June 7, 2021

Types of Plumbing

There are a few types of plumbing you might see in your home, or may not depending on the type of build, but if you can see the type of plumbing take a look and be careful of a few of them. 

Most common in a house 5 years or older is copper. Copper piping is, yes you guessed it, copper in color and has soldered joints in most cases. This process and type of product have been a very long-lasting product and in my opinion, is one of the best options in an older home and I would feel very safe having this in my house. Leaking can happen most normally where the solder joint is. Sometimes you will notice a green color at the joint. Keep an eye on this and if needed replace and resolder the joint. 

Pex is a newer product and is being used in newer houses. This product is a good option as it has better flexibilities to reduce the number of connections, which are the weakest point in plumbing, and installation is much quicker. Installation is done with crimping tools rather than solder and a torch which leaves less room for human or installation error. You may see some upgraded Pex piping merged in with your previous copper which they have made easy to do. Another great option and a good thing to see in your home. Let’s take some time and talk about poly b. Poly b is the big swear word out there right now and the insurance companies are driving this car. Poly b is normally a grey pipe and at the joints, you will see either a copper ring around each side of the joint and hopefully a coper connector or you may see a plastic connector. The plastic connections are a bad idea. If you crimped the connection too much it would surely crack. Not the best option as it could slowly leak after you cover the walls up and will keep leaking till it comes through the walls. This is sometimes called stage 1 poly b. Stage 2 poly b is the metal joints which is by far the best option in poly b. Some insurance companies are not a fan of any poly b in homes and it seems like they are getting more and more careful about this product. 

If your home or a home that you are interested in has poly b, it can be replaced and a plumber can do some amazing things to fix the issue with as little damage to your walls as possible. If you have a crawlspace they will have full access to the majority of work to be done. Before you worry too much about it have a plumber in to see costs and assess it first. Everything can be taken care of and the right plumber will have you taken care of with little interruption.

You may see some black abs pipes or cast larger normally 4 inches. Cast pipes in older homes should be replaced as they, over time will build up from the inside causing restriction on flow. It is fairly easy to replace this but be careful when you take it out as it's way heavier than you think. Abs is a black plastic piping and is most used. They glue the joints and it seems to be the best product out there for this application.

A good inspector can see most issues but again can’t see inside the walls. They will be able to tell you what type of plumbing is inside the house and what issues may come up as well. It is common to have a few plumbing issues to take care of but having a plumber in they can take care of a lot of things in only a few hours.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 21, 2021

Perimeter Drains

Perimeter drains are a very boring thing to talk about and spend money on but are very helpful to keeping water out of your house.  A perimeter drain runs around your house and then sends the water to the storm drain in most cases.  They collect the groundwater and also the rainwater from the roof through the gutters and downspouts and send it away from your foundation.  Your perimeter drain is below the dirt by the footing of your foundation.  It is put in place before you put your sidewalks or landscaping so properly fixing the whole thing will normally cause a mess and a bunch more work to put things back together after your repair.

Older homes had a single perimeter drain made of concrete tiles which as you can imagine after time will collapse causing a break in the flow of water around the house to the storm drain.  This can cause a water pool where the break is and could cause some water ingress to your crawlspace or somewhere in your house it shouldn’t be.  Any time water sits beside your house over time can do bad things and should be fixed.  

The next stage in perimeter drains is big O piping, a normally corrugated black pipe.  This pipe has holes in the top and solid on the bottom so that your roof water through the downspouts, if not too much, will stay in the big o pipe, and then the top holes will collect the surrounding rain/groundwater.  The problem with this design is if there is too much water the pipes will be releasing the water back out through those holes.  Normally that is when you need them to be working at their best. 

Although it is stronger than concrete tile, this pipe can collapse as well over time, causing water intrusion issues.  Normally this is an easier fix as it would fail in spots of the perimeter, not the whole distance.  Dig it up and fix the broken piece then you are ready for the next rain.

If you have a single system either concrete or big O sometimes it helps to divert some of the water from overrunning your perimeter system or if there is a break in the line somewhere move as much water from the issue spot as possible.  A solution to this is simply diverting the downspout pipe water as far away from the foundation of the house as possible.  The way to do this is easiest by an extension onto the downspout to take the water away at least 4 feet from your house.

There is a small roll-out hose that attaches to your downspout that rolls out when it rains moving the water away from your house.  When the rain stops and the water stops running down the downspouts it rolls back in. 

They are only about $10-20.  Half of the water going to the issue will help a lot.

The newest way they are doing it is a 2 pipe system.  They are using a single solid white pipe without any holes to take only gutter/roof water to the drains.  No way dirt can clog the holes or over-filling the pipes.  The second pipe is the same size but has holes to collect the groundwater and is all covered with gravel to help the water find its way to the drains and away to the road.

Not the most interesting thing to talk about but if an issue comes up it's always better to know what’s going on and how to fix it.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 17, 2021

Crawl Space

The hole, normally in your laundry room or bedroom closet, that leads to the dark space under your house. 

A crawl space is a great thing in my opinion as it allows you to access plumbing, keeps your flooring warmer rather than a slab floor (concrete), and a good place for your furnace and some storage.  

Let's start with a slab floor compared to a crawl space under your feet.  Standing on concrete as you know is much cooler than standing with shoes on.  Your crawlspace gives an air gap between your feet and the ground.  

Accessing the electrical and plumbing from the crawl is a really good thing.  You will be able to see if there is a leak or move anything if you want or need to.  If you have a slab floor you are breaking the concrete up and digging the plumbing out. 

The crawl space is called a crawlspace for a reason.  I have seen a crawl with as little as a foot and a half to 6 feet.  Normally a craw is 3.5-4 feet and has a concrete or skim layer on the flooring of it.  The furnace can be in it on its side, mounted to the floor joists out of the way.

You will see the foundation wall and then normally a footing or center wall in the middle if needed. 

On the floor between the footings, you will often find a skim layer of concrete.  Normally there is a layer of poly and then a thin layer of concrete approximately 2 inches.  Don’t worry if there are cracks in it as it is just to keep poly down which keeps the dirt and moisture away from getting into your house.  If your house has a crawlspace without a concrete skim coat you want to ensure it has a poly/vapor barrier covering the dirt.  If you have a dirt crawl, the moisture that will come up in the dirt can enter your house and cause it to have an odor also.  You will want the poly to completely cover every inch of the dirt.  Normally there is a mastic putty or glue/tape to the foundation walls and then tape for the joints in the floor.  Any hole will release the moisture through so tape them all up with a red tuck tape is best.  

Sometimes you will find gravel covering the poly just to keep it down as well.  

Efflorescence will show as a white powder or white staining on your foundation walls or the floor of your craw.  That is the calcium deposit left after the water has evaporated showing you have a water intrusion.  It is very common so don’t worry too much unless it is a large area or very thick but it may mean there is an issue somewhere else you want to deal with so it doesn’t get worse.  It could be a problem with your perimeter drain which I will discuss further in another blog.

Storing items in your crawlspace is possible but I feel it is best to keep things in totes just in case there is a sneaky water issue you won't see till you go to get something in it once a year or to change your furnace filter.

Give me a crawlspace to climb into over an attic any day.  I don’t feel like I am going to fall through the ceiling in a crawl and it tells us all kinds of things about the house.  It is like a peek under the hood or looking inside the walls so the more we know the better it is to make an informed decision and protect our investment.

 

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 17, 2021

Venting

A lot of people don’t realize how important venting in your attic is.  Your attic space is designed to have air coming through the soffits and out the roof vents.  A shake roof normally didn’t have any venting in the soffits as it was built so that the whole roof would vent or breathe.  A fiberglass roof needs adequate venting or the roof will essentially rot from the inside out.  When a new roof is installed you have to make sure that there is proper air venting on the new roof to avoid issues.  Normally you don’t notice an issue till it's too late. (nobody likes climbing in the attic to take a look)  

Normally the vents are a black square on the backside of the roof, normally closer to the top of the roof where the heat would go.  The number of vents will depend on how large the attic space is and the size of the house. 

There are about 4-6 vents on average from what I see.  A house built in the 70s or earlier didn’t have soffit venting and just has plywood covering up where the venting should be with a new roof.  This is an easier job than people think.  You need to open it up so that air can get through.  The easiest way to do this is to cut vents or a channel down the plywood to allow for the airflow.  If you leave some of the plywood and cut the slats you can put soffit material up overtop and it covers it up allowing the air to suck up into the attic and do its thing.  The soffit material is quite inexpensive and the job is fairly easy to do so it won't cost you too much to fix if it comes up.  The second part of this is to ensure you put baffles in to allow the air to get into the attic.  They hold tight to the sheeting in the attic and hold the insulation from blocking the new soffit venting you did.  

Another venting issue that I see all of the time is a bathroom or kitchen fan that isn’t connected properly or has fallen off.  These fans are to remove warm wet air from a dryer, bathroom, or kitchen fan out of the house to the outside through the attic cold space.  If the venting pipes aren’t insulated they will create condensation on the outside and cause a moisture problem.  We also see them slipping off of the connection at the top of the roof falling down and just pumping all of that air into the roof on the sheeting causing mildew or mold.  

 

A fairly simple solution is to replace the pipe with insulated pipe (found at most hardware stores) then connect the pipe with a metal clamp and tape it with metal duct tape or tuck tape, something that once done you never have to go up there again.  If there is mold in the attic, most of the time, wearing a mask, of course, you can clean it and spray it with a mold control spray.

These issues are very common and come up all the time so please don’t be too shocked when you see them come up on an inspection and also the sellers probably have no idea there is an issue up there.  It’s not my favorite place to be so I spend as little time as possible in there but most of the issues can be easily and pretty inexpensively fixed.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 13, 2021

5877 Garvin Road | $999,000 | Spectacular Fanny Bay Home w/ Sweeping Ocean Views

Ocean Views. Brand new kitchen. Multiple living spaces. Fully Renovated. Separate Workshop. Welcome to Fanny Bay where in a highly sought after neighbourhood you will find this incredible 3 bedroom 3 bathroom home with a bright and spacious open layout with large windows to take in the view. On the main level you will find a stunning brand new kitchen with white cabinetry, an island and stainless steel appliances that connects to a dining area with the formal living room with a stone fireplace on one side and a cozy sunken family room on the other. All of these overlook a large deck where you can entertain and relax with ocean & mountain views. There are also three bedrooms and two bathrooms, the primary suite including a walk in closet and ensuite. Downstairs has a spacious family room with wood stove, laundry, a storage room and another bathroom making it a great space for kids to hang out. Outside there is a large yard and a separate workshop (28x14) that is the perfect place for tools, toys, and all the projects. If you are looking for a home that has it all and has been fully redone, definitely come and see this one. Msmts approx., pls verify if important. 

May 11, 2021

Insulation

Up in the attic, you could find fiberglass blow in (sort of like snow), fiberglass batt insulation (big blocks of insulation), vermiculite chips (not good), and anything from newspapers to the inside of sleeping bags.  

The majority of homes have blown-in fiberglass insulation. I feel this is the best option.  Normally it will give you the best coverage and is cheaper and easier to install. You can blow more in after the fact to increase the r-value and they use a reverse vacuum to shoot it up into your attic. You can even rent the machines and do it yourself if you don’t mind being in the attic, which is my least favorite place to spend time in the house. Just make sure you get it all evenly distributed (a small rake helps to even it out) and the insulation should stay all fluffy like snow. Don’t walk on it and try not to disturb it to ensure even coverage.

If you see small channels through or on top where it is packed down may mean you have some friends hanging out in the warm space and make sure you take care of them as soon as you can. 

There are other types of blow-in insulation including cellulose or paper. Cellulose is heavier so will pack and sit lower.  You will use a smaller amount of this insulation so normally is a bit cheaper. I’m not a fan of a chemically treated paper product in the attic space, if I had a choice I would choose another product.

Batt insulation is fairly easy to make sure it's covering all the areas as it doesn’t pack down as a fiberglass blow-in could.  It is harder to get all the nooks and crannies like the blow-in would but coverage is still great. Some have a paper backing and others are just a big piece of insulation. Same deal as the fiberglass blow in, if you need more then you put more on top of it. 

If you are missing insulation in your attic you will have a cold spot in your ceiling which with the warm air in your house hitting the cold spot will cause moisture. That moisture could cause mildew or the other m-word which neither is good. You normally won't have your insulation disturbed in your attic, again because it is not a fun place to hang out but if you have a new pot light installed or someone doing work up there you need to make sure that they put the insulation back around where they were. Skylights have batt insulation around them as well which is normally tied with a cord and can slide down in time.  Your attic hatch should have a piece of batt or Styrofoam insulation glued to it as well which comes up quite a bit.  

All of these issues are very common and fairly inexpensive to fix, even blowing more insulation into your attic for better coverage isn’t too much extra to do.  

Vermiculite insulation is another story. Vermiculite insulation is chip-like insulation normally shiny on one side. Vermiculite now is an assumed asbestos product and needs to be removed. When it is disturbed, the cancer-causing product gets into the air and you can breathe it into your lungs.  If an inspector or you find this it needs to come out. 

There are many companies that will come and remove it for you and give you a clear air quality test. The companies will seal the space off and vacuum it out and dispose of it properly but it is expensive to have done. After it is removed you are welcome to put a blow in fiberglass or batt in its place and you are back in business.  

Sometimes you will have it hidden with batt or blown in over top so be careful. I have also seen that someone has cleared the first little bit around the attic hatch and until you go in a few feet and see what surprise is hidden. I have found vermiculite in many houses and although there is a solution to every problem, just know the costs first.  

Inspectors are worth their weight in gold here and with their infrared thermal imaging cameras they can catch more than you or I for sure. I have seen photos of large spaces of missing insulation, even on new builds. 

Sometimes areas just get missed which will cause you issues before you know it. I have also had it show water leaks and even rodent urine in attic areas.  

Get an inspection.

By now you know that attics are my least favorite places in the house to go but once it's checked out you just need to poke your head up there every year or two to make sure no rodent activity, leaks from the roof, and that your bathroom and kitchen vents are still attached.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 3, 2021

Pre-Inspection Walkthrough

When we are looking at a house and we know this could be the one I like to take a look at it and go through a little bit more of the issues that may come up during an inspection so I have fewer surprises after a professional goes through it.

I would first take a look at the outside looking at the gutters and roof to see if it is an older shingle or looks like more wear and also the gutters to make sure they are doing their thing keeping water away from your foundation and perimeter of the house.  Under a deck is a good place to see if it's leaking and the supports are in good shape. It is better to do this from below than to find out when you are falling through it. (Pro tip)

Inside the house, I always look up at the ceilings.  This will tell you if there may have or be a leak especially look around any hole in your roof. (fireplace chimney, skylight) I find that especially around a chimney the flashing on the roof will fail at some point and you want to make sure it's in good shape.  You may see some drywall cracking in the corners or in the ceiling and most is a cosmetic issue but still is something we can have a better look at.  If the downstairs has an unfinished ceiling or a crawlspace, I’m all over it.  We can see everything from the plumbing to electrical, and see how the house is holding up.  I’ve seen cut trees to hold flooring joists up or stacked up rocks, there are some better options out there for this now.  

I also look at the windows to see if they are vinyl or metal and the metal ones especially the single panes will sweat more because of the hot inside and cold outside.  The place to look at is the corners in the sill to see if it has rotted the wood out.

Bathrooms are the next place I get a good look in and look underneath the sink to see if any water leaks and turn the taps on as well for the same.  I feel a single-piece tub surround is the easiest product out there as no water can get out but there are tubs with tile above or a tiled shower that should be closely looked at to make sure it's done properly and sealed so that water doesn’t go through the grout.  You may see some darkening in the grout or if there is a section that is higher or lower than the rest get someone to take a better look at it. The professionals have the tools to verify that all is well or not. 

We are just taking a look so we are prepared and can do some research on how to fix it if it does come up.

The cosmetic things are normally fairly easy to spot, flooring repairs or chipped countertops so I don’t spend as much time pointing those things out but the other items are things that I feel is better to know could be an issue so that we don’t have such a huge list of things on the inspection day that catch us off guard. 

If we can catch half of what the inspector finds it is a much less stressful day when they go through the house. 

 

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

 

April 15, 2021

2521 Kentmere Ave | $899,999 | Stunning Family Home w/ Mountain Views in Beautiful Cumberland

Welcome to the picturesque town of Cumberland where you will find this 3 bedroom plus den family home on a sunny 0.30 acre lot. The home features a nice bright and open floor plan with continuous flooring, a fabulous back yard with mountain views. The kitchen features an upgraded stainless steel appliances package with a chef's gas range, a large island, quartz countertops and beautiful white cabinetry. The bright living room boasts large windows and a gorgeous fireplace that flows into a dining area that is perfect for the family. With the kitchen and living area all facing the back yard you have the ultimate privacy in this home. This level also includes a half bathroom and the den/office which allows for endless possibilities. Upstairs are three generous sized bedrooms including the Master w/ ensuite, a large second bathroom and the huge bonus family room with peek a boo ocean views!  Outside you will find yourself on one of the largest and most private lots in the entire coal valley estates development. The fully fenced south facing back yard has a luxurious hot tub to enjoy the stunning views and provides ample entertaining and playing space.  The rare three car garage will give you plenty of room for storage and toys and includes an electric car outlet as well as upgraded 20amp bench plugs for all your workshop needs.  There is even driveway space to park an RV. The home is steps from some of the most incredible mountain biking and hiking trails BC has to offer and Cumberland Elementary only a 5 minute walk away. If you are looking for a home that has it all, this is one to check out!

March 5, 2021

3840 Melrose Road | $249,900 | Qualicum Beach Mobile Home Tucked Away in Nature

Welcome to Melrose Road. Located just outside the town of Qualicum Beach you will find this 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom de registered mobile home tucked away in nature while enjoying mountain views. Walking in you are greeted to an open kitchen with wood stove, a bright and spacious living room with built in shelving and large windows, three bedrooms, and 1 four piece bathroom. If you are someone who would like to put your personal stamp on a home and have been looking for the right place, this could be the one for you. Looking for an investment opportunity? This could be that too! Enjoy quiet and privacy on the side deck outside and easy access to amenities being a short distance Port Alberni, Coombs and Qualicum Beach. Come check it out today! Msmts approx., pls verify if important.

Dec. 16, 2020

20-211 Buttertubs Place | $299,900 | Beautiful Ground Level Centrally Located Townhouse

Situated on the quiet street of Buttertubs Place, this ground level, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom townhouse has tons of great features. Walking in you are greeted to a spacious and bright open floor plan with gorgeous wood burning fire place in the living room. There is a space for a dining area that leads into the great galley kitchen with tons of counter space. The open layout is great for those who love to entertain. Down the hall are three generous sized bedrooms, a beautiful 4 piece main bathroom, and a laundry/storage room. With 1000 sqft of living space, this home could work for multiple types of buyers. There is a designated parking space, a covered front entry way, and the strata allows both rentals and pets. You will love living in central Nanaimo and being close to all major amenities, tons of parks, transit, restaurants, shopping and just a short drive to Nanaimo Harbour and downtown. Don’t miss the opportunity to see if you could make this place your own. Msmts approx., pls verify if important.