Q: I've seen the Pylex powder-coated adjustable post base, which allows adjustment in elevation after install. This seems pretty convenient. However, are these 'approved' by most (or any) building codes? – Chief A: I like stand-off post bases that hold the bottom of the post about an inch above the concrete pier (see photo), protecting the post from sucking up water through … [Read more...] about Are Adjustable Post Bases OK for Decks?
Q: How sturdy are helical piers as a foundation for a backyard deck? Also, can I use a ground screws or other type of no-dig post anchor to support a newel post on my porch stairs? – FC A: Helical piers, when installed properly, can provide a sturdy, code-approved foundation for a raised backyard deck. This type of support, also known as helical “piles” has been widely … [Read more...] about Helical Piers for Decks
Q: How much should a perc test cost? I live in Pennsylvania and the septic company I hired is demanding $2,400 for a perc test. They say that the test itself (3 feet) will cost $650, a soil scientist will cost $500, excavator and operator is $750, and a drip system design is $1,400. Does this sound about right or am I being taken advantage of? Please help – Minji A: Perc … [Read more...] about How Much Should Perc Test Cost?
Q: We recently purchased at lot in a new development. While excavating for the foundation, our builder informed us: “We ran into a problem with the soil on the back of your lot. It requires over -digging the footers and installing gravel back up to the bottom of footer. Unfortunately, this was an unforeseen expense that isn’t covered per your contract. Obviously, there will … [Read more...] about Should We Pay Extra Charge for Soil Problem?
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