How to Avoid Changes, Extras, and Surprise Charges on Your Next Job Q: We were hit with a $20,000 extra for changes in our new home after the framing was completed. We had a fixed-price contract. The changes including a revised stair layout (U-shape to to L), removing some windows, and moving a bathroom. The framing was completed, but no plumbing or electrical was done. Does … [Read more...] about Is Our Contractor Overcharging Us?
Q: We had a chamber septic system we had installed 15 years ago when we built our house. They hauled 19 truckloads of K4 sand, no gravel (see system design below). We’ve pumped it regularly and now we are selling. We had a septic inspection done only to be blindsided that the system is over-saturated and in need of replacement. We have come to believe that chamber … [Read more...] about Why Did Chamber Septic System Fail?
Q: My redwood house is 40 years old and was never stained. It is weathered gray. Can I stain it now and if so what prep work is needed and what stain should I use? – K.H. A: If the underlying wood is still solid, You can certainly stain old redwood siding as long as you do the necessary prep work. As with any paint job, the prep work is the most important … [Read more...] about How To Clean & Stain Weathered Redwood Siding
Q: There is a drilled well and septic in place on a plot of land I’m interested in, in upstate NY. It had served a home that had since burnt down. Is there a way to test the conditions of these without an existing structure? -- Jason A: Yes, both the existing well and septic can be tested. Well Testing A well driller can do the same type of yield test that is done on a new … [Read more...] about Testing An Existing Well & Septic System
Q: What are the best practices for a vented crawlspace? I bought a townhome last Nov. that has a vented crawlspace with a sump pump. There is a vapor barrier on the ground. There is a truss floor system that has faced batts that hang below the subfloor (the facing does not touch the subfloor), the rim joist was sealed with spray foam at the top and bottom and filled with … [Read more...] about Vented Vs. Unvented Crawlspaces
Q: We recently purchased a property that has an old detached garage on it. Water is leaking into the garage all around the perimeter at the bottom of the wall (first photo). The garage is slab-on-grade construction with a 12-in.-high concrete stem wall placed on top of the slab. The problem is that the slab extends 6 in. beyond the stem wall, forming a horizontal skirt around … [Read more...] about How To Stop Leak Onto Garage Floor?
Q: Hi. We are having a home built and there is a 4-ft.-high, 8 in. poured concrete wall for a crawl space foundation. When the forms were removed there was a serious crack in the wall (see pic). I'd like to better understand the cause of the cracking and any recommendations for repair before any further work progresses. Thank you , Mike A: Diagonal cracks in a foundation … [Read more...] about How Serious Is Diagonal Crack in Basement Wall?
Q: I have a damp spot in the corner of the bedroom. It is and outside wall corner. It is a bungalow so no bathroom over it. The damp spot seems to dry at times but there are tiny mold spots on it. Could it be that there is not enough circulation in the room? Window becomes full of condensation when blind is down in winter so thought that may be part of problem. Could it be … [Read more...] about Preventing Mold On Bedroom Walls & Ceilings