Sunday, October 28, 2018

Cold Weather Problems To Watch For In Your New Home

Its Fall and with the real estate market being so hot as it has been in the last year there are a lot of people that are in newly bought homes that have never been through cold weather together.

There are certain things that you need to pay attention to (now that the cold weather has started to arrive) in your newly acquired home;

  • Drafts. Unless you have a brand new home your older home will probably have drafts. They could come from many different locations. You need to document them so that when you renovate the home later you will know where to tell your contractor to focus on.
  • Windows/Doors. With the weather change you will now start to see if your windows and doors still open and close properly. This is the time when wood shrinks and things move in older homes, sometimes it's just an adjustment that needs to be made and sometimes its a bigger repair. Also look for fogging of windows that doesn't go away.
  • Leaks. From top to bottom you need to pay attention to see if there is water penetration happening. It could come from the roof, it could come from windows or doors and it can happen in the basement. It doesn't have to be a lot of water, any amount is a warning sign of things to come.
  • Debris.After large fall and winter storms you should look around the outside of the house, look for debris. Your looking for things that have fallen or blown off the house, things like shingles, eavetrough or facia can come unattached in big winds from the house. Sometimes trees can dislodge this as well, repairing it without fixing the root of the problem will just waste time and money.
  • Cold spots. Even if you have central heating, that doesn't mean that every part of your home is heated evenly. Look for rooms or area's that are colder then the rest of the spaces in the home. If you are resorting to space heaters then you should think about a more permanent solution that will save you money on your heating bills in the future.
  • Heating system. Does your heating system sound like its running properly? Does it sound like its labouring or does it have a funny noise? Does it react to the house when it is cold? Do you have a hard time finding a proper temperature in the house? A lot of these things can be fixed simply but not if your contractor doesn't know they are happening and where in the house they are happening.
These simple observations will help you direct your contractor when you go to renovate your newly bought home. When contractors are on site renovating other parts of your home it's easier, quicker and cheaper for them to fix it as they are doing your other work then getting them to come back at a later date just to address a certain issue.

Your contractor wants to help, they know that you the homeowner have a limited budget, that means that they want to help you spend that money in a way that helps you the most and doesn't cost you more money down the road when something has to be redone because of a certain issue that was never resolved during the first renovation.

Simple observations on you the homeowners part will go a long way in saving you money later.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Want A Dry Basement? Invest In Eavestrough

Eavestrough is more important to the welfare of your home then you probably realize.

To actually understand the benefits that eavestrough's bring to your home you have to understand what happens to your home when you don't have proper eavestrough, or none at all or ones that are completely full of debris.

Here are some of the problems that can happen when you don't have eave trough or if they are improper or full;

  • water runs off the roof and lands next to the foundation. This can splash back against the house causing the wall and rim joist to rot over time.
  • water runs off the roof and lands on the ground. It seeps into the ground right beside the foundation. This water finds any fault in your waterproofing and penetrates the basement walls flooding the basement.
  • water runs off the roof and lands on the ground. It seeps down into the ground, right into the weepers around the house. The weepers bring the water to the sump pump that has to run more and eventually fails. Not only do you have to pay more for electricity for running the pump but you also have to clean up a flooded basement.
  • water runs off the roof after the spring thaw and lands on the frozen lawn. The water pools on top of the frozen ground and then eventually runs into the basement above the water proofing causing a flood.
  • Your eavestrough is full, the water backs up from the eavestrough and gets underneath the shingles, the water penetrates into the home and causes water damage on the drywall.
  • water backs up from the full eavestrough debris that has frozen creating an ice dam, the water penetrates under the shingles and damages the drywall on the inside of the house.
  • Lack of eavestrough on a roof section allows water to shoot off the roof and fall on top of a window on another wall. Over time the water damages the window and causes it to fail allowing water to penetrate into the home.
  • Lack of eavestrough on an under section of roof prematurely wears out the shingles below causing a leak. An entire roof has to be replaced because of one missing eavestrough.

 I could actually go on for pages about all the things that can and will go wrong without eavestrough or with eavestrough that are improperly installed or improperly maintained. The moral of the tale is that if you don't take care of them you will end up with water damage to your home.

There are many different sizes, shapes and colours of eavestrough so the best thing you can do is hire a professional to supply and install them. Remember that using a proper professional to install the eavestrough will mean that you get a warranty for the product and the installation.

Contact your local eavestrough installer and protect your home.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

How To Protect Your New Home Against A High Water Table

Are you planning to build a house in an area that is known for having a high water table?

If you are planning to build a new custom home in an area with a high water table then you will need to try and minimize the amount of water that your house will be exposed too.

There are several things that you can do to accomplish this:

Limit The Depth The House Sits In The Ground

The farther you go into the ground the bigger the risk that you will have water problems. The easiest way to limit this is to not go into the ground very far.

In colder climates you have to put your foundation into the ground to avoid the frost heave. In Canada that is a minimum of 4 feet into the ground.

  • Crawlspaces. Crawlspaces allow you to get into the ground at the proper depth but do not allow you to have any usable space. Crawl spaces are good for small storage and a place to put the mechanical and plumbing for the house.
  • Grade Up. If you want a full basement and don't want to risk water infiltration then you can take the overburden off the building area and build the basement up from there. This requires you to grade up so that the entire foundation isn't exposed, but sometimes grading up is better then digging down.
 Use Proper Waterproofing

The best way to protect your foundation is to protect it with proper waterproofing. This doesn't mean having the foundation tared on top of the concrete and no amount of dimple board will stop water, the only real way is to use monolithic membrane that is a waterproofing (like a pool liner). This membrane is sprayed on or rolled on depending on the material that it is being installed on top of. Then the dimple board is applied on top of the membrane to act as a protection against rocks and roots.

Sump Pumps

Its in the building code that every new home has to have a sump pump so you can't get away from having one. But there are different degree's of sump pumps. If you find that you have excessive water around the home then you might want something more then the normal sump pump;

  • Industrial pump. You can have larger pumps with larger exhausts installed instead of the normal residential sump pump. These pumps move more water easier, the easier they move water and the greater the volume of water that they expel the less work the pump has to do, the less work the pump does the less chance that the pump overheats and burns out.
  • Dual Pumps. You can stack pumps one on top of the other. This gives the primary pump a backup if too much water comes into the sump pit or if the primary actually fails.
  • Battery backups. They make pumps that run on batteries now for the time when the power goes out and you need a pump to keep the basement dry.
  • External sump pump. If you have a lot of water you can install a pump on the outside of the home in a sump well, this pump will move water away from the building before it gets to the internal sump pump.
Gravity Drain

Gravity drains are the simplest form of water removal. They are basically a pipe that is connected to the weepers that run around your foundation, this pipe then leads away from the house to a lower spot of land. The water (with the help of gravity) naturally flows in the weepers and down the pipe away from the house. No power is needed or mechanical pumps.

When you are planning out your home the grade height and the point in which you set the height of the first floor (and the basement floor) is very important. Setting the height properly will allow you to stay high and as far out of the water that is in the ground as possible. Taking the time to set the height first will save time and money down the line.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What You Need To Know About Installing Hardwood Floors At The Cottage

Installing new hardwood floors in your old cottage/chalet?

There are things that you should be aware of before you set the budget for this work;

How Level Is The Floor

There's a good chance that your floors are not going to be level and when you remove the old flooring whatever it is (carpet,tile, linoleum, hardwood) you are going to find more spots that are not level or at least not straight. These spots need to be fixed, either with floor leveler or with wood. Some spots can be fixed with floor leveler but that is only for spots that are not extreme or they are smaller area's. For larger area's or for parts of the floor that have siuk more dramatically you will need a more permanent fix.

Fixing larger area's means that you will have to sometimes remove the subfloor and raise the floor joist one by one with a jack from below. Depending on the problem like rot or structural failure you might have to replace the floor joist all together.

Floor leveler also does not work on older sub-floors that are not made of plywood, anything not made from plywood will allow the liquid floor leveler to leak through the joints to the space below.

Humidity or dampness

If the space below where the floor is damp or has high humidity then it is going to affect the floor above. If there is nothing you can do to change that fact then you need to take some steps to mitigate the damage that it could do to the floor above.
  • There is a floor glue that you can use that has a water proofing product in it. When applied properly it works not only to hold the floor in place but also to create a waterproof layer.
  • The old way of adding flooring paper does do some good to protect the floor but its more about allowing the flooring to slide together easier then protecting the floor from moisture.
  • Engineered wood flooring will survive better then full bed wood floors, the plywood backing helps stop the cupping from moisture.
Method Of Installation

Not all floors are installed the same way. The traditional way of installing hardwood floors by nailing them is still the most popular. It's easier to install a nailed down floor on older buildings where the sub-floor is not as straight.

But gluing down the floor especially engineered floors is becoming a lot more popular because of how well it works in holding the floor down and eliminating more of the squeaks.

There is also more and more people starting to do both nails and glues for maximum affect. The only difference is the cost of the labour to install as gluing makes the process longer.


Your hardwood floor should be delivered to your home and then left for anywhere from 2 days to a week before it is installed. This is called acclimatizing the floor.

Your home of chalet will have a different temperature and moisture level then the factory or warehouse that the floor is coming from. Doing this will ensure that the floor doesn't warp after it is released from its packaging and installed on the floor.


If your new hardwood is a re-install in an older home then you will have to decide what your going to do with your existing baseboards. You can either remove them and then try to re-install them after then new floor has been installed or you can leave them in place and run the floor up to them. Then you will have to add a piece of small trim like a 1/4 round to cover the left over gap.

Depending on the thickness of the floor you might have to cut back the trim that runs around the doors, if your new floor is thicker then the old floor then your door trim will be in the way and will need to be trimmed back to allow the new floor to slide underneath.


You are going to have to find some place to put your furniture when the floor is being installed. You either some other place in the house to put it or you rent a storage unit to move it too. The more times the flooring installers have to move your furniture the more labour time your going to have to pay for.

Installing new floors is like any other construction, its creates dust and dirt. Put in your budget for a good cleaning of the house when the floor is finished being installed.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.