Mike Holmes A fix in time saves nine

Mike Holmes: A fix in time saves nine

Simple repairs ward off costly problems Simple repairs ward off costly problems Simple repairs ward off costly problems Simple repairs ward off costly problems

Replacing bad windows in your home can help save on monthly energy bills, and prevent future water damage.

Over the years I’ve seen a few fixes a lot of homeowners tend to ignore and that lead to bigger problems down the road. Some of these fixes are easier and less expensive than others, but every single one of them will save you money in the long run, no exception.

Cracked or crumbling grout. I don’t care if it’s in your shower, on the bathroom floor or in the kitchen: cracked grout or grout t hat is starting to crumble lets water and moisture get in behind tiles. It also downgrades the look and value of your home.

If the grout isn’t fixed, moisture can also reach the subfloor. That means pulling up the tiles and going down to the subfloor and studs to get rid of any mould and water-damaged or rotted wood. If your kitchen backsplash or tiles on a bathroom wall are affected, you’ll need to get rid of the wallboard behind the tile too.

As soon as grout starts to fail, call the contractor who installed your tiles and find out exactly how your tiles were installed. Then find out what the grout and tile manufacturer recommends for proper installation. Did the contractor follow the right protocols? Was the grout sealed? It shouldn’t be. Grout needs to breathe so if any moisture gets in behind your tile it can escape.

Crumbling mortar. The mortar between exterior bricks needs maintenance. Crumbling mortar can cause bricks to come loose, causing a huge safety hazard. Water can make its way behind the bricks, possibly damaging wood framing and sheathing, and leading to complications such as mould and poor indoor air quality. In some cases, crumbling mortar can allow toxic gases — like CO emissions — to seep in.

The fix for crumbling mortar is called pointing, or tuck-pointing. That means scraping out the old mortar and replacing it with new mortar. The new mortar going in should seal the gaps between the bricks. Water should never sit on top of exposed brick because it will seep in and cause bricks to flake or spall, and that reduces bricks’ lifespan.

The cost of tuck-pointing is labour, not materials, so the longer you wait, the tougher — and more expensive — the job is.

Bad windows. It’s not an easy fix and it’s definitely not cheap, but replacing bad windows is necessary. How do you know if you have bad windows? Frost and condensation are a constant issue; it’s noticeably colder around the window; there’s mould or decay on the windowsill or frame; the windows jam; and condensation or frost builds up between the window panes within the glass.

Bad windows also lead to major heating and cooling losses, which you pay for every month. Multiply that by however long you plan on living in your home and you can see how replacing bad windows pays for itself.

Not planning on staying put? Well, replacing bad windows can boost your home’s resale value.

Leaks. Water stains on walls or the ceiling must be addressed immediately.

The stains mean water is penetrating the interior structure of your home — and there’s enough there that it’s starting to seep through the drywall. Again, moisture boosts the chance that mould will grow, and once you’ve got mould, you’ve got a serious problem.

Flickering lights. They usually signal bigger, more dangerous electrical trouble and potential fire hazards, such as faulty wiring and short circuits. If you have flickering lights in your home call a licensed electrical contractor. An electrical fix could save your home and your life.

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.

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