Karen asks: We are considering buying a property that's labeled as "gently rolling". Do we need a builder to look at it in order to tell us if a walk-out basement is possible? How much slope is required? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Assuming an 8 ft. foundation wall, and assuming your foundation projects one foot above grade at the front of the house, you … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Walk-Out?
Jill asks: What is the best roofing product to use on a carport and pergola? The carport roof covers both, which are part of the same structure. I am aware that there are plastic-coated steel sheets, polyester-coated, zinc, and polycarbonate sheets. It’s a minefield. There are lots of trees overhead, so everything goes green including the roof and patio. I was thinking of maybe … [Read more...] about Metal vs. Plastic Roofing for Carport
Jim writes: Do you need a perc test if there is sewer hookup at the road? Also, is there such a thing as a well test also? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: There is no need for a perc test if you are tying into a municipal sewer system. There will be a cost to tie in, however, so you might want to check with the town for an estimate of the hookup fees. You may … [Read more...] about Testing for Well & Septic
Stephanie asks: Who is the right person to answer questions from the Land Buying Checklist? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, replies: Most of the issues raised in the Land Buying Checklist are also discussed in Questions to Ask, which suggests where to get answers to questions about vacant land. Questions are broken down by the various types of professionals, … [Read more...] about Is This Lot Buildable?
Lee Writes: Please tell me what caused the buckling shingles in this photo. It appears to me to be the materials rather than structural. This roof was installed in April 2013 in northern Texas. The shingles are Tamko 20-year 3-tab. There is visible warping three years following the installation, as seen in the attached images. The roofer has recently inspected in the … [Read more...] about Buckling Asphalt Shingles
Oscar asks: What is the simplest way to identify different types of interior wall structures and whether it is safe to remove some of the studs? Also, what are the telltale signs that reveal different roof structures? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: As for figuring out wall and roof structures, it takes a bit of detective work and knowledge about residential … [Read more...] about How to Tell if Wall is Loadbearing
Andrew writes: I hired an architect who drafted plans for a loft in our townhouse. My contractor brought the plans to the city and was denied a building permit because the plans didn't fit the building code. Now the architect is re-doing the plans, and billing me for this cost and for the time required to meet with the building and planning department to sort out the … [Read more...] about Architect’s Plans Don’t Meet Code
Q: If a ceramic-tile floor is failing in our less than 10-year-old home, does the builder have an obligation to replace it if it was not installed properly? Are there minimum requirements that have to be met when installing a ceramic floor in new construction? — Sheila A: There are well-established industry standards for setting ceramic tile, published by the Tile Council of … [Read more...] about Warranties and New-Home Defects