A Few Home Inspection Plumbing Basics

When a home inspector inspects a home, plumbing is one of the critical systems he examines for his report to you. Naturally, one of the first things he will do is to check faucets and fixtures, looking for leaks. According to the American Water Works Association, almost 15 percent of all the water used in a typical household is wasted through plumbing leaks, leaky faucets and wasted water.

Finding and fixing leaks will save money on water and energy bills. Furthermore, water damage to floors and the foundation is all too common and must be dealt with to prevent further problems.

Also, though it sounds silly and unnecessary at first, your home inspector will make sure cold water comes from the right side and hot water from the left when faucets are turned on. That’s the conventional standard. You wouldn’t want anyone to be surprised by getting scalded in the shower because they thought they were turning on the cold water.

Your inspector will check the type and condition of water pipes, which are usually made of copper, brass, or galvanized steel. Copper is the most desirable material, with brass next, and galvanized steel the least desirable.

Copper is best for water distribution piping. It lasts the longest and is usually trouble free. As for brass pipes, mineral content in the water affects their durability. White mineral deposits on brass pipes means there are pinhole leaks. This shows the pipes are deteriorating and may need replaced at some point in the future.

Galvanized steel pipes corrode on the inside which constricts water flow. It’s like trying to merge three lanes of highway traffic into two or even one. When these pipes are in poor condition, using more than one water fixture at a time causes problems. For example, if someone is taking a shower, avoid flushing the toilet, using the dishwasher or the washing machine because the shower will either become very hot or cold.

When you’re purchasing a home, your inspector should tell you what material the plumbing pipes are made of and what condition they’re in. Replacing water distribution piping is quite costly, should it be necessary.

Your inspector should also let you know about the water supply pipe that brings water into the home. Again, copper is the best material because, if the pipe is made of galvanized steel, it could have the same corrosion problem noted above. If this pipe is made from lead, excessive amounts of lead may be leaching into the water, which poses a health hazard. The best solution is to replace this pipe. However, this costs thousands of dollars.

If contaminants such as lead are coming into the home’s water supply, consider adding a water filtration system where water enters the building. Also consider adding a water treatment system in the kitchen where water is used for drinking and cooking.

The water heater is another important item your inspector will check. If it’s a gas water heater, it must be installed properly and allow for good ventilation. A metal flue pipe must let toxic gases flow up and out of the home through a chimney. Improper ventilation will result in accumulation of toxic and deadly carbon monoxide. If the flue pipe slopes downward it should be repaired and replaced. Heat from the water heater’s gas combustion must rise upward, as it is meant to do.

These are just some of the plumbing issues your home inspector’s report will address. A home’s plumbing is one of the most important areas in need of attention before a home is purchased or sold. Spotting and taking care of problems now will keep many problems in the future at bay.

Installing Manufactured Stone on a Home

Installing manufactured stone on the exterior of your home is the latest design rage. It can really add some major flair to an otherwise boring design. But at $18 to $20 per square foot for installation, it’s critical to get done right the first time. So what are the most important points to consider when installing manufactured stone on the exterior of a home?

Water Resistive Barrier

It’s extremely important to install a water resistive barrier between the stone and the face of the home. This barrier will keep moisture from getting into the wall cavity and destroying the structure. One of the simplest vapor barriers is a roofing felt. Typically, two layers of 15 lb. felt paper are used. Several other options are available on the building materials market so check with your architect or local building department for the best choice for your project and location.

Flashings

These are installed over any openings in the wall to prevent water from getting into the wall cavity. Flashing materials should be installed over all windows and doors. The top of these flashing should terminate up under the water resistive barrier and adhere to the face of the home.

Metal Lath

If you are installing manufactured stone over a framed wall, it will be necessary to use a metal lath over top of the vapor barrier. This lath is typically stapled to the front wall of the home and is made of a corrosion resistant material. Galvanized nails or staples should be used to secure the lath to the home.

Scratch Coat

After the metal lath is installed, a scratch coat of mortar, type N or S, is installed around and over top of the lath. The purpose of this surface is to provide a solid bond between the stone and the house. The scratch coat should be installed at a thickness of about one half inch. Once the mortar thumbprint hard, the surface should be scored to provide a surface to adhere the stone to.

Stone

Prior to installing stone, the scratch coat surface and the back of each stone should be moistened. Then, each stone is buttered with one half inch of mortar. The mortar should cover the entire back side of the stone. Then each stone is pressed into place on the wall. Ideally, installation will start at the top of the wall to prevent splatter of mortar droppings on the stone below.

Manufacturer Recommendations

It’s extremely important to read and follow all stone manufacturer recommendations. Each product has specific characteristics that require certain tweaks to the installation.

Installing manufactured stone can be a great way to enhance the look of your home. And with the proper installation techniques, it will stand the test of time.

Finish Your Dream Home With The Perfect Coat Of Paint

There are few things that are better in life than having the opportunity to build the home of your dreams. Unfortunately, with the excitement of becoming a homeowner, comes a lot of added stress. It is ultimately up to you to make all the major and minor decisions throughout the building process. Obviously, working with amazing contractors can help make this tedious process extremely easier.

One of the later steps in home building is choosing the paint colors for your home. Paint may seem like a minor choice, but can really change the atmosphere of your home. Also, you can choose to have one cohesive shade throughout your home or have a different color for every room in the house. There are minor details, like finding paint colors that coordinate with your flooring and overall home design that you will have to think through.

The best decision you can make when it comes to painting your home, is finding a contractor that will truly work with you to create the look you want. You want someone who will work quickly and has a great reputation. No matter the size of the home you are building, the process will be costly. It is important to find a painting contractor who can complete your paintwork for a price that fits your budget needs.

When building a home or business, you will have several different contractors working together throughout the building process. You want the company you hire to paint to have workers that are cooperative and on time. If it is their day to come in and work, it is crucial to the time frame of your home for them to arrive on time and work quickly. You will want someone who has completed multiple large-scale jobs in the past and is experienced working on homes during the construction process.

Another important question to ask a contracting company before hiring is about the types of products and techniques they use. You want to make sure that you are receiving only quality products. Also, you will want to make sure they offer the specific services and techniques you need to complete the look you desire. In places like California, where the environmental laws affect paint choices, you will want to ask if paints used meet these important standards.

The paintwork on your home may need to be done over a series of steps. First, the company you hire will come in and prime the surfaces that will be painted. This first step is usually best if done before any flooring, cabinet, trim work, etc. has been installed. Next, they will sand all walls and ceilings to cut any rough spots that may have been left during the building process.

After the priming and prepping work has been complete, a separate company will install all the doors and casings. If needed, most painting contractors will paint any doors and casings if needed. Finally, they will come in and actually paint the walls. It is ideal for at least two coats of paint to be added to the walls.

Primarily, it is ideal for your painters to come in at the end of your building process. If your schedules conflict, it is crucial that all other work is halted until any paintwork completed has time to dry fully. This will make sure that you are given the best work possible that will last you for years to come.

Another big aspect of building your own home is choosing the colors for the exterior of your home. You may want to ask the contractor you hired about doing outdoor paintwork as well. Many contractors will offer a variety of services, including things like concrete staining. This might be an extra way to give your home a pop that sets it apart and gives it the look you desire.

Micro Joint Ventures – The Best Way To Buy A Brand New Home

Micro Joint Ventures (or “Micro JVs”) are when a small group of like-minded buyers pool their resources to benefit from the “grouped” buying power. In the context of buying a brand new property, the group would partake in a small property development project. The aim would be for each micro joint venture partner to come out ahead. The project feasibility can be calculated from the start even before agreeing to proceed with the deal, and under the guidance of a property buyers advocate, the group’s risk could be reduced significantly.

Ideally, if you have family or friends willing to form a micro joint venture with you, then you could venture down this path of buying property wholesale with them. However, if you don’t have family or friends in a position to join you in this journey, there are now buyer-matching resources that could match you with other qualified buyers who are looking for something similar to what you want.

The key with micro joint ventures is that each member of the group needs to bring an equal amount of resources to the table and can complete the deal. That’s why before micro joint ventures start their property search, they should get finance qualified by a mortgage broker as a micro joint venture group to buy the land, and as individuals to construct after subdividing.

Being part of Micro Joint Ventures is similar to buying any other new property, except:

  • you get to be in an “infill” location that’s closer to amenities that you love without settling for an apartment
  • you get to customize your building design to suit your needs
  • you’d have access to potentially lucrative profits from property development by building from the ground up.

You’ll still have to qualify for finance as if you’re buying a new home. So, you will need a deposit and earn an income (or you could pay with cash). A mortgage broker needs to assess your situation and highlight your options before you can join any micro joint ventures.

  • There may be some excellent home loan rates if you can come up with 20% deposit (plus purchase costs).
  • However, there are also options needing only 10% deposit (plus purchase costs).
  • Furthermore, if you’re buying your own home, there may be specialist lenders such as “Keystart” in Australia, who offer deposit requirements of as low as 2%!

Speaking to an expert and accredited finance and mortgage broker will quickly reveal all your lending options very quickly.

Financial benefits of buying brand new:

  • First home buyers would still qualify for any government grants and/or duties concession for buying new;
  • Duties are only payable on the land, not on the building. This works out much less than duties on an established house;
  • Rents for brand new dwellings are generally higher than older houses;
  • Full depreciation benefits are available for investors, compared to reduced/removed benefits with established investment properties.

Coupling these financial benefits of buying a brand new home with the additional equity that’s manufactured from developing the right property – you’ll find yourself ahead of the pack by getting involved in a properly qualified, and well-orchestrated micro joint venture.

Choosing the Best Green Home Builder

Today many people are “going green”, which means that they are becoming environmentally friendly in how they live their lives and minimizing the harm done to the earth. When some people decide to build their home from the bottom up, they decide to have a green home builder build their home. This contractor would build their home with low environmental and energy efficiency in mind. To find a green home builder you should talk to the contractors in your area. Some that will travel to your area to build your home but their services will add more expense to the cost of your home.

To ensure that you will have the best green home builder ask them what type of building material they will use. You should also inquire about their disposal methods to make sure they are in compliant with sustainability practices. The materials that they should use are non-toxic when possible, and environmentally friendly. They should also be materials that come from renewable sources, or sustainable material. This can include materials from homes that have been knocked down. This material can include old doors, cabinets, some of the wood to accent the home such as using the material for ceiling beams, and more. They should try to avoid using plastics and choose their wood carefully. You should ask to see examples of the green projects they have completed. Their construction philosophy should focus on green building. It should not just focus on using green techniques as a secondary technique. Make sure that the contract you sign states that it will be constructed from sustainable and green material.

A home builder may tell you that they are using green building techniques but it could be easy for them to start using less environmentally friendly techniques and designs to save money on materials so they can put more money in their pockets. This is why you need to be sure that they are a reputable home builder and have good references as a green construction company. They need to be knowledgeable about green techniques and processes and committed to green construction and design. If you want your new green custom built home to be built using unconventional techniques make sure the home builder can demonstrate they understand the techniques you want and can do them correctly.

Before you choose a green home builder, you should educate yourself on what constitutes a green home and the process to build one. This will help you to determine a good green home builder and to know if they are cutting corners using non-environmentally friendly material. Having a green home can save you money on heating and cooling costs, and if sustainable material is used it can save these materials from being disposed of improperly.