Home Maintenance

Basement

In concrete surfaces pitting, superficial cracking and “marbleizing” sometimes occur with little options for prevention.

During the first year, you may experience some minor dampness in the basement of your home resulting from condensation. There is a high level of humidity in a new home caused by the drying out of the material from which the home is constructed.

In warm weather, basement areas are relatively cold due to surrounding earth temperatures. Where this problem persists, keep basement windows open during dry weather and close them on hot humid days.

The basement has been damp-proofed in accordance with the building code. It is possible that it still may experience some water penetration, especially during excessively wet weather. It is also possible that the basement wall may experience some non-structural cracking: this is due to settlement and/or shrinkage. Waverly Homes will only repair cracks that are leaking. We recommend that you defer finishing the basement until after this initial “drying out” period of your new home is over.

While Waverly Homes will honour its warranty with respect to basement leakage, we cannot be held responsible for any damage of personal contents due to water leakage.

If it is your intention to finish the basement area, we strongly recommend that you delay this until after the second year. Should repairs be necessary, you are responsible for removing any improvements (shelving, walls, etc.) to provide clear access.

Your basement is covered under the Ontario New Home Warranty for a period of two years from the date of closing. All cracks and rod holes leaking must be followed up in writing and submitted before the end of the second year.

Floor drains should be filled with water once a month. This prevents any sewer odors from escaping from the trap under the basement floor.

Basement and Garage Floor Cracks

Hairline cracks on the surface of the basement and garage floors are common due to shrinkage of the material. They don’t leak or require attention. In finishing your basement, you may wish to paint the floor with “Resilicrete” floor paint or facsimile.

Carpet

Waverly Homes policy is to restretch excessive buckling in the carpet one time within your warranty period.
To maintain the beauty of your carpet; do a thorough cleaning with a vacuum cleaner adjusted for your type of carpet, avoid soil accumulation, and remove spills immediately. Steam clean an average of once a year, or as necessary.

Carpet and Stain Removal

If a stain does not come out, call a professional carpet cleaner immediately for advice. Some stains require specific chemicals and procedures best handled by experts.

Apply dry cleaning fluids to oily type spills such as:

  • Ball ink, shoe polish
  • Butter, food stains, gum
  • Grease, tar, oils
  • Cosmetics (except lipstick)
  • Crayon
  • Household cement
  • Metal polish, wax, Vaseline

Note: Pour dry cleaning fluid on a damp cloth before applying to the stain.

Dissolve water-soluble spills in a mild detergent solution:

  • Alcohol, beer, wine
  • Gravy, egg, chocolate
  • Soot, grass
  • Ice cream, food colour
  • Syrup, gelatin, glue
  • Bleach
  • Ketchup, mustard
  • Blood, urine, vomit
  • Crepe paper, water colours, permanent ink, carbon black

Soft drinks, coffee, tea, fruit juice, milk

Caulking & Grouting

Interior caulking and grouting is material that shrinks, dries or cracks; therefore, they are not warranted. They are included under Homeowner Maintenance, along with washers and other materials that tend to wear out.

Examine the weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure it is intact. Make sure the seal is snug by adjusting the weather-stripping. Keep weather-stripping free from paint, and lubricate rubber or polyethylene products with petroleum jelly to keep them soft. Weather-stripping wears with time, local hardware stores carry replacement parts.

Humidity & Condensation

Excess Humidity

Excessive levels of humidity in the home cause condensation on windows. This encourages mold to form on plaster, cupboards to smell musty, rooms to feel damp, and condensation to form on cold water pipes, causing water to drip onto the floor or collect within a wall or ceiling.

Condensation can develop on windows if curtains or blinds are left closed, or if furniture is covering heat registers located near the window.

The term ‘tight house syndrome’ refers to homes which are developed to avoid all heat loss. As a result, humidity builds up, particularly in rooms with poor ventilation.

Tips to provide better ventilation:

Let in fresh air on fair days
Your furnace may have a humidifier, set it back or turn it off
Run exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms
Ensure the clothes dryer is vented to the outside
Do not hang clothes to dry indoors
Your house plants should be kept in a well-ventilated room
The amount of humidity a household  produces varies according to the number of occupants, amount and kind of cooking done, number of baths taken, plants, etc., therefore, you cannot compare one house to another.

Ventilation is the only practical way to reduce the humidity, unless you want to change your living habits. (A dehumidifier doesn’t get the humidity low enough to do the job in winter.)

To stop the condensation you must restore some of the lost ventilation. Keep at least one exhaust fan running as long as the windows are steaming up. It may be necessary to open one of the windows. We suggest using a basement window close to the furnace; to be sure it is getting all the combustion air it needs. (From The Toronto Star)

Normal Day to Day Condensation Control

Common causes of Water vapor:

  • Cooking
  • Showers
  • Drying clothes indoors
  • Unvented dryers
  • The washing cycle

Solutions to condensation:

  • The kitchen fan or window should be large enough to remove water vapor
  • Close the bathroom door when showing with the fan on or window open
  • When doing laundry, open a window in the laundry room
  • Cover your crawl space in plastic sheeting or other waterproof membrane
  • Keep all rooms, even if unoccupied, heated to minimum of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Open windows for a brief period (10 minutes) to ventilate the house each day
  • Leave the damper open in the fireplace to increase ventilation and assist the rate of air change

(From Ford Glass Limited)

Supplemental Fans

Your new home builder has put a fan in each bathroom (main bath fan also switched at thermostat location) for additional ventilation. These fans should be used to control local moisture and odours. Operating the fan up to 30 minutes should control humidity from a shower or bath.

Range Hood

Check that the exhaust openings outside the house are not broken or blocked. Regularly scrub kitchen grease filters with hot, soapy water. Some exhaust fans need to be oiled and cleaned according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Counter tops & Cabinets

For long lasting beauty of your counter tops, avoid:

  • A concentration of water or wet cloths at or near the side splash or other joints
  • Excessive water standing in the area of the seam which causes glue failure
  • Placing hot pans or activated electrical appliances on laminated surfaces: use protective insulating pads
  • Using the surface as a cutting board
  • Any damage to cupboards due to steam, (kettle, pots, etc)
  • Abrasive cleaners or steel wool when cleaning your countertop.

It is recommended that you:

  • Use shelving paper for protection of interior cupboards
  • Immediately wipe off any grease that may splatter on the counter or cabinets
  • Clean the countertop with a damp soap cloth. For stubborn stains use a household solvent, rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
  • Polish occasionally with glass wax or liquid car wax, to mask superficial scratches. For a high luster, use a good grade of lemon oil.

Cabinets

Periodically check hinge screws and tighten if loose. Although shelves may be treated with a water resistant top coat, water or other liquids allowed to sit on the surface for periods of time will cause staining or bubbling.

Cabinetry Tips

Excess moisture is the worst enemy of any finish. Ensure dishes are completely dry and cool (if using a dishwasher) before placing on the cupboard shelves. For cleaning, wipe wood doors with a damp, soft cloth and dry immediately with another dry soft cloth. Also, you can use a light quality liquid or paste furniture wax.

Wipe non-wood laminate doors with a damp, soft cloth and dry immediately with a soft dry cloth. For high gloss polyester doors, a good quality window cleaner works well or other ammonia-free glass cleaners. Just spray it on and dry immediately.

Doors & Frames

Doors are subject to some variations and warping. Seasonal conditions may cause the door to undergo a change in size, wider in summer and rainy seasons, narrower in dry winter conditions. Therefore, do not adjust or cut your interior doors, as it will tend to correct itself. Variations of six millimeters (1/4 inch) or less out of plumb are considered normal for our climate.

Report all adjustments and planning problems to your new home builder on the 12-month Customer Service Report.

Drywall

Doors are subject to some variations and warping. Seasonal conditions may cause the door to undergo a change in size, wider in summer and rainy seasons, narrower in dry winter conditions. Therefore, do not adjust or cut your interior doors, as it will tend to correct itself. Variations of six millimeters (1/4 inch) or less out of plumb are considered normal for our climate.

Report all adjustments and planning problems to your new home builder on the 12-month Customer Service Report.

Floors

Squeaky Floors

Squeaky floors are caused by the drying out of materials, and are only repaired once during your warranty period. This should be reported to your new home builder on the 12-month Customer Service Report.

Resilient Floor Care

Vinyl surfaces retain their original appearance very well with just an occasional damp mopping, and daily sweep or dust mop. Wipe up wet spills immediately.

To preserve the appearance of your resilient floors, begin by providing protection from furniture indentations by using composition furniture cups. Don’t use metal domes or roller-type casters on furniture legs as they will mark the resilient flooring.

Hardwood Flooring

Check flooring regularly for any signs of cracking or swelling. Adjust humidity levels immediately to prevent any permanent damage. Damp mop or vacuum on a regular basis.

Hardwood floors are subject to the natural process of shrinkage and expansion. Low humidity in winter, especially near heating outlets, causes the wood to separate slightly. High humidity levels create expansion and may lead to cupping or swelling in the centre of the board.

Parquet or laminated wood block flooring can make cracking or popping noises as it expands and contracts. High relative humidity may cause this type of flooring to lift during hot humid weather.

Hardwood flooring can initially seem slightly rough to touch. After a few wax applications such minor irregularities will disappear resulting in a smooth surface with a warm. If the hardwood floor has been sealed with a clear lacquer, wax may not be necessary.

Before waxing your hardwood floor, check with your installer on whether your hardwood was factory finished or if the finish was applied onsite. Follow the Hardwood Flooring Association’s recommendations on waxing.

Ceramic Tile Flooring

Damp mop your ceramic tile floor on a regular basis with a mild cleaning solution. Thoroughly rinse the floor to remove any excess cleaner. Regular maintenance will help keep your ceramic tile looking new for years to come.

Some ceramic tiles mark more easily than others do. Metal rings/posts on the base of kitchen chairs and tables can mark or chip your ceramic floor tiling. Purchase felt tabs that stick to the bottom of your table and chairs to avoid this.

Replacement

Ceramic tile patterns often become discontinued. We recommend you purchase approximately twelve tiles of each pattern in your new home directly from the supplier in case replacement is necessary after your warranty has expired.
Note: Should it be necessary to replace damaged tiles, the matching of the tiles cannot be guaranteed due to manufacturing and dye lot differences.

HVAC

Furnaces

Change furnace filters 3 times annually and an oil furnace motor annually. During the heating season, turn thermostat to 20 – 21 degrees Celsius.

Note: Your furnace should be inspected annually by a reputable furnace service company.

Heating System

If you have a problem with your heating system within your warranty period, please  contact our Head Office. Your heating system is warranted for the period of 12 months from the date of closing.

Balance your Heat

Make sure your heat registers are open and clear of rugs so the delivery and return of warm and cold air is not blocked.
Clean floor registers frequently as dust and small objects can easily fall into them. If the furnace filter is clogged, replace it. Replace the filter on an average of once a month during the heating season. This will give you a better flow of heat. Always check the circuit breaker before calling service.

Some floor return grilles have a damper located in the heating duct. To adjust the heat flow, remove the grille and use your hand to open or close the damper as required. You may only have to close a nearby damper to stop the heat flow from turning the furnace off before other rooms reach the required temperature.

To adjust the amount of heat flow from one area of the house to another, adjust the volume dampers. Often, there are two plenum takeoffs from the furnace, each supplying heat to a separate area of the house. There’s a slot in the damper screw that when turned, will adjust the flow as required.

Note: Slot in the damper screw runs parallel with the damper.

It is advisable to contact a heating contractor for yearly maintenance to your furnace. Any additional improvements (air conditioning units, etc.) or any tampering of the unit other than that contracted by Waverly Homes will void all warranties.

If your furnace fails to start:

  • Check that the switch is on
  • Check for a tripped breaker on the circuit breaker panel
  • Reset any tripped breakers by pushing all the way “off” and then “on”
  • Review the operating procedure in your furnace manual provided by the manufacturer

Hydro & Utilities

As a homeowner, any alterations to hydro and utilities done by you or contracted by you will void your warranty.

Circuit Breaker Panel

Your home’s circuit breaker panel is located in your basement or garage. In case of electrical failure, please check this panel for a breaker in the “off” position. To reset, push the breaker all the way “off” and then “on”. Please have a qualified electrician perform any electrical work i.e. hanging chandeliers, installing fixtures.

Outlet Covers

Your new home builder pre-wired all units for telephone, cable and television during the construction. When the service representative visits to hook these services up, you should ask them to install covers on all the outlets where you are not installing these services. Waverly Homes does not supply these covers.

Marble is a highly valued decorative stone. There are thousands of different kinds of marble each a little different in colour, hardness and markings. Since there are slight differences in each material, there will be maintenance adaptation necessary for each kind. Marble is very sensitive to acids and alkalis and stains if spillages are not wiped up immediately.

Recommended care and maintenance:

  • Use a clean non-oily dust mop
  • Remove any wet spillage by damp mopping or sponge
  • Remove fine particles from mops or sponges
  • Let floor dry before allowing traffic
  • Do not use steel wool pads

Painting & Decorating

The walls, woodwork and other surfaces of your new home have been painted with products particularly suited to the uses expected and the surfaces to which they have been applied.

Other than defects, which are listed at the time of the Pre-Delivery Inspection, no further painting will be done, nor can it be warranted.

Plumbing

Bath Tub and Shower Areas

The inevitable crack that appears between the bath tub and wall tiles is caused through shrinkage of materials. As the homeowner, you must maintain this area to ensure the leakage does not occur by stripping off old caulking and thoroughly cleaning the surface before replacing it. We recommend you use silicone caulking, as this will allow for movement due to settlement.

Caulking may be required on the kitchen counters, bathroom vanity tops, the wall joints between the cushion flooring and bathtub, around wall mounted soap dishes, bath tub and shower faucets, and the underside of shower thresholds.

Noisy Pipes

Water hammer is probably the most common pipe noise. It results from a sudden stop in the flow of water by turning the faucet off fast. We recommend that you turn taps off slowly.

The annoying rattling sound sometimes heard when you open a faucet may indicate a loose washer. Air trapped in the water lines can also be the culprit.

Sinks’ Steel

Keep it sparkling with normal, frequent cleaning. Wipe with soft cloth, soap and water, rinse and wipe dry.

Brass Finishes

Although our suppliers apply the finest available protective plating to the surface of their brass products, these finishes have limitations and in time may deteriorate, from exposure to perspiration, pollution, some cleaning products, hair spray and similar products. Waverly Homes and its suppliers cannot accept responsibility for finish, which is unavoidable. These products will not be refinished or replaced under our warranty. Wipe the surface weekly with a soft cloth and mild soap as an effective maintenance procedure or apply a paste wax coating.

Plumbing and Fixtures Tips

Remove the filter at the end of the faucet and rinse thoroughly to remove any small particles, debris or minerals that may collect over time.

Do not dispose of grease, fat and similar petroleum products through the plumbing system. These materials accumulate in the pipes, reducing their efficiency. Continuous or large-scale usage of this kind can affect municipal or private sewage disposal systems.

Septic systems are the most common type of private sewage disposal systems. Proper use and regular maintenance are essential to ensuring trouble-free performance and ONHWP warranty coverage. As a homeowner, any problems that arise from negligence, misuse or inadequate maintenance is not covered by your warranty.

Protect the smooth, glossy surfaces on your plumbing fixtures by avoiding harsh abrasive cleaners and soap pads that dull and wear down the fixtures making the finish dull and leaky. Most household cleaners are slightly abrasive, but if used in moderation and with plenty of water are harmless. Steel pads and some strong cleansers, however, can do irreparable damage.

Walls, Shower & Interior

Grouting

When replacing ceramic tile grout, follow the package directions. In addition:

Remove all of the old grout completely and clean the area
Use the grouting cement to fill the spaces between the tiles. Force the grout into the joints with a sponge
Smooth the grout joint with a moistened sponge
Let the grout set for fifteen minutes and remove the excess grout with a damp sponge, rinse and wring it out repeatedly to ensure all of the grout is removed from the tiles.

Settlement

The wall studs and floor joists may twist slightly through the drying out process. Minor settlement is acceptable in the building industry. Please notify our Head Office in writing where the problem is excessive.

Windows

Waverly Homes will warrant your thermopane windows from seal failure for a period of 24 months after closing. All claims are to be sent in writing to our Head Office within the warranty period.

After your builders warranty has expired, your windows may be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty for seal failure. In these cases, the manufacturer replaces the window but as a homeowner, you are responsible for the cost of labour and installation.

Waverly Homes is not responsible for any warranty or guarantee given by the manufacturer or supplier thereof: regardless of the terms of, or any conditions limiting such guarantee.

Check the operation of all windows in the spring and in the fall. If you have casement windows, check the crank operation and lubricate with a silicone spray, if necessary. If you find a serious problem contact the window manufacturer.

Inspect the outside window finishes; check the caulking for signs of deterioration. If it is wearing down, remove and with a good quality caulking compound to protect against moisture and cold air entering the home.

If your windows slide horizontally and include weep holes to the outside at the bottom track or frame keep them clean to allow drainage. Use a piece of wire to remove dust, debris or insects regularly.

Do not paint where wood meets wood when a window is closed. The window is treated at the factory with a clear wood preservative so that it fits precisely. A build up of paint will result in a less effective seal and make it more difficult to open and close the window.