5 Common House Maintainance Issues and How to Fix Them

When you own a home, you have the freedom to customize it as you wish. You also have the responsibility to keep it clean and well-maintained so that you can protect yourself and your household from any hazards. Damage can happen due to many different reasons and in various parts of your house, but it is normal and expected.

While living in your house, you might encounter pest infestations, plumbing leaks, or electrical problems. Most issues are easy to resolve if you know how to spot the warning signs and get the right professional help. These are the things you need to know to keep your house in perfect shape from top to bottom:

 

Your roof and chimney

Your roof protects you from the harsh elements and keeps your entire house dry. However, there are vulnerable areas of your roofing that you should look after. Find a safe way to access your roof, or ask for a contractor to inspect it for you. If you have shingles, check the cement backing to make sure they adhere to the roof.

The chimney can also deteriorate over time and with repeated exposure to strong winds, hail, or debris. Ensure the collar–the metal skirt at its base covering the joint between the chimney and the roof–is secure against your roof’s surface. You also need to ensure that the lining or the flue is intact to prevent fires or damage to the bricks.

 

Interior walls

Demising walls around your home are usually hollow. The gaps in the partitions allow electrical wiring and plumbing to pass through so you can access utilities in different parts of your house. Unfortunately, these areas are great hiding areas for unwelcome guests like termites and ants. To keep your walls free of pests, you need to ensure there are no moisture sources, and there are no cracks where they can enter. Termites make their way from your yard when you track in dirt from the outside. Inspect your walls frequently for signs of bulging or buckling. You should also look out for water rings or discoloration patches that could indicate a leak happening within. When you keep your walls dry, you can avoid insect colonies setting up shop.

 

Flooring and carpeting

Depending on what type of flooring you have, you may need frequent cleaning. If you have tiles, you need to have them re-grouted every two years to keep them looking clean. Polish your wood floors every few months to preserve their sheen and smooth out any scratches. Keep a lookout also for trembling or creaking floorboards–these may be signs that the supports need repair and reinforcement.

 

The exterior walls

Your exterior walls are bound to receive a lot of abuse from harsh weather elements. If you have siding, you will need to regularly inspect the sections to see if the adhesive material remains strong so they can continue to provide insulation and protection from debris. Painted areas of the exterior tend to peel over time from exposure to rain and snow. Set aside a budget to give your house a refreshed paint job every two to three years so you can keep up your curb appeal.

 

The basement

One of the most critical areas to maintain in your house is its foundation. A home with excellent masonry work of brick and stone will stand for many years. However, you will need to take steps to preserve its integrity over time. Inspect your basement walls every few months to look for cracks or holes where pests and water may come through. If you notice loose bricks or boulders coming off, call a foundation repair specialist to help you seal the walls and get them back to their original state.

Keeping your house in top condition is an ongoing process. It will require vigilance on your part to look out for the red flags. Look for a trusted home restoration service capable of working with various construction materials, especially brick and stone, for your exterior. Once you have the right partner, keeping your home in livable condition will be easy.

Do you need home restoration services in the Greater Toronto Area? We offer help with brick, masonry, waterproofing, and other problem areas you may have at home. Visit our website to see our full lineup of award-winning services. Request a free quotation for home repair today.

Slabjacking and Piering - Foundation Repair Types for Your Home

Taking care of your home means making sure everything is regularly inspected to keep it in optimal condition. This also means making sure its structure maintains its structural integrity, as this will keep you and your family safe and secure. The foundation of your home is one of the critical components to check on a regular basis because a compromised foundation can cause an array of problems that can be difficult to solve.

Familiarizing yourself with the foundation repair process will help you determine whether or not your foundation is in good shape. If you’re looking for a new house, you’ll also want to know whether or not its foundation needs to be repaired.

Here are the two most common methods of foundation repair to consider for your home:

Slabjacking

This repair method is also known as concrete lifting, and is a commonly used way to repair houses that are built on a concrete plate. It’s a fast and affordable solution to repair your foundation while minimizing disturbance to your house or yard. It can also be carried out almost any time of the year, making it an easy and accessible way to repair your home’s foundation.

Slabjacking can also be used to repair cement plates in your home. Whether these cement plates are in the patio areas or  entryways, slabjacking is a great way to support these areas to prevent the cement plates from breaking and sinking.

With slabjacking, a pattern is drilled into the area that needs to be repaired. Afterwards, a plastic lifting solution is poured into these holes and under the platform using special equipment. The solution fills the empty spaces below the cement. After that, a concrete mix is used on the openings.

Piering

The other type of foundation repair that you can consider for your home is piering. This method uses steel or concrete posts to support a collapsed foundation. It’s also used to correct foundation settlement or reinforce failing building foundations.

Piering is also a low-cost method to repair the foundation. It’s much more affordable than completely replacing the foundation as well. This type of method addresses the cause of the settlement, such as unstable soil and its consequences in one go. It’s also a flexible and non-intrusive method of repair, which will allow you to continue using your home while repair work is being carried out.

With piering, an excavation is made around the foundation. Push piers, made of galvanized or epoxy-coated steel pipes, are driven into the foundation with a hydraulic ram. After that, helical piers, which are also constructed of steel, are drilled into the ground with a hydraulic torque motor. Then the hydraulic jacks raise the sinking foundation to the right level, securing it into place with bolted or welded wall brackets.

Conclusion

Repairing the foundation of your home can be a stress-free process with these two foundation repair types. They cause minimal to no disturbance to your home and landscape, are affordable, and allow you and your family to continue living in your house during the course of repair work. Now that you know the two most common types of foundation repair, you can identify which one your foundation might need to restore it back to good condition.

Are you looking for a service that offers foundation repair in Toronto? Let us know at Red Robin Masonry! We understand that your home is the biggest investment in your life, which is why we’re committed to helping you maintain it. We offer home restoration services, brick repair services, and much more. Contact us today to request a quote!

The Positive Impacts Waterproofing Concrete in Your Home

If you have masonry and other cement-based materials in your home, you will largely benefit from the benefits of waterproofing. This process is mostly done to secure the overall condition of the cinder blocks or cemented pavements by keeping water out. In fact, some professional masonry companies in Canada are emphasizing its necessity.

In other countries, masonry builds are required to be fitted with waterproofing. This is due to its benefits in longevity and general safety. If you are currently considering waterproofing, this guide will help you understand why it’s worth the investment. It will also show you pre-conditioning guidelines to facilitate the success of the service.

Positive Impacts of Waterproofing Concrete

The following impacts are the reasons that most masonry experts and building owners alike are turning to concrete waterproofing:

1. Energy Cost and Living Cost

Since HVAC systems are a staple in every Canadian home, waterproofing is a huge convenience when you suddenly have to turn up your unit. This is because unwaterproofed concrete has subtle cracks that let air escape. Thus, it takes longer for your space to adjust the temperature. In the long run, this will increase the usage and your electricity consumption.

On the other hand, waterproofed concrete translates to easier temperature control and less energy consumption in the long run. It is also a long-term investment that can significantly decrease your daily living cost. This is why most Canadian families also invest in it to save more money on top of its benefits in the wellbeing of their household.

2. Overall Health And Wellbeing

Speaking of saving and wellbeing, waterproofed concrete acts as a layer of protection against harmful mould that grows in wet cement. They are characterized as little black specs that can trigger respiratory diseases, like allergic rhinitis and asthma. Prolonged exposure to the mould also leads to viral infection and flare-ups on the skin. These health hazards are part of the reason why waterproofed concrete is more preferred in most masonry builds.

3. Safeguarding Your Home

Aside from the many health concerns, waterproofing also prevents cement erosion or the gradual weakening or degradation of your structure. In contrast, no proofing leaves room for stray water to seep in, be absorbed, promote mould growth, and eat away at your structure. Again, this is another reason why masonry builders recommend this step.

Another reason to waterproof your concrete is also helpful in securing the cemented walls in your basement. This prevents stray water from finding its way into the bottom of your home, which can cause flooding. Overall, the structural integrity of your home and your security largely benefit from this.

4. Home Value

As you safeguard home, waterproofing also adds to the resale value of your home. If you are looking to retire instead or keep living there, the service also secures that, as the structure will hold for a very long time. The long-term benefit of investing in waterproofing is like building a solid foundation on your home. Additionally, cemented products and structures themselves are also made stable and resistant to common wear and tear.

Pre-Conditioning Your Home for Waterproofing Concrete

The following guidelines are what you must adhere to if you are looking to waterproof your concrete:

  • Secure all home furnishings, electric boxes, and stairs: Possible dust and debris from waterproofing materials may find their way into your appliances and other furnishings. Thus, it is recommended to patch them up with tape and secure coverings.
  • Clean and dry surfaces before scrapping: For an even coating and layering of waterproofing materials, it is highly recommended to have surfaces cleaned properly of dirt.

Conclusion

In the event that you want to prolong the longevity of your structure, consider the many benefits and recommendations regarding waterproofing for your home. That way, you can ensure great results and get the most out of your home.

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While it may not come as a surprise to know that a strong foundation is the most important part of the house, most people may not know exactly why. It’s definitely responsible for supporting the entire weight of your home, but there are other factors that can affect the durability of your foundation, like the type.

There are plenty of things to consider when setting up the foundation of your house. Where is it located? Is it near a body of water or a swampy area? What kind of soil is in the area? Arming yourself with this knowledge will help you pick the right foundation for your house, which will eliminate future stress and headaches.

Here are some of the different types of foundation you’ll want to consider for your house:

Strip Foundation

This type of foundation is used in swampy areas. It’s specially designed to provide a strong and sturdy foundation while giving way to flowing water from the swamp so that it does not rise up. Strip foundation is made of a mix of concrete, cement, and aggregate, as this combination of materials is proven to be effective in a waterlogged environment.

When setting up this type of foundation, a substance called a damp proof membrane must be applied on top of the aggregate. This prevents the passage of water into the concrete, keeping the house dry.

Slab-on-Grade Foundation

This type of foundation makes use of a slab or a single layer of concrete that is several inches thick. This is usually placed on top of crushed gravel to help transfer the house’s weight onto the soil. This is most suitable in areas of warmer temperatures, or where the ground doesn’t freeze. The edges of the slab are thicker to make an integral footing, which is further supported by rods. This can be used in areas with clay soil.

Drilled Pier Foundation

Similar to the slab-on-grade foundation, the drilled pier foundation is best used in areas with clay or sandy soils. As these soils are soft and loose, a robust foundation made of concrete, cement, and aggregate is needed to give optimal support to a house. This type of foundation provides the strength needed when supporting a structure in clay soil, as they are installed deep into the soil where it is drier in order to provide more stability.   

Raft Foundation

Also known as a mat foundation, this is a long, continuous slab that stretches over the entire base of the house. It supports the building while also shifting the burden of the weight to the ground. This type of foundation is typically used in areas where the soil is weak. It’s also used for those who would prefer to have basements in their house. That’s because this type of foundation is created by excavating soil several feet below ground level in order to reach stronger and more compact soil.

Bottom line

It’s important to choose the right type of foundation for your house. Otherwise, it might cause problems that lead to foundation failures like cracks that will compromise the structural integrity of your house. Having the right foundation will not only help you save money from foundation repairs, but it will also help shield your house from natural disasters and also help make your house earthquake-proof.

Red Robin Masonry is a masonry company in Toronto, Canada. We specialize in home restoration and masonry services to make sure your structures are robust and well-maintained. Have some questions about your house’s foundation? Get in touch with us today and we’ll see how we can help!

The foundation is a critical part of your house that always needs your careful attention. When done correctly, it will keep your home stable through any weather that comes your way. If it starts to fail, however, the effect will be felt in the entire house as it will result in instability. In extreme cases, a faulty foundation can even cause the whole structure to collapse and make the building uninhabitable.

While foundation repair will certainly require the expertise of a structural engineer or a home restoration service, faulty foundations can be rather easy to notice. Before you are faced with extreme foundational issues at home, here are four signs of a faulty foundation that you should keep an eye out for:

1. Long, gaping cracks on the floor

As you should be aware, ground movement is relatively common, and it is normal for your foundation to slightly sink and for hairline vertical cracks to appear during the first two to three years after construction. However, seeing even a quarter of an inch climbing horizontally across your walls can mean that your foundation is experiencing more movement than what is considered normal. If you see cracks at a 45-degree angle, the foundation can be compromised, meaning that you need to seek professional assistance immediately.

2. Uneven floors

While cracks are definitely the most obvious sign, you should also check if there are portions of the house on the same level that feel lower or higher. One way to check is to place a ball on the floor in the center of the room and see if it consistently rolls away in one direction. You can also pour water and see if the puddle moves in many directions. If it flows consistently to one side, you know that your floor is not level.

3. Windows not closing

Because windows are designed to fit with an opening made during construction, any movement within the foundation will show cracks and gaps where the window frame and walls meet. Often, homeowners will notice that the windows no longer line-up or close properly and merely assume it as a faulty installation. However, this can also be a sign of the walls shifting due to an unstable foundation.

4. Doors are not lining up with their latches

Sometimes, doors that refuse to close may be caused by improper installation, but it often is also a tell-tale sign that your foundation has shifted, and your walls are no longer aligned. This is especially true if you see gaps where the wall and the door frames meet. Similar to windows, doors are also designed to fit flush to your walls. A crack or gap on top of the door frame will likely also appear as a consequence of a foundation that has moved.

Causes of moving foundations

There are many causes of a moving foundation. Often, it is a result of subpar construction work, where workers fail to compact a soil properly before laying the foundation. This results in structural failure as the foundation is vulnerable to water damage, and the soil is too soft to support a structure.

However, vibrations can also cause the soil to move. These vibrations can come from nearby construction or earthquakes. Vegetation can wreak havoc on your foundation as well. Tree roots, in particular, will grow around and under your home’s foundation and cause the soil to shift as it looks for water.

Conclusion

While good construction practices will come a long way to ensuring a stable foundation for your home, movements in the earth will often cause structural problems. Remember that cracks will often start small as well. Because of this, it is best to keep yourself aware of any signs of potential foundation issues and contact a reputable home restoration service before the issues accelerate.

Red Robin Masonry is your best option for foundation repair and other restoration services in Toronto. If you want to ensure a safe foundation for your home, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

When Is the Best Time of Year for a Foundation Repair - Our Guide

If you suspect a problem or are on the hunt for a new home, it’s important to consider when the best time of year is to have your foundation repaired. Nobody enjoys the expense that comes with a major repair but leaving it too long can cause more problems in the future. In any case, you might be wondering when to get your foundation repaired in the first place. Here’s what you need to consider.

During the Winter

From mid-December to March, the ground is considerably colder, which makes your home foundation more stable and easier to monitor for damage. In most cases, experts believe this is the best time to repair your foundation or tend to cracks. This is because stable soil prevents any damage from worsening. However, getting a foundation repair during this time of the year can mean having to postpone vacation plans, which is usually a big enough deterrent for most homeowners.

During the Spring

From April to June, heavy spring rains can cause cracks and, even worse, make them weep. At this point in the year, while doing spring cleaning, you’ll need to monitor these cracks on a weekly basis. Because foundation problems tend to be more obvious during this time of the year, you might be better off hiring home restoration services to assess the damage themselves.

As Soon as They Come

Though some experts may recommend getting your repairs done during certain times of the year, the correct time to do so is as soon as you notice any problems or damage. Waiting for a certain time of year or for specific conditions to become more apparent only allows your foundation problems to worsen and repair costs to skyrocket.

Remember, there are experts for a reason! What might look to you to be a minor inconvenience may just be the underlying problem to a much larger repair. The longer you put off your repairs, the longer you might have to wait to get an appointment at all. As the damage worsens, you won’t just be paying with your time or money—extreme cases might force you out of your home altogether.

That being said, here are signs of any foundation issues that you’ll want to look out for:

  • Hairline fractures or cracks in your base
  • Sloping, sagging or buckling of your floors
  • Large ruptures or gaps
  • Flaking and crumbling of major foundation
  • Moisture or mold
  • Water damage or soil shifting (soil that is unusually wet or unusually dry for the season)
  • Sagging or warped floors
  • Warped ceilings
  • Cracking, crumbling, or buckling of walls, pillars, moulding, joints, or chimneys
  • Improperly fitting doors and windows due to warped crevices

Conclusion

No, your home’s foundation isn’t going to collapse as soon as you spot a tiny crack—but it can if you leave the damage to worsen. There is no “right” season to get your foundation assessed other than when damages occur. However, you will want to get your home evaluated annually, to avoid any oversights.

Looking for home restoration services in Toronto? At Red Robin Masonry, we’ve got the tools! Equipped with the best inventory and masons in the city, we guarantee quality at competitive prices.