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2 Welcome to your New Home, Congratulations on the Purchase of Your New Aberdeen Home On behalf of the Aberdeen Team, we would like to extend a sincere thank you for choosing Aberdeen Homes to be the builder of your new home. I give you my personal assurance that we will put forward our best efforts to meet the highest expectations of you, our customer, in all areas of our business. We have prepared this booklet to answer some of the questions you may have as an owner of a new home. Since 1994, our goal at Aberdeen Homes has been to deliver the best quality product available and insure that our customers are the most important aspect of our business. The journey of new home ownership is a partnership between the customer and the builder with communication as the priority of that relationship, and no where is communication more important then in the delivery of Customer Service. The Aberdeen Homes, Homeowner s Manual is a further reflection of our commitment to you. I invite you take some time and review it s contents to get a better understanding of the scope of your warranty protection and the associated maintenance requirements of your new home. We thank you for the opportunity of participating together with Aberdeen Homes throughout the building process, and we wish you many years of enjoyment in your new home. Sincerely Nathan Hallman President 2

3 Customer Service Commitment The Aberdeen Homes Customer Service Team continuously demonstrates our commitment to supporting you throughout the journey of your new home ownership. The success of Aberdeen Homes is built on open, professional communication, that uniquely acknowledges each homeowner to ensure delivery of the highest quality service experience. As homebuilders, we except nothing less than providing our homeowners the same superiority in workmanship and service that we would expect for our own homes. 3

4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Service...4 Emergencies...5 General Contact Information...7 Warranty...8 Maintenance of Your Home and Further Warranty Information...9 Exterior...10 Interior Furnace Heating, Air Conditioners, and HRV Systems...18 Plumbing Plumbing Fixtures Electrical System Building Permits...25 Floors and Floor Finishes...26 For Your Safety General Maintenance Notes Tarion Warranty Information

5 Service Prior to closing the purchase of your new home, you will meet with a qualified representative from our company to inspect your new home and complete the Tarion Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI), pursuant to The New Home Warranty Plan Act. During this PDI, you will be given the opportunity to note items of concern. These items may be completed by closing, with the exception of seasonal work, back ordered items, etc. Requests for Service Prior to your possession date, you will have received the Tarion Homeowner Information Package. At the back of this package, you will find the following Tarion Warranty Request Forms that you are responsible to submit within the appropriated time frames: *30 Day Warranty Request Form *Year End Warranty Request Form *Second Year Warranty Request Form With the exception of emergency items affecting the use and enjoyment of your home, we ask that you keep a list of items that require work and submit these items on the appropriate Service Request Form as outlined above. Upon receipt of this Form, our Customer Service Representative will contact you to arrange an appointment to have all items deemed warrantable repaired. Note: Do not deliver correspondence directly to the Site Office as it may delay any scheduling, as the Site Office is not equipped to accept service issues. All requests must go directly to our Customer Service Department within the appropriated time frames as outlined by Tarion. General Information You should be aware that natural settling and the drying of construction materials will take place in your new home during the first year and this may affect items that are both warranty related and non-warranty related. Control the moisture in your new home it s important! Today s building products have eliminated much of the time-consuming and often tedious work involved in home maintenance. However, no home is maintenance free. Special care is especially required to maintain modern energy-efficient homes which are tightly constructed to seal out the cold weather in winter and keep in cool air in summer. Guidelines for properly venting your home should be followed in order to prevent excess moisture from building up inside the home, this can result in damage that would not be covered by the statutory warranty. Bathroom fans, kitchen range hoods and HVAC are specifically installed in your home to help you control moisture and contaminants. As well, regular use of your home ventilation system will remove excess airborne moisture caused by bathing, showering, doing laundry and cooking. Additionally, we recommend the use of a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the home. For further information and tips on controlling moisture in your new home, please view the Tarion website at With regards to finishing details and drywall repairs, we will repair drywall issues relating to shrinkage of materials such as nail pops and cracked corners, at one time only, EXCLUDING painting, at your one year warranty period. Any drywall repairs must be requested on the appropriate Tarion Year End Warranty Form, and must be marked out on the walls using green painters tape. Please Note: 1. We cannot guarantee an exact colour match of any replacement materials 5

6 2. We cannot accept responsibility for any damage to countertops, cabinets, floor coverings, and plumbing fixtures brought to our attention after closing, and not stated on your Pre-Delivery Inspection. 3. Alterations, deletions or additions made by the homeowner are excluded from the statutory warranty. Secondary damage caused by defects under warranty are also excluded from the warranty. For a full list of excluded items, please refer to page 14 of the Tarion Homeowner Information Package. Access to Your Home When necessary work is required, be sure to provide access to your home during normal business hours, at a time mutually agreed upon in advance. Failure to do so will jeopardize your statutory warranty rights. Normal business hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Emergencies Certain severe conditions constitute an emergency situation. An emergency is any warrantable deficiency within the control of your builder that, if not attended to immediately, would likely result in imminent and substantial damage to your home, or would likely represent an imminent and substantial risk to the health and safety of its occupants. What is an emergency? An emergency warranty situation is any situation involving a warranted item that, if not attended to immediately would, in the opinion of Tarion Warranty Corporation, likely result in substantial damage to the dwelling or would likely represent a substantial risk to the health and safety of the occupants. Tarion Warranty Corporation (formerly ONHWP) Builder Bulletin No. 42 August 15, 2003 An emergency includes, but is not limited, to the following situations, if they occur within the warranty period: Complete loss of heat, between September 15 and May 15; Gas leak; Complete loss of electricity; Complete loss of water; Complete stoppage of sewage disposal; Plumbing leak that requires the entire water supply to be shut off; Major collapse of any part of the home s exterior or interior structure; Major water penetration on the interior walls of ceiling; A large pool of standing water inside the home or Any situation where, in the opinion of Tarion Warranty Corporation, the home is uninhabitable for health and safety. Damage caused by forces beyond the builder s control (for example, municipal or utility service failures or acts of God ) is not warranted under the Act, and therefore is not an emergency warranty situation. 6

7 Emergency Procedure 1. A homeowner who believes there is an emergency warranty situation should contact Aberdeen Homes first, using the emergency service contact information provided below. The homeowner should follow Aberdeen s instructions in attempting to handle the emergency situation. 2. Aberdeen Homes is permitted up to 24 hours to resolve the emergency, to ensure that the situation has been made safe and secure, and to prevent any further damage from occurring. Cosmetic damage as a result of the defect may take longer to repair after the initial emergency has been dealt with. Aberdeen Homes is required to complete the cosmetic repair as soon as possible and no later than 30 days from the date the homeowner reported the emergency. 3. Should a representative of Aberdeen Homes be unreachable within 24 hours using the emergency contact information provided below the homeowner is entitled to contact Tarion Warranty Corporation for further direction ( ). Tarion Warranty Corporation will determine (usually by phone) if this is an emergency or if the item should be added to the homeowner s next Warranty Service Form. 4. If the homeowner is unable to contact the builder or Tarion, the homeowner may, without jeopardizing their warranty rights, do or contact for the necessary repair work to correct the emergency only. 5. If the homeowner has arranged to have the emergency repairs done and wishes to be reimbursed, the homeowner is required to obtain an Emergency Form (available from Tarion or the website), and to submit to Tarion the completed Emergency Form along with any required supporting documents (receipts, photographs of the damage and repair if available). 6. Within 10 days of receipt of the completed Emergency Form, Tarion will determine whether Aberdeen Homes has reimbursed the homeowner, and if not, will conduct a desk assessment type of conciliation, and issue a Warranty Assessment Report to the homeowner and the builder. 7. Tarion will notify Aberdeen Homes that the homeowner needs to be reimbursed within 30 days for their reasonable costs associated with the warranted repairs undertaken. Customer Service Contact Information: Customer service Department Ext # 101 Aberdeen Homes Fax Emergency Number Web Site 7

8 Emergency Phone Numbers Police, Fire, Ambulance 911 Aberdeen Homes After Hours Emergency Contact Information (226) Hydro Kitchener Wilmot Hydro (519) Cambridge North Dumfries Hydro (519) Gas Kitchener Utilities (519) Cambridge (Union Gas) Water Kitchener Utilities (519) Cambridge North Dumfries Hydro (519) Other Bell (519) Rogers (519) Canada Post

9 Warranty One Year Warranty Protection Aberdeen Homes warrants that your new home meets the Ontario Building Code requirements, and is free from defects in workmanship and materials, in accordance with Tarion Provisions and Guidelines, for a one-year period from the date of possession. During this period, most new homes may be affected by normal settlement and shrinkages, which may cause cracking in the drywall, wood shrinkage with possible warping, and other minor defects. Aberdeen Homes will provide any warranties given by manufacturers, suppliers, and subcontractors that extend beyond the first year. In these cases, you should make any claims directly to the manufacturer or distributor. When you submit your Tarion Year-End Service Request Form, we will arrange to make necessary repair work for all warrantable items. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the Tarion Performance Guidelines to determine what items are covered under warranty and what items are excluded from warranty prior to submitting warranty request forms. Two Year Warranty Protection Your home s two year statutory warranty coverage begins on the date you take possession of the home and ends on the day before the second anniversary of this date. The two year warranty covers: *Water penetration through the basement or foundation walls; *Defects in materials, including windows, or defects in work that result in water penetration into the building envelope; *Defects in work or materials in the electrical, plumbing and heating delivery and distribution systems; *Defects in work or materials which result in the detachment, displacement or deterioration of exterior cladding (such as brickwork, aluminum or vinyl siding); *Violations of the Ontario Building Code affecting health and safety (including, but not limited to, violations relating to fire safety and the structural adequacy of the home); and *Major structural defects. Major Structural Defects Your home is covered for a period of seven years against major structural defects (MSD). A major structural defect is defined in the Act as: *Any defect in work or materials that results in the failure of a load-bearing part of the home s structure or materially and adversely affects its load-bearing function; or *Any defect in work or materials that materially and adversely affect the use of the building as a home. Warranty Exclusions Summary The following items are not covered under the Warranty Protection program. *Locating survey monuments and boundary lines * Winterkill in lawns *Damage to concrete, slabs, walks, and garage floors caused by salt or calcium products *Damage to driveways caused by heavy or sharp objects *Depressions, unevenness, flaking, or surface stones, checking or cracking at the edges of asphalt driveways (if applicable) *Minor spalding of concrete at entrance to garage floor *Minor surface cracks in concrete floors in garages, basements, and porches *Damage due to installation of satellite dishes and/or any other objects such as Christmas lights *Surface pitting, superficial cracking, and marbleizing of concrete *Humidity and condensation problems *Efflorescent (white powder) on concrete and brick walls *Painting, wallpapering, or refinishing of any drywall repairs *Minor tool marks and blemishes in trim and other millwork surfaces 9

10 *Variations in colour and shading on panels and trim *Plumbing stoppages due to clogged fixtures *Damage to plumbing fixtures due to abrasive cleaners or careless use *Deterioration of the toilet lining by continuous use of toilet bowl cleaning products *Exact colour match of any replacement material *Damage from insects or rodents *Alterations, deletions or additions made by the homeowner (such as changes to the direction of the grading or the slope of the ground away from the house) *Settling soil around the house or along utility lines *Normal weathering of external finishes *Normal wear and tear, such as scuffs and scratches to floor and wall surfaces caused by homeowners moving, decorating, and/or day-to-day use of the home *Secondary damage caused by defects under warranty While the defects themselves that may be covered, the personal or property damage they cause is not. However, your homeowner insurance may cover secondary damage. Exterior Cladding Siding Factory finished sidings normally do not require any work or repainting for many years. They can usually be kept clean by hosing down and/or some light scrubbing with a mild detergent. Vinyl siding becomes very brittle in extremely cold temperatures and care should be taken in high-traffic areas. Heat generated from a barbecue placed too close to vinyl siding can cause distortion. Siding is not nailed tight to the framework of the house, allowing for expansion and contraction with daily and seasonal temperature changes. You may hear popping in the early morning as the siding heats up by the sun, following a cold night. This is a normal occurrence and not cause for alarm. On occasion, the corners and joints may become dislodged. These can be reinstalled easily by pressing them back into position underneath the lip of the siding. Failure to maintain these corners/joints can cause the siding to be ripped off during high winds. Should this occur, it is not under warranty. Your homeowner s insurance policy may cover this. Painting Depending on the time of year you take possession of your home, the finish exterior painting may be incomplete. It will be finished as soon as weather permits for exterior painting. Please note that steel lintels over the garages or over windows will not be painted but left in their natural state. Fences Should you wish to install a fence, hedge, or any boundary feature (if permitted); it is advisable to call a qualified surveyor to locate your lot lines. This will ensure that you do not encroach on your neighbours property. Check with your Municipality that your fence is acceptable. We do not stake out your property or provide boundary markings. 10

11 Wood Decking/Decks Sundecks, verandas, and raised patios require regular care, maintenance, and restoration because they are subject to foot traffic, sand, grit, and exposure to the elements. Changes in colour or fading over a period of time are, therefore, beyond the control of the builder. You may require a building permit to build a deck. Check with your Municipality. Call Before You Dig! Utility companies provide a Locate service for all underground services installed prior to and during the construction process (i.e. telephone, cable and gas lines). It may take a week or more to get this information, so call early. The Locate number in your Municipality is , and hydro is Weather Stripping To reduce air infiltration in winter, and dust and dirt in the summer, check the weather stripping around doors annually. Many types of weather stripping are available, some of which are adjustable. Regardless of the type used, make sure that the seal is snug. Keep weather stripping free from paint. Lubricate rubber or vinyl products, such as your garage overhead door weather stripping, with petroleum jelly or vinyl cleaner/conditioner to keep them pliable and free from sticking to your door and removing the paint surface. Outside Hose Connection If the garden hose connection has a valve inside the house, you must shut it off and drain it before winter, to prevent freezing and possible bursting. For the same reasons, never leave a garden hose connected during freezing weather. Ice forming in the hose can burst the hose and the connecting plumbing. This is part of routine homeowner maintenance and any repairs resulting from improper use or maintenance is not covered under warranty. Roof The roof of your home should give you many years of service. Check for loose, broken, or missing shingles following heavy windstorms as this is considered extreme weather conditions and is not covered under warranty. To prevent leakage and resulting damage to the interior, make repairs as soon as possible. Shingles are under warranty for workmanship, but storm damage is covered by your homeowner s insurance. Since asphalt shingles are soft on warm days, you can easily damage them by walking over them. To avoid damage, use care when installing and erecting TV and CB aerials, and ensure fastening devices are properly sealed to prevent leaks. Minor variations in the shade of shingles are normal and further reduced by weathering. They are not considered a deficiency under the Ontario Building Code. The shade of asphalt roofing does not affect durability. You may notice slight variations in the roof s level, caused by puckering of the plywood or the raising of shingles between nails (knows as high nails ), when they expand. Again, this is not considered a deficiency and will not affect the seal and durability of your roof. Gutters, Eavestroughs and Downspouts Keep gutters, eavestroughs, and downspouts free of obstructions such as leaves and paper. Surface particles from asphalt shingles, washed down by rains, often settle in gutters and should be removed. A spring and fall check is recommended; when eavestroughs become clogged, they cannot function and water damage can result. Ice Dams on Roofs Ice dams can form on the eaves of sloping roofs, causing water to backup under the shingles and leak inside. Any resulting damage is not covered under warranty. Melted water running down the roof can, with rapidly falling temperature, freeze at the un-insulated overhang of the roof. Clear the snow off the roof, particularly at the eaves, and knock ice formations from the eaves and valley ends, taking care not to damage the roofing. If the damming persists, check the attic space ventilation to ensure proper 11

12 airflow from the eaves to the roof. Do not allow excessive ice and snow to remain on the roof throughout the winter months. Basement and Garage Walls Basement and garage walls are subject to many stresses. The base of the wall, being well below grade, maintains a fairly uniform temperature, whereas the portion above grade is affected by seasonal temperature variations. Such thermal changes cause concrete and many other materials to expand and contract. Since concrete shrinks as it cures and the foundation may shift as the house settles, the builder cannot guarantee that foundation cracks will not occur. To alleviate water leakages, we install the System Platen membrane. The warranty does not require the builder to repair a foundation crack within the Tarion measurement tolerance, which does not leak. Special Considerations 1. Cracks in the basement floor and walls are common and are not considered structural defects. 2. Dampness of the walls or floors may occur in new construction due to higher humidity levels and expelling of moisture and is not considered a deficiency. 3. Leaks caused by improper landscaping installed by a homeowner, or failure of the homeowner to maintain proper grades are not covered by the Warranty. Note: We guarantee that foundation cracks will be free from water penetration for a period of two years. However, the builder cannot be held liable for any damage caused to the homeowner s contents beyond the original finish, and we are not responsible for damage to possessions left in the basement. Do not store items against the basement walls or directly on the floor. In order to have problems rectified, homeowners must notify Aberdeen Homes, in writing, within the first year of possession. Garage Floor Because of the material s nature, it is not possible to prevent concrete garage floors from cracking due to shrinkage. This is a common occurrence and does not signify faulty materials or workmanship. Once the garage floor has cured, you may wish to treat it with a concrete sealer made specifically for this purpose. All concrete products are susceptible to salt and other road materials, especially in winter. Remove slush and ice buildups from behind tires prior to parking your car in the garage. Remove slush and excess water from the garage floor on a regular basis during the winter. Rinse off the garage floor and driveway as soon as possible, and use a non-corrosive ice-clearing agent. We will not accept responsibility for the breakdown of the concrete or concrete pitting caused by salt, calcium, or other corrosive agents. Overhead Doors Your garage door is under warranty for a period of one year on parts and labour. Each style of door has different limited warranties against rust and factory paint peeling. See the literature left for you by the overhead door supplier. For years of optimum performance, you must properly maintain your overhead door. For preventative maintenance: *Oil rollers, bearings, and springs twice a year *Check rollers and bearings for wear *Check cables for excessive play and fraying *Disconnect opener from door twice a year, ensuring the door is not binding on anything or too heavy to lift by hand *If door has been painted, lubricate the weather stripping with a silicone-based lubricant available at hardware stores. Note: If you install your own overhead door opener, the door warranty is voided immediately upon its installation. Do not attempt to alter or adjust the door mechanism of overhead garage doors. It is under considerable tension and 12

13 can result in serious personal injury. Call our service department should the overhead garage door require adjustment. Do not expect the garage door to be fully weather-stripped. Some air circulation is required to minimize condensation and carbon monoxide buildup. Caution: It is essential that carbon monoxide from the car exhaust not enter the house. When you occupy your new home, ensure that the walls and ceiling separating the house from the garage area is properly sealed. It is important that the weather stripping around the door between the house and the garage area is in good repair. Also check that the drywall tape is not peeled back (due to high moisture) and that the caulking is still in good order. Storm Doors If you have an exterior steel door on your house, a storm door is not necessary. If the exterior steel door is embellished with styrene moulds, a storm door is not recommended. The most common complaint once a storm door is installed is that the doorbell no longer works. Be careful that you do not pierce the doorbell wire when installing the door. If no storm door is installed, you may notice that you cannot insert your key into the lock. This is usually caused by moisture in the locking mechanism. Do not force the key it will break. Try the following. *Apply an automobile lock deicer *Heat the key with a match or lighter before inserting into the lock *Use a hair dryer or carefully blow air into the key hole area During hot weather, the storm-door screen should be left partially open to avoid build-up of heat that could cause the door to expand and warp. Window Screens You can purchase screen material at most hardware stores, to quickly and easily repair ripped screens on patio doors or windows. A thin spleen holds the screen in a track around the frame. This spleen is available in different depths, so be sure to purchase the correct size. You can also purchase special tools to install the spleen. Interior Condensation, Relative Humidity, and Ventilation Condensations of moisture on windows occurs when the temperature is the same as or lower than the dew point of the air. It is a common occurrence in winter. To correct this problem, it is important to control the level of humidity in the home. If early corrective measures are not taken, serious damage from staining, rotting, and mould can result. The problem is more acute during the first winter when the house is drying out (many of the materials used in construction contain moisture that must be dissipated). Normal living contributes to high Relative Humidity (R.H.) in most homes, particularly in new homes, because improved building materials and practices produce tighter and better-insulated homes. Humidity should be controlled so that little or no condensation appears on the inside surface of windows. With double-glazing, this still permits high R.H., except during the most severe weather. The following table shows the maximum R.H. that can be tolerated if condensation is to be avoided in cold weather. Outside Air Temp. Outside Air Temp. Desirable Max. Inside (Fahrenheit) (Celsius) Indoor Temp. of 70F (21C) % % % % % 13

14 Differences in water-vapour pressure affect the ability of water vapour or moisture to move. For example, in an open concept home, activities in the kitchen may result in higher than normal humidity in adjacent rooms, or even in upper stairwell rooms. It takes only 2.8 litres (5 pints) of moisture to raise the humidity in a 1,000 sq.ft. house from 15% to 60%. Other items that generate moisture are: *Pets and aquariums *Self-defrosting refrigerators *House plants (can generate.48 litres/0.8 pints of moisture/day) *Normal respiration and skin evaporation *Showers and baths (baths generate.05 litres/0.1 pints of moisture. Showers generate.23 litres/0.4 pints of moisture) *Washing clothes for a family of four (generates 1.96 litres/3.5 pints of moisture) *Drying clothes for a family of four, hung on an interior line (generates liters /21.1 pints of moisture) *Washing dishes and air drying for a family of four (generates.45 Litres/0.8 pints of moisture a day) *Dishwashers steam escapes in the drying cycle *Cooking with a gas stove generates the most moisture into the air. (Cooking for a family of four generates 0.92 litres/1.6 pints of moisture a day; a gas stove adds 1.24 litres/2.2 pints a day) *Mopping a floor 7.4 m²/80 sq. ft. generates 1.09 litres/1.0 pints of moisture Excessive Humidity Condensation on windows or other surfaces is only one of the problems caused by excessive levels of humidity in the home. Excessive humidity can cause: *Mould to form on plaster *Cupboards to smell musty *Rooms to feel damp *Condensation to form on cold water pipes, with water dripping on to the floor or collecting within a wall or ceiling space *Exterior paint to blister and peel off, if moisture penetrates through walls and becomes trapped *Condensation in the attic space, when moisture leaks upwards through a break in a vapour barrier. This can cause ice to form on the underside of the attic roof, which on melting, soaks through the ceiling, giving the impression that the roof leaks *Insulation to become saturated, causing it to lose its thermal resistance/insulations value Mould growth often starts in the corners of rooms and is frequently due to poor air circulation causing pockets of stagnant air. There are many sources and causes of mould infection, but germination depends on damp conditions often caused by excessive humidity. Ventilation is often the only effective means available to the homeowner for removing moisture. Exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom will draw off moisture from cooking and bathing. You will probably need to run the ventilation and circulation fans continuously during the first year, whenever windows are closed. Although humidity indicators are available, you can simply use the windows as a guide to maintaining proper R.H. within the house. As soon as condensation occurs on inside window surfaces, reduce the R.H. by controlling the moisture sources or by increasing ventilation. Window condensation is not a fault of construction. Living habits are of prime importance: A well built and insulated home is and must be regulated. Basements frequently experience condensation in summer. In warm weather, basement areas particularly near the base of the walls, in corners, and parts of the floor are relatively cool due to surrounding earth temperatures. When hot, humid air is allowed to enter, it will seek out those cool areas and also cold water pipes, etc., and condense. Where this problem persists, basement windows should be kept open during dry weather and closed on hot humid days. Control the Level of Humidity 14

15 If the level of humidity becomes excessive, the following steps can be taken to control the level of relative humidity in the home. *Purchase a hygrometer to monitor the relative humidity in your home *Use a dehumidifier or humidifier to control moisture and dryness levels in your home. Be sure to follow the manufacturer s instructions *When cooking, run the kitchen fan - Water vapour is a bi-product of combustion with a natural gas stove *When taking a shower, keep the bathroom door closed and ventilate the room by using the exhaust fan, or by opening a window *When doing laundry, consider running the main ventilation fan or opening a window in the laundry room *Keep all rooms, even if unoccupied, heated to a minimum of 10C, as condensation will occur in unheated rooms *Open a window (or windows) for a brief period to ventilate the house each day *Try to air out your home regularly *Do not cover up any heating or air circulation outlets *Ventilate the basement to avoid the formation of condensation, especially during cold weather *Whenever possible, leave window coverings open, i.e. drapes and/or blinds Aberdeen Homes cannot accept responsibility for condensation discomfort or damage. Frost on the windows during sudden drops in temperature is considered normal but this will disappear if the humidity in the house is correct and good ventilation practices are maintained. Basement Floors Concrete is a water-based product that will dry out over time. Surface pitting and superficial cracking will likely occur due to the nature of the material. This does not reflect the strength or integrity of your basement floor. Usually, cracking will start near underground pipes. Do not be alarmed if a white powder appears on some areas of the walls or floor. In the curing process, salts in the concrete are carried to the surface as moisture evaporates. This deposit can be readily brushed off and will not affect the strength of the concrete. It should cease following the curing of the concrete. We strongly suggest that you do not paint or seal the basement floor for a period of at least nine months to a year, to allow it to properly cure. Should you choose to paint the floor at a later date, it should be an alkali-resistant paint, of a type that permits continued curing of the new floor. Note: Your warranty does not cover deterioration caused by salt, chemicals, mechanical implements, or other factors beyond our control. Repaired areas may differ in colour from the original installation. We will not replace concrete floors due to pitting or cracking. Floor Drains Floor drains are designed to remove water that accidentally gets on your floor, either from a foundation leak, or an overflowing laundry tub or washer. Your house is fitted with a conventional, nonautomatic type of floor drain and trap. You may need to pour and fill the trap with water from time to time, to maintain a seal and prevent sewer gas from entering your house. Because the water will evaporate over time, we recommend that you check monthly, to ensure the water has not evaporated in the drainpipe. Structural Frame The structural lumber in your home contains moisture. Following occupancy, and particularly during the first heating season, shrinkage caused by drying out may occur. The results appear in a variety of forms: *Thin cracks or gaps appear between cabinets, countertops, or vanities and the walls *Minor joints open at door and window trim, baseboards, walls, etc. *Fireplace mantels may shrink slightly and separate from the wall or at joints *Wood flooring opens between individual pieces or settles from the baseboards at walls or under door jambs and trim 15

16 *Squeaks develop in floor underlay, wood flooring, and stair treads *Small gaps show between stairs or stair moldings and the walls *Drywall corners may show hairline cracks We will repair these items, if excessive or abnormal, as necessary during your Year End Repair period. Although these types of service issues may be annoying, these are not major structural problems. Millwork and Trim Shrinkage will affect the interior wood trim and you may notice that some joints at the corners of windows, doors, and baseboards will open slightly. These are normal occurrences and can be remedied with wood putty, plastic wood, coloured putty sticks, or similar products when you redecorate. Shrinkage also occurs at the edge of the stair stringer and the wall. This is a normal occurrence and can be repaired with a bead of interior caulking. Drywall The interior walls or ceilings of your house are finished with drywall (gypsum wallboard). Cracks may appear over doors, windows, and archways due to shrinking of the larger-sized wood members behind the drywall. Such cracking is usually minor and rarely serious. Small defects or nail pops may appear near or at the joints of adjacent sheets and at other nail or screw locations. They too, relate to shrinking of the supporting wood frame. Our Customer service Technician will repair these cracks and nail pops once, within your first year of occupancy during your Year End Repair Period. Please take note that we DO NOT REPAINT these drywall repairs. It is therefore recommended that you do not decorate your walls with other paint colours, wallpaper, etc., as we cannot return the repaired walls to their decorative state. Insulation Today s homes are insulated to meet Ontario Building Code standards. Particular attention is also given to provide air-vapour barriers to the room side of the insulation - but no house is completely draft-free. On a strong windy day, the pressure differential between the inside air and the outside air may force air in through even the smallest of openings, thereby causing a draft. This is not a defect. You can purchase draft protectors at your local hardware store and install them behind electrical outlets and switches to minimize drafts. Also, check that the attic insulation, blown in during construction, has not been blown back from the walls by the wind. This is easily rectified by pushing the insulation back into the cavity space that it was blown away from. There will be visible light at the vents around the house (not to be confused with missing or inadequate insulation). These vents must be left open for proper attic ventilation and air circulation. Windows During cold weather, it may appear that there are drafts around windows that are adequately glazed, fitted, and weather-stripped. With some possible exceptions such as extreme wind conditions, the draft felt may be due to vertical air movement over the face of the window. This is convection: warm air rising and cooler air is descending. You may also feel a draft when sitting or standing close to a window. This chill may be due to heat radiating from your body to the relatively colder surface of the window. As mentioned, excess humidity in the air causes frost and condensation on the windows, even on double-glazed windows. To reduce this; please follow the recommendations in Controlling the Level of Humidity. We recommend using a silicone lubricant, petroleum jelly, or a bar of soap on weather-stripping and tracks of windows. To allow drainage, keep the holes clean on horizontal sliding windows (with weep holes to the outside of the bottom of the track or frame). Glass breakage for reasons other than seal failures is the homeowner s responsibility. Fittings on windows are subject to weather conditions and general wear and tear. Doors 16

17 All doors, especially exterior doors, are exposed to a variety of climatic conditions, including inside humidity extremes, and are subject to dimensional variations and warping. Doors tend to swell in summer and shrink in winter. Do not hastily adjust doors by planing or cutting, as the condition will usually stabilize. With some types of wood doors, warping is to be expected (variations up to ¼ out of plane, in any direction of the door, are considered normal). Weatherstripping is often the best solution. Hardware The original finish on exterior locks and door handles will wear with normal use. It is normal for the protective finish on the exterior hardware to deteriorate after exposure to the elements and extensive use. We will not be responsible for the replacement of any hardware if this happens. As this occurs you may wish to remove the rust or discoloration from the finish with a mild scouring powder. Once you obtain a uniform appearance, you may leave the metal untreated for a naturally weathered appearance, or polish it using a silverware cleansing compound. Follow this with a coat of clear lacquer, which should produce a like-new appearance. Note: The finish is not under warranty on brass hardware if it becomes pitted. Provided commonly used privacy sets are installed, you can unlock bathroom doors from the outside by pushing any small pick-like instrument, such as a 2 finish nail, into the hole in the centre of the knob, or by rotating a slotted type screwdriver. It is not necessary to use polishing compounds on interior hardware. Wipe them occasionally with a damp cloth and polish with a soft dry cloth. To ensure continued operation, lubricate locks periodically. 1. For keyed exterior, blow powdered graphite into the keyhole and on the latch bolts. 2. For interior passage sets, a few drops of sewing machine or similar light oil, placed on the latch bolt, will suffice. Railings Metal stairway railings or banisters will rust if the protective finish is scratched. Avoid using abrasive cleaners; wipe them with a cloth using as little water as possible. Regular washing with a damp cloth can easily keep vinyl cap covers, used on metal railings, clean. You can maintain natural wood railings by using wood cleaning products. Different woods accept stain differently and as such, we will not be responsible for the colour or consistency of the finished product. Counter Tops To ensure the long-lasting beauty of your plastic laminate countertops, the following is recommended. *Do not place hot pans or activated electrical appliances on laminated surfaces; use protective insulating pads *Never use abrasive cleaners or steel wool on counters *Do not leave household bleach on the surface of counters *Do not use the surface as an ashtray or cutting board *Avoid a concentration of water or wet cloths at or near the junction of the countertop and backsplash or other joints. Excessive standing water on counters may cause the laminate to heave. This is not covered under warranty. *Clean with a damp soapy cloth; for stubborn stains use a household solvent, rinsing thoroughly with clear water, followed by wiping with a dry cloth *Polish occasionally with glass wax, or liquid car polish. This will mask superficial scratches Manufactured Marble Sinks made of manufactured marble are durable, but require the same general care as for plastic laminates. As with any highly polished surface, avoid the use of abrasive cleaners and most chemical preparations. Cabinets Treat your kitchen cabinets as you would any fine piece of furniture. The wood grain in cabinets is natural and will not be exactly the same in each and every door, as no tree is consistent; therefore, the patterns you see are unique to your cabinets. Doors and drawer fronts will not be replaced due to different wood grains. Check that hinges are not loose. Periodically, check all screws for tightness but do not tighten so much as to split the wood. If the hinges squeak, use a lubricant to rectify the 17

18 problem, being careful not to get any on the wood or laminate surfaces. Our kitchen cabinet suppliers use the most technically advanced equipment available, to produce cabinets of the highest aesthetic standards. They use quality finishes and coatings to improve fade resistance, consistent colour matching, and excellent durability. However, as with wood grain patterns, wood colours may vary from piece to piece; therefore, colour variances can occur even though the stain has been applied evenly. We recommend you wipe your cabinets down with only a damp cloth. Dry immediately. Do not use cleaning products as they may stain or fade the finish. Grease splatters should be wiped off immediately. Naphtha spray waxes are not recommended, as their reaction to moisture will turn some surface finishes milky. Good lemon oil is recommended following manufacturer s specifications to remove left-on splatters. Small scratches and chips in your doors can happen during shipping and installation, or everyday use in your kitchen. We try out best to ensure, upon completion of the installation, that all chips and scratches are restored. Marble, Granite, Slate When properly maintained, marble, granite, and slate products will provide many years of service. They are easy to maintain with an occasional damp mopping of mild soap and water, and should not be exposed to excessive water. To protect the finish of marble, granite, and slate floors and counter tops, apply a sealer as recommended by the supplier. Marble, granite, and slate floors or counter tops may crack or chip if heavy objects fall on them. Furnace Heating, Air Conditioners, and HRV Systems Furnaces When the heating system of your home was selected, the rated capacity was checked to ensure that the house could be heated to a comfortable temperature, taking into account climatic conditions common to our Canadian climate and local communities. On taking possession of your home, check the sticker attached to the furnace for the emergency number to call in the event of a breakdown. Additional help is given in the equipment manufacturers literature. Heating equipment can be maintained at maximum efficiency through regular inspections, according to the manufacturer s specifications. Your new furnace comes with a five-year parts warranty and a one-year labour warranty. Your heating equipment supplier can give you maintenance contracts. The controls on automatic heating systems may occasionally fail. Usually, a simple adjustment is all that is required. However, unless you are technically qualified; please rely on skilled help to make the adjustment, as any tampering will void your warranties. It is strongly recommended that a licensed technician perform an annual maintenance check on your equipment. If your furnace or air conditioner is not working properly or fails to start: *Be sure the switch is on *Check the fuse or circuit breaker panel for tripped breakers *Review the operating procedures in your furnace manual *Check the thermostat setting. The furnace will not operate unless the setting is higher than room temperature and is switched to either the heating or cooling function *Call for service if none of the above starts your equipment To ensure peak performance of your equipment, you should clean or replace your furnace filter on a monthly basis. Dirty filters restrict the supply of return air essential for efficient operation. For optimum performance, keep heating outlets and cold air returns (registers) free of airflow obstructions such as carpets, furniture, etc. Ensure that the fan motor and fan units are oiled twice a year, or as per the manufacturer s instructions specifically for your furnace. If you do not have a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), you may require a humidifier to increase or turn on the ventilation fan, in order to control indoor humidity. If a furnace humidifier is installed, you must check it frequently in winter to ensure that the correct water level is maintained and the reservoir and plates are clean. Power humidifiers require similar attention. Because of salt deposits from the water supply in this area, humidifier plates deteriorate quickly. Replace plates when they no longer effectively hold water. If the relative humidity in your home is excessive in winter, causing condensation on windows, etc., it may be advisable to shut off the humidifier. See section on condensation. Some homes will have an HRV System installed. This type of ventilation/filtration system allows a constant source of fresh, filtered, outdoor (oxygenated) air to flow though your home. It allows pollutants that are not eliminated by filtration to escape the home, and controls excess humidity during the cold seasons. It also helps 18

19 eliminate basement odors in the summer. Filters on your HRV System need to be leaned every two months. To clean your HRV System filters: 1. Remove the filters and place in a laundry tub. 2. Clean the filters, using clear water. 3. Let drip-dry for approximately one hour, and then return to unit. Cracking or snapping noises may occur in the heating system. This means the pipes and other metal components of the distribution system are expanding or contracting with temperature changes. Such noises, particularly common on start-up, are to be expected and do not influence the performance of the system. All the controls for your furnace are powered by electricity. A switch, located near the furnace or the bottom of the basement stairs, shuts off this power supply. You should know where this switch is in case of severe basement flooding or other unusual situations. Make sure it is clearly marked so that it will not be confused with a light switch and turned off in error. Also, point out to all your family members so they too, know where it is and what it is. The heating system should be balanced to ensure that enough heat gets to all the rooms before the furnace turns off through its regular cycle. This is a personal preference, not a Building Code requirement. There are vanes in each heat register that can be opened or closed. It may take a little time to make sure that the flow is right for every location, but once it is set it should not need to be changed. If a contractor other than the original installs an accessory or additional equipment, such as an air conditioner, humidifier, electronic air cleaner, or thermostat, it could void your furnace warranty. When any of the above is installed, ensure that it is by a reputable and qualified contractor. Air Conditioning If your house has a Central Air Conditioning System, the following will help you get the maximum benefit from it. Registers The registers throughout your home help to regulate the flow of air and maintain the required temperature. By opening and closing the registers and dampers, you can regulate the amount of cooling that enters a room. Once these are adjusted, they will work with the thermostat to maintain the proper temperature. We do not advise you to close registers and room doors in an effort to reduce cooling costs. If you have a combined cooling and warm air heating system, the same resisters and dampers are used to regulate the flow of air to all rooms. Your home has at least one return air register; many have more than one. Neither the returns nor the registers should ever be blocked by furniture, drapes, or any other objects. Filters Most central air-conditioning systems have an air filter to help keep your home clean. The instruction manual for your cooling system will tell you the location of the filter and how to clean it. Insulation Your home has been insulated so that you can regulate the inside temperature in a cost-effective manner. Open doors and windows, along with clogged filters, can negate the effective operation of your heating or cooling systems. Annual Inspections Your system should be checked and cleaned by a professional. Please check your operating instruction manual for frequency of this care. Plumbing Your home has been equipped with plumbing fixtures and piping manufactured to provide lengthy service under normal conditions and with proper care. Sinks If a blockage is noticed in your sink, check other drains in the house to determine whether the main waste drain is blocked. If only one sink is blocked then you know the problem is localized. To free up the sink, block the overflow 19

20 vent, remove the stopper and use a plunger. Any particles drawn up should be removed. Continue plunging until all debris is removed. If this does not work, remove the water from the drain and try a chemical cleaner. When using a chemical cleaner, be sure to read the instructions carefully, use rubber gloves, and protect your eyes. Toilets The Ontario Building Code requires that 6L toilets be installed in all new homes to reduce the amount of water and pollution control costs. How does your low consumption toilet work? Gravity toilets are most common in new homes. Older gravity tank toilets rely on a high volume of water to flush properly (up to 25L/5.5 to 7.5 gallons per flush). The newer 6L (1.2 gallons) low-consumption gravity tank toilets have a redesigned bowl to enhance the siphoning action that serves to pull the water out of the bowl. Water is forced through a trap that curves down, then up, like an elbow. Water fills the bowl to keep gasses from entering the house. Refer to the following table to enhance the performance of your toilet and ensure its longevity. The Rules of the Bathroom Don t Do X Flush dental floss X Flush an appropriate amount of toilet paper X Flush Q-Tips or toothpicks X Clean the bowl regularly using vinegar X Flush paper towel X Flush grease or oil X Flush biodegradable products such as baby wipes X Flush feminine products X Use chlorine or blue pucks in the tank or bowl X Use your toilet as a wastebasket. Put Kleenex or trash in the garbage Your toilet is NOT a garbage disposal Plugged Drains Newer toilets that conserve water resources are not as efficient as older toilets. At times, two flushes may be required to clear toilets of debris. You may find that if you hold the flush handle in the down position during the flush, more water will be available, enabling the toilet to clear better. Most blockages in plumbing drains, including toilets, are progressive they begin slowly and get worse over time until the drain is completely blocked. To avoid clogged drains, use a plunger at the first sign of a slow drain. This simple remedial step will prevent most serious drain blockages. You can purchase a plunger at your local hardware store. Plumbing Fixtures Care and Cleaning The smooth glossy surfaces on your plumbing fixtures should be protected against harsh abrasive cleaners, which will in time, wear through the surface, making them dull and porous. Steel pads and some strong cleaners can cause irreparable damage. Do not use aggressive bathroom tile and toilet bowl cleaners, or chlorine or blue pucks in the tank, they cause the flappers and mechanics of the toilet to disintegrate. Never use abrasive scouring powders or pads on your toilet seat. Some chemicals and cosmetics may cause damage to the seat s finish. To get rid of soap scum on chrome faucets and fixtures, use white wine vinegar. 1. Soak a paper towel in the vinegar. 2. Squeeze out the excess. 3. Wrap the paper towel around the chrome and let stand for 10 minutes. 20

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