Mark writes: I own a Cape-style house built in 1945 and worry about a leak developing in the iron water lines when I am not at home to shut off the water at the mains. Is there a reason not to use PEX or PVC rather than copper pipe? Is there any way to get an independent idea of what a plumber should charge to do this? I live in a small town and we seem to be largely at the … [Read more...] about PEX vs. Copper Plumbing
Bryn asks: On a cost-plus bid, what be an average to high-average markup to expect from a contractor with a strong reputation for doing good work? What is the highest percentage one might expect? Are there other factors in comparing bids? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: There is no industry standard for markup percentage and the numbers vary a lot depending on … [Read more...] about Cost-Plus: How Much Markup?
Egbert writes: I have paid an architect in full ($7,000) for plans to an addition that measures 18x30 ft. The plan was declined by the zoning board, which later approved a revised plan for a smaller addition of 18x20 ft. When I asked him for the CAD files, the architect refused to give them to me. Kindly advise whether I have the right to own the CAD files? Also, should I be … [Read more...] about Who Owns an Architect’s Plans & CAD Files?
Blair writes: I'm in a 30-year-old house built on a brick-ledge slab. The trouble is that the previous owner/builder used reverse board-and-batten siding to instead of brick. Over the years, rain hitting the ledge on the slab bounced up to rot the lower 2-4 inches of wood and likely the sole plate of the wall framing. My thought is to cut a foot or so above the rot around the … [Read more...] about Splashback Rots Vertical Siding
Alex asks: Our contractor wants us to take out the building permit for an addition under our name and says that is standard procedure. Does it matter whether the owner or contractor takes out the building permit? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: In general, you are better off having the contractor take out the permit. If you take out the permit in your (the … [Read more...] about Who Applies for Building Permit?