Why Ventilation is important for your home?

  • Why ventilation is important for your home?
    1. Helps in controlling moisture
    2. Health of you and your family
    3. Improves Air Quality
    4. Increases Comfort level
    5. Better Air Regulation
    6. Reduces Temperature
  • Some Considerations for good ventilation
  • Ventilation tips for better indoor Air

Ventilation is essential for home comfort. Proper ventilation prevents air pollutants from affecting the health of family and home. Without proper ventilation, a home or building can become a house of static air, where bacteria and carbon build-up, making the indoor air unsafe for the inhabitants. Like we do breathing exercises to have good health, similarly, buildings too need to breathe well.

In general terms, Ventilation is a process of replacing still & stagnant air with fresh air. A well-ventilated house is one that ensures sufficient air and sunlight infiltration into the house.

Read the content to understand: Why ventilation is important for your home?

1. Helps in controlling moisture

Ventilation is very important because it controls how much moisture is persisting in the home. If one has adequate airflow throughout home; walls, floors, and all the wood in the home will stay dry and not collect moisture. Wood can decay when exposed to moisture. If one lets moisture build up in these areas of the home, they will not only destroy the structural integrity, but they will also cause mold/ termite buildup or other moisture-related problem.

2. Health of you and your family

Proper ventilation protects you & your family from unpleasant odours and irritating pollutants. Poor Ventilation increase the risk of airborne diseases, causes allergies, nausea and can also leads to serious health issues like eczema, nervous system damage, and cancer. It causes sick building syndrome. Ventilation prevents the growth of fungus and molds in your home and hence keeps you protected from allergies and breathing issues. To know and understand the health effects, read Poor Ventilation and the health consequences that come with it1.

3. Improves Air Quality

If the air inside the house does not move outside, the pollutants such as chemical gases and germs would affect the air quality and cause harm. Ventilation helps expel the pollutants stored inside along with the bacteria, moisture and odour. It controls indoor humidity and airborne contaminants, both of which either contribute to or act as health hazards. Also, it helps in removing volatile organic compounds in house paint, air fresheners, cleaning products. Hence, proper ventilation helps in improving indoor air quality and ensure a healthy living.

4. Increases Comfort level

Ventilation controls the humidity level and allows you to breathe easier. When the room is filled with fresh & clean air, the airborne contaminants are eliminated. Moreover, sufficient inflow of air cools the room in the best way and this makes indoor ambiance better. All these add to the increase in the comfort level.

5. Better Air Regulation

A well-ventilated home has lower energy bills, and this is the reason why people prefer to live in a place that provides natural ventilation. It lowers the home’s humidity reduces the pressure on the air conditioner and also extends its life span.

6. Reduce Temperature

Sometimes when lot of people live in a small home, space becomes hot making the environment unbearable. A proper ventilation system reduces the temperature and makes a home comfortable and relaxed for everyone.

Some Considerations for good ventilation

In order to achieve good natural ventilation in a home, below considerations can be followed:

  • Outlet openings should be just opposite to inlets to ensure better cross-ventilation.
  • More height of the room gives better ventilation.
  • Inlet openings should be located on the windward side and at low level so that all parts of the room are uniformly ventilated2. Outlet opening should be located on lee ward side(side facing away from the wind) near the ceiling in the side walls. It is nowadays less common in homes.

Ventilation tips for better Indoor Air

  • Use of exhaust fans: Exhaust fans draw air from a particular location and vent it to the outside. Both Kitchens and bathrooms should have an exhaust fan. Bathroom and kitchen fans are a significant part of your home’s ventilation system. They remove odours from your house, which improves indoor air quality. They also remove moisture, which decreases the level of humidity in your house.
  • Natural ventilation: Most common method of natural ventilation3 is opening windows and doors. When outdoor air is cooler and drier than your indoor air, by all means, open the windows and let that fresh air flow through.
  • Clean air: If exhaust fans and natural ventilation cannot serve the purpose, you can opt for a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home.

Final Words

Improper ventilation in homes can lead to illnesses and discomfort as well as cause damage due to poor moisture & temperature control.

Whether you are living in a home, fresh air is essential to survive. If you are searching for a new home to move in, check if it has good ventilation. It is very essential for health, efficiency and hygienic conditions. Hence while planning your home it should be ensured that each area/ room is properly ventilated.

Proper home ventilation is essential for the health of the residents and the structure. It controls the build-up of indoor air pollutants and moisture. Therefore, it is utmost important to keep the house adequately ventilated.

8 Essential Things every new Homeowner needs to know

1. Finding the main water control valve
2. Know the Electrical supply
3. Get to know your appliances
4. Take Advice before interiors or remodeling
5. Ensure General Fire Safety
6. Learn How to Identify Potential Issues in Your New Home
7. Know the Surrounding Essentials
8. Talk to the Neighbours

Buying a house is considered one of the most significant investments you will make in your lifetime and there is so much to think about – the move itself, changing billing addresses, unpacking and even getting used to the sounds that your new home makes.

After months of house hunting, you finally find the home that satisfies your needs. So you feel relaxed and stress-free in your new home. Once you buy a new place to live in, there are several things you need to know about it.

No matter whether you have purchased a new home or got the property in the resale, there are certain things that you need to take care of when you first enter your new home.

Just like learning to drive a car or cook food, every home has important things that the homeowner must be aware of and learn how to operate. For those who believe in absolute home comfort, here is a list of 8 essential things you must know related to your new home.

1. Finding the main water control valve

Water from a broken plumbing pipe can pour out dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight – including flooring, furniture and valuables. In this situation or others like (leak or drip), turning off the water mains can prevent the water from causing serious damage to other areas of your home. Water damage is one of the most common occurrence.

Nowadays, many homes have separate water control valves for each area (kitchen, bathroom), which is ideally better. And some homes have the main water control valve at terrace near storage tank. It is important to know the location of this main valve in case of any emergency. Make sure everyone knows where it is located and how to close the valve. Also always ensure it moves freely instead of hard to operate.

2. Know the Electrical supply

Familiarize yourself with electrical supply including the position of the Distribution Board (DB) in case of a trip while plugging in your systems for the first time. There are two common situations that will require you accessing your electrical panel: An outlet in your home has been overloaded and blown a circuit that you need to reset to restore power or, need to turn off the power of a certain area for some electrical work like installing an outlet, or light fixture. If possible label your Distribution board or panel, in case you or any other person requires to turn off the power for some task.

3. Get to know your appliances

Home appliances have made our lives so much easier. We cannot deny the comfort and convenience these appliances provide us. A day without these helping hands is quite annoying and troublesome. Just like cars and televisions, the appliances in your home have different life expectancies and a proper way to operate. It is important to know your appliances, as good care and correct use of these appliances will provide them a longer running life. It is always better to read the guide before using it. Also, keep the warranty card, service details and guide of all appliances together in a place.

4. Take Advice before Interiors or Remodeling

After buying a home, usually a homeowner plans to have interiors or remodelling. Home Remodelling is a big project, you should not take it lightly in order to maintain aesthetics, functional ease and of course to make your money spent worthwhile. Opting remodeling or furnishings without proper advice can lead to rework and waste of money, if there is any concealed leakage or other related issues in your home. So,it is important to know and understand the condition of your home first with help of professionals before furnishing or remodeling.

5. Ensure General Fire Safety

Fires at home are generally due to electrical shortcircuit or smoking or overheating. It is important for the homeowner to ensure the general fire safety at home. Firstly, in order to keep yourself safe, see how is the emergency exit in your building in case of an apartment. You should know the location of all of your home’s safety equipment in case of emergencies. Locate and check the availability of fire extinguishers and fire alarms. Obtain and maintain it, in case it is not present. You can also read Fire and safety regulations1.

6. Learn How to Identify Potential Issues in Your New Home

One of the best homeowner maintenance tips is to detect minor problems before they become huge issues. After purchasing your home, take some time to learn about some of the common issues homes face. Being able to identify a potential problem early on could save you money later. There are certain common problems that you need to take care of when you first enter your new home:

  • Plumbing Issue: The plumbing issue is most common for new homeowners. When you start living at the new place you need to see for any plumbing issue in the home. Visual checks can be done like leakage in the visible portion of pipes or watermarks seeping through the ceiling or walls; improper installation of fitting, and grout problems.
  • Check electrical system: Another important factor new homeowners should consider is the electrical circuits. You do not need to open the circuit board to find the issue. Check if you are facing some tripping problem in DB while using any appliance or there is any layout problem like the improper position of socket. You can also observe the outer layer of the system to see if there is any burning issue or damage to the wires system. If you require, hire a skilled electrician to check each and every wire connected to the home. The electrician will examine the system closely to see if any repair requires in the system.
  • Check the floor: The floor damage is common in a home. You should check for the damage tiles, hollowness in tiles, the gap at tile joints etc to avoid the water leakage or any other circumstances where your floor started losing its strength.

Apart from this, there are other basic elements like wall, ceiling, door, window. There can be some problems in these basic elements even in your new home. To understand more, read Moving to a New Apartment? Home inspection can be a saviour. If you want the help of experts in detecting the probable defects of your apartment, Contact professional home inspection services.

7. Know the surrounding essentials

Homeowners should determine where the nearest shops/retail facilities are, and their earliest opening and closing times to ensure that they can buy what they need. Also know about essentials like Hospitals, gas service center, public transport etc.

8. Talk to the Neighbours

You might feel shy but getting to know your neighbours will be useful for you in the long run. You can look out for each other, notify each other of problems or issues in the neighborhood, and you will have someone that you trust to water your plants or feed your pet while you are away.

Apart from the above points Homeowners should determine the integrity of the physical security such as door locks and in case of the individual house, check the gate at the perimeter of house.

Bottom Line

Buying a new home is exciting as we have many plans in our mind to make it look more beautiful. But before focusing on the way to make it look better, there are certain things that you should be sure to familiarize yourself with when it comes to your new home. Being sure to know the basics related to some simple things mentioned above can benefit you in the long-run! Our objective was to make you aware of important things that every new homeowner needs to know to ensure your home running smoothly.

Minimize harmful effects of paints in your Home

Chemicals / VOCs present in Paints

Painting your home can enhance the beauty of your space and give a fresh new look to a boring room. It forms a part of the maintenance of your home and must be done once every 2-3 years depending on the condition. The unsatisfactory part is the immediate consequence of painting a room, that is, the suffocating paint odour.

The material (or can say chemicals) with which the paint is made, together with the solvent used to make the paint liquid so that it can be easily applied with the brush, stays on the wall even after the paint dries. It is the evaporation of this solvent, which leads to the suffocating odour.

The paints industry has developed multitude of chemicals to enhance the product shelf life, colour, texture etc. These paints are made from a few chemicals that are especially suited for this industry. Many of these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which vaporize as soon as they are exposed to the atmosphere. They also contain heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and chromium. VOCs are organic chemicals that are mainly used as solvents for conventional paints. Once they enter into the air we inhale, they can go into our lungs and create a toxic effect on our bodies.

So what exactly is a Volatile Organic Compound(VOC)? VOCs are a large group of chemicals that are found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. VOCs are chemicals inside paint that are released into the air as you paint a wall.

VOC is a carbon-containing compound that easily vaporizes into the air. When they enter the air, they react with other elements to produce ozone, which causes air pollution and a host of health issues. It is one of the sources of indoor air pollutants.

Harmful effects on Human health

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) include organic solvents and organic chemicals. Because they are organic, it does not mean they cannot cause health problems. Apart from paint and solvents, there are other common sources of VOCs found indoors which include: Household Cleaning Products, Dry Cleaning Products, Paint Thinners, Varnishes, Cosmetics, Glues, Pesticides, Aerosol Sprays, Building Materials, etc give off VOCs.

Some of the chemicals can cause short term and long term adverse health problems. After painting, VOCs can be up to 1,000 times higher indoors1 than outdoor fresh air levels. VOC levels are highest during and soon after painting, they continue seeping out for several years.

VOCs from Paints are up there on the list of most harmful toxins to humans, animals, plants and aquatic life. Common Signs or Symptoms of exposure to VOCs:

  • Conjunctiva Irritation
  • Nose and Throat issues
  • Headache
  • Skin Allergy
  • Dyspnea
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Epistaxis
  • Fatigue and Dizziness

Some long-term effects include liver and kidney damage, respiratory issues and even cancer. These paints not only harm the human body, but also the environment. The by-products and waste of the synthetic chemical industry are detrimental to the environment and it leaves an enormous carbon footprint.

Best practices or tips to reduce Risk & Exposure

If you are going to do painting in your house, here are some best practices that you can follow in order to reduce your risk:

1. Schedule painting strategically

Although there may never be a time where your homes are completely vacant, try to schedule painting when there is minimal number of people present.

2. Select Indoor paint with low or zero VOCs

Be sure you select indoor paints wisely. Select a product that will generate less harmful fumes or VOCs, such as water-based paints. Their low level of volatile organic compound (VOC)2 makes them an environmental friendly option with minimal to zero harmful effects on your health.

3. Follow instructions and safety labels

Read carefully instructions and safety information on the product label before starting the painting process. Note any warnings, first-aid information, or if protective measures like gloves or goggles are required to be used. It is always beneficial to go through certain guidelines and wear gloves or a face mask while painting.

4. Provide Ventilation

It is always advised to have good ventilation with open doors and windows. Always paint in an area that is well ventilated. After painting, keep windows as open as possible for two to three days in order to allow paint fumes to exit the room. You can also consider using a fan in the window to help direct airflow to the outside.

5. Take breaks while painting

Long exposure can worsen the effects of paint fume. Take breaks to breathe in fresh air to help reduce your chances of side effects.

6. General precautions

Ensure your safety and safety of your loved ones by taking the following precautions:

  • Pregnant women are advised to stay away from wet paint till it is fully dried.
  • Keep children and pets away from painted areas and equipment.
  • Keep painted area and paints away from heat sources.
  • Stay out of the room that has been painted for 2 to 3 days after you are finished.
  • Close any leftover paint containers tightly to prevent vapors from leaking into the surrounding area. If you choose to dispose off leftover paint, be sure to do it properly.
  • Keep the paintbrushes covered with plastic bags when not in use.
  • Try to keep the paint containers covered with their lids as much as possible.
  • Use ladders safely.

Apart from the above tips, if you are still facing a problem then opt for air purifiers. It reduces VOCs in your indoor space. Consider having an air purifier running in the room you are painting and other rooms (where VOCs may have found their way into).

Eco-friendly Options for paints

Eco-friendly paints available in India can be classified into three types:

  • Zero-VOC paints: The level of VOCs in these paints is negligible that they can be termed as ‘zero-VOC paints’.
  • Low-VOC paints: Low VOC paints are those that contain less VOC or VOC Solvents than traditional coatings. Paints labeled “low-VOC” should contain fewer than 50 grams per liter of volatile compounds3(as per EPA guidelines).
  • Natural paints: These paints are made of natural compounds such as tree resins, water, plant oil, natural dyes etc. They do not contain any VOCs.

Some paint companies which provide eco-friendly paints include Asian paints4, Berger Paints, Dulux Paints, Kansai Nerolac5, Nippon Paints.

Last words

Many paint products contain VOCs that can potentially cause both short-term and long-term health effects. Our objective was to make you aware of the harmful effects of VOCs in paints on human health and the environment and also to provide you the best tips to reduce risk and exposure.

When painting indoors, you should always do so safely. If you are looking for the healthiest and eco-friendly6 alternative to standard paint, sticking to no and low-VOC options is a good idea.

Festive Home Cleaning: What’s Your Plan?

It is only a matter of a month. You can hear the footsteps of Navratri, the 9 days of celebration, puja, fasting and feasting, decking up yourself and so on. The defeat of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga signifying the win of good over evil is your reason for celebration. When Navratri / Durga Puja is so near, can Diwali be much far? Ayodhya decked up itself with hundreds and thousands of diyas when Sri Ram returned after defeating Ravana. Keeping the tradition alive, Indian homes are also waiting to get lit up. This particular year, amidst the pandemic situation, we Indians are wholeheartedly waiting for the festive season to make its grand entrance in our lives, right?

We get it that you are ready to embrace the festivals around the corner. But is your house ready? Looking for ideas where to start from? Scroll down to get a picturesque idea of deep cleaning for your house this festive season.

1. Monsoon is retreating! Start with the most important: Damp Removal

The first ‘evil’ that you should get rid of is the damn damp. However sunny and cheery the weather may seem now, it has been drizzling for days just before it. This surely has elevated the damp condition. So what are your plans? Putting up new wallpaper? – Wrong decision, let us tell you. It will come off any day and only add to your embarrassment. Better, you remove dampness from the walls first and then revive its decor. This will not only benefit the interiors but also your family’s health. In fact, you can consult a professional and try to find out the real cause behind the damp so that a permanent solution can be reached at. This will be your most important step of home cleaning before the festivals set in.

2. Take care of your Kitchen

When we say kitchen, we mean every nook and corner of it. Kitchen safety and sanitation1 is important at any point in time. So, Clean the kitchen cupboards, the containers, utensils- everything. The biggest evil in the kitchen is grease and oil. This cleaning season calls for attention to all those difficult-to-reach areas including the ceiling borders, junctions of walls, behind the shelves, etc. Dirt and cobwebs accumulate behind the appliances also. Move them from their position and clean those areas thoroughly. The insides of appliances can also be equally dirty. Wash them and if required, get them serviced as well.

3. Planning to Paint?

If you are buying new clothes for yourself why not give the house a fresh coat of paint? You may give only the exteriors a weather-proof coat or give the inside walls a much-needed makeover. But whatever you do, analyse the condition of the walls first. Is it only a case of fading paint due to a long time gap or is it a result of painting defects in your home? Or, is there something more significant behind the flakiness? Know the actual cause behind the problem and then go for a repaint. Take proper precautions, choose the right paint and shade and make your home ready to welcome Lord Ram and the Goddess Durga this festive season.

4. Do not let plumbing create panic

If your finicky fufaji decides to give you a visit this Diwali and a leaky pipe in the bathroom suddenly decides to give way right when he is using the facilities- can you imagine what a nightmare it would be! So before the festive season settles in, completely take care of the plumbing issues in your house. Mend the leaks on pipes, taps etc. Check the cistern once again. At the same time, do a thorough cleaning of the whole bathroom.

5. The dread of drain

You will be fasting during the Navratri days. You will break your fast on a ninth day with delicacies. More sweets and savouries will give off aroma during Diwali and fill the room. But the mood will completely spoil if the stench from the drainage system outside your house invades. Who would want that? So, check all the outlets for any blockages and remove them so that the wastes can be washed away easily.

6. Get rid of wiring worries

When it is the festivals, you are surely going for “let there be light.” There are going to be electrical diyas this year along with LED lights and other decorative lights. So, make sure the wiring system and the electrical set up is in good condition in your house, the circuit breakers are working fine and eliminate any chance of short circuit2 or other electrical hazards.

7. Closet Cleaning

You do need to make space for the new clothes you are buying, right? Trust us, once you decide to give your closet a cleaning, you will be amazed how many items are there in dire need of being discarded. Pull everything down. It is your best scope to dust the entire inside. Make a pile for the ones you decide to give away. For the rest, fold them and stack them in a neat manner.

8. Pooja Room Cleaning

It might be a small corner of your home or an entire room. The place of worship needs to be cleaned up too, especially when it is time to welcome the heavenly deities at your doorstep. Clean out the shelves, wipe the various sized containers clean, dust the places where needed, look for cobwebs behind the photographs or the idols, clean the ashes from incense stick holder-in short, deck up your puja room.

9. Clean the furniture

Regular dusting is not all. See if the wooden pieces need new polish. Change the upholstery, curtains, cushion covers, bed sheets and other furnishings. It is time to push the vacuum cleaner nozzle behind the sofa set. Clean thoroughly, not superficially.

10. Basic Cleaning

Have the doors been making noise? Is there rust on the grills and need a coat? What about the ceiling fan and bookshelf? Well, clean them up. Do away with the unwanted items and organise these parts. Deep clean the mattresses also. Take care of all these and your basic cleaning is done. Do you know what works best? – A room-wise cleaning approach3. Start with the exteriors (if needed and doable) and then move inside – from the living room to each bedroom and so on.

Once done with cleaning, sanitize and disinfect4 every corner your house. Look for the areas that require more attention. Though we may well expect to have a virtual family get together on Diwali this year, our family’s health will always be our priority; so, don’t skip sanitisation and disinfection. Make it a part of your festive home cleaning from now on.

With the pandemic looming large, we need more blessings ushered on us from the gods and the goddesses. It will be apt to welcome them in a clean abode. So, get on with the cleaning spree before the festivities get the better of you.

Have a safe and happy festive season!

Safety Checks Before, During & After Tile Work

Tiles are one of the most popular flooring options used these days. A tile is a thin object usually square or rectangular in shape. Tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, vitrified, stone, clay etc., generally used for covering roofs, floors & walls.

In addition to the main purpose of strength and durability, tiles also give home a good look. It is easy to maintain & clean, they come in a wide variety of colours & designs that easily intermix with the décor of your house.

Whether you are doing the installation of tiles for the first time or have done it before, installing tiles in your house is a job that needs to be done properly. Tile installation mistakes are hard to cover up and fixing them usually means to rework on it adding extra cost of replacement or repair apart from potential damage to the property.

So, we thought to tell you about the safety check to be kept in mind before, during and after tile work whether in your Home, Office or Shop or any other property.

A. Checks to consider before you start the tile work

  • The first step is to select the type of tile1 to be used in your home. Also choosing the laying type – paper or spacer joint.
  • Prepare the surface in such a way that it must be levelled, sound, clean, dry and free from grease or any other material. Also make sure for adequate slopes towards the drain outlets/ points in areas like kitchen, bathroom, toilet,terrace, roof, etc.
  • Brick masonry and plasterwork of all the room are complete.
  • It is important to make sure all the waterproofing work for wet areas is complete.
  • Check that the plaster is cut above the slab level for skirting.
  • Prepare mortar mix that can be used within 2hrs.
  • Different door material have different thicknesses. Make sure there is enough door clearance kept between the flooring and door bottom or-else the doors will rub against new flooring.
  • Mark the position of taps, bottle traps etc. in toilet before starting the installation tiles on walls.
  • The tiles should be soaked in water atleast for 2 hours before the tile installation.
  • It is better to do a dry layout of tiles, so that you can plan the position of any cut tiles at less noticeable place depending on the requirement.
  • Additionally, if you are renewing flooring, make sure that the previous flooring material is completely removed with no residue left behind. This process should be done carefully without causing any damage to waterproofing and other associated parts.

B. Things to consider during tile work

  • If you are using chemicals/ adhesive for tile installation then strictly follow tile manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use tile spacers in spacer joint to keep tiles at equal distances.
  • Slope should be checked at the time of laying also, so that it can be corrected at that time depending on the requirement.
  • The mortar bedding should be compacted properly to avoid voids.
  • While installing tiles ensure they are well bonded with the substrata to avoid hollowness2.
  • Do not step over the flooring for at least 24 hours after laying.
  • Tiling work must be cured and fill the joints with grout and clean them properly.

C. Things to be inspected after tile installation

  • Hollowness: One of the important factors to be checked (be it vitrified, ceramic, and others) is hollowness checking to ensure tiles are properly laid. It is mainly an installation problem. But it is very important to check it even after tile installation. The tiles need to be randomly tapped using a tile hollow checker for hollowness. You can understand it more by reading significance for checking and its repair.
  • Grouting: Tile joints have to be properly filled with suitable grouts/ fillers, without any gaps. Always remember to check that the gaps are filled properly between floor and skirting tile. If gaps are not filled properly, then it will create a path for water to seep-in and create dampness/ seepage in associated areas.
  • Cut tiles: Tiles around the plumbing fixtures & electrical face-plates should be cut in proper shapes and the edges should not be visible after fixing of plumbing & electrical fixtures.
  • Damages, chip offs and shade variations: Damages & chip offs have to be checked along with any shade or colour variations. Damaged tiles (like cracked or broken tile) should be replaced to avoid further problems like moisture intrusion or deterioration and Chip off. Shade variation will create an aesthetic problem.

Apart from the above mentioned points, slopes also to be checked after tile installation. If any water pockets occurs in wet areas, then the slope of that area needs to be surely checked. There are various problems related to incorrect slope in wet areas like damp or seepage related issue, fungus issue, strength of flooring & wall surface will get decreased, etc. But, it is better advised to check and correct the slope before installation to avoid extra cost and time lag due to repair.

Conclusion

We hope knowing things to consider or look before, during and after tiling work will be helpful to you. This information will avoid several tiling defects like cracks in tiles, shade variation in tiles, etc. With these points, you are sure to have a quality tile installation that will last for years to come. And if you want advice from a professional, then you can contact home inspection services who can inspect each element of your property. With the help of this service, you will get information about issues and long term solutions for all types of issues or problems in your home/ property at any stage.

Seal all Gaps in your Homes

Most of us are so busy that we cannot even look after our home/property, so that it remains maintained in a good condition for a long time. During monsoon, we sometimes observe the presence of moisture or patches around the window or even water seepage. This usually happens due to gaps around window frame caused by sealant deterioration1 which is often over looked by a homeowner or resident. Besides, many people may not be knowing about these unfilled gaps, the reason behind it and negative effects. Hence it gets unnoticed and the result is a costlier repair & unwanted hassles.

Let us understand first – What is a Sealant?

A Sealant is a liquid form of material that usually looks, feels, and acts like a gel. Sealant is a substance used to block the passage of fluids through the surface or joints or openings in a material. For better understanding, it is a material that is used to seal the joints between materials such as concrete, aluminum etc. In general, joints are provided in the structures to prevent the damage produced by stresses.

A Sealant can keep its elasticity & stability in both temperatures – high & low. Additionally, it is resistant to other chemicals, moisture and weathering.

Application of Sealant in Home

Sealants are used between materials having different thermal movement. In addition, these are also used in the glazing joints and sealing of porous surfaces to non-porous surfaces. The areas where sealants are used in the homes are:

  • Gap between wall and window frame at both sides (i.e. gap around the window frame)
  • Gap around the door frame
  • Gap around sink installation in your kitchen
  • Gap around AC gas pipe2 Sleeve
  • Joint between furniture pedestal and floor

Apart from these, there are other gaps in homes like tile joints in the bathroom, counter stone joints in the kitchen etc. which need to be filled. But as the material is the same, tile or stone grout3 can be used in the joints.

Difference from other fillers (grout)

Let us just understand the difference between sealant and grout:

Sl. No. Sealant Grout
1 A sealant typically refers to a high performance compound having more expensive ingredients, little shrinkage, excellent weathering and UV resistance. A grout is any intermediate performance compound. Typically being lower quality.
2 It is usually flexible material. It is a rigid material.
3 It provides long service life cycles from 10 – 20 years. It has a service life of around 5 years.
4 It is costlier than grout. It is cost-effective.

Beside the above differentiation, there may be different materials (like tile and counter stone joint) having different movements due to thermal changes. In that case use a sealant, as it works well where differential movement can cause your grout to crack. It is very important to choose junction filler wisely to increase its longevity.

Desirable Properties

Sealants used in filling gaps, joints and cracks must be shrink free. Sealants should also have excellent bonding and adhesion properties so that these do not come off when subjected to the sun rain, heat or cold temperature.

After application and on drying, these should form a permanent elastic rubber-like seal to serve their purpose. These should therefore be UV resistant and should offer a long-term durability.

Apart from this, we want to tell you briefly about commonly used sealants among different types4. Silicone sealants are the most commonly used sealants. These are transparent and take 10 to 20 minutes to form the sealing skin over the joint or gap. There are two types of silicone sealant preferred to be used for homes.

  • General purpose silicone sealant – It is a type of sealant which is used in interior areas.
  • Exterior grade silicone sealant – It is the type of sealant which is used in exterior areas. It is more chemical resistant and can withstand different weather conditions.

Benefits of using sealant at Home

Using a good quality sealant can be very beneficial in protecting your home.Proper sealing of windows and doors is something that should not be overlooked. Now let us walk you through benefits of using sealant (related to the common use of sealing around door and window frames) which will be helpful in understanding its importance:

  • Saves from damage to the home/property: Due to unsealed gaps around windows (reason can be sealant deterioration or sealant not being used) and doors, the moisture / water may seep into your home. Most common damages inside homes occur due to water seepage through the gaps between window frame & external wall. This gap will be a source for moisture to flow inside the home. If the gap is not filled properly, it will lead to moisture intrusion, paint deterioration & damage to walls and other associated areas. This point is applicable to other areas of the home as well where sealant is used. Hence using sealant and checking its condition can avoid the entry of moisture in your home.
  • Keeps Insects away:Unsealed windows and doors make it easy for little creatures like mosquitoes, ants, spiders etc. to invade a home.
  • Health Factor: Besides the fact that it will keep insects from moving in, it can also be beneficial to keep pollen and allergens outside. This can be extremely helpful for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Secondly, as we have already mentioned that moisture intrusion can occur in the home due to unsealed gaps. This will not only damage the property but also cause health hazards due to moisture.
  • Improves Energy Efficiency: If your doors and windows are properly sealed, then the temperature of the room can be maintained or regulated during both seasons (summer & winter). Improper sealing ultimately makes it more difficult for a cooling system like Air conditioner (AC) to regulate temperature. When AC is constantly working harder to regulate the required temperature within the home, chances are that energy costs will increase. Not only it will be more expensive, but it will also put more stress on the system/appliance than necessary.
  • Obstructs outside noise: Sealing windows and doors properly can also prevent street noise from entering your home and residents can continue to enjoy the peace and serenity inside their home.
  • Well maintained Window: A buildup of moisture being untreated for a period of time can cause your window (or door) to begin to warp and lose shape. Checking the condition of sealant is one of the tip for window maintenance.

Conclusion

Sealant plays a significant role in your home. When unwanted gaps are properly sealed, deterioration can be over and you can enjoy your life’s big investment for a long time. Our objective of writing this content was to tell you about the usage and importance of sealants for your home. Also, we wanted to create awareness that sometimes a small defect in your opinion like a gap around the window frame or sink, if left unnoticed can create a much bigger problem in the future.

Understand the Residential Plumbing System

Your home’s plumbing system is important to keep your standard of living comfortable. If it is not working properly, you would not be able to take a shower, wash your hands, use the toilet, wash utensils, or run the washing machine. Plumbing systems are responsible for quite a bit. However, most people do not know what their plumbing system is. They just turn the handle or press a button and expect the water to come out at the pressure they want.

As a homeowner, it is important to have a basic understanding of how your plumbing system works so that you can take better care of it and prevent a costly breakdown. Because plumbing is complicated and one of the costliest systems to repair or install in a home, it is important to understand how the system works.

The residential plumbing system is a complex network comprising of hot & cold water supply pipes, fixtures, drain pipes, traps, valves,vent pipes, water storage tanks, etc.

A plumbing system serves two purposes: to supply water for human use, and to get rid of human wastes. It consists of a store of water that is distributed to various outlets.

1. Objectives of a Good Plumbing System

A good residential plumbing system makes a home a more comfortable and liveable place for the family. Ideally, it should:

  • Consistently supply safe drinking water
  • Efficiently collect and dispose of wastewater
  • Have no leaks that can waste water and create further problems
  • Prevent foul odours from escaping the system
  • Prevent clean water and wastewater from mixing together
  • Be connected to fixtures that meet quality standards

2. Essential Parts of Residential Plumbing System

  • Water Supply System (flow of water into a house)
  • Fixtures and Appliances (where water is used for carrying out various activities)
  • Drainage System (collection and disposal of used (waste) water)

a. Water Supply System

  • We are all aware that Potable water is supplied by the municipality or through private underground bore well.
  • This water enters a house through the main supply line. Water supply in a house is either of direct water supply system or an indirect water supply system.Let us understand it briefly:
    • Indirect water supply system: Water from mains is conveyed to storagewater tanks. The underground storage tank is connected to an overhead tank via a pump and a supply line; the water flows from there to any tap or outlet by gravity. This system is mainly used when water pressure in mains is not sufficient enough to deliver water at all faucets with adequate pressure. In India, usually we follow this system.
    • Direct water supply system: All water outlets of a house receive water directly from the underground tank with the use of a pump that supplies the water directly from the underground tank to all outlets. Such a pump should be able to continuously supply the line with pressure, so that whenever one opens a tap, water flows out.

To understand in detail about both direct and indirect water supply system, click here1.

b. Fixtures and Appliances

Fixtures, which are typically equipped with faucets, are needed so that the water supply can be used properly. Examples of these are showers, bathtubs, toilets, and sinks. Electric appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and geysers use water and must be connected to the waterline. The water in the pipes need to exert a bit of pressure so that it can be used in fixtures and appliances.

c. Drainage or Waste Water Disposal:

The wastewater system collects and disposes of wastewater through the use of gravity. The used water goes down drain traps that prevent foul gases from being released inside the home. The wastewater exits the home through the wastewater mainline, then it is collected in the septic tank or the municipal sewer line.

3. Areas and basic components of plumbing in the Building

a. Bathroom: Basic plumbing components in a bathroom are:

  • Main valve – to control the water flow
  • Basin – only cold or cold + hot inlet point & one outlet point
  • Water Closet – Health faucet point, cistern flush inlet point, outlet soil pipe
  • Shower – one head shower, one faucet, shower diverter, one floor outlet pipe
  • Geyser – inlet cold line & outlet line
  • Additional points like bathtub, washing machine, etc

b. Kitchen: Basic plumbing components in a kitchen:

  • Main valve – to control the water flow
  • Sink – only cold or cold + hot inlet point & one outlet point
  • Additional points like dishwasher, washing area tap point, etc

c. Roof/ Open terrace/ Balcony:

Basic plumbing components in a balcony/open terrace:

  • One or more rainwater outlet pipe

Basic plumbing components in a Roof:

  • One or more rainwater outlet pipe
  • Water tank & pipelines

4. Types of Plumbing Pipe lines in a Building

There are mainly 3 types of water running in a building:

a. Supply Water

  • Generally, single source of water (eg bore well water) is used for every use. i.e. drinking, cleaning, bathing and toilet flushing.
  • In a large complex with STP plant, water from plant is used for toilet flush only.
  • In some areas, water from the government body is used for drinking purposes Only. Bore well water can be used for other purposes.

b. Waste Water: Two different pipes are used for waste water:

  • Floor outlet pipe i.e. bathroom & kitchen waste water from bath & cleaning
  • Soil pipe – used for WC outlet pipe

c. Rainwater: Rainwater pipe is used for roof & open terrace rainwater outlet.

Apart from this, a vent pipe (usually connected to the soil and drain pipe) is provided for the purpose of the ventilation of the system. A vent pipe is open at top and bottom, to facilitate the exit of foul gases.

5. Types of Plumbing Pipes

a. Fresh water pipes

  • Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride(UPVC)
  • Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride(CPVC)
  • GI pipe (Galvanized iron pipe)
  • Copper pipe
  • Stainless steel Pipes
  • PEX or Cross-linked Polyethylene Piping
  • PPR pipe

b. Waste/soil/rainwater pipes

  • Cast iron Pipes
  • PVC pipes

There are various other types of plumbing pipes for residential buildings or others. Each pipe has its different characteristics and application.

Conclusion

This is your home’s plumbing system in a nutshell. It is much more complex than this, but with these basics in mind, you will hopefully have a better understanding of how your plumbing works and where a potential problem could be. If you would like more information about plumbing, have any questions regarding your plumbing system, want to have plumbing maintenance or you are experiencing a problem and need professional help, then click here.

Common Plaster Defects and their Cure

A home is a dream for most of us. We decorate our home in many ways. One of the ways is painting our home with our creativity and choice. Painting is usually done on the plastered surface by the following steps1. If the plaster quality is not good enough it can cause many problems later.

Plaster is a common material used in construction all around the world. Easy to work with and also easier to repair. However, there will be times when your plaster starts to show signs of wear and tear or other problems.

Understanding what type of problems can occur and its causes, you can resolve them before they become bigger issues. Today we will walk you through several common plaster defects and their primary causes & prevention.

1. Blistering of Plastered Surface

Blistering is the formation of small patches of plaster, swelling out beyond the plastered surface, arising due to late slaking (addition of water to lime) of lime particles in the plaster. This defect is usually caused due to the uneven mixing of plaster.

How to prevent it: This can be prevented by ensuring appropriate mixing between cement and it’s components used to form plaster.

2. Plaster De-bonding

De-bonding occurs when a plaster is separated from the wall. It can be caused by an excessively thick plaster layer, inadequate substrate preparation or may be due to a dusty, oily or dry substrate.

How to prevent it: To prevent de-bonding of plaster, we need to take care of the following things during plastering.

  • Remove dust & oil from the substrate before plastering.
  • Allow substrate to reach correct moisture content.
  • If necessary you should use bonding chemical.

3. Cracks on Plastered Surface

One of the most common problems you would have observed in plastering is the crack. Cracks on the plastered surface can be in different forms:

  • Crazing – It is a network of fine cracks like spider web. They are usually very fine and do not extend through the whole depth of the plaster. It occurs due to presence of excess fine content in the sand or due to dry base on which plaster is applied – when base absorbs the water and fines accumulate on the surface, it leads to crazing.
  • Separation crack at joints – It usually occurs at joints of two different materials for example at junction of RCC & Brick work. It occurs due to differential thermal movement.
  • Crack with Hollowness – This crack occurs due to hollowness in plaster. Other reasons could be extra water in the plaster mix or due to poor workmanship.

How to prevent it: Mainly cracks occur due to bad workmanship or expansion and shrinkage in the plaster during drying. Below are few tips to prevent cracks:

  • Ensure the addition of water in mortar done is by skilled mason and not by unskilled labour to ensure desired workability in terms of handling and application.
  • It can be avoided by proper curing of the plaster in order to slow down any rapid drying.

Taking care of workmanship and material quality issues will help in preventing cracks.

4. Efflorescence on Plastered Surface

When a newly constructed wall dries out, the soluble salts are brought to the surface and they appear in the form of a whitish crystalline substance. This is called efflorescence. Efflorescence is formed on plasters when soluble salts are present in plaster making materials as well as building materials such as bricks, sand, cement etc. Even water used in the construction work may contain soluble salts. It seriously affects the adhesion of paint with the wall surface and causes further problems.

How to prevent it:

  • All Construction materials used for wall should be free from salt.
  • Ensuring that the surface is moisture-free.

5. Falling Out of Plaster

This defect can happen in two forms – Flaking of plaster and peeling off plaster.

Flaking of plaster: The formation of a small loose mass on the plastered surface is known as flaking. It is mainly due to bond failure between successive coats of plaster.

Peeling off plaster: The plaster from some portion of the surface comes off and a patch is formed. This is termed as peeling. It is also mainly due to bond failure between successive coats of plaster.

How to prevent it: Both defects can be prevented with proper material selection and surface preparation. Imperfect adhesion can be minimized by good workmanship.

6. Popping of Plaster

Popping is the formations of conical like holes that break out of the plaster. It is caused due to the presence of contaminant particles such as burnt lime or other organic materials in the mix of mortar.

How to prevent it: To prevent popping in plastering, you need to ensure that no contaminant particles are present in the mortar mix.

7. Loose Plaster

When the plaster gets displaced on external impacts like application of material or tapping, etc, it is termed as loose plaster. This is caused mainly due to improper mixture and inadequate curing.

How to prevent it: It can be prevented with the use of proper mixture and adequate curing. Good workmanship will help in avoiding this problem.

Apart from the above defects, Uneven or undulation also occurs at plastered surface. The plastered surface should be in perfect plumb and without any undulations. Unevenly plastered surface happens due to poor workmanship2 of the plastering work.

After knowing the defects, read some precautions to be taken while plastering:

  • The areas that need to be plastered should be washed and kept wet.
  • All loose material sticking to the masonry should be removed before plastering.
  • The joints should be cleaned by brushing or scrapping with wire brushes.
  • The uniform level is tested with plumb-bob before & after applying the plaster.
  • Specified cement, sand ratio should be used while making cement mortar.
  • Ensure proper bonding between the surface of masonry and plaster.

Apart from these precautions, Skilled workers and good quality material should be used to minimise the defects3.

Conclusion

Plastering not only makes the surfaces smooth but gives a good finishing to the walls, ceiling and other parts of building. It is an important part of construction. To ensure good quality of plaster, it is important to know about the defects in plastering. Our objective of this content was to create awareness about various defects in plastering and its prevention. We hope this information will be helpful for you. And if you want a professional advice, then you can contact home inspection services who can inspect your property. Opting this service will give you information about issues and long term solutions for all types of defects in your home/property.

6 Staircase Safety tips for Homes/Offices to prevent from Slips, trips and falls

Staircases are being used from the ancient times and the importance of the staircase remains the same even in the 21st century. These are very common walking surface in most workplaces, residential complexes and individual homes.

The Staircase is an important component of a building which helps in commuting between floors and roof. Improperly designed staircases can cause falls which may lead to severe injuries or accidents if the necessary guidelines are not followed properly. A combination of deficiencies in design, lighting, maintenance and others are usually the culprits in stairway slips, trips and falls.

Let us first understand some of its basic parts. Staircase typically consists of:

  1. Landing Platform
  2. Handrail or Stair Rail System
  3. Steps (Riser & tread) – A step is composed of tread and riser. Tread is the horizontal top surface to press beneath the feet. The riser is the vertical portion between each tread on the stair

To prevent falls or accidents due to staircase, below are some informative tips for safer stairway design, maintenance and use etc:

1. Optimise Riser and Tread Design

Trips and falls that occur during stairway ascent are often attributed to variation in the riser, tread. Stair riser heights should be 7 inches maximum and 4 inches minimum & tread depth to be minimum 10 mm. To know more, click here1.

Ideally, all tread and riser dimensions should be uniform throughout the entire stairway. When we use stairs, we tend to follow the same steps again and again until we reach on a plain surface. So, make sure that there are no uneven steps in your staircase and all steps areof the same size.

2. Do not neglect Stair rails or handrails

Stair rails and handrails are needed for very different purposes. Stair rails protect pedestrians from falling off the edge of the stairs or landings while handrails help pedestrians keep their balance and provide leverage when ascending or descending stairs. They greatly reduce the chance of a fall, they are strongly recommended, regardless of the number of steps.

You need to install stainless steel handrails that are slip-resistant because they can provide you utmost support and they need less maintenance cost. And, if you already have handrails, check its functionality.

3. Eliminate Tripping Hazards

Firstly, these can happen due to distinct level difference at the transition area between the entrance of staircase and other associated area at office or individual home or lobby at the residential complex. Secondly, we tend to keep a lot of items around stairways that are major tripping hazards. Here are a few to be mindful of:

  • If electrical cords are left open, use some tape to pin electrical cords along the baseboards, so that it is out of the way.
  • Furniture near or on the landings should be rearranged to keep pathways free.
  • Do not store anything on the stairs, even temporarily. While there is plenty of decors that can add to the aesthetic of your stairs, but remember it all increases the risk of falls.

4. Prefer Anti-slip Surface

This is one of the most important factors that can prevent accidents. The staircase should be made with slip-resistant materials, otherwise, can be dangerous especially for children and elders. You can reduce the risk of the slip by using anti-slip materials in the stair treads and landing surfaces.

People often use anti-slip materials on the leading edge of the treads to prevent slip-related incidents. Slip-resistant or anti-skid paints2 are also available and you can use them on your staircase.

5. Ensure better Visibility

Staircase should be illuminated by enough lighting so that users can watch each and every step precisely. If you have children and elders in your family, you should not compromise with your lighting system, because better visibility will ensure safety for your dearest ones. Low light can be an issue for the elders and it can prevent them from noticing steps clearly.

6. Maintenance and Use

Many stairway accidents occur due to poor maintenance, non-attention and use. Keep stair treads clean and in good condition. There can be rusted handrails, loose fasteners resulting in the further deterioration with time. If left unattended can lead to accidents or injuries.

Apart from these, there isa last tip which can only be followed by individual homes i.e Install Safety Gates for Babies & Young Kids – If you have little ones roaming around, place child safety gates at the top and bottom of your staircase, so that they cannot access it by themselves.

Conclusion

The fact is, most falls can be prevented; and that prevention starts by acknowledging that there are always risks when using the stairs.By implementing simple strategies, keeping your stairs in good shape, and staying focused, you can help put an end to falls and serious injuries in homes and offices3. Also, read how to use stairs safely4.

We hope this content is helpful in creating awareness about safety of your staircase. If you still want to take professional advice for checking its safety and other problems, you can click here.

Understand the problems due to incorrect slope in wet areas of your home

Whenever you need to drain the water off your floors, whether it is your bathroom floor or any other wet area of your home,the proper slope at flooring helps to run the water off efficiently. Incorrect floor slope can cause water to run in the wrong direction, instead of gently sloping towards the drain.

Now a question would arise in your mind – ‘What is Slope?

The Slope of a surface means the surface of which one end or side is at a higher level than another, a rising or falling surface.

When you install tile in wet areas, do you ensure that everything slopes to the drain? If not, let us understand its importance through this content.

Firstly, let us know the areas of home/ office where slope plays a significant role.

Slope requirement in your home or office

There are floor surfaces in an apartment or home that require slope. Each surface given below needs a different slope:

  • Bathrooms
  • Balconies
  • Kitchen
  • Terrace
  • Drains & Plumbing lines

Apart from floor surfaces, window sill and chajja also have a slope requirement. But we would be focusing on the slope at flooring. Slope requirement also depends on two factors, click here1 to know more.

Generally, there can be two cases of incorrect slope i.e slope in improper direction and inadequate or insufficient slope.

Let us discuss what problems can occur due to inadequate slope or slope in improper direction at flooring.

Problems due to inadequate/improper Slope

Due to incorrect slope, floor water will not drain easily through floor drain outlet and will lead to formation of water pocket or accumulation at a corner.

If it is not rectified in time, it can lead to following problems or issues:

  • Damp / seepage related issues in the adjacent wall or floor surface
  • Fungus issue on floor surfaces
  • Strength of Flooring & wall surface will get decreased
  • Unhealthy living conditions in the house
  • Safety hazard

Solution for this issue: We recommend review and if required, floor tiles to be relaid maintaining proper slope towards floor drain outlet and adequate strengthening with requisite type of sealant at floor and wall tile junction.

Ensuring that a proper slope is provided around the drain for water to flow out easily is very important. Good drainage in wet areas like shower area in the bathroom is a key to preventing problems related to damp/moisture, so read content related to recommended slope2 for it by Home guides.

You can also read content on How to slope a floor for drain3.

Lastly, we would like to conclude, Flooring with proper slope is ideal for bathroom floors, balconies terraces etc; floors on which water flows on frequently. You don’t need it much for areas like your living room, drawing room, or any other room that stays dry. The main objective of sloping is to protect the property from damage that is associated with incorrect slope.

We hope this content will be useful in creating awareness about the problems that may arise due to incorrect slope at flooring in wet area.