Skip to content

Maintaining Your Home

Auburn Homes chooses many low or no maintenance products for our homes, which helps eliminate time consuming and expensive upkeep. However, no home is maintenance free. Understanding and maintaining your home helps to keep it in tip-top shape and ensures your warranty coverage is protected.

Exterior Maintenance

Your home’s exterior is the first line of defence 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 help prevent larger problems later on.


It’s easy to ignore your roof until 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. 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 directed 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 home’s brick and mortar will ensure 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 home’s 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 the soil around your home is sloped away from the house, allowing water to continually flow away from the foundation.

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 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. It’s 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’s your responsibility to water your sod upon installation to ensure it takes, whether or not your site has built in irrigation.

You must use enough water to completely penetrate the sod and saturate the soil below. This sends new sod roots down for water and help establish a healthy root base. Under-watering only saturates the surface of your sod, causing hte 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, 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.

Interior Maintenance


Caulking is used throughout the home to seal gaps or unfinished edges. There are a variety of types of caulking in your home, and they all require maintenance.

Mildew resistant silicone caulking is used in kitchen and bath areas. Latex caulking is more commonly used around trim. Although both products are designed to maintain some flexibility; however, they can dry out and crack over time. Caulking should be inspected regularly to ensure a tight seal. Be sure to thoroughly remove old caulking and clean the surface before applying new caulking.

Maintaining the caulked joints in your home requires very little time and is one of the most effective ways of protecting your home from moisture damage while preserving its beauty.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile has a beautiful water resistant finish and is virtually maintenance free. However, grout, the material used between the tile, is porous and has a tendency to crack.

Grouted tubs and showers require a little more attention, where silicone sealant has been applied to form the water tight joint. It is very important that both the grout and silicone in the bath be properly maintained, as water can get in behind the tile and cause the tiles to become loose or fall off. Your local hardware store can offer assistance and provide the proper materials to maintain your grout and silicone.

Hardwood Flooring

The hardwood floors of today are very different from traditional hardwood. They come with a cured factory finish that resists but does not prevent scratches and damage. Floors take a lot of abuse, but some simple precaution will help preserve your hardwood’s natural beauty for years to come.

Sweep hardwood regularly. Fine pieces of gravel brought into the home on the bottom of shoes can cause severe dents and scratches in hardwood. Keep pets nails trimmed and avoid footwear that can damage your hardwood. Damp mopping with plain water should easily remove dust and most dirt. Remove tough dirt by hand with a soft washcloth and mild dish soap. Never use harsh chemical cleaners on your floor. Do not allow water to sit on hardwood and immediately wipe up spills that can seep into the joints between boards.

Because wood takes on the humidity of its environment, your hardwood is going to move around a little. This is normal. Maintaining a consistent humidity level in your home during every season is the best care you can give your hardwood flooring.

Exposure to light will cause the colour of your hardwood to change over time. If you have an area rug over your hardwood, you will find that after time, the colour under the rug will differ from the rest of the exposed wood. This is normal and not considered a defect of the wood or its performance.

Cabinets & Countertops

Cabinetry should always be treated with care and cleaned properly. Take care not to overload shelves or bang the cabinet doors. Check the hinges regularly to ensure the doors and drawers are properly aligned to prevent chips.

It’s very important that water not be left to sit on countertops, especially around the sink or on the mitres. Water damaged countertops are not warranted and can be costly to replace. Never use a laminate countertop to cut on, and do not clean counters with abrasive cleaners or bleach. Hot pots and pans can leave a burn mark in laminate, so be sure to take care with hot items.

Doors and Trim

The building code requires builders to install an automatic door closer on the door between your home and garage. This is for your safety and helps to prevent dangerous fumes from the garage from entering your home. Do not force it, as it will break and damage your trim.

Seasonal Maintenance

Taking a few minutes each season to maintain your home could save you thousands of dollars in repair bills later. Ensuring water is draining away outside and your equipment is working properly inside will ensure your home functions well and is comfortable in every season. These handy checklists have been designed to assist you in establishing a regular maintenance routine.


  • Clean or replace furnace filter and heat recovery ventilator (HRV) filter.
  • Check attic for evidence of water penetration caused by ice damming.
  • Check roof for any loose shingles (only if you are able to safely).
  • Clean eavestrough and downspouts.
  • Inspect the grading around your home to ensure water can drain away from the foundation.
  • Fertilize, weed and over seed the lawn.
  • Check driveway and walkway for frost damage.
  • Check caulking around windows and doors.
  • Install window screens.
  • Turn on exterior water supply.
  • Check floor drains to be sure they have water.
  • Check sump pump to ensure it is plugged in and working. Clean any debris out of the pit.
  • Get out dehumidifier and change filter if applicable.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.


  • Clean or replace furnace filter and heat recovery ventilator (HRV) filter.
  • Remove cover and inspect the air conditioning. Clean if needed.
  • Dehumidify the basement. Check & clean filter often.
  • Check the water heater for leaks.
  • Check all exhaust vent terminations around exterior of house and repair caulking if needed.
  • Check and service all door, gate and shed locks.
  • Fertilize and weed the lawn.
  • Check landscaping to ensure it’s not trapping water by the house.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.


  • Clean or replace furnace filter and heat recovery ventilator (HRV) filter.
  • Check garage door track and lubricate moving parts.
  • Check fireplace, furnace and HRV terminations and repair caulking if needed.
  • Have furnace, fireplace and HRV serviced by a professional.
  • Check insulation in the attic to be sure it is evenly distributed and no settlement has occurred.
  • Clean and store dehumidifier.
  • Check floor drains to be sure they have water.
  • Check sump pump to ensure it is plugged in and working. Clean any debris out of the pit.
  • Fertilize, weed and over seed the lawn.
  • Remove leaves and seasonal landscaping from your yard.
  • Clean eavestrough and downspouts.
  • Inspect trees for any loose branches and remove.
  • Drain exterior water lines and winterize properly.
  • Check weather stripping around windows and doors for a proper seal.
  • Remove screens and store. Ensure all windows are closed tightly and locked.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.


  • Clean or replace furnace filter and heat recovery ventilator (HRV) filter.
  • Remove snow and ice from overhangs and eaves if you are able to safely.
  • Check fireplace, furnace and HRV vents to be sure snow is not blocking them.
  • Check hydro and gas meters to be sure snow is not blocking them.
  • Keep your driveway and sidewalk free of snow and ice at all times.
  • Check floor drains to be sure they have water.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Auburn Homes’ communities are thoughtfully designed for many different lifestyles.