May 20, 2013 / 5:00 am
Spalling on concrete driveways is easy to spot once it is underway. Rough, pitted or flaky areas in the driveway indicate spalling. Concrete driveway spalling is usually a result of installation, environmental and mechanical factors. Most cases start off as cosmetic in nature affecting the surface of the concrete driveway only. Spalling can penetrate much deeper damaging rebar and for this reason it is important to get on it and nip it in the bud.
It stands to reason that the best time to address concrete spalling is before it starts. Using the correct concrete mixture and proper curing techniques is a must. There are a host of sealants available that prevent spalling that can be applied upfront. Sealants are available that are decorative in nature.
Concrete flaking and scaling can be caused during the freeze thaw process in the winter. Moisture in the concrete can freeze and cause the material to expand which creates pressure. Repetition of this cycle can cause the surface to scale or flake. Applying de-icing products on concrete can accelerate the spalling by introducing more moisture into it. Your vehicle can bring home de-icing compounds and deposit them right on your driveway without you thinking about it. That's why spalling problems are often associated with vehicle storage.
Spalling conditions can be caused during the driveway installation. In this case the top layer of concrete may have cured faster than the material below it causing moisture to be trapped. This causes a weak layer between the surface and the stronger slab below.
If you notice concrete spalling it’s best to act quickly and address it. The longer you leave the surface to deteriorate the higher the risk of more serious damage. Most of us aren’t versed in repairing concrete spalling. In this case I recommend that you bring in the right pro, with the right experience and the right tools. In situations like this, by the time you figure out and gather all the tools and materials the project would most likely be finished by a pro.
The good news is the vast majority of homeowners won’t have to deal with concrete spalling. All home maintenance starts with prevention including concrete driveway spalling.
(Photo: Hugh Cairns)
De-icing chemicals aggravate spalling concrete by allowing more water to migrate into the concrete increasing the size and depth of the spalling failures when a freeze/thaw cycle occurs. That's why spalling problems are often associated with vehicle storage.
May 13, 2013 / 5:00 am
Have you ever seen one of those makeover shows and seen the utter surprise and admiration on the faces of the lucky participants? I’m pretty sure that’s where the phrase OMG really got its boost. You know, I’m in houses every day. Some of them have certain warmth to them - I call them homes.
Making your house a home is a lot easier with some helpful hints and a fresh set of eyes. There is a lot of competition with the real estate market heating up. Making your home shine in order to sell is a good move. But you don’t have to be selling in order to make your home relaxing. Do it now and start enjoying your home immediately.
We live in a busy, fast-paced world with long work commutes, hectic schedules, and overlapping responsibilities. The average professional has to manage his time and energy between career, work responsibilities, family time, and many other household chores and errands. Many individuals are under a lot of stress and fatigue, and are looking for quick, convenient and affordable ways to release tension and stress from a hard day's work.
In your home staging plans, creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere within the walls and spaces of your house can prove to be a very enticing feature for your potential home buyers. Whether your home is being marketed to busy young professionals and entrepreneurs, or growing families with dual-employed parents, they will appreciate the relaxing ambiance and refreshing aura of your home interior, making it more marketable and quite possibly allowing you to command a higher price for the property as well.
Photo: Contributed - (Photo: Hugh Cairns)
Preparing your home to sell can be inexpensive and yield massive results. Professional home stagers provide expert advice on the best techniques to present your home to sell quickly.
Kelowna has one such pro that makes homes shine. Kim Tarr is the owner of Prep This House. She focuses on owner occupied homes for sale. Kim helps sellers stage their property themselves or she does it for them by looking after everything. Prep This House carries an accessory inventory so clients can rent what they need instead of purchasing something that may not work for them after they sell.
Kim Tarr offers 5 steps to a relaxing atmosphere when your home is on the market you can try for transforming your home into a refreshing oasis:
- A couple of furniture items in your bathroom will transform it. A strategically-positioned reading chair and coffee table in a corner of your bathroom transforms it from strictly bathroom to relaxing retreat. Add some potpourri, decorative towels, and a pillow, and it becomes a spa.
- In the kitchen, group similar-coloured silverware together. Even if you put away most of your kitchen stuff in closets and drawers, potential clients would still open them and look inside. For a more cohesive feel, organize similar coloured items together: white plates in one cupboard, dark plates in the other.
- Look for white flowing curtains that look like they came from a beachside hotel. You know exactly what these curtains look like: they are breezy but still evoke a sense of privacy, and the white gauze fabric gives a relaxing, peaceful feeling.
- Casual furniture keeps everything toned down. Heavy-looking furniture items can make someone feel like the space is too formal or intimidating. For a more relaxing feel, go for furniture items that are comfy-chic and with not much complications or intricacies; furniture with clean lines are great for this goal. Complete the look with soft pillows (one or two is usually enough; too many pillows can be distracting) and neutral colour slip covers.
- Decorate with subdued flowers and plants. Bright-coloured plants and flowers may be attractive, but in creating a relaxing space for home staging, use light-coloured plants, or flowers in white, or light shades of blue, yellow, green, and pink. Scents should not be too overpowering as well; the scent of lavender is ideal for this as it is very mild and unobtrusive.
To read more about home staging and how prepare your home to sell click here.
Kim Tarr can be reached at prepthishouse.com
May 6, 2013 / 5:00 am
Often, homeowners can target themselves for theft unwittingly. Your home security begins with decreasing your chances of being a victim of theft. Before you spend money on a home security system you can take everyday measures to protect your valuables.
(Photo: Hugh Cairns)
Get your neighbours involved with keeping an eye out while you're away. Just because a white van pulls up in front of your home with
Don’t give thieves the idea of breaking into your home
Many thefts occur because the property is an easy target. Most thieves look for something that is worth stealing. Of course, items left outside the home allow them to size up what is worth stealing.
Dark properties attract theft
Not surprisingly, 90% of thieves avoid homes that are well lit. The dark of night provides great cover for people to go unnoticed. Read my article about automated astronomical time switches for your outdoor lighting. Consider installing motion sensors that trigger exterior lights.
Burglars prefer unoccupied homes
Before you go on vacation arrange to stop delivery of mail and newspapers. Alternatively, ask a neighbor to pick them up daily. Don’t put out your garbage well in advance of garbage day. Burglars don’t like signs of occupancy - put lights and televisions on timers. Surprisingly, leaving curtains closed often indicates that homeowners are on holiday especially when they are closed for days on end. Crafty thieves have been known to leave door hangers to see how long it takes a homeowner to take them down.
Don’t Facebook your vacation
The Internet is a wealth of personal information. It seems harmless, but letting your friends know that you’re at Disneyland hanging out with Mickey for a week on Facebook isn’t a great idea. The problem is we can’t be entirely sure of who we are sharing our information with.
Don’t rely on alarm companies
They all portray themselves as knights in shining armor protecting your home from all possibility of burglary. In my books they don’t stop thieves. When the alarm goes off, it limits the time thieves spend in your home. Often they don’t trigger until the end of an invasion. Remember, home alarm systems only work when you turn them on. Alarms are most effective when they're obvious. Signal beacons, cameras and horns visible from the street are effective.
Get your neighbours involved with keeping an eye out while you’re away. Just because a white van pulls up in front of your home with “appliance repair” on the sides doesn’t mean that it’s an honest visit. Sadly, gone are the days of straight shooters.
Apr 29, 2013 / 5:00 am
High above our heads, our chimneys mostly go by unnoticed. Often neglected, chimneys are regarded as a critical component in our heating systems. I suspect that chimneys are overlooked because of their rugged long lasting looks. But of course their ability to protect themselves isn’t entirely related to their looks.
I’d venture to say most of the homebuyers I meet through home inspections would expect that the purpose of examining of a roof would be to look at its covering, but that’s not the case with home inspections. We look beyond the roof covering and assess the drainage systems, the visible flashings and roof penetrations including the chimney when present.
You shouldn’t wait for a home inspection to inspect your chimney. The professional inspection of a chimney is an important service offered by several reputable chimney services here in the Okanagan. Many follow the recommendations of the National Fire Code of Canada.
The most important reason to have your chimney inspected is for your safety. Flue deterioration can cause poisonous gases to enter your home through the smallest of cracks. In serious cases, chimney and flue erosion can result in flue blockage and partial or complete internal collapse.
Chimneys operate under temperature extremes and are exposed to the weather. When a chimney inspection results in observable warping or buckling it is a concern. When a chimney is compromised it can cause serious damage to your home. It is vital to have your chimney checked for problems yearly. Now is a great time with months of reliable weather ahead of us.
(Photo: Hugh Cairns)
Always choose a WETT specialist over a generalist to inspect your chimney. Nobody knows about wood energy better than those who offer wood energy products, installation and maintenance services to the public.
Do I need my chimney inspected?
You bet, in my opinion at least before each burning season and of course every year before Santa’s arrival. If you are purchasing a home or have had performance issues, a chimney inspection should be a top priority for you. Never wait to have a chimney inspection if you suspect abnormal conditions. Waiting often results in additional repairs and sometimes property loss.
Who inspects chimneys?
In the Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton areas call in a WETT technician. There are different levels of WETT certification. WETT is the acronym for Wood Energy Technology Training. A WETT basic visual inspection is a general overview of the readily accessible parts of a solid fuel burning system to determine if the system meets current regulations. Anyone with a WETT basic visual inspection can conduct a WETT basic inspection, but like most professions, in my books it is better to have your system inspected by someone who install and repaired wood burning systems. In this case the specialist is the technician.
Nobody knows about wood energy better than those who offer wood energy products, installation and maintenance services to the public. Sure, those who are certified may be able to point out corrections needed, but in virtually all cases they don’t offer, or have the tools and the background, to complete the repairs.
Read more About the House - Hugh Cairns articles
- Home inspections - turning the water on Apr 22
- Hugh Cairns: home inspections Apr 15
- Hugh Cairns: mobile home inspections Apr 8
- Face-lifts that sell houses Apr 1
- Replacing aluminum wiring Mar 25
- Is aluminum wiring safe? Mar 18
- Eco-friendly, reusable moving boxes Mar 11
- Ductless heat pumps Mar 4
- Spring exterior maintenance Feb 25
- Removing wood chip insulation Feb 18
- Wood chip insulation Feb 11
- Do I have enough attic insulation? Feb 4
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