Serious structural problems in houses are not very common, but when they occur they are never cheap to fix. Some can't be fixed at all. This report won't turn you into an seasoned home inspector, but it will give you some of the common indicators. Uneven Floors Uneven floors are typical, particularly in older homes. Here is a trick to help distinguish between a typical home with character and a structural problem.If...

A few weeks ago a friend called me to say he had some pictures I should take a look at. He told me that a relative of his living in Vaudreuil, (west of Montreal) was hosting a few friends on his back deck one evening when a cigarette was apparently stubbed out in a planter around 9pm, (there were no ashtrays as the hosts did not smoke).   The planter contained peat...

The three pigs proved that brick was the best building material – it certainly is. But brick has its natural enemies (and the big bad wolf is definitely not one of them.) Water and paint are at the top the list of materials that can do damage to brick. Don’t be fooled: looks can be deceiving. “There are some houses on the plateau for example, that have an impeccable brick façade, but...

Sound crazy? It’s not. It’s unbelievable how often we see homes with flammable dryer vents installed, filled with lint, all ready to catch a spark. It’s winter. Not a lot of clothes hanging out on the ‘cord-a-linge’ this time of year. Most of us are using our dryers, and we’re putting a lot of wooly sweaters and fleece in there, all clothing that shed a whole lot of lint. In the US,...

A CBS 60 Minutes report last month found that laminate flooring sold by Lumber Liquidators, manufactured in China, is assembled using glue containing high levels of formaldehyde. The company sold over $1 billion of merchandise in 2014. Signs of formaldehyde Wheezing, running eyes, coughing, breathing problems are all symptoms of high levels of formaldehyde. Families with small children that spend a lot of time close to the floor, especially in winter, could...

Montreal is a city with a great many balconies, porches and back decks; and Montrealers make good use of them during the summers. Playwright David Fennario even referred to the city as "Balconville" in his play of the same name, alluding to the balcony's central place in the city's culture, where thousands of Montrealers retreat to escape the heat of their sun-baked homes - and often get to know their...