Buying a new home is an exciting time in anyone’s life. Whether it’s your first home purchase, or an upgrade to accommodate a growing family, you have your work cut out for you. From loans and financing to home inspections and negotiations, it’s a lot for anyone to deal with.
Although professional home inspections are part of the buying process (required for financing from a bank), there may be times when knowing what to look for on your own can save you big in time, money and headache.
For example, being able to identify problems with windows and doors in Edmonton on your own can help you to eliminate prospective homes from your buying list early on, or anticipate having to budget for the expense of repairs or replacement down the road.
This guide, brought to you by our friends at Window Mart, will help you understand what to look for when inspecting windows and doors at your new (potential) home. You’ll effectively learn how to distinguish between minor and major problems, and how those may impact you as the potential new owner down the line.
Windows are a critical component of any home or building. They provide insulation from the changing Edmonton seasons, aid in indoor temperature control, let in natural ambient light, provide a clear view to the world outdoors, and can let in fresh air through high-quality screens.
But windows also represent a major expense if they need repair or replacement. According to HouseLogic, this makes window inspections an important part of the home buying and selection process early on in your search for a new home.
Leaky windows can cause serious water damage, rot and contribute to dangerous mould growth, as well as increase energy bills from poor insulation. If many (or all) windows may need repair or replacement, this could very well be a deal-breaker no matter how much you love the residence.
Next to windows, doors represent the second-largest loss of energy for a home. They are also generally expensive to replace (especially if it is a front or sliding door). As such, proper inspection of doors is a key part of vetting homes for purchase.
How to Pinpoint Window and Door Problems
- Identifying Drafts / Air Leaks
There are a few ways you can determine air leaks from improperly installed, fitted or insulated windows.
Feel Test: Slowly move your hands around the frame of windows and doors, and along the seam (if a double-hung window). Pay close attention to any slight movement of air or cooling/warmth depending on outdoor vs indoor air temperatures at the time.
Visual Test: If it is daytime outside, close the blinds in the room and shut off any lights. Visually look for any light coming in through cracks or spaces, especially around the frames.
Draft Test: Make sure the home is sealed and all doors and windows closed. Close all air vents and shut off any HVAC fans. Next, take a lighter, lit candle or incense stick and run it along each of the windows and doors (especially around the frames). Take note of any drafts that move the flame or disperse the smoke.
- Identifying Moisture / Water and Structural Damage
Visual Inspection: Without tearing into the wall, a visual test is one of your best bets for detection of any moisture issues around windows.
Keep an eye out for:
- Discoloration around windows and doors
- Black or dark areas
- Mould growth
- Peeling wallpaper or paint
- Rotting, cracked, missing or worn materials
The Smell Test: Sometimes moisture problems are out of sight, festering within walls. Pay attention for any smells of moisture, must or mould around windows and doors.
Touch Test: Don’t be afraid to softly press and knock on the material, walls and frames around windows and doors. If you notice any “soft spots” or that the material is loose or gives way, this could be an indication of a problem.
- Identifying Mechanical Failure
Manual Inspection: Doors and windows get a lot of use and abuse which can sometimes cause mechanical components such as tracks, hinges, locks and more to wear down, become damaged or fail. For each window and door make sure to open and close them utilizing their full range of motion. Repeat this process at various speeds and levels of thrust or force. Pay attention to any part of the motion where you feel additional drag or hindrance. Test all locking mechanisms and keyed entries.
No Edmonton Home is Perfect
Let’s face it, the perfect home does not actually exist. There will always be some small (or large) imperfection that you will need to consider as part of your selection process when looking for a new home in Edmonton.
However, knowing what to look for early on can help you better narrow down your choices and prepare for potential future expenses or negotiations when landing on a price both you and the seller agree to.
If you happen to be in the market for new windows in or around the Edmonton area, reach out to Window Mart for expert advice, guidance and a massive selection of the best windows around.