Q: The foundation on my 1980s-era house is insulated on the exterior with sheets of foam board. Several inches of foundation are exposed above grade, where the foam is protected by aluminum flashing. The foam and flashing are unsightly. Would it risk termites or other problems to raise up the ground level with soil or river rock to cover up the foam? Are there better … [Read more...] about How To Protect Foam Insulation on Foundation?
Q: Our original concrete tile roof, a little east of San Diego, is around 30+ years old with a roof pitch of about 6 in 12. My guess is that the underlayment should probably be replaced before adding solar panels. The tiles are in great shape with no cracks anywhere. The only problem is on the south end of the house where the fascia had some termites, so I cut off about a … [Read more...] about Reuse or Replace Concrete Tiles When Reroofing ?
Q: Do heat pumps work in cold weather? I have a leaky farmhouse in Vermont with an old oil furnace. One contractor recommended adding a couple of mini-split heat pumps in the main living spaces and to use the oil furnace as a backup when it’s below zero. How much can I expect to save on my heating bills? — Gary M. A: Until recently, heat pumps were mainly used in mild … [Read more...] about Do Heat Pumps Work In Cold Climates?
Q: I have received proposals for re-roof of my house however each proposal calls for different underlayments with significant price differences. I live in Southeast Florida. I would appreciate guidance as to what makes the most sense. Thank you for your input; it is greatly appreciated! Proposal 1: - Install on Roof Deck Area: 2.1 One layer of 30# ASTM D-226 asphalt … [Read more...] about Peel-and-Stick vs. Hot Mop For Florida Roof Underlayment
Q: We built a custom home. Builder did not follow installation guidelines for siding, roof or paver driveway. We are withholding last payment which puts us in violation of OC. No ice shield, missing drip edge, wavy roof. The lists are long. Incorrect installation voids the manufacturer's warranty. We don’t want builder’s incompetent workers to “fix” issues. How do we move … [Read more...] about How To Fire A Contractor — The Right Way
Q: I am looking to purchase two properties -- both of which failed to perc back in 2005. I am not 100% sure if this was a perc test or a soil site evaluation, but after speaking with the county, they stated I could have it tested again to see if I could get different results. This new test would for sure be a soil site evaluation (hope that is the correct lingo). My … [Read more...] about Retesting A Site That Failed to Perc?
My new house, built on a concrete slab, is about 60% done, framing and drywall are in. My concern is I have several hairline cracks throughout the slab. I purposely had the slab made thicker (6 inches) with heavier rebar and a fiber- type additive to hopefully minimize this from happening. Is there anything I should do prior to having my flooring installed or something I … [Read more...] about Are Cracks in Concrete Slab Normal?
Q: I'm tearing the house down to bear studs inside and outside. I'm putting 1-inch rigid foam board on the outside. Do you suggest foil-faced or unfaced foam board? Where and how should I use moisture barriers in the construction of the interior walls? I live in zone 5, should I use rain screen? What do you think of cement lap board for siding? – Ron B. A: Foam … [Read more...] about How To Install Foam Sheathing: Thickness, Vapor Barrier & Housewrap?