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Your Home's exterior is the first line of defense from the destructive forces of sun, wind and rain. It's important to protect your home by inspecting and maintaining its exterior regularly. Discovering and repairing problems early can avoid much larger problems later on.
It's easy to ignore your roof unless it begins to leak. Then it will demand your immediate attention! However, if you inspect your roof periodically, you can correct minor problems before they cause major damage. Checking for loose or missing shingles, a tight seal at flashings and vents, a proper drip edge and a proper ridge cap will keep your roof functioning well.
Gutters and downspouts
Gutters, or eavestrough and downspouts may be the most important tool in avoiding moisture damage. Properly draining evestroughs and downspouts effectively gather all the water from the roof and take it away from your home, and it's a surprising amount of water! Ensuring your troughs and downspouts are free of debris, leaves, critters and twigs is critical in maintaining good drainage. Downspouts should be turned away from the house onto a splash pad, to slow the flow of water and prevent erosion in your lawn.
Most vinyl sidings are intended to be installed loosely, so the vinyl can expand and contract in the sun's heat. However, your siding should be neatly tucked into the return channels and corner posts at all times. These trim pieces work with the lapped siding to create a water drainage system suitable for even the toughest Canadian climates.
Most siding is perforated with small drainage holes, so any moisture that does get behind can be easily drained away. Take caution when washing vinyl siding with a power sprayer, to not drive water into the drainage holes. Check that siding and trim pieces are secured to your home, and that no raw edges are exposed. Return channels should be neatly caudled to brick at all vertical joints.
Brick is a handsome and durable finish for the exterior of a home, but it does require some maintenance. Checking your homes brick and mortar will insure your home stays safe and dry.
Because brick is porous, it is not meant to be installed right up against the wall. A small space is left between the back side of the brick and the outside face of the wall to allow air and moisture to pass behind the brick, keeping it dry. Small weeping holes are left in the bottom course of brick to allow that moisture to escape, and it's important that these be kept open and free of debris.
Do not allow vines or other invasive plants to climb on your brick, as they may penetrate the surface of the brick and mortar, allowing moisture to penetrate it. Excessive moisture penetration and a freeze-thaw cycle can result in extensive damage to your brick.
Caulking is used to seal joints, gaps and seams in exterior walls. Without caulking, cool air, water and insects could enter your home through these openings. Caulking can be found on exterior walls where siding and trim meet at corners, around window and door frames, where pipes and other protrusions pass through exterior wall, and where any two unlike surfaces meet up.
All caulking compounds dry out over time. Check for cracked, loose or missing caulking as part of your spring and autumn maintenance inspections. Typically, your home should be re-caulked every five years or less. Caulking around some areas may deteriorate sooner. Repair deteriorated caulking as soon as it appears.
Foundation wall and positive drainage
A specific grading plan has been prepared for your home, and the city requires builders to have the grading certified by a professional engineer. However, sometimes settlement of the newly placed soil can occur after certification. Settlement around the exterior of the home is the number one reason for leaks in basements. Shifting soil can cause lateral pressure against the wall and put stress upon your foundation, causing it to crack. Inspect the grading around your home seasonally, to ensure no settlement has occurred.
When settlement occurs, water cannot drain away from your homes foundation. The added weight of wet soil can significantly increase the lateral pressure already acting upon your foundation. Uneven or poorly draining soil also holds moisture against the wall. It is very important that the soil around your home is sloped away from the house, so that water is being directed away.
Never place objects such as sheds or fences in the drainage swales. If your lot has a rear-yard catch basin it is particularly important to ensure there are no obstructions and that the grate is kept fee of debris. Rear yard catch basins can receive storm water from several lots, and are an integral part of the overall subdivision drainage plan. Interfering with drainage can cause flooding and severe property damage. It is perfectly normal for some water to remain in the swale after a heavy downpour or spring thaw, as it is important that rainwater be allowed to recharge the soils natural moisture content.
If your home has been equipped with window wells, it is important that you keep the window wells free of leaves, weeds and debris. A drainage tile has been installed under the stone to take water away from the window well. Weeds and debris may block that tile and result in serious water damage through the basement window.
Sod & Landscaping
Landscaping can add value and beauty to the exterior of any home but it must be maintained. It is your responsibility to water your sod upon installation to ensure it takes.
You must use enough water to completely penetrate the sod and saturate the soil below. This will send your new sod roots down for water and help establish a healthy root base. Under-watering saturates only the surface of your sod, causing your sod roots to turn up for a drink. This will delay the period of establishment and may compromise the long term health of your lawn. The rooting process typically takes up to two summers to complete.
During the first three to five days after receiving your sod, you should plan to water every area for at least 6 hours a day, depending on the weather, and at least 2 hours a day for the rest of the first week. Deeply saturate your lawn overnight or in the morning to be sure your sod is prepared to face a long day of hot sun. If possible, keep the surface moist throughout the day to prevent the sod from drying out.
Dead sod is not covered under warranty and will not be replaced.