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July 2017

Easy Guide to Staining Your Deck and Fence

By | Home Beautification, Home Maintenance | No Comments

Easy Guide to Staining your Deck and Fence

Applying a wood treatment such as a stain or paint help prolong the life of your exterior wood by protecting it from the sun’s rays and moisture. Skipping maintenance on your exterior wood you risk having the wood dry, crack, split, warp, turn grey and rot.

PREPPING TO STAIN

Sand
Adam’s favorite thing to do! Not… Sanding is never a good time, though it is very important to sand to avoid splinters if you have splitting and cracks in your deck. For a semi-transparent stain it is important to sand in the same direction of the wood’s grain to avoid the scratches & resulting staining lines caused from sanding against the grain. Therefore, a sanding puck or a belt sander would work better than an orbital sander. We rented a handheld belt sander from Home Depot for $16/4hrs or $23/24hrs and a 2-pack of belts for $15.

Clean
Whether your deck has been stained before or not it is important to clean the wood with a deck cleaner before staining. It took me awhile to wrap my head around this, as I was looking to save time by skipping this step as our deck hasn’t been stained before so I thought it would be considered cleaned. However, it helps open the pours, removes BBQ grease, dirt, and bits of grass or whatever may be in your deck or fence. With your fence it may be more difficult to spread the cleaner on, so I was told that you COULD wash the fence with your garden hose (NOT A PRESSURE WASHER – this will damage the fibres of the wood) if it hasn’t been treated before. Though it is always best to use a wood cleaner on all exterior wood before painting/staining, nonetheless.

Tips for Applying a Wood Cleaner:
1. Spray the wood with your garden hose first
2. Apply the cleaner however you feel is best – could use a painting roller or pump sprayer. We chose to use a painting roller.
3. Scrub the cleaner on wood using a push broom.
4. Let sit for 15 Minutes.
5. Rinse off with garden hose.
6. Let it properly dry for 2 days before staining.

APPLY WOOD STAIN

Selecting Wood Paint/Treatment
You can go with a transparent, semi-transparent or solid color. If you prefer to see a wood grain you need to select a transparent or semi-transparent stain (this is what we chose!). For Alberta’s climate it is important to find a stain with good sunscreen properties and UV protection in order to extend the lifespan of your exterior wood. Having some waterproofing properties is important as well, though in Alberta we don’t get tons of rain so I was told this is less of a priority. When you have higher water-resistant stain you will likely have a glossier and more smooth of a coating on top which will make your deck more slippery, especially when there is snow on top of it. With us having kiddos we are going to choose one that is less glossy in order to prevent falls and accidents.

Stain/Paint
For solid stains or paints you could use a roller to apply, with following up with a brush to get the stain into the cracks and seams. With a semi-transparent stain you will want to use a brush to apply the stain on the wood. It is best to complete a piece of wood then move onto the next in order to have the stain blend nicely in. Be cautious around siding when applying the paint, you may like to use green painters tape to prevent paint and splashes from getting on your siding. Be sure to apply 2 coats, this helps your color and wood protection to last longer. It should be able to last 1-3 years.

After all that hard work, be sure to pour yourself a cold one and enjoy your beautiful deck/fence!

 

 

Make Sure Home Improvement Projects are Up to Code Before Selling

By | Home Inspections, Home Maintenance | No Comments

Make sure home improvement projects are up to code before selling!

Make Sure Your Home Improvement/Maintenance Projects are Up to Code Before Selling

It’s almost always a good idea to boost the appeal of your property prior to listing a home for sale. But there are right ways and wrong ways to do it. If you’re handy and creative, there is no reason not to tackle some of the routine maintenance and upkeep items yourself. But, depending on the scope and size of the improvements, you might be required to seek permission and approval of your local government officials.

Knowing when to do so is key to your success. Neglecting prior approval and final inspection may potentially negate all your good intentions, cost you additional money and, perhaps, even make your property unsalable.

Building Codes

Most governmental jurisdictions and some neighbourhood associations require that homeowners submit plans and seek approval for major projects. Additions, structural alterations, plumbing and electrical improvements, and various other home projects are likely to require permits and inspections. Your city might require a permit to build a fence or a wall, to pour concrete for a driveway, to have a new roof installed, or to change out the windows for more energy-efficient models. Always check with the authorities before beginning any work.

Generally, no permit is needed to replace kitchen appliances or plumbing fixtures, to repaint interior walls or replace flooring, or to add decorative lighting and landscaping elements. But, if your home is located in a gated community or a subdivision that has strict association requirements, you might need committee approval for exterior alterations.

While most of the requirements detailed in the National Building Code of Canada address safety, design and construction of new commercial buildings, the code also governs demolition, use changes and alterations to existing buildings. A significant portion of the code addresses housing and small buildings. Recent code changes deal with stairways and ramps, railings and guardrails, among other updates. Associated standards deal with fire safety, electrical standards, plumbing requirements and energy. Individual provinces and jurisdictions may impose additional or slightly different requirements.

Know the Requirements

National and local standards are enforced by local building inspectors. Although existing homes may not be in compliance with current codes, it is important to remember that buyers are looking for safety and value. It can be financially advantageous to make changes that modernize your property on top of the usual upgrades you may be thinking of.

Always check with local authorities regarding current code requirements for insulation, electrical standards, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, ventilation and vent pipes, fans and toxic substance detectors, in addition to standards for stairs and railings, and for driveways and walkways. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a contractor, ask about permits and fees, and whether or not inspections are required.

Document the Changes

Most buyers will respond favourably to evidence of updates that reduce energy costs, increase home safety, or add to a home’s usability and appearance. Keep detailed records of costs and dates, permits and inspections, whether you replace an old water heater, install new attic insulation, or repair an ailing fence. Take before and after pictures if it’s appropriate. If you complete an addition, relocate the electrical panel, or add a sliding glass door, note when the work was completed, the names of architects and contractors, and the date of final inspection, issuance of a certificate of occupancy or project approval. Also keep a copy of the approved plans and any materials specifications or product warranties.

Your home projects, no matter how large or small, should result in a faster sale and a higher price. If you have questions about the value of planned improvements, you might want to check with a certified home inspector or your real estate agent.