Paint surfaces become scuffed, marked and chipped with normal use. Paint colours will also fade with exposure to cleaners, dirt and strong light. Before you clean any painted surface, look for the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations. Abrasive scrub pads used to remove scuff marks will dull or scratch your painted surfaces.

The use of inappropriate household cleaners, abrasives, soaps and wood conditioners may discolour a clear finish and cause it to deteriorate quickly.

Clear finishes on fine woods are influenced by the wood substrate and the moisture balance in the wood. Extreme humidity (too low or too high) can cause a finish to deteriorate prematurely. Maintaining proper humidity is a homeowner’s responsibility.

Sealant is usually a clear, white or light-coloured flexible material placed where two hard surfaces come together. It’s often seen at the joint between a countertop and a backsplash or where a tile wall meets the top of a bathtub. This ‘bead’ of sealant prevents water from finding its way behind water-resistant materials to less resistant materials behind the joint. This bead of sealant should be applied in a continuous, unbroken line.

With cleaning, and the natural expansion and contraction of the materials bonded by the sealant, the sealant may crack or separate from one or both sides of a joint. Sealant joints should be checked on a regular basis and repaired immediately if deteriorating. After your home’s warranty period expires, the maintenance and repair of sealant is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Water has gone behind my sealant. How do I repair this?

  • If water has penetrated behind a sealant joint:
  • Check for damage of the materials underneath the joint. This damage could be a discolouration or a softening of the material. From the source of penetration, continue to look for damage on the floor below because water often runs behind cabinets or down drywall towards the floor
  • Replace or dry and repair the damaged area
  • Remove all or parts of the old sealant bead and clean and dry the area
  • Re-apply an appropriate type of sealant. Various types of sealants are specially formulated for kitchens, bathrooms etc. The sealant tube will provide information on the properties of the sealant and application instructions.

There’s water behind my ceramic bathtub/shower enclosure. How do I repair this?

Grout joints or caulk joints between ceramic tiles and adjacent surfaces may deteriorate over time and should be inspected routinely. If a water leak is allowed to develop behind a tub or shower, the leak can cause the substrate behind the tile wall to soften or swell. This can cause the tiles to break loose, creating more areas for water to penetrate. Small amounts of water may also run behind the tub or shower, soaking wood components and creating ideal conditions for mould growth and rot.

If the grout is cracked, repair it and re-seal it. If the caulking fails, remove the damaged caulking and reapply. If there is no apparent break in the grout or the caulk, clean the tiles and the grout lines and re-apply a grout sealer. Also, check for leaks from water pipes or drains.

Grout is a mixture of fine sand and cement (a thin mortar) used to fill the joints between wall or floor tiles. All grout is porous and can stain. Sealing grout and maintaining that seal will greatly reduce discolouration.

Make sure you choose a sealer compatible with your tile and know how to properly apply the sealer. A sealer can enhance the colour of grout, minimize any minor issues with the grout application and help protect the grout from staining.

Grout discolours easily, especially lighter shades. Even something as simple as washing a tile floor can discolour grout over time. A variety of cleaners and sealers are available on the market to restore and maintain your grout.

A wood-framed, two-story home can shrink vertically and place substantial forces on rigid building components such as gypsum wallboard (drywall). These forces can cause drywall to crack. Minor cracks can be filled and primed before a room is repainted.

Though drywall nails have been replaced by drywall screws (which hold better than nails), nails are still used to initially hold the wallboard in place until it can be screwed down. Nails are susceptible to ‘nail pops’ which happen when wood shrinks and expands, forcing nails holding the gypsum to work their way through the wallboard. This results in a bump in the drywall as the nail forces its way through the drywall. These nail pops typically appear at the upper edge of a wall or at a truss line on a ceiling.

To repair nail pops, cut away the damaged wallboard. Then, pull the nail out with a pair of needle-nosed pliers, nail it farther into the wall with a punch tool or replace the nail with a screw. Finally, fill the hole with joint compound, prime and re-paint the area.