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MIKE HOLMES: 'Tis the season for home maintenance

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When most people think of spring, they think April showers, the birds and bees, maybe a barbecue or two. I think of home maintenance ... and my boat (but that's another column).

Spring is that special time of year when we give our homes the once-over to see how well they've made it through the winter.

What are we looking for?

The first thing I would do is check for water stains in the attic, especially around the rafters. I'll say it again: The roof is your home's first line of defence. The attic can tell you if it's holding up.

With the extra precipitation and melting snow that's typical of spring, it's also important to check for water pooling on your property. Puddles in your backyard, front yard or along your fence could signal a grading issue. You will need to call in a professional landscaper to regrade the property or it will get worse every year. A grading issue can lead to costly problems such as water coming into the basement.

Also, check for cracks or holes in your home's exterior walls and foundation. Holes usually can be filled in with expanding foam if they aren't major. Not all foundation cracks are serious, but some might need extra attention. If you find any cracks -- either outside or in an unfinished basement -- mark them with tape and check them again after a few months. If they do not change, fill them in with an epoxy injection; but if they do get worse, call a structural engineer.

Look for pellet-shaped droppings or shed wings along the perimeter of your home; they could mean termites. Get rid of any leaves and debris along your exterior walls where animals can nest. Also clean out the gutters and check if they've corroded or disconnected.

Check the mortar in between bricks. If it's been eaten away, it will need repointing. If you have a stone path that was dry-set (instead of set in mortar), brush stone dust or sand in the joints. This locks the pavers and prevents weeds from growing in between the stones.

Spring is also a good time to check the air conditioner. Disconnect the electric power and clear away leaves and debris on the unit. Vacuum the grille and register inside and change the furnace filter. Plug it back in and turn it on to see how it works.

Also, consider getting a home-maintenance inspection, which can point out any issues in your home and let you know which ones need to be addressed first. After winter, problems in your home should be more visible, which is why home-maintenance inspections are popular in the spring.

But be careful. Not all home inspectors are created equal. Hire a qualified, licensed inspector who knows what they're doing. How do you know if they're qualified? Ask a lot of questions, and check out the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation fact sheet, Hiring a Home Inspector.

-- Postmedia News

Catch Mike Holmes in his new series, Holmes Makes It Right Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on HGTV. For more information, visit hgtv.ca. For more information on home renovations, visit makeitright.ca.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2013 F2

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