Home Repairs

Home repairs

In some ways owning a home is like owning a car. This is because the older a house gets the more money that has to be put into it with repairs and maintenance. And in our climate the word “lifetime warranty” may have a different meaning than in a place with a more moderate winter s this is not always the case.

From the pouring of the foundation through the first twenty years of a home's life there are many forces at play. In most parts of the country there is a freeze-thaw cycle where water gets into cracks and freezes making the crevice larger for the next year. Then in the summer the temperature can get over 40 degrees Celsius, a difference of 80 degrees from winter to summer in a place like Winnipeg.

Some homeowners do not begin home repairs until the home situation gets really bad. It is a “dumbing down” effect where the gradual decay of things like a fence, roof or window ledges does not bother you after a while, at least not until water begins to come in through the ceiling or you want to sell the home. A real estate agent giving you his or her opinion on the shape of your home can be like someone dumping a bucket of cold water over you.

The best way to renovate is to begin with a “triage” system where you identify the things that need to be addressed immediately in the home repair realm like plumbing. After that you can make a list of renovations you would like to make in order that you can afford them.

Home Inspection

One of the best ways to get a good opinion of where you should start your home improvement repair is by having a certified inspector go through your home. This will cost around $300 but is well worth it because he or she will give you a list of the things that need to be done in order of importance, including many things that you may not see. And this will be an honest assessment since the inspector is a neutral party.

Many of the inspectors also can give you an energy audit as well. This may include a blower test where a “tent” is attached to the front door and a large fan sucks air out of the home. While this is going on air leaks can be heard like little whistles and by going though the house the inspector can point out areas of energy loss. Not only will this save you money in the long run, the changes you make may qualify you for an energy grant from the government.

Start Small

Even if the inspector has a “must do immediately” section of the report people only have so much money. Therefore, the best thing to do is start with the projects that you can afford. For example, if the home is drafty and cold putting more insulation in the attic and caulking around the windows is not a big expense at the home stores. And many of these types of projects are do-it-yourself ones even for people who are not that handy.

There also may be “band aid” solutions that can get you by until you have the money for bigger projects. For example, missing shingles or a leak in an old roof can be fixed by a roofer for a couple of hundred dollars which may tie you over a couple of years until you have the cash to redo the whole roof.

Do One Thing at a Time

Some homeowners attack the renovation process by starting in one place, like a bathroom, and then changing horses in mid-stream. This may be due to the fact that they have to wait a month for a drywall installer to complete the job and so the total time for the project may be two months. Rather than wait they start on another project like the kitchen and very soon they have two important places in the home that are out of commission. And this is not to mention the mess that is associated with two different renovations on the go.

In cases where a project may take longer than you think (which is almost all the time!) have some smaller projects from the inspection list ready to go. Try to make them exterior projects so that the mess stays outside, like painting the exterior trim or fence. Otherwise, the renovation experience becomes an ongoing hassle and this does not create a great working relationship with a tradesperson coming in to finish the job. Expect delays and prepare for them.

Finish the Job

Some psychologists have written that one of the causes of depression is unfinished projects, whether renovations or unfinished books. This is why it is good to start small and make sure you finish the job. Not only will the place look great you will feel better and have the confidence to go on to larger projects. Because nothing succeeds like success and your success will be getting all the minor repair projects completed so that you can expand your home improvement projects.

For more information on getting a contractor to help you get you home in order consult our Contractors Directory. You can find inspectors and contractors there or you can post your project online at and get professionals to call you.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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