Case Studies

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Wall Removals - Opening Up the House

A very popular trend that we find many home owners engaged in is the removal of support or weight bearing walls to create an open concept living space. Common weight bearing walls that are removed include those that form the partition between the kitchen and family room living spaces. The removal of these walls create an improved space for entertaining as well as air circulation and heating benefits.

Caution must be followed with the removal of these walls. If the replacement supports are not properly calculated, the potential risk for failure of the structure is very probable. The wall not only supports the floor above, it is also a support for the roofing trusses all the way down to the basement.

If you are contemplating the removal of a weight bearing wall as part of your renovation, then it is pertinent that you hire the services of a professional contractor.

The wall removal is accurately calculated by a structural engineer; that a detailed drawing is created and approved by the local building authority and a building permit is obtained by the local municipality. Once the renovation is completed, you can be assured that the job has been done properly and your new living space will be enjoyed for may years to come.

Asbestos

Asbestos can be contained in more than one application in houses. Asbestos can be present in the form of floor tiles, siding, piping insulation, lining between heating supply pipes and sub flooring, paper-type material located between heating supply pipes and wiring as well as contained within attic insulation, such as vermiculite.

Asbestos fibers can become a health issue when the fibers are friable. This means that the fibers are free to float in the air and may be inhaled by people. When asbestos is disturbed, the fibers become friable. Further information regarding asbestos and your health can be found on www.hc-sg.gc.ca

Asbestos

Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI)

UFFI insulation was a very popular material in Canada during the 1970’s as a retrofit insulation material. It was used in existing homes by means of injecting the material into voids of wood frame wall cavities as well as solid masonry walls. Its initial R-value was good, however may shrink over time lowering its R-value.

UFFI was banned in December 1980 for use in Canada due to its link to health concerns. Further information regarding UFFI can be found on the following Health Canada link: www.hc-sg.gc.ca

Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation

Mould

Mould

Mould is a fungus that requires a damp or wet environment to grow. It can be black, white or any colour. Mould releases “spores” into the air and when breathed in by people, in large amounts, can cause health concerns. Mould can be found indoors in a variety of areas including kitchens, bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, carpets and other fabrics.

Further information on mould and its properties can be found on the Health Canada link: www.hc-sg.gc.ca

Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that is the result of the natural breakdown of uranium in ALL rocks and soils. The gas is odorless, tasteless and invisible. When the gas is released into outdoor air, it is diluted and is not a concern. However, when the gas enters enclosed spaces, such as a house, its accumulation can reach to high levels which can pose as a health risk.

As it breaks down, it forms radioactive particles. When these particles enter the lungs as you breathe, they become lodged in the lung tissue. The particles release energy that can damage the cells in the lungs. These damaged cells have the potential to develop into cancer.

Radon can enter the house through any opening where the house contacts the soil: cracks in foundation walls and floor slabs, gaps around service pipes, construction joints, support posts, floor drains, sumps, window casements and cavities inside walls. These openings can be present in older homes as well as new homes.

The long term exposure to Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is also the leading cause of cancer for those individuals who have never smoked. Further information on Radon and its properties can be found on the Health Canada link: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/radon

Radon

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