Global warming has effects on climatic conditions. More and more we are exposed to extreme situations: one day we suffocate with heat and the next day we shiver. These changes are not without consequences for the building, particularly for heritage homes in Montreal as elsewhere.
“It is the rains swept by strong winds which are the main element of deterioration of the dwellings but in winter it is the rapid cycles of freezing and thawing which are the most to fear, particularly for the masonry”, supports Gabriel Deschambault, architect and former employee of the City of Montreal in the heritage division.
“Heavy rain can damage roofs, sheet metal and paint on wooden doors and windows. This is why you have to be attentive to its immediate environment, ”he emphasizes.
According to him, the owners of old residences must take the time to examine their building. Do not hesitate to go up on the roof (if it is flat), at least once a year, to make sure everything is in order. “The roof is the main cause of the rapid deterioration of houses because a water leak damages the interior, causing the wood to rot and creating an environment favorable to the growth of microscopic fungi. It is therefore important to make sure that the sheet metal is in place, that the flashings have not been lifted by the wind, that the joints have held up and that the gravel of your flat roof is well extended, this “preventing ultraviolet rays from overheating the bitumen and damaging the layers of insulating composite materials”.
Gabriel Deschambault estimates that it costs less to repair than to replace elements of the house that show wear.
“This is as true for woodwork as it is for metals. Changing a column of balcony wood can be very expensive while having it repaired by a qualified carpenter or a craftsman is not expensive. The same goes for wrought iron railings. Good maintenance prevents corrosion of the metal because you should know that a wrought iron railing can last more than 100 years. “
Mr. Deschambault recognizes that people are less willing, due to the demands of modern life, to sacrifice time to maintain their home.
“In this case, it is better to entrust the repairs to a carpenter or craftsman qualified in the restoration than to replace by new because money being the nerve of the war, that will be more economic”.
The architect is rather reserved in the face of “magic” replacement materials made of PVC or aluminum. According to him, PVC is not a durable material and aluminum gets dirty quickly.
However, he believes that some manufacturers of aluminum parts have greatly improved the aesthetics of their product in recent years, especially in the manufacture of railings or engineered fences that have the same appearance as wrought iron.
Finally, Mr. Deschambault gives advice to owners of old homes so as not to go broke.
“To better control your costs, it’s better to spread out your repairs over time. Like condominium properties, it’s better to have a reserve fund to allow you to do the work without having to mortgage your house or have to borrow. ”