Summertime in Westwood. It’s the time when our neighbourhood comes to life with people cycling, walking, gardening and doing home improvement projects!
With a few exceptions, most Westwood homes were built in the ’60s; even routine maintenance is enough to keep local homeowners busy. Recent years of weird weather — record wet seasons, unusually dry summers, and extremely cold winters — haven’t helped. Two summers ago, our house had shifted so much I couldn’t even open the front door, but it’s fine now. That good old "Manitoba gumbo" under our homes swells and shrinks with the seasons like a sponge, causing shifting and cracking — wait it out and things often settle back to where they ought to be. Right?
Cameron Clarke of HomePulse Inspection Services warns that not every issue will solve itself and that water issues are of key concern. Dampness in area basements was a common occurrence this past spring. For some it might have just been water wicking up through the floor but for others it was due to weeping tile issues or a cracked foundation.
Water stains in the ceiling might be evidence of a leaky roof, a plumbing problem, ice damning or condensation in the attic. Sometimes it’s not one thing, but several that create a problem. Dampness can be a much bigger deal than you imagine — it can lead to mould, which can have a significant impact on your health and finances.
It used to be that people got home inspections done before buying a home — not so much anymore, thanks to bidding wars. And for people who have lived in their homes for 30 years like so many here in Westwood, who knows what’s really going on within the walls? For residents looking to downsize in the near future, Clarke suggests an inspection now can pinpoint issues that could sour a sale. As for those of us planning to stay a while yet, Clarke adds that an inspection can help prioritize repairs or renovations.
It is important to note that home inspection is an unregulated industry. If you plan to hire an inspector, be sure to ask to see a current Certificate of Insurance and maybe even a list of experience. A certified home inspection is a matter of prevention, which is always less expensive than emergency repair. It’s also a great way for homeowners to gain some peace of mind.
Sharon Pfeifer is a community correspondent for Westwood. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org