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Care For Your Home

Interior Home Care Tips

The thermopanes are guaranteed against defects by the manufacturer. Any glass breakage for reasons other than seal failures becomes your responsibility. These steps should be followed in caring for your new windows:

Lubricate all moving parts with a silicone lubricant 2-4 times per year as required.

All caulking must be inspected annually paying particular attention to any signs of loss of adhesion. Such faults or cracks should be repaired immediately using a superior grade of caulking.

The tracks on the windows and doors should be lubricated twice yearly. The material used for lubrication can be either petroleum jelly, silicone, or a bar of soap on the tracks. Although windows and doors are weather-stripped they cannot be 100% leakproof in extreme conditions such as rain driven by high winds.

Floors are usually made of either concrete or wood but may be covered by a wide variety of materials. The care of floors depends on the materials with which they are finished.

Tile Floors – Ceramic tile normally needs only a wipe with a dampened cloth with vinegar and water or an occasional wet mopping to stay clean and new looking. If necessary, a more thorough cleaning with a detergent or ceramic tile cleaner will remove grime.

To clean the joints between tiles, use a fibre brush and mild cleanser. A special sealer for grout will make it more stain resistant. Staining agents should be mopped up promptly, even though they rarely affect ceramic tile.

Care should be taken to avoid moving heavy objects across a tile floor as the tiles can crack. Ensure that movers use a dolly or put plywood down on the floor before moving a refrigerator and stove.

Floors are usually made of either concrete or wood but may be covered by a wide variety of materials. The care of floors depends on the materials with which they are finished.

Resilient Floors – Resilient floors include linoleum, asphalt and rubber.

For daily care, remove loose dirt with a broom, dust mop or vacuum. Wipe up soil immediately, but if a spill or spot dries, remove it with a damp sponge, cloth or mop. To prolong the period between cleaning, occasionally wipe resilient floors with a damp mop. When floors are dull or cannot be refurbished by mopping, clean them thoroughly with a good detergent, diluted as recommended by the floor manufacturer. Use just enough mechanical action with a mop, cloth or floor scrubber to loosen dirt. Then remove the cleaning solution, rinse the floor and let it dry. Some resilient floors are designed to never need waxing, but most of them require a coat of floor polish. Your flooring contractor can tell you what kind of flooring you have.

The best polish for most resilient floors is a water emulsion wax. Use either a floor finish or a wax on the clean dry floor. Floor finishes provide hard films that do not smear but also do not respond to buffing. Waxy polishes leave softer films with slightly lower gloss that can be buffed to restore a shiny appearance. Apply the polish sparingly – using just enough to apply it without streaking. Let it dry about 30 minutes before allowing anyone to walk on it. Some porous floors may require two coats, with a buffing after each. About once or twice a year, take off the build-up of old polish or wax with a remover. Dilute it as recommended, apply, rinse, let it dry and apply a new coat of polish.

Floors are usually made of either concrete or wood but may be covered by a wide variety of materials. The care of floors depends on the materials with which they are finished.

The hardwood floors in your new home have been precision manufactured and expertly installed and finished by skilled craftspeople. In order to have years of beauty and satisfaction from your hardwood floors, follow the tips below:

It is advisable never to wash or damp mop hardwood flooring with water. Water sometimes causes the grain to rise, and prolonged use may cause cracks from the expansion and shrinkage of the wood.

It is recommended to clean with a vacuum cleaner, dry dust mop or a cloth lightly dipped in a waterless soap cleaner (available in hardware stores) or a wood floor combination wax/cleaner. Wipe up spills immediately with a well rung-out damp cloth and dry wipe area at once.

If you prefer to wax the floor, be sure to use only solvent based waxes (i.e. a “spiritwax”), either liquid or paste. The wax can be buffed most easily with an electric polisher that can usually be rented at a neighbourhood hardware store or supermarket. If you use a “self-polishing” liquid wax, be sure it is made for use on wood floors.

Please keep in mind that floors are not scratch proof. Dirt and grit will scratch the surface and wear off the finish. Remove daily by sweeping or vacuuming. Do not pull furniture across floors and use floor protector pads on legs of chairs, etc.

Try to follow a planned maintenance schedule. After a certain period of use, the floor may require recoating professionally or as a “Do It Yourself” project. First, lightly hand-sand with fine 100 grit sandpaper to scratch the surface to achieve a good bond. Clean floor and brush on a coat of satin or gloss oil modified polyurethane.

NOTE: Wood flooring is a natural wood product and will absorb excess moisture under humid conditions and release their normal moisture content under excessively dry conditions. All wood flooring expands in the humid summer weather and shrinks in the winter under dry conditions. We recommend the use of both a dehumidifier and humidifier system at the appropriate times of the year.

FIREPLACE – DIRECT VENT GAS

This is a sealed unit, air is drawn from the exterior for combustion and exhausted directly to the exterior. Do not remove glass except to clean. Follow manufacturers directions and do not attempt to burn any other materials.

KEEP CHILDREN AWAY AS SURFACE TEMPERATURES CAN BECOME VERY HIGH

FIREPLACE – WOOD BURNING

Lighting a Fire – Before attempting to light a fire, it is necessary to warm the air in the chimney to prevent a down draft. This may be done by lighting a crinkled piece of newspaper and holding it under the open damper. Repeat if necessary. Start the fire with a crushed newspaper, or find dry kindling, letting it spread to small dry logs. A large dry log should be placed in back of small logs well toward the rear wall, and with another small log or two burning behind it. Sometimes a draft can be helped when starting the fire by placing a crinkled sheet of newspaper on top of, as well as underneath, the firewood structure. The burning paper on top sucks up air from the bottom of the pile. Bear in mind that tightly packed wood forms a mass which slows the upward draft. Pile your logs with plenty of air space around and between them. Do not build too large a fire. The excessive heat can damage the fireplace and/or the damper or the chimney.

DO NOT BURN ANY CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS INCLUDING WOOD CUT-OFFS WHICH MAY BE LEFT AROUND THE SITE. THESE ARE CHEMICALLY TREATED AND WILL CA– USE CREOSOTE BUILD-UP

NOTES ON HOW TO — USE YOUR FIREPLACE AND CARE FOR THE CHIMNEY

FIRING: Your fireplace has been designed to produce best results burning firewood. When using the fireplace, ensure that logs do not touch the sides of the fireplace.

NEVER — USE THE FIREPLACE AS AN INCINERATOR: If your fireplace is fitted with a glass door, it should always be operated with the door closed to prevent escape of sparks. If operated with the door open the spark screen must be employed. The tempered glass on the door (if so equipped) has been tested and found to withstand all normal firing conditions. Build moderate fires toward the back of the firebox. Repeated intense fires close to the glass may reduce the temper of the glass eventually causing it to break.

KEEPING THE CHIMNEY CLEAN: The National Fire Code of Canada states – “Every chimney flue and chimney pipe shall be inspected and cleaned annually or as often as may be necessary to keep the chimney and flue pipe free from dangerous accumulations of combustible deposits”. Large deposits of creosote and soot in the chimney can burn. Such chimney fires are dangerous. They can overheat the chimney causing damage. Chimney fires of long duration can even overheat the chimney surroundings which can damage your home. Such fire-related damage to your home is not due to a defective chimney. It is the result of improper use of your chimney. No residential chimney, masonry or metal, is intended to be a combustion chamber. What can a Homeowner do to protect himself? Two things:

Do not overload the fireplace.

Keep the chimney clean. To prevent chimney burn out and possible chimney damage, inspect the chimney top frequently for signs of soot build up and clean it as necessary. This is easily accomplished with a Chimney Brush Cleaning Kit, or by having a local chimney sweep do the job for you.

Shot of a happy young mother playing with her baby boy at home

The carpet in your home should be vacuumed at least once a week, more in high density traffic areas such as doorways and hallways. During periods of high humidity, it is normal for new carpet to have rolls appear in some areas, however if these rolls become excessive, we will re-stretch the carpet, once only.

Care – Countertops are generally heat and stain resistant under proper care, but they should be protected from hot irons as well as pots, pans or baking dishes taken directly from an oven, broiler or burner. Countertops are also susceptible to scratching and scuffing from pottery, ceramic and certain types of dishware (e.g. stoneware). Always use a cutting board when using a knife as it may dent or nick the surface of the countertop.

Cutting food on sink drainboards leaves scratches and nicks. The finish is then susceptible to stains, which become increasingly difficult to remove.

Cleaning – Kitchen and bathroom cabinets (or vanities) should never be cleaned with harsh abrasives.

Countertops or cabinets made of plastic-coated wood or metal may be cleaned with a detergent solution of Windex.

Wood cabinets may be cleaned as any other wood furniture unless they are plastic coated. Keep cabinet doors and drawers closed when not in use.

The thermopanes are guaranteed against defects by the manufacturer. Any glass breakage for reasons other than seal failures becomes your responsibility. These steps should be followed in caring for your new windows:

Lubricate all moving parts with a silicone lubricant 2-4 times per year as required.

All caulking must be inspected annually paying particular attention to any signs of loss of adhesion. Such faults or cracks should be repaired immediately using a superior grade of caulking.

The tracks on the windows and doors should be lubricated twice yearly. The material used for lubrication can be either petroleum jelly, silicone, or a bar of soap on the tracks. Although windows and doors are weather-stripped they cannot be 100% leakproof in extreme conditions such as rain driven by high winds.

Attics, or spaces immediately below roofs, vary in size from crawl spaces to areas large enough to be converted into extra rooms.

Storage – Attic spaces are commonly used for storage, but you should be careful not to put too much strain on your attic floor members. Typically, it can handle 20-30 pounds per square foot, so you should not store large heavy objects on it (such as a stack of boxed books). The attic can support somewhat heavier material if you reinforce it with sheets of plywood or particleboard. However, even a reinforced floor will not withstand the strain of certain heavy items.

Attics are susceptible to extremes of heat and cold because attic walls are not usually insulated. In addition, an attic can become extremely damp due to the lack of insulation. Materials stored in attics should not be combustible or perishable under these extreme temperatures, and should not be susceptible to dampness.

Insulation – Your home has been constructed to be as energy efficient as possible. Occasionally, the insulation on the attic floor may be out of place and leave gaps or block the attic vents. If either of these situation occurs, return the insulation to its proper location. The attic access cover may have insulation attached to the top side. It should also remain securely in place so that no heat is lost through the access hole. Be certain that materials in the attic do not compress the insulation since compressed insulation is less effective.

Louvers – Your attic may have louvered openings to allow warm, moist air to escape. Louvered openings should remain unobstructed at all times. If they are closed, harmful quantities of moisture may accumulate.

If you intend to install air conditioning in your new home, consult local municipal authorities regarding rules pertaining to placement of cooling units.

The installation of additional equipment will void the Furnace Warranty, if installed by a contractor other than “original” furnace installer. This includes Air Conditioning, Humidifiers, Electronic Air Cleaners, Thermostats, etc.

Whenever these pieces of equipment are installed, it has to be electronically wired into the furnace circuitry. During the installation process, balancing dampers or burners often get dislodged, delicate ignition components can be damaged or broken and air flow patterns can be changed. Sometimes mistakes are made and even if corrected immediately, damage may appear weeks or even months afterwards. When having any of the above installed, ensure it is by a reputable company and that taking responsibility for the balance of the Builder’s Warranty is part of your contract with them.

Registers – The registers throughout your house help to regulate the flow of air and maintain the desired temperature. By opening and closing the registers and dampers, you can regulate the amount of cool air that enters a room. Once the registers and dampers are adjusted, they will work with the thermostat to maintain the temperature of your home. Closing registers and doors of rooms not in use is a good way to reduce cooling costs. If you have a combined cooling and warm-air heating system, the same registers and dampers will be used to regulate the flow of heat to the rooms.

In addition to the air outlets, your house will have an air return register. Many houses have more than one. Neither these nor the other registers should ever be obstructed by furniture, drapes, or other objects.

Filters – Most central air-conditioning systems have an air filter to help keep the air in your home clean. The instruction manual for your cooling system will tell you the location of the filter and how to clean or replace it.

Insulation – Your home has been insulated so that you can regulate the inside temperature in a cost-effective manner. Open doors, windows, and fireplace flues, along with clogged filters can negate the effect of insulation and cause inadequate cooling (or heating).

Annual Inspection – Like any heating system, a central air-conditioning system should be checked and cleaned periodically by a professional (see your instruction manual for the frequency of this care).

EXTERIOR HOME CARE TIPS

Exterior Wood Siding – If your home has wood siding, you do not have to worry about wear. Even unpainted wood weathers so slowly that the wear is insignificant. Do not over paint the exterior of your home. Repainting builds up an unnecessary and troublesome thickness of paint which may crack and peel.

Siding made of coated plywood or plastic-finished wood may well last for the life of the house.

Other Siding – Aluminum, steel, vinyl and other exterior synthetic siding: Many synthetic sidings are guaranteed against cracking, chipping, peeling and termites for 10 years or more. Most of them resist marring and scarring and are nearly maintenance free. Dirt and fingerprints around doors and windows are easily removed with a mild detergent solution. For other areas, infrequent hosing may be sufficient.

Brick Walls – The only maintenance that will be necessary for exterior brick is to inspect it annually and repair any sediment cracks that may appear in the mortar. To do this, use mortar that is as close as possible to the existing colour.

In planning and installing planting beds, be careful not to interfere with the drainage system, particularly around the house. Be sure that any planting beds are laid to fall away from the foundation wall and keep all shrubs and trees clear of the walls. Do not build up topsoil above the top of concrete wall.

A well landscaped home can enhance the value of your property. Landscaping your new home can be done in two ways. One is by guesswork, which may result in a horticultural disaster. The other is to plan according to how you want your grounds to look in 10 years. The long-range planning takes more time, but it pays off.

During the first year of occupancy, it may be necessary to enter upon the property to adjust or repair surface drainage or sod. It is therefore not advisable to install any fencing or planting during this period which may impede such work. If such work is necessary, we will not be responsible for any damages to your fence and/or planting, however caused.

Before installing a fence it is important to check with your local municipality regarding rules pertaining to fencing in your area.

The final grading of your property may have misplaced the survey pins or stakes used to mark the boundaries of your lot. Upon closing, a surveyor’s certificate, which accurately locates your house on the lot, is presented as part of your legal documents.

Should you wish to install a fence, (if permitted), hedge or any boundary features, it is advisable to obtain the services of a qualified surveyor to locate the lot lines. This is to ensure that you do not put your boundary marker on your neighbour’s property. (You may wish to look into the idea of sharing the cost of a boundary marker with you neighbour).

Please note:
NATIONAL HOMES will neither stake out your property for you, nor provide any boundary markers.

Asphalt Driveways – Minor settlement, tire markings and stones that may flake out are normal characteristics. Be careful to avoid the following potential causes of damage to your asphalt:

Oil or gas drippings from a car. As soon as they are noticed, the driveway or garage floor should be washed down with a hose.

During warm weather, pointed objects (such as chair legs, bicycle kick stands etc.) tend to sink into asphalt.

Heavy vehicles should not be permitted on the driveway.

Gravel Driveways  – Upon moving into your home you may find that your driveway is not paved yet or your Agreement of Purchase and Sale does not call for a paved driveway. The driveway will have a layer of gravel on it which will settle at first and leave ruts. These driveways will be repaired by us if required up to a maximum of 12 months after purchase. This may entail having to re-level the drive, or if necessary, more gravel will be added to maintain a reasonably smooth surface. However, some minor settlement and puddles may be apparent during rain, and is considered to be normal.

Slightly opened wooden door with group of modern keys on keychain as a concept for home ownership or for security and door policy privacy

If the security of your home is a concern, consider these items before installing additional locks to your doors:

Locks should be located so that they cannot be removed from the outside.

Locks that require a key on the inside are potentially dangerous if an emergency occurs. When this type of lock is used, be sure a spare key is always handy to prevent anyone from being trapped inside the house.

Installation of any locks or chains will be most secure if the screws and bolts used for attachment go all the way through the door or frame and cannot be removed for the outside.

A metal insulated door may require the services of an expert to properly install new locks.

The exterior doors are steel clad insulated doors. The need for storm doors is eliminated and they should not be used. A storm door could cause a heat build up resulting warping and damage to the steel door. During periods of extreme cold, steel doors have a tendency to warp, causing them to be slightly more difficult to lock and unlock. This is a normal condition for this type of door and the warp will disappear with the cold weather. If you should find that the doors are extremely difficult to operate, we can make an adjustment to the striker of the door to accommodate this.

Garage Doors
The moving parts of a garage door should be oiled every 3 months.

The screws that fasten the hardware to a wooden door should be tightened every 12 months because the wood shrinks a little as it ages, and the screws may loosen.

If a wooden hinged door sags, tightening the appropriate turnbuckle should bring it back into shape. Each garage door usually has two of these, one on each of two cables criss-crossing the back of the door. An overhead door may warp inward from being left up for long periods. Usually this can be corrected by adjusting the nuts on the metal rods or the straps across the top and bottom of the door.

Sliding garage doors that drag can be re-aligned by tightening the bolts on the wheels that run on the overhead track. Also, check that the floor guide is not out of line. Please do not attempt to adjust springs – injury may result. Please call a repairman should this be required.

SEASONAL HOME CARE TIPS

To ensure that your house remains in prime condition over the years, a program of preventative maintenance is required. By making a thorough inspection of your home inside and out once a season you can detect and repair problems before they become emergencies. This can save you time, worry and often money.

If you follow the checklists faithfully, making necessary repairs at vulnerable points, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to protect your valuable investment.

To ensure that your house remains in prime condition over the years, a program of preventative maintenance is required. By making a thorough inspection of your home inside and out once a season you can detect and repair problems before they become emergencies. This can save you time, worry and often money.

If you follow the checklists faithfully, making necessary repairs at vulnerable points, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to protect your valuable investment.

EXTERIOR INSPECTION

  • Remove accumulated debris from eavestroughs. Clean leaf strainers at the mouth of downspouts. Check for clogged elbows and downspouts. Check for loose joints and leaks.
  • Check exterior caulking and grouting. Remove crumbling caulking; clean and apply new caulking where doors and windows meet siding or brick.
  • Check windows.
  • Check exterior ventilation grills and vents for blockage and proper ventilation.
  • Check weather-stripping around doors.
  • Shut off the water to the outside tapes and store hose for the winter.
  • Oil moving parts of garage doors.
  • Winterize the landscaping.

INTERIOR INSPECTION

  • Clean  range hood filter.
  • Check smoke detectors (monthly).
  • Check pressure relief valves on water heaters.
  • Arrange for annual inspection and cleaning of heating system.
  • Inspect venting of mid-efficiency furnace, if applicable.
  • Check for any leaking valves in the heating system. Bleed off air in hot water heating system.
  • Check bathtub and shower caulking and replace if necessary.
  • Check attic ventilation.
  • Inspect floor drains.

To ensure that your house remains in prime condition over the years, a program of preventative maintenance is required. By making a thorough inspection of your home inside and out once a season you can detect and repair problems before they become emergencies. This can save you time, worry and often money.

If you follow the checklists faithfully, making necessary repairs at vulnerable points, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to protect your valuable investment.

EXTERIOR INSPECTION

  • Check louvers to ensure they are open for ventilation but screened to keep out insects. Remove leaves and check caulking.
  • Check siding and renail loose siding. Replace rotted areas, paint siding if required; check for carpenter ants and wasps nests. Check mortar between bricks; repair if necessary.
  • Check that the rain diverter is set in the proper position. It is best to drain the downspout into a dry well.
  • Inspect the driveway. Chip out and fill cracks, or seal with blacktop. Add gravel if needed and align curbing.”
  • Inspect windows. Remove loose putty, apply new putty and paint; lubricate casements if required.
  • Inspect doors. Tighten loose hinges; rehang doors if necessary. Check condition of weather-stripping. Apply graphite to the lock.
  • Inspect locks.
  • Check the chimney for loose mortar, birds’ nests and the condition of the draft deflector. Check the cap. Cover the chimney if it is not used.
  • Oil moving parts of garage doors.
  • Tighten screws on garage doors.

INTERIOR INSPECTION

  • Oil motor of air conditioning system.
  • Clean air conditioner.
  • Inspect venting of mid-efficiency furnace, if applicable.
  • Clean air conditioner filters.
  • Clean range hood filter.
  • Clean water heater.
  • Check pressure relief valves on water heater.
  • Check smoke detectors.
Gardening tools and a straw hat on the grass in the garden

To ensure that your house remains in prime condition over the years, a program of preventative maintenance is required. By making a thorough inspection of your home inside and out once a season you can detect and repair problems before they become emergencies. This can save you time, worry and often money.

If you follow the checklists faithfully, making necessary repairs at vulnerable points, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you can to protect your valuable investment.

EXTERIOR INSPECTION

  • Remove accumulated debris from eavestrough.   Clean leaf strainers at the mouth of downspouts. Check for clogged elbows and downspouts. Check for loose joints and leaks.
  • Inspect Roof. Apply roof tar cement to loose shingles. Replace missing or damaged shingles. Examine flashing for looseness between chimney, roof, and flashing
  • Lubricate hinges and hardware on the garage door.
  • Check driveways and walks for cracks etc.
  • Plan landscaping and check lawn preparation.
  • Check exterior finishes.
  • Check foundation flashing.
  • Check exterior ventilation grills and vents for blockage and proper ventilation.
  • Check windows and screens.

INTERIOR INSPECTION

  • Arrange for annual inspection of air conditioner system.
  • Inspect venting of mid-efficiency furnace, if applicable.
  • Drain and clean humidifier.
  • Clean/replace range hood filter.
  • Arrange for annual fireplace cleaning.
  • Check smoke detectors (monthly).   Clean the appliance itself once a year.
  • Check pressure relief valves on water heater.
  • Check attic for ventilation and evidence of roof leaks.