Radon is a carcinogenic radioactive gas, a colourless, odourless and invisible threat found in one in ten homes in Quebec, even in new constructions. It is the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.
This gas comes from the degradation of uranium naturally present in the ground and it infiltrates buildings through openings giving access to the ground such as cracks in concrete slabs and foundations, joints, crawl spaces, sumps, openings around pipe fittings, etc.
Radon is measured in becquerels per cubic meter of area (Bq / m³). In Canada, the acceptable measurement has been set at 200 Bq / m³ maximum. To get a radon test, you can order one from the following sites, among others:
If you have high radon levels, you can in some cases seal the openings in contact with the ground and improve ventilation in your home. In more problematic cases, you will need to hire a certified radon mitigation professional to help you find the best way to reduce radon infiltration in your home.
Do you have icicles hanging along the eaves of your house? This ice build-up, also called ice dams, is indicative of various problems and can cause water infiltration and damage to walls and roof not to mention the hazard it represents to passers-by. Significant water infiltration can result in mould growth and damage the integrity of the building structure.
Ice dams are often caused by heat loss from the home when there is a lack of ceiling insulation and air leaks. The snow on the roof melts under the heat of the attic, but it cannot be evacuated adequately because the ice dam is blocking it. It ends up seeping behind the walls and under the shingles.
An inspection can help you identify the causes of such a dam and understand the resulting damages. The inspector will make recommendations on the steps to follow to help you find a solution.
Pyrite is an iron sulphate that is found in stone that has been used as backfill material under the concrete slab of basements and garages. Under the effect of humidity and oxygen, pyrite swells, causing the concrete slab to crack. This effect is especially problematic in the garage given the large amount of backfill found there and can go as far as damaging the foundation walls of the house.
This problem is especially present in the regions of Montreal, Laval and Montérégie, but can occur in other regions. Problems with pyrite can appear quickly or take 15, 20, or even more years to develop.
A home inspector can guide you when there is any doubt that pyrite is present. He can advise you on a laboratory test as well as refer you to the right specialists to find a comprehensive solution.
Only a laboratory analysis of the backfill material can confirm the presence of pyrite. This test will tell you the nature of the backfill and its swelling potential, i.e. the IPPG index.
Asbestos is a highly toxic fibrous mineral that can cause chronic lung disease such as asbestosis or cancer of the larynx, ovaries, lungs or mesothelioma.
It was often used for its strength and durability, especially between the 1930s and the 1990s, and is present in some building materials such as cement, plaster, insulation, and floor and ceiling tiles. Inhalation exposure is possible during building renovations when drilling, sawing, cutting, sanding or breaking materials containing asbestos.
Only a specialized laboratory test can confirm its presence, but a home inspector can help you identify materials that may contain it. If asbestos is found in your home, you should call in a qualified specialist to proceed to its removal in a safe manner.