Q: I'm looking to buy a property that has an existing structure that hasn't been used in 12-plus years. It has well and septic but the status and placement of the septic system is unknown. My question is this: Should I ask for a percentage test or deep-hole test prior to closing? It's February here in the North East (upstate NY), so I'm not sure when this test could be … [Read more...] about How To Inspect A Septic System
Donna writes: My home and the house next door where built in 1963. In 1981 we added a 1,000 gallon tank and two more leach lines because the contractor did not make it big enough for our family when the house was built. The county came thru later and said after everything was done that it was not legal because we did not add a sand filter. We did not change anything, just … [Read more...] about Add Sand Filter To Existing Septic System?
David writes: My deck will be about 4 ft. high with steps leading down to the ground and will have quite a large storage area underneath. My problem will be how to keep this under-deck area as dry as possible. I will be using Trex Contour with joists at 16 in. spacing. Could I put silicone caulking between the boards so rain runs to the edges or put a waterproof fabric. such … [Read more...] about Under-Deck Drainage Systems
Peter asks: My builder just installed our septic system but I'm concerned he did it wrong. It appears that the drain field is at a higher elevation that the outlet of the tank. I don't understand how the tank can drain uphill. Am I missing something? Answer: Unless you have a mound system, or another pumped system with a dosing chamber and lift pump, you are correct that … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Septic Line?
AB writes: On a pretty large remodel job, the contractor has not abided by the contract terms he has written up. He insisted I was limited to a “discount” granite slab he had already purchased, and if I wanted to pick my own slab, there would be a $1300 extra charge. In the language of the contract, any item that is already installed cannot be rejected. So in effect he limited … [Read more...] about Resolving Disputes Over Specs, Change Orders & Cost Overuns
Q: Jonathan asks: We recently purchased a three-level townhome in Virginia, built about 15 years ago. The third floor, where the bedrooms are located, stays about 5º F colder than the main living area on the second level. There is only one heating zone with the thermostat on the second floor. A heating technician has balanced the ductwork but said he cannot get more heat to the … [Read more...] about Is Attic Air Sealing & Insulation Worth It?
David Asks: Are there industry standards for the horizontal alignment of cedar siding boards? We had a home remodel and new cedar siding had to be installed on some of the exterior walls. The horizontal siding aligns evenly at the bottom of two adjoining walls however part way up on one wall, they decreased the overlap of each board and now the horizontal siding on one wall is … [Read more...] about Wood Siding Installation – Best Practices
Sherry asks: We have some pretty dirty grout on a bathroom floor that we are unable to clean. We are trying to compare re-grouting with recoating the existing grout. We have read about easy-to-apply products that claim to seal and color existing grout. They sound a little too good to be true. Do you have any experience with these and have any recommendations? Steve Bliss, … [Read more...] about How to Recolor Old Grout?