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  2.  Get to know your building: it'll save you time!
Having work done on a building can seem like a complex task–and it is, which is why you should hire competent professionals to do the work. Before you do, though, you can spend a while getting to know your property and assessing your needs–it will save you time and money. You'll also want to avoid unpleasant surprises by making sure you have all the required authorizations and permits before you pay for any materials or start work.

A treasure trove of information

Consult the Old Montréal Heritage Inventories to learn about the history of the building you occupy. This database contains detailed information files (currently available in French only) for every building in the historic district. It also contains a wealth of information about streets, public squares and important historical figures, and an exhaustive bibliography to help guide your further reading.


You should have your building periodically inspected for any potential damage, so that you can take action before the situation worsens. Continual maintenance is not only more economical, but it ensures your property's longevity as well as enhancing its real-estate value. Specialists recommend that you make a visual inspection of your building's exterior walls, upper façade and crowning elements, using binoculars, to properly assess their condition–paying particular attention to that of the masonry joints. Every autumn, you should inspect the roof close up, checking the condition of its surface, sweeping away dead leaves and other debris that may hinder water runoff, and verifying the seals in sheet-metal roof elements, which act as a fire-break. Remember to check the tightness of seals at doors, windows and floors, and fill any fissures with exterior caulking. Finally, any wood surfaces should get a new coat of paint every two years.

The following list of questions and answers is provided for your information. You can use it as an aid in inspecting your building and making a list of topics to discuss with professionals.

Doors and windows

What is the proper way to inspect doors and windows?
When should repairs be made?

What are the most important things to consider?

Upper façade and crowning elements

What should I do if a wood cornice on the façade of my building needs repairs?
What can I do to keep a mansard roof in good shape?
What do I do about a deteriorating parapet?


What should I do if cracks appear in the building foundation?
What should I do if I notice "stair-step" cracks on the front wall of my building?
What can be done to prevent water infiltration in the building's front wall?
What do I do if a window lintel is cracked?
What should be done about crumbling or empty mortar joints?
What about whitish deposits, blackened areas and other soiling on masonry walls?
What should I do if I notice part of the foundation is slumping or bulging?


What should I do if tar paper is showing through in spots?
What should be done about blistering on the roof?
What can be done to fix holes or rust on roof flashing?
What should I do if the jointing in sheet metal on the roof is substandard?

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Last updated: September 2008