Inside Your Home From A to Z
INSIDE YOUR HOME FROM A TO Z
The nature of concrete is such that surface pitting, superficial cracking and “marbling” sometimes occur. All of these are part of the curing process and little can be done to prevent it. The concrete floor may crack but this is generally due to shrinkage.
Should you choose to paint the concrete floor, be sure to use a product with a concrete conditioning agent, which will permit continued curing. You can purchase paints made especially for this purpose from a reliable paint dealer.
In order to construct your home, the earth is excavated to form a hole, which allows sufficient room around the perimeter of the new basement. After completing and damp-proofing the wall, the soil is replaced around the outside of the house to a height known as grade. This back filling puts a stress on the wall, which may lead to minor settlement cracking of the wall in its early life. This is a normal and acceptable condition.
Basement walls are also subject to expansion and contraction caused by extreme seasonal temperature changes, which will also cause minor cracking. It is not necessary to repair minor cracking, as it doesn’t affect the wall strength.
The grade to which the wall was back-filled was designed to permit drainage away from the house. The damp-proofing agents applied prior to back filling repel surface water below grade. Walls, however, can still become slightly damp and this is normal. Running water into the basement is not, however, and suitable measures must be taken to repair the leak. It’s the new owner’s responsibility to keep walls and grade clear of obstacles to allow proper drainage. Any re-grading or improper subsequent landscaping that causes a leak is not the builder’s responsibility.
Caulking around windows and doors provide a watertight seal to the exterior finish on your home. It should be inspected every six months, for cracking or shrinkage and replaced if the seal is broken.
Ceramic tile is a beautiful, serviceable finish. To clean, tile only needs to be wiped over with soap and water. Harsh, abrasive cleaners should not be used. Due to the expansion & contraction of the wood used to make up the floor structure, there is a possibility for floor tile to crack. Our policy is to replace only the broken tile and only during the first 2 years.
The area between each tile and between the tub and floor/wall is grouted. Due to shrinkage, the grouting may crack or separate at the tub joint. Re-grout or caulk the tile immediately with products that can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Condensation in a new home can often be a great cause of concern. Because homes are built to endure less airflow, the lack of new or replacement air in the home will increase humidity, resulting in condensation.
If the air of your home is too moist, the infrastructure and your personal belongings may be damaged. Air can only hold so much water and when warm moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, it releases condensation; frost on the windows during sudden drops in temperature is considered normal and will disappear if the humidity in the house is maintained at an acceptable level.
During the year, the materials in your home will dry by evaporating moisture, and increased humidity levels can be caused by your life style. A few guidelines to practice during the drying-out period will help to reduce condensation:
• Air out your home regularly, especially if it has been completely closed up all day.
• During bathing, washing or drying clothes, or boiling water to prepare food, always use the exhaust fans where provided, or open the window to ensure the excess moisture is vented.
• Don’t let wet clothes drip or hang in the house to dry.
• Ensure that your laundry dryer is vented to the outside. Doug Tarry Homes cannot accept responsibility for condensation discomfort or damages caused to your home. Condensation is a lifestyle condition that must be monitored and controlled by the home owner.
Cabinetry & Countertops
The Cabinetry in your home should be treated with care, cleaned regularly and not abused by overloading shelves or banging doors. Each cabinet door can be adjusted at the hinges using a Phillips screwdriver.
• White cabinets with low gloss finish should be cleaned with warm water & baking soda.
• During the cold dry months, there may be gap between the countertop and the wall. This is due to the wood in the wall shrinking due to dryness. This gap should close during the more humid, warmer months.
• The countertop should never be used as a chopping block/cutting board or be cleaned with abrasives or bleach. Hot pots or pans will leave marking rings. Consult with your local hardware outlet or your cabinet supplier listed in the Contact & Emergency Numbers at the beginning of this guide.
Your cabinetry and countertops will perform well if you follow these simple rules. Should any door twist or other operating part become defective, Doug Tarry Homes will replace or repair as required within the first year.
Carpet is relatively easy to care for and a regular maintenance plan will protect the original appearance for many years. To maintain the optimum appearance:
• Remove spills immediately to prevent spots and stains
• Maintain heavy traffic areas daily by picking up surface dust and lint
• Vacuuming weekly to remove embedded dirt
• Clean seasonally to remove oily film on the carpet fibres
Professional carpet cleaning is recommended every year or two depending on use and appearance. This will ensure the best appearance and longest performance from your carpet.
Carpet Drafting: Environmental Soiling Problem
The condition called Draft Marking is an environmental soiling problem. Draft marking is described as discoloration in various areas of carpet. It may affect areas around the perimeter and middle of the room, as well as under doors. Light colour carpets are especially prone to this problem. A buildup of discoloration may become apparent soon after installation depending on carpet colour and outside dust levels. The lifestyle in a home, including cooking habits, smoking, and general housekeeping may also affect discoloration. Candle burning is not recommended in a new home as they often are found to be a source of this soiling problem. Other sources are cars idling in the garage and excessive street traffic. Use of your home’s exhaust fan helps this problem.
Drainage is designed before construction begins and minor changes may be made during construction to facilitate particular lot conditions. The model home for instance, may have window wells in place and your home may not; this depends on the lot drainage. Should you have window wells, it is your responsibility to maintain them by keeping them clear of weeds, dirt, ice or anything that may cause a blockage and reduce the flow of water. Any leak as a result of a badly maintained window well will not be warranted.
To assist the flow of water, swales and catch basins are installed (dependent upon the area in which the house is built). Swales are not to be changed; it is advisable to keep them clean of leaves and other debris. During spring thaw, remove snow and ice to assist the flow of the water. If a catch basin is installed within your lot lines, it is your responsibility to keep it free of leaves and debris. During heavy rainfall and spring thaw, puddles may form over the already saturated soil. This is quite normal and no action is necessary.
You cannot change your lot grades, as this could affect your own drainage as well as your neighbour’s.
Eaves trough & Down Spout
The pre-finished eaves trough installed on your house is basically maintenance-free but, if it is not kept free from blockage by debris (twigs, leaves, ice, snow) it will not work properly. These blockages could result in serious water damage under the shingles or siding. Such damage is not covered by the warranty. Clean it out during the fall and winter to keep the trough clear and functioning. The City of St. Thomas requires downspouts to direct water to the street. This must be maintained where possible.
Exterior doors are exposed to severe conditions because of the heat inside your home and the cold exterior side being exposed to the elements. You may have to apply a little extra pressure against the door to operate the dead bolt and grip set. Please do not adjust the door unless this condition becomes extreme.
Your overhead garage doors are a manufactured steel product that will provide many years of service. The spring and rollers should be lubricated annually to ensure easy operation and component life. While the door is well sealed with weather-stripping, it is not intended to be completely weather tight.
Garage, Driveways & Sidewalks
Your garage has a concrete floor and it is impossible to prevent cracking due to the nature of the materials. Some natural settlement and shrinkage will occur.
Salt and other materials used on the road especially in the winter affect all concrete products. Frequently rinse the garage floor and driveway and use a non-corrosive snow and ice cleaning agent. Scaling of garage floor may occur and this most often results from salts and de-icers being applied to the concrete surface and is considered a home maintenance issue and is not covered under any warranty.
To help dispel car fumes and reduce condensation, occasionally leave a gap between the garage door and the garage floor for air circulation.
Precast concrete steps should never have ice-cleaning agents applied. This will cause popping on the surface. A good sealer applied on these steps is recommended.
Direct Vent Gas
This natural gas fireplace will provide you with many years of trouble-free operation. While it is virtually maintenance-free, there are some procedures that should be followed.
Inspect the exterior exhaust vent periodically to ensure there are no obstructions on or around it. Your fireplace has specially designed glass that may discolour with normal glass cleaners. Use only fireplace glass cleaner to avoid discolouration. Your pilot light should remain on year-round to prevent condensation in the firebox.
The warranty for the gas fireplace must be filled out and sent by the homeowner within 10 day(s) of occupancy.
Helpful tips to preserve the appearance of sheet vinyl flooring: Use furniture cups to prevent heavy furniture legs from cutting or denting the resilient flooring. These products are available from flooring suppliers and are to be used on furniture legs because they will mark floor surfaces.
Rubber back mats should not be put on vinyl floors as it can cause yellowing of the vinyl.
It may take a short time for flooring adhesive to set completely. Normal use foot traffic and the weight of furniture will aid this process. All resilient flooring is subject to some indentation and this should be regarded as normal.
Resilient flooring should be washed with lukewarm water and mild detergent. Harsh cleaner can cause fading and discolouration. Stubborn scuff marks can usually be removed with a damp cloth and scrubbing. Do not use steel wool. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning your floors.
The seams between sheets of flooring underlay sometimes show through the resilient flooring, especially in bright sunlight. There is no way to prevent this even through flooring contractors’ attempts to attain leveled surface using appropriate fillers.
Hardwood flooring is usually pre-finished at the factory. The manufacturer usually provides information on the care of these floors.
All hardware installed is plated to obtain the desired finish, during normal use, this plating will wear off. The degree of wear will be minimal during the first year.
Door handles require lubrication every 6 months. Other than this, with normal use, the locks should be trouble free for many years. All locks and hardware carry a full one year repair or replacement warranty.
Heating, Cooling & Ventilation Systems
Your home’s heating system is designed to effectively heat your home to a comfortable temperature.
Heating equipment can be maintained at maximum efficiency only through regular inspections as outlined in the manufacturer’s specifications. If your furnace won’t start:
• Be sure the switch is on
• Check your breaker panel for tripped breakers
• Review the opening procedures in your manual
• Make sure the thermostat is set higher than room temperature
The furnace filter must be cleaned and/or replaced regularly. If your furnace filters are cleaned often, your furnace will operate better and your entire house will be cleaner and more comfortable. Your heating system was engineered to provide the maximum comfort at an optimum cost. Keep heating outlets and cold air returns free of obstruction so that the system functions efficiently.
Exhaust fans are designed to efficiently ventilate your home. Use these fans regularly to prevent excessive humidity build-up and condensation. A switch near the accompanying light switch operates the fan in each area. During windy conditions, a certain amount of back draft may be encountered but this is considered normal and should not cause any real discomfort.
Range Hood and Fan
Use your range hood regularly to remove excessive cooking moisture and clean the filter regularly to maintain its efficiency. Grease build up in the filter is a potential fire hazard. Wash the filters as per manual instructions.
It is your responsibility to water your soil and any sod that has dried out will not be replaced. Regular care and maintenance of landscaping and sod with the aid of some professional advice can save a lot of work and expense in the future.
Newly laid sod should be watered for an hour a day for the first two weeks and bi-weekly thereafter until the sod has been established.
Brick work and other types of exterior masonry should not be enclosed with plants or anything else that prevents aid circulation to the brick. If the brick or mortar deteriorates due to such enclosure, Doug Tarry Homes will not undertake repairs.
Metal or Vinyl Siding
Metal or vinyl siding has little maintenance other than a yearly hose-down to regain its original colour. Over a period of time, the colour will fade. Please be aware that our warranty will not cover discolouration by the constant use of cleaners to remove animal urine or other stains or the constant spraying of a water sprinkler.
Any siding that is blown off during the first two years will be reinstalled or replaced. Only the section damaged will be replaced and we cannot guarantee exact colour blending. Metal siding is strong under normal conditions but will dent with impact.
Patio doors are very heavy and should be used with care. Foreign material and debris in the door track can cause serious problems. Periodically vacuum the track to prevent unnecessary problems and ensure door operation.
Painting & Decorating
You inspected all the painted, varnished or stained areas of your home at the pre-occupancy stage. Doug Tarry Homes is not responsible for repainting marks not reported in the Pre-occupancy Inspection Report. Check your move-in package for an information sheet from the paint manufacturer on the correct procedures for cleaning painted surfaces.
With reasonable care, your home’s plumbing fixtures, faucets, and piping should provide a lifetime of use.
Minimize the disposal of grease, fat and other wastes (especially petroleum products) through the plumbing system. Over an extended period they will accumulate on the inside of the piping, reducing its efficiency. Disposing these wastes in large quantities can affect municipal systems and even interfere with sewage treatment plants, resulting in pollution.
Toilet or Sewer Back-up
If your toilet or sewer backs up, please call Doug Tarry Homes during regular business hours. If the backup happens in the evening, on the weekend or during holidays, please call the plumber listed in your contact list or any 24-hour emergency plumbing service. If the problem is found to be caused by construction, you will be reimbursed.
Low flush toilets require more care in operation than older styles. Please follow the flushing instructions shown to you during the Pre-Delivery Inspection.
Lint, diapers, rubbish, sanitary napkins, and similar items can also plug up toilet and sanitary sewer lines. Normally, stoppages caused by construction debris are usually evident within a short time after occupancy. If your sewer blockage is the result of a domestic item, the costs are your responsibility. If construction materials or settlement has caused the blockage, repairs will be made at no charge.
All exterior hose bibs (taps) must be winterized to avoid bursting. It is your responsibility to turn off the shut off valve in the basement and open the outside valve. Remove the adjacent small brass cap to allow the water to drain out.
Doug Tarry Homes will not be responsible to repair or replace a whirlpool tub that has been damaged by misuse. Do not operate your whirlpool unless the tub is filled with water. Bubble bath products should not be used while the pump is in operation.
The sump pump is located in the basement in a sump pit or well. The pit collects water from around the footings via the perforated weeping tile. The function of the sump pump is to move the water up to grade level and toward the storm sewers.
Sump pumps require some regular maintenance to ensure that they are functioning as required. Periodically start the pump manually to make certain it is operating. On pedestal-type pumps, gently lift the float switch; on submersible pumps, fill the sump with water until it engages. If the pump fails to start, first check that it is plugged in and the electrical breaker is activated in your electrical panel. If it still fails to start, disconnect it (unplug it) and check for obstructions blocking the pump impeller.
During dry spells, the sump pit may smell and need to be flushed out by filling it with clean water to activate pump.
Your sump pump will have a check valve that prevents the water from running back into the sump. It is not unusual or abnormal for this valve to ‘thump’ as it closes at the end of the discharge cycle.
Your new roof is constructed to be maintenance-free for many years. Slight colour variations are a normal result of shingle production.
After storms or high winds, check the roof for lifted or broken shingles. All shingle installations are warranted for the full two years, but after the shingle period, replacement is the owner’s responsibility. During the first two years, you must advise Doug Tarry Homes the next working day after observing damage so that repairs can be completed quickly.
Slight variations may be observed in the roof’s level. In the case of asphalt shingles, the sun’s heat often causes shingles to expand and rise between the nails. As long as the condition does not affect the utility of the roof, it is not considered a defect.
Large accumulations of snow and ice on the roof may cause leakage and it is the homeowner’s responsibly to periodically check the roof for snow and ice build-up. This condition is referred to as “ice-damming” and it is considered to be a maintenance item. The orientation of each home’s roof to the sun and the resulting shadows will cause similar styles of homes to experience a variety of maintenance challenges during the winter months, including ice damming.
Settling Against the Foundation Walls
During construction, much of the ground is disturbed for the installation of services and the foundation. While every effort has been made to back fill these trenches, some settling will occur as depressions in walks, drives and patios. While the most settling usually takes place in the first year, minor settling may occur later.
While most settling is beyond the builder’s control, Doug Tarry Limited will fix settlement around the house perimeter and those that effect proper drainage in the first year after your purchase, and on a one time only basis.
Your home is subject to a certain amount of drying out or shrinkage as the building materials settle, as well as seasonal expansion and contraction. While every possible care is taken to minimize the effects of these occurrences, Doug Tarry Homes cannot be responsible for:
• Gaps between stairs or stair mouldings and the wall
• Squeaks in the tile underlay, hardwood floors and stair treads
• Joints in window and door trim
Gaps from shrinkage (other than seasonal shrinkage) can usually be filled with an appropriate caulking available at local hardware stores.
In cold weather you can feel that there are air leaks around windows even though they are tight and weather-stripped. When weather conditions are extreme, windows may not be completely windproof, however, in most cases the draft which you may feel will be due to internal air currents rather than air from the outside. Since the windows are cold and the room warm, this temperature differential may set up a cold air current.
It is important to lubricate the weather-stripping and tracks twice each year with a silicone lubricant, this will allow the window to open more freely.