Home Inspection Articles

Father's Day: Tips for Treating Dad

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Jun 10, 2014 2:05:00 PM

FamilyIt’s mid-June, and you know what that means: Dad’s big day is just around the corner. That’s right; Father’s Day is this Sunday. Are you ready to celebrate? Or are you having difficulty buying for the man that apparently, especially when you ask him, wants for nothing? Instead of opting for the traditional tie and coffee mug, this year, try doing something for Dad.

Sure, a new tie can really bring a look together and a mug letting everyone know you’re the World’s Greatest Dad can definitely boost the ego, but helping with the chores that Dad is usually responsible for can be a thoughtful gift too. This weekend use the tips below so you can take care of the yard work and grilling, and give Dad a relaxing Father’s Day.

Yard Work

  • Mowing

When it comes to maintaining your yard, one of the most time-consuming tasks is mowing the lawn. This is a fairly straightforward, albeit annoying, chore. Make sure you clean away sticks and other items that may interfere with the mower before you begin. You don’t need to give your lawn a buzz cut. Try to keep the grass at least 6-8cm long so that the roots are shaded and able to hold water well. As with other outdoor activities in the summer, it’s important to be weather-prepared. Wear a hat, put on sunscreen and bug spray, and stay hydrated.

  • Watering

You may not have to help with this, as healthy lawns usually only require about 2.5cm of water on a weekly basis to thrive. Check to see when the last time your lawn was watered before taking any action. If it has been more than a week since your lawn was watered grab the hose or sprinkler. Water slowly to both make sure that the ground actually absorbs the water, and to limit the amount of run-off that occurs. It’s also important to water thoroughly – a shallow sprinkling doesn’t do as much good as soaking down into the roots.

  • Trimming

ShrubsLike the individuals who create and take care of them, every yard or garden is different. Some are a testament to organization; others cultivate a more natural aesthetic. Depending on the way your garden is laid out you may have to do some minor trimming. If you have any shrubs, hedges, or trees near the foundation of your home, it’s a good idea to pull branches and trim excess leaves away from the home. This will help to let sunlight into the home, curb the bugs that wish to access the home, and assist with water management.

  • Downspouts

While you’re by your foundation, take a look at your downspouts. How far do they extend? They should reach approximately 6 feet away from your home. If they fall short of this you may see wet or eroded patches where rainwater has been pooling. When not properly directed away from your home via a downspout, water remains on the ground by your foundation, slowly seeping into it. A minor repair to your downspouts can save you major expenses in the future.

Grilling Safety & Maintenance

  • Cleaning

Make sure your barbeque is clean before firing it up. Dirt, debris, bugs, and cobwebs can get lodged inside the grill – especially if you don’t use it frequently. This is not the sort of seasoning you want on your burgers, so always check to see how clean your grill is before putting food on it.

  • Propane Tank

Take a look at your propane tank. Of course, it’s important that there’s enough fuel to cook your food, but it’s also important to assess the condition of the tank. Is your tank damaged or rusty? If so, it might be time for a replacement. You should be replacing your tanks approximately every decade.

  • Charcoal

If you use charcoal as fuel, it’s important to make sure your barbeque is vented properly. Carbon monoxide is released when this fuel source is lit, and poses a threat when inhaled. Keep the barbeque at least 3 metres away from windows and doors.

Father's Day

When you’re done grilling, do not dispose of the used charcoal unless you are confident that the coals are fully extinguished. Hot coals can easily start a fire and are very dangerous.

  • Safety Tips

Do not leave your barbeque unsupervised, especially if you are grilling with your children and pets nearby.

Keep the barbeque out of range of combustible items like wooden fences and trees and shrubs.

Do not get too close to the grill and make sure to wear appropriate clothing like a thick apron and short sleeved shirt to help minimize the potential for having your clothing catch fire. As well, use long tongs and brushes to protect you from the open heat source.

Whatever you end up doing with Dad, we hope you have a safe and fun Father's Day. Looking for more summer tips? Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook

Topics: Homeowners, Home Inspector Advice, Summer Tips, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Home Safety, Outdoor Fun

Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

Posted by Thea Scrimger on May 8, 2014 12:52:00 PM

Living RoomSpring has arrived and although it’s not as warm as some of us would like, we are still counting our blessings that it’s rain and not snow falling from the sky – sorry Eastern Canada, we know it will stop snowing over there soon, probably. As the increase in temperatures has you setting aside your winter wear for more seasonally-appropriate garb, it’s equally important to make sure your home is ready for the change in weather.

Consider the following ways to maintain your home for spring. Some of these items will fall under some simple spring cleaning, and some are more safety-oriented. We’d encourage homeowners to approach each task with the same enthusiasm, as we often see safety items overlooked for other chores, and then ultimately forgotten. 


Check your Gutters & Downspouts

As you perform maintenance around your home this weekend, take some time for gutter cleaning to ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves, twigs, or excess snow, so water can effectively drain through them. The extreme snow, wind, and ice storms we experienced this winter may have rendered your gutters and downspouts ineffective – either breaking or moving them, or filling them with debris. While checking your gutters, look at your downspouts to see if they’ve suffered any damage. They should extend at least six feet from your home, so that they can effectively direct water away from your foundation.

Keep your Window Wells Free of Debris

Water and debris can get trapped in your window wells, allowing moisture to intrude into your basement. Clear out any debris, and to avoid this in the future, a clear plastic dome can be installed over the window well to keep water and debris out.

Assess your Roof

RoofRoofs take the brunt of winter weather abuse. Now that your roof is free of ice and snow, it’s a great opportunity to see what condition it is in.

Roofing can be damaged by hail, raccoons, or other animals, and should be regularly inspected by a professional. Localized repairs are often an option, but as a general rule, when more than 10% to 15% of the roof requires repairs, it is best to replace the roof covering.

It’s important to know that roofs do not last forever. As roof materials grow old, they lose their ability to keep water out of the house. Asphalt and wood roofing can crack, curl, and shrink. Wood roofing rots, or burns through from the sun. Shingles, or tiles may fall off as the materials or fasteners deteriorate. By knowing the signs of potential problems, you can have a professional complete necessary roof repair or replacements without the major costs associated with water damage.

Ensure your Home has Proper Lot Grading

No foundation wall system is completely waterproof. Water accumulating in the soil outside your home will leak through eventually. To combat this, it is essential to keep the soil outside your home dry. Achieving dry soil can be done by ensuring the ground around your home slopes away from your home, rather than towards it. The ground around the home should slope down six inches for the first ten feet away from the home; this can often be achieved by adding topsoil. The theory is simple – if there’s no water in the soil on the outside of the foundation wall, no water will get into the interior. 


Test your Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide DetectorWe recommend testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on a monthly basis, and changing these devices’ batteries twice a year. You should have at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, although having more is encouraged. When testing to make sure your smoke detector is working, check the expiry date printed on the smoke detector. If the unit is past this date, or if it is more than ten years old, it should be replaced. If there is no expiry date, it’s probably more than ten years old.

Not every home comes equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, which means you might not have one. If you don’t have one, it’s not only a good idea to get one, the Ontario government passed a law a few months ago making these devices mandatory in every home. Carbon monoxide detectors help to protect homeowners from the dangers related to carbon monoxide poisoning. If your detector finds there is an unsafe level of carbon monoxide in your home it will notify you in a manner similar to a smoke detector: loud beeping. And like a smoke alarm, it requires the same degree of regular maintenance, so check your carbon monoxide detector on a monthly basis, change its batteries twice a year, and check the expiry date. Carbon monoxide detectors often have only a seven-year life span.

Check your Furnace & Air Conditioner Filters

Do you know how often to change a furnace filter? Your furnace and air conditioner filters should be checked monthly to determine if they need cleaning or changing. Typically located in the air return duct adjacent to the furnace, making sure your furnace filter is in good condition can help improve both comfort and heating costs. You will need to see if you should purchase a cleanable or disposable furnace filter – most homeowners choose to have a disposable filter, for convenience, but both are good choices. Furnace filters generally range from $5 to $30 depending on the type of filter you select.

Helpful tip: Note the size of your filter before heading out to buy a new one.

Good luck to all the homeowners starting their spring cleaning projects! We know that for many it can be a dreaded chore, but it means we’re that much closer to summertime lounging.

Looking for more home maintenance tips in 140 characters or less? Connect with us on Twitter.

Topics: Homeowners, Home Inspector Advice, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Spring Tips, Cooling

Put That in Your Pipe & Smoke It: Avoiding Frozen Pipes

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Dec 23, 2013 3:00:00 PM

Record low temperatures have been sweeping across Canada and beyond – Egypt received its first snowfall in over a century! With winter weather warnings aplenty and serious snow accumulation, it’s fair to say most folks are feeling frozen. On these -16˚degrees days, it’s definitely function over fashion as you decide what to wear in the morning. Thick socks, thermal underwear, and your warmest winter accessories are a requirement for heading outdoors. Appropriate attire will help to protect you from frostbite, windburn, and hypothermia.

This weekend we saw an ice storm fall on one of the busiest travel and shopping weekends of the year. In Toronto alone, over 200,000 customers were still without power as of 8:00 a.m. this morning. As cleanup crews work around the clock to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers in the Greater Toronto Area, the city is bracing for another deep freeze. Weather specialists are predicting that temperatures will drop to -11 overnight, and with the cold comes a reminder that this time of year can bring major issues to your home in the way of freezing and leaking pipes.

  Extreme weather causes havoc in Toronto                                   
Winter weather causes wear and tear on your home and its systems. One of the more affected areas, or at least the more noticeably affected areas, can be your pipes. When pipes freeze more often than not they split, which results in leakage. Leaking supply piping can be very dramatic. Because the piping is pressurized, a leak can do a lot of damage quickly. If there is no functional floor drain, a leaking supply pipe can flood a house.

A flood the result of a leaky pipe

There is a risk of freezing and leakage if pipes are installed in unheated areas, even if the pipe is insulated. This includes:

  • Cold rooms
  • Crawlspaces
  • Garages
  • Attics
  • Any other unheated space

Check to see if tub and shower fixtures are installed against exterior walls; there may be pipes inside which could freeze. In cold climates, it is good practice to have pipes installed through the floor away from the exterior wall for all fixtures. Pay special attention to this with do-it-yourself renovation work – sometimes what seems like the most convenient place to run piping can come back to bite you, or rather, leak on you. If there are pipes running through unheated spaces, electric heating cables can be installed to prevent a problem.

Looking for more renovation advice and maintenance tips? Our Home Reference Book is a great source. Free with every Carson Dunlop Home Buyer’s Inspection it’s a valuable addition to every homeowner’s library.              

Topics: Winter Tips, Homeowners, Frozen Pipes, Water Damage, Homeowner Tips, Extreme Weather

Vermiculite and UFFI: What Homeowners Need to Know

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Feb 11, 2013 9:31:00 AM

VermiculiteVermiculite insulation and urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) possess properties whose histories cause many to consider them hazardous materials. Some homeowners are familiar with the controversy surrounding these types of insulation, however many are not. Below we've outlined what each type of insulation is and why misconceptions about their safety exist.


Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral worldwide. When heated rapidly to high temperatures, this crystalline mineral expands into low density, accordion-like, golden brown strands. In addition to being light, vermiculite chunks are also absorbent and fire retardant. These characteristics make it a great insulating material. With the upsurge in homeownership during the baby boom, vermiculite insulation was a popular material in the 1950s and continued with the energy crisis into the late 1970s. In Canada, it was one of the insulating materials allowed under the Canadian Home Insulation Program from about 1976 to the mid 1980s. Sold under various brand names, such as Zonolite Attic Insulation, the insulation came in big bags. Thousands of homeowners simply opened the bags and poured the vermiculite into their attic floor, as well as down exterior walls.

The majority of the vermiculite used worldwide was from a mine in Libby, Montana. As well as being rich in vermiculite, this mine had the misfortune of having a deposit of tremolite, a type of asbestos. Asbestos minerals tend to separate into microscopic particles that become airborne and are easily inhaled. People exposed to asbestos in the workplace have developed several life-threatening diseases, including lung cancer – workers in and around the Libby mine developed serious health problems. When the vermiculite was extracted from the mine in Libby, some tremolite came in with it, posing a potential threat to homeowners.

Like any hazards, length and intensity of exposure are major factors in the risk of asbestos related respiratory illnesses. To assess the risk of asbestos exposure in a home, a sample of the vermiculite would need to be analyzed in a lab. Since most of the vermiculite in Canada was taken from the Libby mine, the odds are quite good that there is asbestos in the vermiculite in Canadian attics.

If the attic or walls of a home contain vermiculite insulation, avoid disturbing the material. Do not sweep it, vacuum it up, or store belongings in the attic. If work is planned that involves these areas, like installing potlights in a room below the attic, send a sample of the vermiculite to a lab for testing. If it is found to contain asbestos, or if you assume it does, precautions should be taken. The safest approach would be to have the insulation in the affected areas removed by a qualified environmental contractor. 

Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)

UFFI is injected as a mixture of urea-formaldehyde resin, an acidic foaming agent, and a propellant, such as air. It was commonly used in existing houses by injecting the foam into areas where it was impractical to provide conventional insulation, like behind walls. When the mixture is injected into the wall, urea and formaldehyde unite and “cure” into an insulating foam plastic. Some formaldehyde gas is released during the on-site mixing and curing. It is this by-product of the curing of the foam that became a controversial issue.

UFFI was used in the 1970s, most extensively from 1975 to 1978, during the period of the Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP), when financial incentives were offered by the government to upgrade home insulation levels. The insulation was banned in Canada in December 1980. It is estimated that over 100,000 homes in Canada were insulated with UFFI. The insulation was also used extensively in the United States during the 1970s and has also been used in Europe over the last thirty years. In the U.S., the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the sale of UFFI in 1982, and shortly thereafter a law prohibiting the sale of urea-formaldehyde was enacted. In April 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeal struck down the law because there was no substantial evidence clearly linking UFFI to health complaints. Still, UFFI is not widely used in the U.S. today. UFFI is still used in Europe where it was never banned and is considered one of the better “retrofit” insulations.

A laboratory study which produced nasal cancers in rats that were exposed to high levels of formaldehyde caused government concern. Following some press releases and cautioning by authorities, a number of homeowners began to report problems that included respiratory difficulties, eye irritation, runny noses, nosebleeds, headaches, and fatigue. Although there were no substantiated problems clearly attributable to the foam, UFFI was banned as a precautionary measure.

A number of studies have been done examining the health effects of UFFI. Studies done before the ban, using random samples of UFFI and non-UFFI homes, showed no impact of UFFI on health. However, studies done after the ban showed increased reporting of symptoms, even for such things as constipation and deafness, which have no biological basis.

After the longest and most expensive civil case ever held in Canada was concluded in the Quebec Supreme Court, not only was no basis for a settlement found, but the plaintiffs were obliged to pay most of the costs. The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that UFFI has not been shown to be a health concern. However, as a result of its history, UFFI related fears and concerns remain.

While UFFI has been proven to possess minimal health risks, and vermiculite insulation presents no threat when left undisturbed, both types of insulation continue to be viewed as hazardous by the general public. Although we encourage homeowners to educate themselves beyond these misconceptions and historical inaccuracies, we also recognize that many living with these types of insulation might feel more comfortable having a specialist take a closer look at their home.

If you are worried about the air quality of your home having an assessment performed by an environmental specialist can provide you with some added security. Carson Dunlop has partnered with a number of reputable and qualified companies to provide specialty services to our clients. These services complement our Home Inspections, targeting potential areas of concern which fall outside the scope of a regular Home Inspection. Our customer service team can now help to schedule Indoor Air Quality Assessment or Asbestos Testing, as well as other Specialty Services. This new program allows us to provide our clients and real estate partners with fast, easy and cost-effective access to qualified specialty service provides all within a single phone call. To learn more about this program and the complete list of services we can help to schedule, please click here or call 800.268.7070.

Topics: Home Reference Book, Homeowners, Home Inspection, Carson Dunlop, Specialty Services

Why Seller's Home Inspections Make Sense

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Feb 4, 2013 5:01:00 PM

NiceHouseWhen it comes to Home Inspections, many associate this service with being exclusively requested by home buyers as opposed to sellers. While Home Inspections are beneficial for home purchasers, a growing trend in the real estate industry has emerged: Seller's Inspections. Seller's Inspections, often called Pre-Listing Inspections, deliver a great deal of value for home sellers and their respective real estate agents. They also present a lot of value for home buyers and their agents - making this a service worth investigating, should you be considering putting your home on the market.

Many already recognize the value of Seller's Inspections. One Toronto real estate professional explains, "...I use Carson Dunlop for all my pre-listing Home Inspections because of the value it adds to my buyers, especially in competitive bidding scenarios. Complete advanced knowledge of my listings allows me or my clients to remedy any concerns, or allows me to more effectively manage my buyers' expectations during the processes." - G. C.

With a Buyer's Inspection, potential purchasers are able to investigate the state of the home after they've made an offer, which seems a bit backwards. Why buy something you don't know the status of? With a Seller's Inspection, everyone is made aware of the condition of the home right from the start. There are no surprises or last minute renegotiations. The process is more accommodating for buyers, allowing them to feel more comfortable making an offer, which usually results in an increased speed of sale.

Moreover, Carson Dunlop's Seller's Inspections offer the option of including unique promotional materials to help with the sale of the home. Carson Dunlop offers two enhanced packages in addition to the Seller's Inspection report, which help to market the home. Both packages contain valuable add-ons that will help when selling your home. 

Seller's Plus Package Seller's Premium Package
This package includes a one-page PDF Summary Report that can be shared with prospective buyers. The report highlights positive attributes and the major findings of the inspection. To view a sample of the Summary Report, please click here. This package includes 50 high-quality print copies of the Summary Report, one full color printout of the complete Seller's Inspection report and a copy of the Home Reference binder. 

What about the Buyer?

We are often asked whether buyers are at a disadvantage when a Seller's Inspection is completed, because they did not participate in the inspection process. Carson Dunlop offers an Onsite Review with buyers to help alleviate this worry. This service can be performed before or after the home changes hands. It is done with the Home Inspection professional who performed the initial Seller's Inspection. He or she will explain the report and answer questions - it's akin to a personalized course in homeownership.

To learn more about the benefits of completing a Seller's Inspection, please click here or call 800.268.7070. For more tips and advice, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Topics: Homeowners, Home Inspection, Carson Dunlop

What is an Ice Dam? - Prevention and Advice

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Dec 4, 2012 12:56:00 PM

SeeAProblem?Snow on your driveway is seldom more than a pain in the back. However, snow on your roof can lead to leakage, even if your roof is new. The culprit is ice damming, the insidious snow-melting phenomenon that many of us are well-acquainted with. Since ice damming is climate driven, warm weather can make many believe that come summer, their problem is solved -- think again. Without a permanent solution ice dams will continue to form on your roof when it gets cold enough. If your roof experienced ice damming last winter, now is an opportune time to guard yourself against this issue and the damage it causes. As winter fast approaches, we encourage homeowners to re-familiarize themselves with ice damming to help better protect their roofs and their homes.

What is Ice Damming?

Heat escapes from improperly sealed or poorly insulated portions of the roof, melting the snow above. As the snow melts, it runs down the roof until it encounters unmelted snow over an unheated space on the roof. There, it will stop and refreeze. This process will continue until an ice dam is formed.

Why is Ice Damming Problematic?

These dams cause the water that runs down the warm portion of the roof to pool behind the dam and back up under the shingles. Once the water from the ice dam gets under the shingles it is free to leak into the ceiling and the wall. While it is periodic, (eventually the weather will warm up, thus stopping the leak), this water intrusion can become costly. If left uncorrected, water damage will occur to at least the ceiling or wall finishes, and at worst, there is a potential for structural rot.

How can Ice Damming be Prevented?

There are two major preventative measures to consider when approaching the issue of ice damming.

1. Adding attic insulation: This will work well depending on the attic in question. However, some attics have so many warm air leaks that it would be impossible to add enough insulation to fix the problem.

2. Sealing the air leakage paths into the attic space: In many cases, with proper sealing tools a homeowner can take care of this task themselves. However, some instances require a specialist to find and fix the issue. Common air leakage paths include attic access hatches, ceiling light fixtures like pot lights, and plumbing stacks.

For more helpful tips about your home, check out the Home Reference Book for the ultimate homeowners' guide to home maintenance. You can also sign up to our blog, start following us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook for more advice and information.

Topics: Home Reference Book, Homeowners, Home Inspection, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips

Winterizing Your Home Can Help Avoid Cold Weather Woes

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Nov 16, 2012 11:01:00 AM
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 One of the great joys of living in Canada is the change of seasons. Autumn's colours and crispness will soon give way to winter's first snowfall. While people react differently to seasonal changes, all homes react much the same way: climate change is hard on homes and the freeze/thaw cycles can cause damage.

At Carson Dunlop we believe prevention is the key to a safe and comfortable season. Here are our areas of focus and suggestions to get you through the winter months:

>>  Roof - We are big believers in annual roof tune-ups, and fallis the perfect time for your roofer to address any small issues before they become big ones. The roof suffers the brunt of winter weather abuse. Correcting damaged shingles, loose flashings and torn valleys can prevent water damage from leaks and avoid expensive repairs. Tree limbs overhanging and touching the roof should be cut back, and missing mortar or loose bricks on chimneys should be repaired.

>>  Eavestroughs - We can't overstate the importance of having free-flowing, leak-free gutters and downspouts to get roof water away from the house and keep it out of the basement. If eavestroughs can't control the rain or melting snow, or if downspouts don't carry water at least six feet away from the home, the ground next to your home will get soaked. Saturated ground usually means a leaky basement. Poor grading is another common and easily-corrected cause of basement leakage. For more information on how to address this issue, check out our article on How Proper Grading Can Prevent Water Damage.

>>  Catch Basins - Make sure any catch basins in your driveway, garage and yard are clear. It's also a great idea to clear any storm grates in the street in front of your house so all that rain and melting snow can get into the storm sewers.

>>  Windows, Doors and Walls - Check your windows and doors for any wood in need of paint, and any joints that need re-caulking. The corners of sills are a common weak point. Check the caulking at pipes, vents and other wall penetrations as part of regular maintenance.

>>  Furnace - Taking care of your furnace is very important, especially in the winter. We recommend annual service plans for heating and cooling systems. If you haven't yet, schedule a heating system maintenance call, even if your system is relatively new. For more information on easy steps you can take to extend the life of your furnace, check out our article on Furnace Maintenance. 

November Poll

Last month 30 homeowners told us what area of the home they believed suffered the brunt of winter weather abuse. Here are their responses:

October Graph

The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

At Carson Dunlop we want to provide homeowners with the knowledge and the tools to protect their properties, which is why we created the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association. This not-for-profit program gives clients access to discounts on a variety of products and services. Association partners like Canadian Tire help members maintain and upgrade their homes. Canadian Tire Home Services is pleased to offer Carson Dunlop customers a 5% Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card bonus when using their Canadian Tire Options MasterCard for the purchase of any heating and/or cooling system from Canadian Tire Home Services. To learn more visit canadiantire.ca/homeservices. Attractive financing options available. 
For more information on the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association and its partners click here or call 800.268.7070. 

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Topics: Homeowners, Monthly Newsletters, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips, Newsletter

Home Improvement Costs

Posted by Thea Scrimger on Nov 14, 2012 1:07:00 PM

Often times a home will be sold “as is” or marketed as a “fixer-upper”. While these terms do provide an indication of the current state of the home, they can lead to a misunderstanding when it comes to overall expense. Minor repair fees can easily accumulate, resulting in a drastic disparity between the agreed upon asking price of a home and what it ultimately costs. 

Our experience has shown that actual contractor quotations can vary by as much as 300%. Naturally, the quality of workmanship and materials are reflected in a contractor’s fee. As well, the complexity of the job, accessibility and even economic conditions can also alter actual costs. As such, the following prices are intended as estimates for repairs or improvements to a typical three-bedroom home:


Install conventional asphalt shingles over existing shingles $2.00 - $4.00 per sq. ft.
Strip and reshingle with convention asphalt shingles $2.75 - $5.50 per sq.ft.
Strip and reshingle with premium quality asphalt shingles $5.00 - $10.00 per sq. ft.
Strip and re-roof with cedar shingles  $9.00 - $18.00 per sq. ft. 
Strip and replace built-up tar and gravel roof  $10.00 - $20.00 per sq. ft. (min. $1,000.00)  
Strip and replace single-ply membrane  $10.00 - $20.00 per sq. ft. (min. $1,000.00) 
Reflash typical skylight or chimney  $500.00 - $1,000.000  
Rebuild typical chimney above roof line  $25.00 - $50.00 per row of bricks (min. $400.00) 
Rebuild typical single flue chimney aove roof line  $200.00 - $400.00 per lin. ft. (min. $1,000.00)  


Install galvanized or aluminum gutters and downspouts $5.00 - $10.00 per lin. ft. (min. $500.00)
Install aluminium soffits and fascia $8.00 - $16.00 per lin. ft. 
Install aluminium or vinyl siding $6.00 - $12.00 per sq. ft.
Repoint exterior wall (soft mortar) $3.00 - $6.00 per sq. ft. (min. $500.00)
Repoint exterior wall (hard mortar) $5.00 - $10.00 per sq. ft. (min $500.00)
Parge foundation walls $3.00 - $6.00 per sq. ft.
Dampproof foundation walls and install weeping tile $150.00 - $300.00 per lin. ft. (min. $3,000.00)
Install a deck $25.00 - $50.00 per sq. ft. (min. $1,000.00)
Resurface existing asphalt driveway $2.00 - $4.00 per sq. ft.
Install interlocking brick driveway $8.00 - $16.00 per sq. ft.
Rebuild exterior basement stairwell $5,000.00 and up
Build detached garage $70.00 - $140.00 per sq. ft.
Build retaining wall (wood) $20.00 - $40.00 per sq. ft.
Build retaining wall (concrete) $30.00 - $60.00 per sq. ft. (min. $500.00)
Painting (trim only) $2,000.00 - $4,000.00 and up
Painting (trim and wall surfaces) $5,000.00 and up


Underpin one corner of house $5,000.00 and up
Underpin or add foundations $300.00 and up per lin. ft. (min. $3,000.00)
Lower basement floor by underpining and/or bench footings $50.00 - $300.00 per lin. ft. (min. $5,000.00)
Replace deteriorating sill beam with concrete $60.00 and up per lin. ft. (min. $2,000.00)
Install basement support post with proper foundation $800.00 - $1,600.00
Perform chemical treatment for termites $2,000.00 and up
Repair minor crack in poured concrete foundation $400.00 - $800.00 


Upgrade electrical service to 100 amps (including new pannel) $1,200.00 - $3,000.00
Upgrade electrical service to 100 amps (if suitably sized panel already exists) $800.00 - $1,600.00
Upgrade electrical service to 200 amps $1,700.00 - $3,500.00
Install new circuit break panel $700.00 - $1,400.00
Replace circuit breaker (20 amp or less) $100.00 - $200.00
Add 120 volt circuit (microwave, freezer, etc.) $150.00 - $300.00
Add 240 volt circuit (dryer, stove, etc.) $300.00 - $600.00
Add conventional receptacle $200.00 - $400.00
Replace conventional receptacle with ground fault circuit receptacle $70.00 - $140.00
Replace conventional receptacle with aluminium compatible type (CO/ALR) (assuming several are required) $60.00 - $120.00 each
Upgrade entire house with aluminium compatible receptacles, connectors, etc. $1,000.00 - $2,000.00
Rewire electrical outlet with reversed polarity (assuming electrician already out there) $5.00 - $10.00 each
Replace know & tube wiring with conventional wiring (per room) $1,000.00 - $2,000.00


Install mid-efficiency forced-air furnace $2,500.00 - $5,000.00
Install high-efficiency forced-air furnace $3,500.00 - $7,000.00
Install humidifier $300.00 - $600.00
Install electronic air filter $800.00 - $1,600.00
Install mid-efficiency boiler $3,500.00 - $7,000.00
Install high-efficiency boiler $6,000.00 - $120,000.00
Install circulating pump $400.00 - $600.00
Install chimney liner for gas appliance $500.00 - $1,000.00
Install chimney liner for oil appliance $700.00 - $1,800.00
Install programmable thermostat $200.00 - $400.00
Replace indoor oil tank $1,200.00 - $2,500.00
Remove oil tank from basement $600.00 and up
Remove abandoned underground oil tank $10,000.00 and up
Replace radiator valve $300.00 - $600.00
Add electric baseboard heater $250.00 - $500.00
Convert from hot water heating to forced-air (bungalow) $10,000.00 - $20,000.00
Convert from hot water heating to forced-air (two storey) $15,000.00 - $30,000.00
Clean ductwork $300.00 - $600.00

Cooling/Heat Pumps

Add central air conditioning on existing forced-air system $3,000.00 and up
Add heat pump to forced-air system $4,000.00 - $8,000.00
Replace heat pump or air conditioning condenser $1,200.00 - $2,500.00
Install independent air conditioning system $10,000.00 - $20,000.00
Install ductless air conditioning system $3,000.00 - $7,000.00


Insulate open attic to modern standards $0.80 - $1.60 per sq. ft.
Blow insulation into flat roof, cathedral ceiling or wall cavity $2.00 - $4.00 per sq. ft.
Improve attic ventilation $30.00 - $60.00 per vent


Replace galvanized piping with copper (two storey with one bathroom) $2,500.00 - $5,000.00
Replace water line to house $2,00.00 and up
Replace toilet $500.00 and up
Replace basin, including faucets $750.00 and up
Replace bathtub, including ceramic tile and facuets $2,500.00 and up
Install whirlpool bath, including faucets $3,500.00 and up
Retile bathtub enclosure $1,000.00 - $2,000.00
Replace leaking shower stall pan $1,000.00 - $2,000.00
Rebuild tile shower stall $2,500.00 - $5,000.00
Replace laundry tubs $400.00 - $800.00
Remodel four-piece bathroom completely $6,000.00 - $50,000.00
Connect waste plumbing system to municipal sewers  $5,000.00 and up
Install submersible pump $1,000.00 and up
Install suction or jet pump $700.00 and up
Install modest basement bathroom $6,000.00 and up


Add drywall over plaster $4.00 - $8.00 per sq. ft.
Sand and refinish hardwood floors $2.00 - $4.00 per sq. ft.
Install replacement windows $40.00 - $120.00 per sq. ft.
Install storm window $200.00 - $400.00
Install masonry fireplace (if flue already roughed-in) $3,000.00 and up
Install zero-clearance fireplace (including chimney) $3,500.00 and up
Install glass doors on fireplace $300.00 and up


These estimates aren't meant to deter you from purchasing, or selling, a home that needs a bit of TLC, but rather to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your property. If you want to learn more about your home and enjoyed these tips, order a copy of the Home Reference Book, or start following us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.
Cick here to download a PDF version of this article.  

Topics: Home Reference Book, Homeowners, Home Inspection, Homeowners Association, Carson Dunlop, Homeowner Tips

Home Inspection Newsletter - Putting Mold in Perspective

Posted by Kaitlyn Yantzi on Oct 22, 2012 10:28:00 AM



Putting Mold in Perspective

At Carson Dunlop we recognize that homeowners want their homes to break the mold, literally. Mold is a common cause for concern. Not only does it present potential health issues, it can also be indicative of other issues within the home.Every home has the potential for mold - if it can grow on your bread, it can grow on your walls. This isn't meant to cause alarm, but rather to show when an alarm should or shouldn't be raised. The objective of a mold-free home is unrealistic. Mold cannot be entirely eliminated, but it can be controlled. Mold needs four things to grow:

1. Mold spores

2. A food source

3. Temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit

4. Moisture

Small quantities of mold spores are present in the air of every building, food sources are present in every home, and no human is comfortable in temperatures less than 40 degrees or more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimately, the best and really the only way to prevent mold from growing is to control moisture. Curing leaks, improving drainage, and drying things up are important steps in controlling mold. Regular system maintenance, home repair, and home assessment are critical in controlling mold presence.

>> Check the drainage around the exterior of your home. Make sure the ground slopes away from your foundation wall to keep water away from your basement.

>> Gutters and downspouts should be kept clear of leaves and debris and any leaks should be repaired.

>> Ensure your attic is properly ventilated and that there are no exhaust fans discharging into the roof space.

>> Make sure there are no leaks in your roof or wall systems.

Professional Home Inspectors are building scientists rather than health scientists, and unless they have special qualifications, typically do not inspect for mold. Inspectors look at all building systems and components in a general Home Inspection, and identify readily accessible and visible moisture issues. Where mold is a concern, a professional mold inspection may be logical. Having an indoor air quality assessment performed will help in identifying excessive mold issues and provide advice on remediation tactics.

In most homes, good maintenance and common sense are the best weapons against mold. As Home Inspectors have been saying for years: moisture is the biggest enemy of homes. Mold may be one of the results of that moisture.


Meet the Newest Members of the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association

The Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association is pleased to announce the addition of two new partners: Canadian Tire and Perkopolis. The Homeowners Association is a not-for-profit program developed Canadianexclusively for Carson Dunlop clients. It provides continued support after the Home Inspection has been performed. Clients are offered discounts and preferred rates on a variety of product and services through program members.


>> Canadian Tire Home Services is pleased to offer Carson Dunlop customers a 5% Canadian Tire 'Money' On The Card bonus when using their Canadian Tire Options Mastercard for the purchase of any heating and/or cooling system from Canadian Tire Home Services. To lean more, visit canadiantire.ca/homeservices. Attractive financing available.


>> Perkopolis is a free benefits service, providing participants with discounts and deals on a wide range of items, from event tickets to cable prices.

The Homeowners Association is part of Carson Dunlop's commitment to providing extraordinary value and exceeding expectations. For more information on the Carson Dunlop Homeowners Association or any of its partners, click here or call 800.268.7070.

October Poll

Last month we asked homeowners what they believed to be the primary cause of mold in a home:


Topics: Mold, Homeowners, October, Newsletter