Sealing at Windows and Door Frames

Detecting Leaks Around Your Windows

seal leaking

Seals which are broken, pulling away, missing or which are damaged as a result of ageing or long-term weather exposure will cause windows and doors to leak. Furthermore, the sealant or window putty used to seal the glazing beads on wooden windows may crack and allow moisture into the gazed areas of your windows. In addition, when the glazing putty on your steel windows cracks or a section falls out moisture will corrode the steel window frame.

These are the most obvious areas where leakages occur!

However, the most undetected area for leaks at windows is the junction between the window frame and the brickwork, plasterwork and window sill. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most common defects that I have found on both new and older homes.

There are multiple ways to detect leaks around your windows and doors:

  • On the outside of your home, check the areas where two different materials meet. This includes your door and window corners and frame.
  • Look for cracks in the door itself and in window panes.
  • Examine the existing caulking (sealing) and window weather stripping and weatherboards on doors. Make sure both are in good condition. In addition, leave no gaps or cracks.
  • If you can see daylight around a window or door frame, there will be a leak.
  • Shut a window and check for gaps in which you can insert the paint scraper. If you can easily insert the scraper under the closing part of the window, it is probably not watertight!

Types of Window Caulk

The sealant used to seal windows is the caulk. Furthermore, caulking is the action of sealing the windows doors and so on. For one window, homeowners will likely use a half-cartridge of caulk. Also, be sure to use a UV resistant caulk for external caulking. Similarly, you will need to use an acrylic caulk if you are sealing around the edge of the frame on plastered and painted homes. Additionally, your local hardware or paint supplier will be able to give you advice on the different caulking materials you should use for differing applications.

Seal the Cracks and Leaks

Once you’ve selected the best caulk for your home, follow these best practices for sealing:

  • Clean areas to be caulked. Remove old paint or sealant. Use a putty knife, screwdriver, or a rough brush to clean the area.
  • To avoid sealing in moisture, make sure the area is dry. In addition, it is better to apply caulk during dry weather with low humidity.
  • Apply caulk to all joints in the window frame, especially the joint where the frame and walls meet.
  • Hold the gun or product at a 45-degree angle, and caulk in one continuous movement.
  • Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack.
  • If caulk comes out of a crack, use a putty knife or screwdriver to remove it. Reapply the caulk in the crack after making sure that the area around the crack is clean.
  • Check the window sill for cracks in the plaster and mortar joints especially between precast window sills and seal them.
  • Caulk the top edge (head) of the window frame. It will prevent moisture from running back along the underside of the lintel and entering the windows frame. If you don’t seal this area moisture can become trapped behind the frame and lintel.

Be Careful Where You Seal

It may be tempting to seal any and all gaps around your windows. However, some windows require the means to prevent moisture from accumulating in the frame itself.

Avoid caulking:

  • The window’s weep hole.  This small hole at the bottom of the window frame which allows moisture behind the window to exit through the frame. Therefore, if you plug this hole, it could cause mould or rot to grow unchecked.
  • Don’t seal moveable parts. Caulking moving parts could seal your windows closed. Therefore, avoid affecting operable parts, like sashes in a double hung window.
  • Be careful with caulking above the window frame.  A groove in the plasterwork at the top of the window along the width of the window is a drip. It helps usher rain away from the windows frame. As a result, closing off this joint can allow moisture to become trapped behind the frame and lintel.

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Walk-Through Inspections

Walk-Through Inspections

walk-through inspection

About Walk-Through Inspections

A walkthrough is not a general home inspection.  It is a much more informal inspection than my usual property inspections. As a result, I perform a visual walkthrough of the home/building and provide you with comments summarizing my observations. Furthermore, my comments will be nothing more than a subjective summary of my initial observations during the walk-through.

A walkthrough is also very affordable. This type of inspection is mainly for a client who does not (at this point) want a full home inspection. Because a walkthrough is less formal, I do not adhere to the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. If you are present at the walkthrough I do not generate a written report.  I communicate my observations orally to you.

However, you don’t have to be present during the walkthrough.  If you are not, I will generate a checklist during the walkthrough by using specialised software for your information.

However, we will need to have a Walk-Though Inspection Agreement with each other. This is to protect me against liability as a result of deviating from the requirements of InterNACHI Standards of Practice.

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Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill

Has the Property Practitioners Bill missed the point?

consumers

Are consumers offered more protection?

Parliament passed the new Property Practitioners Bill on Tuesday 4th December 2018. This bill has been on the cards before 2011!

The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.

However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!

Here is that portion of the Bill:

CHAPTER 10

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Mandatory disclosure form

  1. A property practitioner –
    1. may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
    2. must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
  2. The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of a property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
  3. A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by an affected consumer.
  4. Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
  5. Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.

This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.

So what has changed? Continue reading “Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill”

Snag Inspection and Report

New Homeowners Should Have a Professional Snag Inspection

 

snag inspection

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Do you believe that you are protected by buying from a reputable developer or builder? Will you be able to identify all the snags without a professional snag inspection?

What buyers don’t realise is that other building contractors sub-contract to the developer or builder. Both the developer and builders are under pressure to complete the units or homes within a contractual timeframe. Often, the builders take shortcuts resulting in best building practices falling by the wayside.

In addition, most new homebuyers believe the NHBRC, bank and municipal building inspectors provide them with this sort of protection.

This is not the case!

Inspectors duties

Bank inspectors

Your bank inspector determines the market value of property, land, and improvements for the bank. Therefore, he is not concerned with the state of the property unless it affects the value of the property.

Municipal Building Inspectors

The municipal building inspector checks your building to ensure it complies with approved construction drawings, local bylaws and zoning regulations. In addition, he or she is also responsible for ensuring compliance with local and national building regulations.

Engineers

Structural engineers inspect and evaluate the structures of your home only. This is the foundations, slabs, walls and roof.  They are not concerned with the installations and finishes which make up more than half the value of your house.

NHBRC inspectors

NHBRC inspectors inspect all new homes to check that the builder is complying with the NHBRC requirements on site

The NHBRC Warranty Fund covers you against major and defined structural defects for up to five years. Enrolling your new home with the NHBRC is a statutory requirement. Theoretically, this affords you protection against contractors who deliver substandard design, workmanship and poor quality materials.

As a new homeowner, you have the right to instruct your developer or builder to rectify shoddy and defective work. This includes non-compliance or deviation from the terms, plans and specifications of your building agreement with him.

However, the required NHBRC inspections are seldom all done. Continue reading “Snag Inspection and Report”

Air Pollution in Your Home

Pollution Indoors

air pollution
Adequate ventilation and good air distribution are important.

In our cities, the air we breathe is not clean. Coal plants and factories belch out harmful CO2, trucks and cars spew filthy exhaust fumes. Many families in our cities rely on coal and wood fires for heating and cooking. On the outskirts of the city, cows and other farm animals add methane to the mix. Sometimes just looking out your window at all the pollution may be enough to make you stay indoors.

Staying indoors

The degradation of indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor pollution. Pollutants can build up more in the much smaller closed up area of your home. They may not be ventilated to the outside.

You may think indoor air pollution does not apply to you. In addition, you don’t live near a highway, farm or industrial plant.  You don’t smoke and you don’t use a wood-burning stove. However, the air you breathe may still be polluted.

Some very surprising sources cause indoor air pollution:

  • Your house itself.
  • The land on which your house is constructed.

Furthermore, we spend a large portion of our time indoors. Indoor pollution can then becomes a serious concern.

Side effects of air pollution

Some side effects of indoor pollution may be a little worse than the common cold. However, pollution can lead to coma, lung cancer and death if you are exposed over a long period.

The likelihood is that you encounter at least one harmful chemical in your home every day. Even if this is not so you may not yet be safe! Using hairspray or air fresheners indoors can release high levels of air pollutants in a very short time.

For instance, chemicals leaching out of your carpets and furniture will severely affect the air quality over time.

Listed below are some most common causes of indoor air pollution:

Cigarette smoke

Cigarette smoke carries many toxins. It remains within contained spaces and can cause many medical problems for humans and pets. If you or someone in your family smokes rather do it outside the home.

Biological contaminants

Biological contaminants include bacteria, mould, mildew, viruses, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches and pollen. Many of these are carried into the house or grow in damp, warm environments. When you don’t open windows and doors after using showers and baths mould will form on walls and ceilings. Furthermore, you should prevent condensation on windows and walls in your bedroom by keeping a window open while you sleep.

Combustion

Unvented gas heaters, woodstoves, fireplaces and gas stoves emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and small particles. Therefore, take care when using solid fuels like wood and coal for heating and cooking. Ventilate the room or house sufficiently.

Household products

Paint, varnishes, hobby products, air fresheners and cleaning products release organic chemicals. Therefore, be careful with their use and storage.

Pesticides

Furthermore, up to 80% of exposure to pesticides happens indoors. Many homes have pesticides in indoor air at measurable levels. In addition, the potential harm from pollutants is dependent on individual sensitivity. The elderly, the young and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible.

Sufficient ventilation

Therefore, to prevent harm from these pollutants adequate ventilation in the home is very important. If fresh air frequently circulates throughout your home pesticides won’t accumulate and reach dangerous levels. Open windows and doors when the weather is nice, and especially after a lightning storm when the air is cleaner.

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