Vicki writes: What are the most crucial parts of designing a beach house? Does the weather or any environmental changes have big impacts on beach houses? How can an architect design a house that will limit those impacts? What shapes or building styles are suitable for beaches? How long does it take to come up with a design? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com responds: The … [Read more...] about Durable Beach House Construction
Cindy writes: When is the best time to have a perc test done? I am supposed to have a perc done next week. There has been snow and unusually cold temperatures lately so I’m not sure this is a good time. I want to move forward with the test so I can submit my building plans to the county and get the permits, which can take several weeks. I really don't want to delay the perc … [Read more...] about Best Time of Year for Perc Test?
Faith writes: Where do I start to make my six-acre unimproved lot buildable? Though there is a house on the lot adjacent to my land, in addition to three to four homes in front of my property, the planning and zoning department in my county is saying that my land is not buildable. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: The place to start is by talking with the … [Read more...] about Building on an “Unbuildable” Lot
Missy writes: I am in the process of building a new home in Michigan and when the foundation was poured last fall there was water sitting in the basement throughout the whole process. Now three months later as they are finishing the house, the sump pump has continued to run. We have a mix of clay and sand soil on the property. We want to know if this is just a temporary problem … [Read more...] about Wet Basement Solutions for New Home
Whitney writes: I recently bought a home and found out that the entire lot is backfilled with cinder block, brick, tiles, asphalt, and metal, which is causing damage to the foundation. Also, a large section of land keeps washing away due to all the buried debris buried. What can I do? Steve Bliss, editor of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Sorry to hear about your problem. … [Read more...] about Foundation Damage from Buried Debris
Peter writes: I received a quote from a building company for a new customized, pre-fabricated home. The quote and specifications are quite complex. How can I tell if the price is reasonable and competitive with a site-built home? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: To find out if the bid is in the ballpark, you can compare it to similar new homes for sale in your … [Read more...] about Modular Housing Costs vs. Site-Built?
Denise writes: We built a home in rural Oklahoma in 1996. Since we moved in, white sediment and white scale in our well water have forced us to frequently change elements in our electric hot water heater. The water also leaves white stains and sediment build-up on my dark green whirlpool tub and tends to clog the jets. One year we bought an above-ground pool and took a sample … [Read more...] about Best Treatments for Hard Water
Steve writes: A friend recently moved into a property where a downspout leaked for years causing soil under the footings to be washed away on one corner of property. Their builder said they need to fill the void with concrete to provide support in that area. Is this a good approach and what would you call this remedy? Steve Bliss of BuildingAdivsor.com responds: This sounds … [Read more...] about Soil Washed Away Under Foundation