have good drainage, but should still be monitored, particularly after major runoffs or new landscaping.”Watch for:

  • Drainage must move away from the structure.
  • Monitor during snow melts and heavy rain.
  • Most newer lots require some regrading once they settle, sometimes five to 10 years out, but always monitor.

Investment:

  • Repairs = $3 to $6 per square foot.

2. Roof

Michael Babisky, general manager at Astoria Homes, said the top concern for Calgary homeowners should be regular roof inspections. “I recommend every three to six months, especially with the frequent wind and hail here.”Watch for:

  • Implement a regular maintenance schedule for shingles and flashings after five years.
  • Characteristics of shingles near the end of usefulness: curling up, rounded edges and granule surface wearing off.
  • Caulking usually lasts three to five years and should be refreshed.
  • Inspect after severe weather.

Investment:

  • Gutter cleaning = $150 to $300.
  • Gutter replacement = $7 to $9 per linear foot.
  • Asphalt replacement = $3 to $7 per square foot.

3. Exterior

“The majority of houses are being done with vinyl siding – a good, long-lasting material, assuming it has been installed correctly,” said Becker. “Wall covering, such as siding or stucco, nearing end of life are usually very apparent.”Watch for:

  • Loose or incorrectly fitted siding around openings, where moisture can reach the structure or wind might blow siding off. Seal holes with caulking and replace damaged pieces.
  • Exterior penetrations, such as those around gas lines/meters and furnace venting, require yearly re-caulking.

Investment:

  • Repairs = $5 to $6 per square foot.
  • Replacement can be more economical than repair costs.

4. Attic

“Typically, people are only accessing the attic if they are running wires or when something has already gone wrong, especially leaks,” said Becker.Watch for:

  • Condensation from the living area can build up and stain the ceiling, or worse. • Check for condensation when it’s cold outside. Look for signs of frost on the sheathing or around the attic hatch.
  • Over time, attic insulation can lose volume, reducing its R value. Improve thermal efficiency by adding more insulation.

Investment:

  • Insulation = $2 to $5 per square foot.

5. Structure

“Usually, if there are structural problems, they’re not something that can be fixed with maintenance,” said Becker. “But monitoring is best.”Watch for:

  • Doors not opening and closing properly anymore.
  • Cracks in finishing might indicate structural problems, but don’t always require action. Monitor over time for possible moisture penetration or foundational movement.

6. Electrical

“Nearly every do-it-yourself home renovation project I have seen (involving electrical) has safety issues,” said Becker. “Get an electrician, I cannot say this enough.”Watch for:

  • Mis-wired receptacles can damage electronics or cause shocks, sparks and/or fires.
  • Professional installations should be maintenance-free unless something fails, like a ground fault circuit breaker/receptacle. These should be replaced.
  • A very hot distribution panel might indicate problems. Don’t touch it, call an electrician.

Investment:

  • Repairs = $150 to $250 per hour, plus material costs.

7. Heating

“There will come a time when replacing the furnace heating system will be more economical than the repairs and maintenance, but I have inspected many houses with furnaces 25-plus years old that have been well maintained,” said Becker.Watch for:

  • Prior to winter each year, Becker suggests opening the front panels to take a picture of the furnace for yearly comparison. Water or rust indicate it might be time for inspection.
  • Yearly furnace cleaning is key to maximizing its life, Babisky says. “Clean the humidifier at the same time.”
  • Replace filters every six months.
  • After 10 years, implement a regular furnace maintenance schedule, with inspection by an HVAC professional.

Investment:

  • Annual service and cleaning = $250 to $500.
  • Furnace replacement = $3,600 to $4,700.

8. Plumbing

“Get leaks fixed as soon as possible,” said Becker.Watch for:

  • Leaks around slow-draining sinks, bathtubs and showers.
  • Less available hot water or the pilot light repeatedly going out. Repairs can often add years to appliances.
  • Water heaters typically last 10 to 15 years, but can fail at any time, usually unexpectedly.

Investment:

  • Repairs = $150 to $250 per hour, plus material costs.
  • Water heater replacement = $800 to $1000.

 

-Natalie Noble

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s