Q: One of my three identical, single-floor rental quadruplex units was destroyed in north Florida (tree/fire). They are very small (~500 sq-ft ea.), built in the 60’s of concrete block construction. I want to “rebuild” it, but don’t have the original design. I don’t need it to “match” the other two units. I suspect there are cost-effective, new designs available, but wouldn’t … [Read more...] about Where Do I Get Multifamily House Plans?
Q: We just bought a house with a 20-year-old septic system. It’s a basic gravity system with a leach field. We had the system inspected before buying and they told us that everything "looked good." The sellers did not keep records, but said they had the tank pumped “a few times”. How many years can we expect to get out this system before it needs to be repaired or replaced? … [Read more...] about Lifespan of a Septic System?
Q: We recently remodeled a kitchen and were required to upgrade the kitchen plumbing and electrical to current code. However, the inspector went further and required other upgrades to the plumbing drainage and venting, wanted a new electrical subpanel, and required smoke detectors in every bedroom (in addition to the one on each floor). The town also required a full septic … [Read more...] about In Remodel, What Must Come Up To Code?
Donna writes: My home and the house next door where built in 1963. In 1981 we added a 1,000 gallon tank and two more leach lines because the contractor did not make it big enough for our family when the house was built. The county came thru later and said after everything was done that it was not legal because we did not add a sand filter. We did not change anything, just … [Read more...] about Add Sand Filter To Existing Septic System?
Peter asks: My builder just installed our septic system but I'm concerned he did it wrong. It appears that the drain field is at a higher elevation that the outlet of the tank. I don't understand how the tank can drain uphill. Am I missing something? Answer: Unless you have a mound system, or another pumped system with a dosing chamber and lift pump, you are correct that … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Septic Line?
John asks: My local lumberyard stocks mahogany decking at a good price. How durable is this compared to other hardwoods? How would you recommend finishing? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Most wood decking sold in the U.S. as “mahogany” is actually dark red meranti. Meranti is in the same family as lauan, also called Philippine mahogany. Think of meranti … [Read more...] about How Durable is Mahogany Decking?
Stephanie asks: Who is the right person to answer questions from the Land Buying Checklist? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, replies: Most of the issues raised in the Land Buying Checklist are also discussed in Questions to Ask, which suggests where to get answers to questions about vacant land. Questions are broken down by the various types of professionals, … [Read more...] about Is This Lot Buildable?