Posts Tagged ‘Home Inspection’

Do You Know How (and When) to Inspect Your Own Roof?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Do You Know How (and When) to Inspect Your Own Roof? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you own your own home in Parkland County, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove, or the Edmonton region, it’s to your benefit to know how and when to inspect your own roof. Whether your Spruce Grove real estate property is new or old, inspecting your own roof can save you money and extend the life of the roof. Your Stony Plain real estate agent would surely agree that it’s easier than ever for homeowners to inspect their own roofs. Here is how you can find out how and when to inspect your own roof if you own some Parkland County real estate.

Tips on How to Inspect Your Own Roof

Inspecting your own roof involves so much more than just climbing up there and glancing around. Inspecting your roof depends on checking out specific issues. For starters, inspect the flashings on the roof; these are metal pieces that cover the roof plane’s interruptions. It’s best to fix damaged flashings immediately, since snow can get into the interior. If the roof has wood shingles, check for indications of dry rot. If one-third of your shingles have dry rot, it’s time to replace the entire roof! If your Edmonton acreage’s roof is high-end and has clay or asbestos shingles, then you can inspect them without having to get on the roof. Just stay on the ground, use binoculars, and look for signs of chipping and missing pieces.

Tips on Easy Fixes for Roof Problems

If the problem with your roof is relatively simple, you can handle it yourself on your own Edmonton real estate property. For instance, loose shingles can be easily repaired by simply hammering in the popped nails. You can even replace both caulk flashing and shingles. $24 or so will get you a bundle of shingles, while roofing caulk costs around $6. You should set aside half a day for work on the roof. If repairs are more complicated, you’ll need to get in touch with professional roof repair companies.

Tips on When to Inspect Your Roof

Parkland County acreages boast some nice properties, and, sometimes, roof inspections should be done more frequently than just once a year. The rule of thumb is yearly or twice a year, but if there have been extreme weather situations (such as snowstorms or wind storms), you should check the roof more frequently. It’s recommended that a homeowner checks his roof after every severe snow or windstorm. Checking your roof more frequently can lead to spotting damage earlier, which makes it less costly to fix.

Now you know exactly how and when to inspect your own roof. It is not necessary to have someone do the job for you if you’re a homeowner. Inspecting your roof really has a lot to do with being proactive, and this can and will save you money in the long run.

I am always available to answer any roof-related questions you may think of. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Spring Run-off

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Spring Run-off | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAh, spring.  Warm sunny days, robins returning, snow disappearing – and water everywhere.  As a home owner in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, you do everything you can to protect your property.  Would it surprise you to learn that the leading cause of damage to property is not break-ins or fire or wild winds, but water?  In fact, more than half of all insurance claims, about 1.3 billion dollars’ worth in Canada, are due to water damage.  This type of claim is likely to increase as infrastructure ages, the climate changes, and home owners finish every square foot of their dwellings.

We’ve all seen the stories in the media about flood damage in Manitoba and parts of the US, but that type of large-scale catastrophe is less common than all the other ways water can ruin a home.  And most of the everyday type of water damage, caused by a leaky roof, backed-up sewer or spring run-off, is preventable.  Here are a few things you can do to minimize water problems:

  • Walk around the entire outside of your home, keeping your eyes open for all the places water could get in.
  • Does the grade slope away from your home without any dips where the ground has settled?  There should be no area where water drains back toward the house.
  • Do the downspouts from eavestroughs extend at least 6 feet from the house?
  • Do all doors and windows fit snugly without any cracks where water could seep in?
  • As spring approaches, are you diligent about clearing snow and ice away from your home?
  • On the roof:
  • Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles and repair any problems.  If your roof is older than 15 years, it might be time for a whole new roof.
  • Are the eavestrough gutters free and clear of debris so that water can flow freely off the roof?
  • Check seals around chimneys, skylights and vents to ensure they are water-tight.
  • Inside your home:
  • Regularly check all plumbing (including your hot water tank) and appliances for leaks, and for trouble signs such as rust around a faucet or corrosion around the washing machine hose.  One trick for testing whether a toilet is leaking:  Add food coloring to the tank.  If the color seeps into the bowl after about 20 minutes, you have a leak.
  • Burst pipes can cause a major mess.  Besides checking for leaks, check that insulation in these areas is adequate.
  • Consider installing a sump pump, backwater valve or water sensor, if you don’t already have these items.
  • Examine all ceilings for stains which could indicate spots where water has gotten in.
  • If you store valuable items in the basement, put them in plastic bins up off the floor.
  • Don’t run appliances such as dishwasher or washing machine when nobody is home.

A few other suggestions:

  • When you leave on vacation, even for a long weekend, have someone do regular checks of your residence.  Check all taps and faucets before you leave (turn off the water to the washing machine!), and consider even turning off the main water valve.
  • Review your insurance coverage to make sure you are covered for water perils such as sewer backup and the like.
  • If your home is starting to show its age, consider hiring a home inspector to go over your home with you, looking specifically for problem areas before they develop into full-blown trouble.

I love to hear your comments or questions!  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.





Why Bother With a Building Permit?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Why Bother With a Building Permit? | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you’re thinking of renovating your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere, there is something you need to read before you even think of visiting the local Home Depot or hiring a contractor.

An article by Mike Holmes in the January 14, 2012 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “No building permit? You’re asking for trouble” (posted online as “Before renovating, get the proper permits — or you’ll regret it”) gives the details about why this document is so critical.

In fact, having a building permit is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and the time and money you invest in a renovation.  That little piece of paper comes with inspections by municipal building inspectors who check the work to see that it’s safe and built to code.

Why is this important?  For starters, you may not know that municipal officials can force you to shut down a project without a permit or even tear down completed work that hasn’t been inspected.  Work that hasn’t been inspected may be fine – but we hear far too many stories about unlicensed contractors doing shoddy work that not only brings down the value of your property but may end up damaging and destroying other properties in your neighborhood.  A permit may cost you a few dollars and a bit of time, but having things done right is worth it.

Read Mike Holmes’ article for the full story.

Looking for property to fix up and rent out or flip?  I can help you find just the right place.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Home Inspection Revisited

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Home Inspection Revisited | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhen you bought your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton area, you probably had it inspected to ensure that you weren’t buying someone else’s maintenance headaches.   In an Edmonton Journal article published October 1, 2011 (“Why you need your home inspected now), Mike Holmes makes a strong case for what he calls the maintenance inspection:  getting your home inspected on a regular basis – as often as every 3 years – to determine what, if any, repairs need to be done to your home.  The report generated from the inspection will give you a timeline on when the work should be done along with a rough estimate of the cost.  As Mike Holmes points out, the best way to protect the biggest investment you’ll ever make is through preventive maintenance, and spending a few hundred dollars now on an inspection could save you thousands in costly repairs later on.  Read the article for more reasons why you should revisit your home inspection.

Comments or questions about this article?  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here. 



Thursday, September 29th, 2011

DIY TV | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhere do you go to get information for renovation projects?  The television set in your home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area is probably not your first choice, but flipping through the channels these days reveals something surprising:  Among the many sports, movie and mainstream networks, there are a large number of worthwhile programs and even whole networks offering valuable information to homeowners.  Check out some of these offered in the Spruce Grove/Stony Plain/Edmonton area by Shaw Cable and TELUS Optik TV.  A little disclosure:  After you’ve checked them out, let me know what you think because I admit I haven’t seen most of them myself!

A & E

(Shaw 25, HD 233; Telus 170, HD 670)

$100 Makeover, Disaster Guy, Drill Team, Fix This Kitchen, Fix This Yard, Flipping Vegas, Flip This House, Hoarders, Sell This House

CBC  (Click on Find a Program)

(Shaw 4, HD 209; Telus 4, HD 618)

All for One With Debbie Travis, Steven and Chris

Discovery Channel  

(Shaw 32; Telus 200)

Canada’s Worst Handyman

DIY Network  (Click on Shows A-Z)

(Shaw 136; Telus 144)

A whole network of house-related programming, such as:  Decked Out, The Dirt on Gardening, Disaster DIY, DIY Hot List Kitchens & Baths, Dream House, Garage Mahal, Holmes on Homes, House Crashers, I Hate My Kitchen, Man Caves, Rehab Addict, Turf War, Wasted Spaces, Weekend Handyman, Yard Crashers, and many, many more.


(Shaw 19, HD 231; Telus 142, HD 680)

Too many shows to list them all here!  A few of the more popular:  Colin & Justin’s Home Heist, Debbie Travis’ Painted House, Gardening by the Yard, Holmes on Homes, Holmes Inspection, House Hunters, Property Virgins, Real Renos, Sarah’s House.  Many more.

OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network)

(Shaw 92; Telus 202, HD 651)

Divine Design, Home Takeover with Simon & Tomas


(PBS Spokane on Shaw 22, HD 204; Telus 23, HD 607 Seattle

PBS Detroit on Shaw 81

PBS Boston on Telus 54, HD 629)

HandyMa’am with Beverly DeJulio, The Perennial Gardener with Karen Strohbeen, The Router Workshop, This Old House, The Woodwright’s Shop

Slice  (Click on Shows)

(Shaw 33; Telus 141)

Family Renovation, House Poor, Shotgun Reno, Till Debt Do Us Part

TLC The Learning Channel

(Shaw 35, HD 236; Telus 140, HD 671)

Hoarding: Buried Alive, Home Made Simple, Kitchen Boss, Spouse vs. House

W Network

(Shaw 34; Telus 146)

The Agents, All for Nothing, Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag, Building Bryks, Candice Tells All, Colour Confidential, Divine Design, Grin and Build It, Help My House is Falling Down, Home Wreckers, Inside the Box, Love It Or List It, Making House, Million Dollar Decorators, My House Your Money, Property Brothers, Take This House and Sell It

Not strictly related to houses and real estate but still very much related to home, so we have to give an Honorable Mention to:

The Food Network 

(Shaw 29; Telus 143)

Ace of Cakes, Barefoot Contessa, Chef at Home, Eat Shrink and Be Merry, Family Restaurant, French Food at Home, Iron Chef America, Jamie’s Meals in Minutes, Restaurant Makeover, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Tough Cookies, and much more!

This list isn’t intended to be comprehensive, but if I’ve missed anything that really should be on it, please let me know!

I’d love to help you find a house to turn into a home.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here




A Useful Website for Home Buyers

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

When it’s time to buy a house or acreage in Alberta, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, do you choose a pre-owned home, or do you work with a builder to create a brand new model, modified to your custom specifications?  Whichever way you go, a great resource for all buyers, not just those thinking about building a home, is the Alberta New Home Warranty Program .

If you are looking to build a new home, this website can guide you through the entire process.   Click on sections entitled:

  • Choose the Right Builder
  • Understanding the Building Process (with emphasis on the building inspection)
  • Your Warranty Coverage (explains the various consumer protections for new home buyers) and
  • Finding Solutions & Settling Issues.

A Useful Website for Home Buyers |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam


While the primary focus of this website is on brand new homes, all buyers can benefit from several of the publications:

  • Clicking on Single Family Guidebook takes you to a publication entitled Your Purchase to Possession Guidebook.   This guidebook is loaded with details and answers every question a new home purchaser might have.
  •  If your new home is a condo, click on The Way Home Condominium Guide for a road map to the purchase process from first notion, through construction, possession, and after you move in.
  • The Care and Maintenance Guidebook provides a very comprehensive tour of the physical structure of a residence and what you can do to keep your home looking like new.
  • For information on every aspect of the acceptable standards for “bricks and mortar” of home construction, click on the Workmanship & Material Reference Guide – great for new home buyers, but also an excellent resource for home renovators.

Questions or comments about this article, or about any aspect of purchasing a home?  I’d be happy to help.  Contact me here, phone me at 780-910-9669, or email me at

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 4: Home Inspection

Friday, November 12th, 2010

My clients in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and the Edmonton area have lots of questions, and I’m happy to answer them!  This article is Part 4 of a series that addresses the most common questions I get from buyers. 

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 4:  Home Inspection |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamDo I have to get a home inspection?

While not required by law, a home inspection is something I recommend.  A home inspector can perform an objective visual assessment of the property to identify future maintenance issues with key components of your property such as electrical, plumbing, heating and even potential water problems.  This is also a great way for buyers to learn what types of maintenance costs they can expect over the short term.

What is the cost of a home inspection?

Budget about $400 to $500 for the inspection of a standard property such as a townhouse, half-duplex or single family home.  Expect additional costs if the property has more than one dwelling (e.g. a single family home with a basement suite).

How do I arrange a home inspection?

You may find your own home inspector, or ask your REALTOR® for a list of reputable inspectors.

Can I be at the house while the home inspection is going on?

Absolutely!  I recommend that my clients be present for at least the last hour of the home inspection.  This gives you the opportunity to review the results of the inspection with the inspector and ask any questions.  Most home inspections take 2 to 3 hours to complete, and are usually scheduled for the morning or early afternoon.

When do I pay for the home inspection?

Payment is due immediately after the inspection.  Most home inspectors accept cash, cheque or credit card.

Questions Home Buyers Ask, Part 4:  Home Inspection |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFor more information on this topic within my website:

If you don’t see your question here, it might be answered in the Buyers Guide section of my website.  Or, feel free to contact me any time by email at or by phone 780-910-9669.

Should I Get a Home Inspected Before Purchasing It?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

If you are asking the question, then the answer should probably be, yes.  No one should ever advise you not to get a home inspected.   If you do decide to go ahead, make sure the home inspector has experience, training and a broad understanding of home construction and all the bits and pieces that make a house whole.   This advice holds true whether you are looking to buy a Spruce Grove or Stony Plain home, a Parkland County acreage, or property in the Edmonton region or elsewhere.

Should I Get a Home Inspected Before Purchasing It? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamA good home inspector will spend between 2 to 4 hours (depending on the house size) inspecting the home.  He or she should have equipment such as a moisture detector, carbon monoxide detector, ladders, magnifying glasses, mirrors and other specialized equipment in order to check all areas of the home and in cracks and crannies when needed.  A thorough home inspection should give you a good overview of the general condition of the plumbing, electrical, roofing, insulation, windows, grading, drainage, the foundation where exposed, furnace, hot water tank, and general construction and condition of the home.  It is advised that you be there for most of the inspection or at least the latter half of the inspection.  That way you can see firsthand any deficiencies (minor or major) noted by the inspector.  You can also ask the inspector to look more closely at any areas that are of concern to you.

At the end of the inspection the home inspector should provide you with a report outlining his observations. He or she should also give you an overall view of the condition of the home (i.e. sub-standard, normal, above average), and recommend maintenance that should be done over time.

A house put under a magnifying glass like this will create a list of observations.  That list can sometimes seem overwhelming.  Don’t be surprised when your home inspector refers to a 25-year-old furnace as being “fully depreciated”. That doesn’t mean the furnace has to be replaced tomorrow.  If it is operating safely, it could last, with proper maintenance,   another 5 or more years.  But a 25-year-old furnace is only about 60% efficient (60% of the fuel used by the furnace is used to produce heat and the other 40% goes up the chimney). Most people nowadays replace furnaces in order to have a more efficient furnace.  The building code now requires that all new furnaces be high efficiency (90 plus percent). The home inspection needs to be put into perspective.  It should reflect, within reason, what you viewed and bargained for when you negotiated your purchase.

Although a home inspection can be used to try to re-negotiate the original purchase contract or to try to get the seller to do repairs or upgrading, this is usually the exception to the rule, reserved for bigger ticket items that a buyer would not have expected from the original viewing of the home.  Things that fall into this category could include safety issues (for example, a cracked heat exchanger on a furnace), a structural issue that you were not aware of, or such a very large list of minor deficiencies that it now represents a major expense, with the exception of a home that was known to require a lot of work, such as a “handyman special”.  There is no one answer that fits all situations, so it is always best to discuss any concerns you have with your REALTOR®.

See also “How to Pass Your Home Inspection” on

Comments or questions are always welcome!  Contact me here, phone me at 780-910-9669 or email me at

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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