We mention safety in the home a lot, this is because it is the place we raise our families and spend a great deal of our time. One area of the home that should be checked periodically is the staircase. Why do we say that? Sadly, because many accidents in the home happen on or around a staircase. Special attention should be given if there are small children, elderly or handicapped people living in the home. Here are a few areas that require periodic maintenance:
Firstly, any stairs in the home should be up to code. Bannister's should not be situated so far apart that a child could get their heads stuck. Also, to prevent them from being a tripping hazard, stairs should be of equal height. Although whomever constructed the home should have followed proper building codes, it is still a good idea to check.
Check the handrail and carpeting, if any, for signs that they may have become loose.
If you have wooden stairs, do not over polish them as this could become treacherous for anyone going up or down them in socks.
Good lighting on or around a staircase is very important, especially if there are elderly or others in the home with failing eyesight.
Have a check of exterior stairs as well as interior. Its important for exterior stairs to have the correct amount of slope so that any water does not pool on them. This could be lethal in the winter time.
While these checks might not take too much of your time, they will help to ensure fewer accidents on or around the staircase.
No one wants to deal with damp issues in their basement and yet, due to its location, this is an area of the home that will be most prone to damp conditions. Of course, the best way to deal with a damp prone basement is by taking as many preventative steps as you can. However, what if you are looking to buy a home and are concerned that the basement will be damp, are there areas of the house that you can look to which would indicate this type of problem?
Of course, the basement itself will tell you a lot but there are other places to check as well. For example, find out if the house has the correct amount of grade, if it doesn’t, you could find that water will pool around the foundation which will contribute to damp problems in the basement.
Another area that can cause water issues in the basement is along the roof line, gutters and downspouts should be well maintained and directed away from the house, far enough (at least 10 feet) away so that this does not cause pooling around the foundation also.
As you can see, when looking for a new home, there are some ways to tell if you will have a potentially damp basement. If you are concerned about this or have any other home inspection question, please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to help.
Dave Graham, Tempest Home Inspection. Calgary Alberta