Top ten tips for keeping your basement dry this spring

It’s starting to look like spring has arrived. With plus zero temperatures predicted for most days over the next couple of weeks, it’s about to get wet. A little preventative maintenance is in order if you’d like to keep the spring melt off from ending up in your basement.


Here are our top ten tips to prevent a basement flood.


  • Remove snow from around your foundation and window wells.
  • Most lots drain along the outside edges. Remove snow from these areas.
  • Keep the snow in your yard because shoveling it onto streets or lanes could block drainage.
  • Clear snow and ice from around the bottom of your downspouts and extend downspouts at least two metres so water drains away from your foundation.
  • Where possible and safe, help clear snow, ice, and debris from the catch basins in your area.
  • Check your roof and eaves troughs for excessive snow.
  • Consider hiring a professional to clear snow from your roof.
  • A roof rake may help you to clear snow and debris from the edge of your roof.
  • Consider using sandbags to block water from entering low-lying areas beside your foundation.
  • If water is getting close to your foundation, use an appropriate pump to drain it to the gutter or back lane.

Best wishes for a dry spring.



Two great renovation guides for your wintertime projects

I came across this excellent infographic prepared by Northshore Fireplace and thought I’d share it here for those who are itching to renovate but uncertain of where to start.

For those who appreciate more of a book type format, this 12-page brochure style guide that I came across recently is premium. It offers more extensive overviews of home renovation costs and their likely impact on your home’s value. Download it here.

Happy renovating.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

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Ice dams: What causes them, why they're a problem and what you should do about them

Ice damming is pretty common in areas that get lots of snow and very cold temperatures like Saskatchewan. We seem to be coming across quite a few this year. The image below from the University of Minnesota gives a quick overview of how they happen.

This article from the same source goes into more detail and includes some suggestions on how to fix it if you’re experiencing damming on the roof of your home.

Act now to keep water out of your basement

At a social outing this weekend a former Saskatoon home inspector told me that he’s “buying up as much drying equipment” as he can get his hands on right now. He’s expecting a busy and profitable spring. We’ve had a lot of snow this winter. Some of that will end up in basements.

If the Weather  Network’s 14-day weather trend for Saskatoon is correct some of this snow is going to be melting. The good news is that it looks like it should be a slow melt. The bad news? A lot of ice will be created overnight. That ice could back up your gutters and downspouts and prevent water from moving away from your house. A lot of snow will produce a lot of water if the weather is even a little warmer than predicted. Act now to protect yourself from costly flooding by having snow removed from your roof (use a professional to avoid falling) and then move that snow away from your home’s foundation.

If you don’t get to it and water gets to you I’d be happy to refer you to a guy with a lot of drying equipment for hire.

Get the most current market intelligence with our FREE Market Snapshot including prices of homes recently sold in your area. Get it here now.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate



TeamFisher's Saskatchewan winter home maintenance list

This post was originally published in October of 2009. I thought it might be a good time to kick it back to the top of the list.

Like it or not, winter is coming and now is the time to get your home ready for it. A few hours looking after some preventative home maintenance items may save you from dealing with costly emergency repairs when everyone else is looking to have something fixed and service people are stretched thin.

Here is a list of things we should all be looking after over the next couple of weeks to keep our Saskatoon homes in tip-top shape, and our families safe living in them.

If I’ve missed something that you feel should be added to my list please leave a comment below.

On the inside

  • Consider having your home heating system professionally serviced to ensure reliability and efficient operation through the long winter.
  • Change the furnace filter, ensure that the furnace chimney is sound and free from obstructions and that the furnace has an adequate source of fresh air.
  • If you don’t already have one, consider a humidity control system for your home to keep air comfortable.
  • Consider a programmable thermostat to save on energy costs and maintain maximum comfort.
  • Tune up the hot water system, perhaps even draining and refilling the tank to remove sediment build up from the bottom of the tank.
  • Have a professional inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys for safety and efficiency.
  • Test and service your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that they are operational. Replace the batteries, whether they need it or not.
  • Add weather-stripping as required on the inside of doors and windows.
  • Purchase and install window insulation kits to cover inefficient windows from the inside to prevent heat loss and ice build up on windows.
  • Give ceiling fans a quick cleaning, oil the motors, and reverse the direction in which they turn to push warm air back down into the room.
  • Remove window-mounted air conditioners and cover central air conditioning units to keep the snow off of them.
  • Clean your clothes dryer vent from the inside and the outside of the house to remove potential obstructions.
  • With several additional hours of daily darkness just around the corner consider installing night lighting in hallways especially around staircases and hallways.

On the outside

  • Have a walk around the roof of your home to look for loose, damaged or missing roofing material. Inspect for cracks in the flashing seals around skylights, chimneys and vent stacks.
  • While you’re up there, give the gutters a quick cleaning to make sure that water can run freely in the spring. Clogged gutters can allow water to back up against the house causing damage to roofing material and siding. Worse, excess water will fall over the outside edge of the gutter reaching the ground near your foundation wall. Finally, excess build-up in gutters produces stress to the systems supporting the gutter and can reduce life.
  • Make sure that the extensions on your downspouts are carrying water four to five feet from the foundation wall and that the grading of soil surrounding the house is diverting the flow of water away from the foundation wall, and not towards it.
  • Terminate the water source to all exterior taps and sprinklers and open all exterior valves to ensure proper and complete drainage.
  • Underground sprinkler systems should be blown out to prevent water lingering below ground in the system’s pipes from freezing.
  • Tidy up your landscaping by pruning shrubs and tree branches away from the house, particularly those that might encroach on the roof, gable venting or overhead utility lines.
  • Clear the areas around foundation walls to prevent build up of debris and leafy material, which can trap moisture at the foundation wall.
  • Inspect foundation walls and exterior vents to ensure that you’re not providing easy access to rodents seeking a warm place to stay over the winter.
  • Apply exterior caulking around windows and doors as needed. Even a small opening can allow a lot of heat to escape from your home. Homes with wood siding and windows that protrude past the siding material should only be caulked on the sides and at the top. Some opening beneath the sill provides an area through which moisture can escape from exterior walls.
  • Seal cracks in the exterior finish of buildings and cracks in flat concrete surfaces to prevent water penetration that can freeze and expand causing further damage.
  • Lubricate hinges including those on overhead garage doors.
  • Tune up electric garage door openers.
  • It’s time to put the summer toys away and crack out the winter goodies. You know, ice scrapers, shovels, snow blowers, etc.
  • Remove fuel from gas powered yard care equipment and run the equipment continuously until all remaining fuel has been burned.
  • If you do the Christmas lights thing, they’ll be a lot more fun to install in October than December.

Wishing you all a wonderful and short winter.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

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Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate