Q: Several roofing contractors have provided quotes to repair or replace our 30-year-old concrete tile roof. Some are saying we should replace the roof and others are recommending repair. With replacing there are so many material options that it is extremely difficult to determine which way to go. How can I get advice independent advice on what to do? -- Anthony A: … [Read more...] about Should I Repair or Replace an Older Tile Roof?
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?
Q: 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 added. The … [Read more...] about Add Sand Filter To Existing Septic System?
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 or, in some cases, red balau. Meranti and balau are in the same family as lauan, also called … [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 Who Can I Hire To Evaluate Land?
Don asks: Our house measures just over the EPA limit for radon. Is this something we should be concerned about or are the risks overblown? How effective are radon mitigation systems and what do they cost? -- Doug M. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: While radon stories rarely appear in the news anymore, the health risk from exposure to high levels is real and … [Read more...] about Radon Risks and Best Way To Mitigate