Friday, December 30, 2016

Does Wood Rot Spread? Is It Contagious?

Wood rot is definitely contagious under certain conditions. But, once you understand that wood rot is a type of fungus—along with the mechanism that the fungus uses to spread and the conditions necessary for it to infect an area of wood—then your diligent maintenance will stop rot from appearing at new areas of wood.

 Here’s are our “Three Rules of Rot”:

  1. 1) Existing wood rot fungus colonies are constantly sending our spores into the air. These spores are floating around pretty much everywhere in the wind. It’s not necessary to have an area of wood rot nearby for spores to land on an exposed surface of wood. There are likely already plenty of wood rot spores on the surface of any wood exposed to outdoor, unfiltered air.
  1. 2) Moisture is necessary for the spores to begin growth. It can either be in the form of extremely high humidity that raises the moisture content of the wood over time (in a poorly ventilated crawl space under an elevated wood floor, for example), or lumber that has not been sufficiently kiln-dried at the factory to reduce the moisture content to under 20%, or water soaking into the wood surface.
  1. 3) Warm air temperature is also necessary for wood rot to flourish, although it possible for it to grow at temperatures down to nearly freezing.
  
While warm temperature is a component, the main trigger for wood rot to begin is moisture in the wood. The number one type of defect we see that causes rot at exterior wood siding and trim is any surface that allows rain water to puddle on the wood without draining or to seep into any openings between pieces of wood. This is called a “water trap” by builders, and a good craftsman works to make sure than any horizontal surfaces, such as window sills, have a slight slope to the outside so that no water puddling occurs, along with carefully caulking around windows and trim to seal out wind-blown rain out. Maintaining paint as a barrier on the surface of the wood is also important.

If you find areas of wood rot on the exterior of your home, be sure to repair the area in such a way to eliminate any future water traps. Also, rot at the bottom of plywood exterior siding is often due to splash-back of rain water off the ground from a roof overhang above. The worst location for splash-back areas of rot is where the roof drains onto a patio or driveway, and the best preventive measure is to install a gutter system over the area.

Another location where wood rot can develop is in the attic at leaking roof penetrations, such as in the photo at the top of the page of the roof sheathing below a leaky chimney flashing.  Landscape sprinklers that regularly spray on the wood trim of a house can also accelerate rot, like in the photo below.


A wood rot inspection begins with a visual scan of wood surfaces, looking for any discoloration, sunken areas, and locations of previous repairs. The SitePro inspectors uses a probing device, such as screwdriver or knife, to locate soft spots in the wood surface indicative of rot. Then an electronic moisture meter may be used as follow-up, to see if there if the wood is currently wet.
   An experienced inspector knows that there are certain locations that are more likely to have wood rot than others, and probes those places carefully even if there is no visible evidence of a problem. Here’s examples of nine areas that get special attention:

  1. 1)Wood fascia and soffit - especially at corners, as in the photo above. 
  1. 2)Window sills - The top face should slant downward away from the way of the home but, as the paint deteriorates, this is an early area to get spots of rot growth.


 3)Window and door trim - Water seeping into the joint between two pieces of trim has caused the damage below.


4)Bottoms of corner boards at siding - Although this is an example of advanced rot, if the bottom of the corner boards is not painted at time of construction and there is splash-back from rain falling on the ground close below it, most corner boards will develop a half-inch or so of rot at base within the first five years after construction.


5)Any wood around a chimney or other roof penetration - Any roof penetration  is a good candidate for wood rot in the sheathing around it if the flashing is not installed properly or maintained, but chimneys are especial prone to leak as the flashing ages.


6)Bottom of plywood siding near the ground - Caused by splash-back of rain from the roof overhang above the siding


7)Underside of wood flooring around toilets, bathtubs, and showers in an older home with elevated wood floors and a crawl space - Small plumbing leaks that go unnoticed can create big problems in the floor structure below.


8)Base of porch columns - Bottom of wood columns that are in contact with the porch floor will suck up the moisture of any standing water around it. In this case, a sprinkler head nearby was also spraying directly on the wood.


9)Wood decks - Because of direct exposure to the weather, a wood deck has a 15 to 20-year estimated useful life at best. But when the deck is built close to the ground, as in the photo below, the lack of ventilation between wood and ground allows high humidity from ground moisture to buildup underneath and  speed up the process.


 Most of these locations are called “water traps” in the construction industry, meaning that they allow water to settle on the surface or to seep into a joint.

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109 
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                          
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)                          

"Looking Beyond The Obvious"


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

How Cand I Make Sure My House Doesn't Fail The Home Inspection?

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY HOUSE DOESN'T FAIL THE HOME INSPECTION?


Home inspectors don’t make a home fail the inspection, but a homebuyer struggling through a long list of defects in the inspection report will do it. Although no home is perfect with zero issues to write up, the fewer things your inspector lists on the report the better. So we recommend preparing for the inspection by taking a few hours to find and take care of all the easy-to-fix minor problems.

You can also speed up the inspection by making sure everything is accessible for the inspector. The strategy is to shorten both the report and the inspector’s time at the house, which will make everybody happier. Here’s our “Top 10” list of suggestions:

1)Make sure the electric, water, and gas are turned on if the house is not occupied. Scheduling the local utility to turn them on at the day of the inspection is asking for trouble. Do it before.

2)Unlock any locked areas that the inspector needs to get into, and the space under the attic access hatch or ladder should be clear.

3)Clear the area in front of the electric panel, water heater, and HVAC system. The inspector will need to remove the covers of the electric panel and furnace/air handler, so provide sufficient space.

4)Take your pets out of the home during the inspection, or secure them out of the way. They will be a distraction under foot for the buyer and home inspector.

5)Replace any burned-out light bulbs and make sure that hand-held remotes for ceiling fans or wall air conditioner are easy to find. Inspectors don’t do trouble shooting on fixtures that don’t work. They just write them up and move on.

6)Test the smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors, and replace any dead batteries or non-functional units.

7)Check the air filters on your HVAC system, and replace or clean them if necessary. When there are air filters are at multiple return air registers, be sure to locate all of them.

8)Trim tree branches and bushes away from the walls and roof of the house.

9)Remove any stored items, and especially wood, from around the base of the home. These items can act as a “termite highway” to aid and conceal running their mud tubes into the home.

10) Repair or replace any broken or damaged minor components in the home, like doorknobs, latches, window panes, screens, gutters and downspouts, switch and receptacle cover plates.

Homebuyers can be fickle and sometimes cancel their sales contract for reasons that are beyond your control. But each item you fix is one less on the inspection summary, and one less reason for them to be anxious about their purchase. Just don’t worry about dust or whether the beds are made. Inspectors do not evaluate housekeeping.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!


Wishing you the joy of family, the gift of friends, and the best of everything in 2017!

Happy Holidays from SitePro Home Inspections!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Kitchen Design Tips: Choosing Faucets, Sinks, Appliances & Light Fixtures


In this episode, Reiko picks a sleek apron-front stainless steel sink, and chooses to have the faucet installed without its base plate or soap dispenser for aesthetic reasons. Industrial-chic pendant lights add brightness and personality. Get tips on the right height to hang a light fixture in the kitchen and how much distance is needed between a gas range and the range hood. Plus, see how a counter-depth French door refrigerator fits seamlessly into the design.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holiday Stains: Getting out Wax | Consumer Reports


Candles are beautiful, but wax on your antique napkins is not. Consumer Reports shows you how to remove wax safely from any surface.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pretty All-Red Christmas Living Room


Embrace the monochromatic trend this holiday season with our all-red Christmas décor ideas.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kitchen Design Tips: Choosing Your Countertop & Backsplash Materials


H&H’s Reiko Caron and contractor Dave Depencier create a dream open-concept kitchen. In this episode, Reiko picks the countertop material and backsplash tile, and reveals a stylish and colourful kitchen island.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Tree Fires Can Turn Devastating and Deadly Within Seconds


A live Christmas tree burn conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows just how quickly a dried out Christmas tree fire burns, with flashover occurring in less than one minute, as compared to a well-watered tree, which burns at a much slower rate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Stains: Getting out Red Wine | Consumer Reports


Don't let a guest's spill ruin your tablecloth. Consumer Reports' red wine stain recipe can help you remove a red wine stain.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Closing Inspections by SitePro


Prior to closing on a property the home buyer or a representative for the home buyer should conduct a pre-closing inspection.

This is when to take the prior home inspection list and make sure all of the items have either been addressed or fixed. SitePro will do this for a nominal fee at the Buyer’s Request.

Here is a general checklist:

Closing Inspection Services in Florida

GENERAL ELECTRICAL

Are the items agreed to be left by the seller present?
Do the lights come on at each switch?
Is there visible damage with the owner’s furniture now gone that you couldn’t see before?
Are all of the light fixtures and ceiling fans present and working?
Are the smoke detectors functional?
Do the breakers work correctly?

EXTERIOR AND STRUCTURE

Check cracks, or separations?
Have the repairs and painting been finished?
Are wooden decks and hand rails secure?
Have you walked around the property?

KITCHEN

Are the appliance accessories present?
Do the appliances still operate satisfactorily?
Are the instructions/warranties left for the appliances?
Do the cabinets, countertops, or floors appear damaged?

CRAWL SPACE, AIR DUCTS

Are the lowest portions dry?
Are crawl space vents open for good ventilation?
Do you see any wet spots?

HEATING AND COOLING*

Do the systems function when you operate the thermostat?
Are the air filters clean?
Any extra filters left?
Is there debris clogging the exterior air units?

LOT AND GROUNDS

Any changes to the driveway, patio, or sidewalks?
Are the fences tight, and do the gates operate?
Reset the automatic sprinkler to minimum setting.

GARAGE

Do the vehicle doors work smoothly and reverse?
Do you have the car door remote controls?
Do you see any damage with the personal items gone?

INTERIOR WALLS, CEILINGS, AND FLOORS

Are the carpets stained in closets near the shower areas?
Are there holes or damage from the move-out?
Are there broken or “fogged” windows or doors?

SURFACE WATER CONTROL

Has the re-grading (if any), been accomplished?
Are the gutters aligned and cleaned of debris?
Do the downspouts direct water positively away?

PLUMBING

Do the faucets and drains function satisfactorily?
Is there hot water at each appropriate location?
Do the toilets flush and cycle normally?
Check beneath each cabinet for leaks or moisture.

ROOF

Are there missing shingles since the last visit?
Have the roof repairs (if any), been performed?
Is the attic ventilation open and working if power?
Are the bushes and trees trimmed back and not touching?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

How to Diagnose and Repair Three-Way Switch Problems


Ask This Old House master electrician Scott Caron looks at a three-way switch issue and fixes the problem.

Tools:
Pliers
Screwdriver

Shopping List:
None

Steps:
1. Scott first gives an explanation of the three-way switch- two switches that control one light fixture.
2. There are many ways that a three-way switch can be wired, but usually power or the light fixture connect to the load side of the switch and traveler wires run between traveler screws on both switches.
3. In this case, the traveler wire and load wire were swapped and repairing the circuit involved switching them back.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!


"Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot.
Hausa Proverb 

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2016

DIH Holiday Palett Decoration


Show off your beautiful holiday ornaments with this DIY pallet decoration. With some wood boards and a few hardware tools from The Home Depot, you can create this seasonal pallet board in under an hour. Follow these four easy steps to learn how to build and personalize one yourself!

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to Replace a Kitchen Sink Strainer


Ask This Old House plumbing expert Richard Trethewey finds a rusty sink strainer in the kitchen and shows a homeowner how to replace it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Nail Guns 101 | DIY Basics


Are you starting to feel a little too 'caveman' using that handheld hammer all the time? Consider the modern marvel that is the nail gun.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to Patch Small Holes in Walls


Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva teaches a homeowner to patch small holes in her wall.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

SitePro Home Inspections - What We Do


SitePro produces easy to read, nationally recognized reports.

Our typical home inspection includes these components and systems:
  • Exterior/Site: Grading, driveways, sidewalks, front porch, patio, gates, fences/walls, decks and stairs.
  • Structure: Exterior walls, trim, foundation, basement, crawl space, exterior doors and chimneys.
  • Roof: Roof covering, flashings, attic and insulation.
  • Electrical: Entrance wires, main electrical panels and branch wiring.
  • Plumbing: Piping, valves, water heater and sprinkler/irrigation system.
  • Heating/Cooling/Air Distribution System: Heating system, cooling system, air handler and evaporative cooler.
  • Interior: Walls, floors, ceiling, doors, windows and screens.
  • Bathrooms: Counter tops, cabinets, sinks and built-in appliances.
  • Kitchen: Counter tops, cabinets, sinks and built-in appliances.
  • Miscellaneous: Vehicle parking area, overhead garage door, garage-to-house door, laundry room, interior stairs and fireplaces.

Our inspection reports are informative and easy-to-use. Each section is categorized along with a detailed summary that makes it convenient and easy to reference repairs quickly. All reports are posted on our website, produced at time of inspection, or faxed to you within 24 hours of the inspection followed by a mailed detailed report and useful maintenance tips and information.

Our detailed, computerized inspection reports include:
  • A Summary Section listing defective and marginal items as well as helpful recommendations for repair or replacement
  • A Helpful Home Maintenance Guide
  • Pre-Closing Inspection checklist for checking on repairs before Closing
  • Useful Tip Guide for Maintaining Your Home
  • Free digital copies of photographs taken during the inspection

Choosing the right home inspector can difficult. Unlike most professionals, you probably will not get to meet me until after you hire me. Furthermore, different inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods, and yes, different pricing. One thing for sure is that a home inspection requires work, a lot of work. Ultimately a through inspection depends heavily on the individual inspector’s own effort. If you honor me by permitting me to inspect your home, I guarantee that I will give you my very best effort.

This is my promise to you.

Permit Searches: Have there been any renovations, additions, or improvements made on the home you are buying? Was the home “flipped”? Are you concerned about the quality and professionalism of the repairs? In many instances we can perform a permit search for you to uncover if required permits were obtained, code inspections performed, was the work passed, and who did the work.

Roof Condition Certification: Inspection of roof covering, flashing and structure to clarify remaining life and condition in regards to leaks or damage.

Condominium Inspections: The structure is owned by the homeowners association, therefore a through review of your condominium documents is recommended for recent roof replacement/ repairs/maintenance.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

How Do I Identify a Load-Bearing Wall? | DIY Basics


Moving around walls can dramatically enhance your home, but it's serious business. Here's a few rule-of-thumb tips to help you start planning, but you're gonna want some professional input on this one. Trust us.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

5 Front Yard Landscaping Secrets


Your front yard landscaping is one of your home's focal points. Follow these five tips to maximize your curb appeal.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Unusual Front Door Colors That Work


When it comes to front door color, fortune favors the bold. These nine unexpected shades will add a dose of happy color to any home

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Home / Builder’s Warranty Inspections by SitePro


The Panhandle area continues to grow. As a result, home builders continue to scramble for more and more land and seem to be building homes at a record pace. Owning a home is the American Ideal, but building a home is the Dream of a Lifetime. Unfortunately, for some new homeowners it can become a nightmare.

As a result of extraordinary growth in the Panhandle over the last few decades, builders have grown to rely upon subcontractors who are continually looking for qualified labor. Most of these subcontractors are exceptional and well trained. However, with the record pace of building, it is possible to have workers who are tired, overworked or not as qualified as they should be. As a result, some new homeowners have found that these subcontractors have maybe forgotten to insulate portions of attics, have not installed electrical or plumbing components correctly, or have failed to finish their work such as not installing all the roof tiles needed for a roof. If they do not document these items or catch them before the end of their warranty, the homeowner, not the builder, is responsible for repairing these items down the road when they sell their home and the buyers have an inspection performed.. As a result, these homeowners are faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in costs that could have been avoided with a comprehensive inspection.

By working with SitePro, you can provide your builder with a thorough, detailed written summary of defects that need to be corrected while your home is still under warranty. It’s a good idea to have an independent authority conduct your home inspection. That way you have the peace of mind knowing you have a complete and accurate account of your home’s condition.

There are many local inspection companies who perform these types of inspections, but only a few are as thorough, experienced, or professional as a SitePro inspector. Understanding that a new home can be overwhelming and sometimes fearful, our inspectors take extra time to ask you what issues you are concerned about. We encourage you to be present during the inspection and in some cases follow us so you can see what we see. Whether you follow us or not, we take time at the end of the inspection to walk through the home identifying issues. Additionally, inspectors from SitePro take extra time to point out maintenance issues. Our inspections not only cover the basic items in a normal inspection, we spend extra time looking at systems and structural components to ensure potential issues caused by substandard workmanship are identified and corrected before they become an issue. SitePro inspectors are not only highly qualified in construction trades, building and zoning and real estate, we have an acute understanding of the process as well as typical mistakes that are made over and over by some subcontractors.

Why not REQUEST AN INSPECTION today and have the PEACE OF MIND you always wanted for a fraction of replacing/repairing/installing items in the future?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to Transform Your Landscape Using Existing Plants


Ask This Old House landscape designer Jenn Nawada uses a homeowner’s existing plants and a few additions to transform the look of a house’s foundation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What's Molding Used For? | DIY Basics


It solves a variety of problems and adds style and character to your home on a modest budget. Meet molding, your new best friend. Let's get acquainted.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

How Do I Clean My Vents? | DIY Basics


Dryer vents, a/c vents, range vents.....there are lots of vents in your home. Here's how to keep them clean.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Understanding Solar Power


Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey explains the complexities of today’s solar-power systems. (See below for steps.)

Steps for Understanding Solar Power:
1. Solar thermal panels are used to create domestic hot water. The panels are filled with antifreeze or evacuated tubes.
2. A typical thermal-panel system can produce 65 to 70 percent of a home’s hot water needs.
3. A photovoltaic (PV) system transforms the sun’s energy into direct current (DC) electricity. 
4. An inverter mounted inside the house converts the DC power to standard alternating current (AC), which is then used to power lights, appliances, and other electrical devices.
5. If the PV system produces more electricity than you can use, the excess gets sent back to the power company and you receive a credit on your electric bill.
6. Solar companies are now offering power purchase agreements to homeowners, which include a free solar system in exchange for government rebates.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Seasonal Door Hanger


Two holidays, one decoration. Add some fun décor to your entryway with this DIY seasonal character door hanger. You can build it in under half an hour with around $25 of materials at The Home Depot. Follow these six easy steps to learn how to build and personalize your own characters!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Buyer's Home Inspections by SitePro - Inspections With Your Interests In Mind


After saving and dreaming for months and years, you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It has just the right décor, space, bedrooms and amenities you and your family need right now. You’ve checked out the schools. You’ve checked out the neighborhood. You‘ve even timed the drive to and from work.

BUT, have you taken seriously the importance of having a BUYER’S HOME INSPECTION done on your home? One where YOUR interests are in mind? Probably not.

Perhaps your neighbor has mentioned a home inspector or your REALTOR has referred their favorite home inspector? Can you be assured that this home inspector will take the time not only to perform a thorough and detailed inspection, but walk through the entire home explaining defects mentioned in the report as well as maintenance items? Will this inspector explain how systems work in a fun and educational manner so you know and feel comfortable with your home? After all, this is YOUR home and you want to know as much as you can about it!

Finally, when you are nearing the end of the inspection, will the inspector be scrambling to get you a report onsite or will he review his notes and prepare one of the most easily understood and professional reports in the industry within 12-24 hours? After all, it is your home.

Do you want a rushed inspection and report with possible errors or one that has YOUR best interests in mind? SitePro always has your interests in mind! After all, the largest part of our business is from happy past clients who have gone through the home buying process just like you.

So buy that home and schedule your inspection today knowing you have a trusted inspection company with your interests in mind!

Call 850-934-6800 To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How to Patch a Hole in Wood Trim


This Old House general contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner patch a large hole in painted baseboard molding. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

Shopping List for How to Patch a Hole in Wood Trim: 
- ½-inch-thick poplar, cut to size to serve as a patch
- Two 1x2s and two 1x4 spacer blocks, used to make a routing jig
- Instant-bond glue (cyanoacrylate) and aerosol accelerator, for gluing together the jig
- 120-grit abrasive disks, for random-orbit sander
- 2-inch (6d) finishing nails, to secure jig to wood trim
- Carpenter’s glue, for adhering the new wood patch 
- Cloth, to wipe away excess glue and sanding dust

Tools for How to Patch a Hole in Wood Trim:
- Canvas drop cloth, to protect floor
- Table saw and miter saw, for cutting wood parts to size
- Random-orbit sander, to sand jig and patch
- Hammer
- Trim router and ½-inch-diameter pattern-cutting bit, for cutting the hole for the patch
- Wet/dry vac, to collect routing dust
- ¾-inch wood chisel, for squaring up the corners of the routed recess

Steps for How to Patch a Hole in Wood Trim:
1. Cover the floor near the repair with a canvas drop cloth. 
2. Cut a ½-inch-thick poplar patch slightly larger than the hole in the wood trim.
3. Next, make a routing jig out of two 1x2s and two 1x4 blocks. Be sure the poplar wood patch fits into the rectangular hole in the middle of the jig.
4. Assemble the jig with instant-bond glue. Apply a bead of glue to one surface, then spray the mating surface with an aerosol accelerator. 
5. Press and hold the parts together for several seconds until the glue cures.
6. Remove the patch from the center of the jig, then use a random-orbit sander fitted with 120-grit abrasive to sand smooth the front and back of the jig.
7. Hold the jig against the wood trim with its rectangular opening centered over the hole in the trim. Secure the jig with 2-inch finishing nails; leave the nailheads protruding. 
8. Install a ½-inch-diameter-by-1-inch-long pattern-cutting bit into a trim router. Adjust the depth of cut to equal the thickness of the jig plus the thickness of the poplar patch.
9. Turn on the router, then hold it flat against the jig with the bit protruding into the opening. 
10. Slowly move the router in a clockwise direction around the jig. Be sure to keep the bit’s ball-bearing pilot pressed tightly against the inside edge of the jig’s rectangular opening.
11. As you’re routing, have a helper collect the dust with a wet/dry vac.
12. Square up the rounded corners of the routed recess with a hammer and a ¾-inch-wide wood chisel.
13. Use the hammer to yank out the nails holding the jig in place.
14. Apply carpenter’s glue to the routed recess, then press the poplar patch into place. 
15. Very gently tap the wood patch with a hammer until it’s fully seated.
16. Wipe away the excess glue with a damp cloth. 
17. Allow the glue to cure for about 2 hours, then sand the patch flush with the random-orbit sander.
18. Force carpenter’s glue into any gaps you see around the perimeter of the poplar patch. 
19. Wait for the glue to harden, then sand the patch one final time. 
20. Wipe off the sanding dust with a damp cloth, then prime and paint the patch to match the wood trim.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Hottest Paint Colors for Fall


Color expert, Sharon Grech shares her top four picks for the hottest fall paint colors to use in your home this season.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Inspecting Fiber Cement Siding



When people hear this term they immediately associate it with Asbestos cement shingles. Many homes were sided with them years ago. Concrete or cement fiber shingles are still available; however Asbestos is no longer used. New cement fiber siding consist of Portland cement, sand, and cellulose (wood) fibers. There has been a wave of new cement fiber siding products over the last several years. Whether you liked older Asbestos cement shingles or not, there is no denying that they are very hardy (although brittle). I inform my clients that older cement fiber shingles are durable, and can easily be painted. They wear very well and will last a long time with very little maintenance. Because the Asbestos fibers are contained in the shingle, they do not pose a significant risk, unless they are drilled, cut or sanded.

We are now seeing issues and even lawsuits regarding new fiber cement siding. You can see in these pictures some issues associated with cement siding:




The pictures at the top of this article will give you an understanding of how cement siding should be installed. So what are some of the things a home inspector should be looking for and how should you properly advise your client when inspecting cement fiber siding.

· Cement fiber siding should not be installed wet or if it has been saturated. Doing so will cause it to shrink after being nailed in place causing gaps
· A properly installed weather resistive barrier must be installed under siding
· Cement fiber siding should be kept a minimum of 6 inches above grade
· Cement fiber should not be used for fascia or trim pieces
· Joint flashing should be used behind the siding at joints and seams
· It should be nailed between ¾” and 1” below top edge of siding
· The maximum distance lap siding should be installed over studs is 24” OC or directly to a minimum 7/16” thick wood substrate
· Trim should not be installed over the siding. Instead there should be an appropriate gap and caulk should be used
· There should be a 1 ¼” starter strip installed
· Appropriate corrosion resistant, galvanized, or stainless steel nails and fasteners should be used
· Aluminum fasteners, staples, or clipped head nails should not be used
· Fasteners should be perpendicular and snug to the siding, no air gaps and not countersunk
· Cement fiber siding will warp due to improper nailing
· Flaking of the surface can be due to water exposure or manufacture issues
· Cement fiber siding will also crack if struck
· Flashing should be installed as necessary, similar to any siding material especially top cap flashing

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How to Repair a Squealing Shower


Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner silence a shrieking shower. (See below for shopping list, tools, and steps.)

Shopping List for How to Repair a Squealing Shower:
- Mixing-valve cartridge with new seats and springs

Tools List for How to Repair a Squealing Shower:
- Pocketknife, to pry off index from shower valve
- Screwdriver
- Hex-key wrench, for adjusting the valve's safety limit

Steps for How to Repair a Squealing Shower:
1. Turn off the water to the shower at the water main or well pump.
2. Pry off the index from the shower handle with a pocketknife or narrow-blade screwdriver.
3. Unscrew and remove the handle from the shower valve.
4. Use pliers to loosen the retaining nut that secures the mixing-valve cartridge.
5. Pull the cartridge straight out of the valve.
6. Remove the old rubber seats and metal springs from the valve.
7. Install new rubber seats and springs using a Phillips-head screwdriver to guide them into the openings in the valve.
8. Press a new mixing-valve cartridge into the valve, then thread on the retaining nut and tighten with pliers.
9. Push the old handle onto the new cartridge.
10. Turn on the water and test the shower.
11. Remove the handle and use a hex-key wrench to adjust the safety limit on the valve to prevent scalding.
12. If the squealing sound returns, clean or replace the showerhead or tub spout with diverter.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Rent vs Buy | A Side by Side Comparison


For our comparison we’ll look in the Midwest using average costs to give you a rough idea of what renting or buying might cost you. Also, we’re going with the plan to stay in the area for at least 5 years. That gives us a time frame to work in and compare costs.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wood Look Flooring


Want a beautiful, durable floor that looks like wood? Try laminate, engineered wood, vinyl, bamboo — even tile. They’re all available in a wide array of wood looks. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to Select and Use a Drill/Driver


Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains the proper use of a drill/driver. (See below for tools and steps.)

Tools for How to Select and Use a Drill/Driver:
- Impact driver
- Drill/driver

Steps for How to Select and Use a Drill/Driver:
1. To lock the drill bit into place on a drill/driver, place it into the keyless chuck and slowly press the trigger, then twist the chuck to lock it into place.
2. To make sure you’re on the drilling setting, there should be a twistable feature on the top of the drill/driver with a picture of a drill bit. For driving, there’s a picture of a screw. And some drill/drivers also have a picture of a hammer, for use as a hammer drill into masonry.
3. Drill/drivers come with a clutch setting. The numbers are next to the chuck and can be adjusted to suit the project. For fine work, keep the clutch setting low. For more power, the clutch setting can be higher. 
4. There’s a setting for torque on the very top of the drill/driver. One setting can be used for speed; the other can be used for power.
5. The trigger on the drill/driver can also vary the speed.
6. Next to the trigger is a back-and-forth button that sets the drill for forward and reverse.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why a Maintenance Home Inspection?


Why a Maintenance Home Inspection? Can you really afford to have a home that is unsafe for you and your family? For a fraction of the cost of what you purchased your home, you can have your home checked out and repaired before damaged or unsafe conditions worsen. Why risk it?

Our experienced, fully trained and licensed inspectors not only know what issues to look for but can advise you on important maintenance and care items that will help you maintain your home for years to come. Moreover, this will give you a complete “honey-do” list without all the guessing and uncertainty that goes into most home improvement projects. For more information, please view our What We Inspect page.

Reasons to have a Maintenance Home Inspection:

  • Find those small problems before they become big problems.
  • Have a detailed and comprehensive report detailing the current condition of your home.
  • Save money! By doing minor repairs now it will save you from the big repair in the future.
  • No surprises when you sell. When you do sell your home in the future there won’t be any unexpected surprises.
  • You may be unable or unwilling to examine areas of your home on your own.

Call 850-934-6800 To Schedule Your Inspection Today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Housing Prices Continue to Rise | Selling the Dream


This week in real estate and housing news … your National Association of Realtors reports a trend in the current marketplace: Metro home prices continued to rise in the second quarter of 2016. Why is this significant? Well … those metro markets are the areas where all of the doom and gloom has been reported for the last few years. The metro markets are where national news outlets look to forecast the rest of the country.

Now … we always say those coastal and big-city markets don’t tell the whole story when it comes to housing. And that still holds true. But think about it: as those markets improve – and housing prices are certainly one indicator of that – then the media reports positive news, driving positive sentiment among hopeful home buyers. It’s a good place to start.

*# So which markets have improved by the largest margin? Boulder, Colorado is one hot market, where home prices rose by 18-percent. Tampa, Florida is another growing market with a 14-percent jump. The 12-to-13 percent range includes Orlando, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun attributes the growth to steadily improving job markets and the continuation of record-low-mortgage rates. He did caution though, that low home building activity is failing to keep up with demand, pushing those home prices higher at a rate above income growth. So we’ll keep an eye on that trend to see if it’s an issue.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to Seal Leaky Ductwork


Richard Trethewey shows an innovative new way to seal ducts from the inside. (See below for steps.)

Steps for How to Seal Leaky Ductwork:
1. Remove the grilles from all of the supply and return registers.
2. Plug each duct register with foam rubber and wide strips of tape.
3. Pressurize the duct system with a blower fan.
4. Use a computer to analyze the data to determine the amount of air leaking from the ducts.
5. Use the blower fan to mist the inside of all the dust with liquid-rubber sealant.
6. The sealant will find and plug all air-leaking holes, cracks, and seams.
7. After applying the sealant, run another pressurized blower test to verify the improved results.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Don't Wait to Find Out the Condition of Your Commercial Building - Get an Inspection from SitePro!



Commercial Inspections

Whether you own, lease, or are purchasing a building, don’t wait to find out the condition of the building and its systems. It is a pretty good hunch that this property was a major investment and the last thing you want are more costs. After all, no one likes surprises. That’s why an inspection is intended to tell you the condition of the building and property–and, reduce your risk.

A SitePro inspection is an objective review of your building and property. Knowing the condition of a building will allow you to budget more accurately and provide for expenditures in the future — whether it’s a new roof, HVAC or simply maintenance related items. Not knowing this information, or worse yet guessing, can have major consequences.

  • What condition are the building’s systems and components in?
  • What costly defects are there which require attention now?
  • What expenditures will be required to repair, maintain or replace items in the near future?

If you can’t answer these questions about the property you’re planning to buy or lease, you probably should consider an inspection before buying the property.

Buying a building and property is a very anxious time filled with doubts, deadlines and so on. Reducing or removing uncertainties can make your real estate transaction go smoother. The same holds true when you lease, by knowing the condition of the building and property from the outset. Estimating future repair costs and the replacement of building components and systems requires an inspection to determine their current condition. With this information estimated life spans can be ascertained along with the related costs to repair, maintain or replace items.

What Type of Commercial Properties are Typically Inspected?

We inspect commercial buildings of all shapes and sizes. For example:

  • Shopping Centers & Strip Malls
  • Office Buildings, Apartments & Condominiums
  • Light Industrial Properties
  • Religious & Institutional Properties
  • Recreational Facilities & Sports Complexes

What Does SitePro Look For?

Our building inspections are tailored to meet our clients’ needs and include items such as:

  • Foundation — construction, walls, floors
  • Roof — covering, flashing, chimneys, drainage
  • Attic — ventilation, vapor barriers
  • Insulation — type, amount
  • Interior Spaces — Walls, Floors, Rooms, Offices, Kitchens, Washrooms
  • Exterior — Site, Walls, Windows & Doors
  • Electrical & Plumbing Systems
  • Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning

Other services we can provide include:

Safety concerns for fire & other hazards

We do not inspect commercial equipment such as refrigeration units, coolers, commercial grade ovens, stoves or pizza ovens.

Why a SitePro Report?

We provide a comprehensive narrative-style written report. Our reports….

  • Are Not A Checklist
  • Are Easy To Read
  • Are Not Overly Technical
  • Tell You The Condition Of Your Property In Every Day Language


Call 850-934-6800 To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

How to Repair a Three-Way Light Switch



Ask This Old House host Kevin O'Connor helps a homeowner fix a faulty three-way switch. (See steps below.)

Steps for How to Repair a Three-Way Light Switch:
1. Turn off the electricity to the three-way light circuit at the main electrical panel.
2. Remove the cover plates from both three-way switches, then unscrew the switches from the electrical boxes.
3. Use a battery-powered continuity tester to determine which two wires in each box are the traveler wires.
4. Reinstall both three-way switches, making sure to connect the identified traveler wires to the appropriate traveler terminals on each switch.
5. Next, attach the common wire and ground wire to each switch.
6. Screw each switch back into the electrical boxes and reinstall the cover plates.
7. Turn the electricity back on and test the switches to ensure that each one can turn on and turn off the light.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Wiki Definition of a Home Inspection – SitePro Home Inspections


A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training and certifications to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components.[1]

A home inspector is sometimes confused with a real estate appraiser. A home inspector determines the condition of a structure, whereas an appraiser determines the value of a property. In the United States, although not all states or municipalities regulate home inspectors, there are various professional associations for home inspectors that provide education, training, and networking opportunities. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of a house. It is not an inspection to verify compliance with appropriate codes; building inspection is a term often used for building code compliance inspections in the United States. A similar but more complicated inspection of commercial buildings is a property condition assessment. Home inspections identify problems but building diagnostics identifies solutions to the found problems and their predicted outcomes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

6 Budget-Friendly Backyard Decorating Ideas



Reiko Caron shares six cost-effective ways to convert a small, dark backyard into a functional space.

Inspired by a recent trip to Portugal, the homeowner mimicked the look of her hotel’s landscape to create a unique, modern and design-forward outdoor space of her own. Get inspired by the six standout features — including a clever vertical herb garden idea — that elevate this stunning backyard. They prove that with a little elbow grease and a few savvy choices, you can elevate your backyard to stylish new heights.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How to Hand-Prune Trees



Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows the proper way to prune a branch without damaging the tree. (See below for a tools list and steps.)

Tools List for How to Hand-Prune Trees:
- Pruning saw

Steps for How to Hand-Prune Trees:
1. Trim tree branches with a sharp pruning saw using the three-cut method.
2. First, make an undercut into the bottom of the branch. Start cutting about 12 inches away from the tree trunk, and saw one-third of the way into the branch.
3. Then saw into the top of the branch about 2 inches farther out and beyond the undercut.
4. Continue cutting until the branch breaks free and drops to the ground.
5. Now make the third and final cut to trim away the remaining branch. However, be careful not to saw into the branch collar.
6. Carry away the severed pieces of the branch.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Homebuyers of Newly Constructed Homes May Not be Aware They May Have an Inspection Clause Included with Their New Home Contract


The truth is, a new homebuyer can greatly benefit from using a professional home inspector during the construction and completion of their new home.New Home Inspection Services in Florida

The majority of construction tasks (foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are usually subcontracted out to the lowest bidder, with speed, not quality being an important consideration for the builder. With many separate activities going on at the same time, it’s nearly impossible for the contractor/builder to personally monitor all phases of the home construction.

Don’t assume your builder — or the contractors — did everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector is your last line of defense against major defects that could quite literally sink your financial future.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

How to Find and Repair Water Leaks in Your Home



Here's how to inspect and treat some of the most common minor water leaks in your home before they become major problems. We'll check for leaks in a shower door, under a kitchen sink and in a washing machine.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Four-Point Inspection is Often a Requirement When Obtaining a New Homeowners Insurance Policy or Renewing an Existing Policy


After hurricane Andrew in Florida, insurance companies in Florida have been trying to encourage home owners to make their homes safer and reduce insurance claims. Many of the insurance companies and JUA (Joint Underwriting Association) now request a Four Point Inspection.

A “Four Point Inspection” focuses only on four main areas of interest in a home:Four Point Inspection Services in Florida

  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
  • Electrical wiring and panels
  • Plumbing connections and fixtures
  • Roof

Most homes older than 25 years are required by their insurance companies to get this inspection done. Insurance companies require four point inspections to evaluate the age and condition of the components of your home. Though homeowners insurance policies don’t typically cover these areas, if they are old or in disrepair, they could contribute to a covered event such as damage from a fire or severe weather. Some insurance companies have their own forms they want complete but most of them accept forms filled out by our licensed professionals. The report needed includes specific information about the HVAC, plumbing, electrical system and roof in a short one or two page signed document.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How to Repair a Broken Doorbell



Scott Caron, master electrician for Ask This Old House, replaces a broken chime on a doorbell. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)

Shopping List for How to Repair a Broken Doorbell:
- Doorbell and chime

Tools for How to Repair a Broken Doorbell:
- Screwdriver
- Driver

Steps for How to Repair a Broken Doorbell:
1. Turn off the power source for the doorbell and undo the wire connections to remove the chime. Be sure to mark where each connection goes: front door, transformer, and rear door.
2. Attach the wires of the new chime to the existing wires and screw down the connections with a screwdriver.
3. Mount the new chime and screw it down using a driver.
4. Unscrew the old push button with a screwdriver and break those wire connections.
5. Attach the new push button wires to the existing wires using a screwdriver. If the new chime is digital, you may need to add diodes, which should be included with the chime.
6. Drive the new push button housing into the old screw holes. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Years Ago, Home Inspections Were Unheard of in Residential Real Estate Transactions.


Instead, buyers simply relied on their own impressions of the home and the representations of the seller’s real estate agent. Today, the process is dramatically different. Most real estate purchase contracts give the buyer fairly broad rights to order one or more professional inspections of the home before completing the purchase.

Home Inspections help all parties involved in a Real Estate Transaction. The buyer gets an independent assessment of the condition of the house, from inside and outside, and top to bottom. There is a hidden benefit to an inspection, namely that if you buy the house, and you will know where things are such as turning off the main water in case of a leak. The Seller can rest assured he is selling a quality home and won’t be a cause for future legalese. The Realtor will also be knowledgeable about what he/she is selling to their client and keep their client from making a bad investment.

This is really not the time to find a “cheap and quick” inspection, but to hire a licensed professional with many years of experience. We at SitePro Home Inspections do not want to get involved in your Real Estate deal but we do want to make sure the Buyer is aware of current problems and ones that could be lurking down the road.

We can keep the buyer with a few major facets in their negotiations such as help with pricing, identifying defects with the repair costs that will be needed in the future and lastly and most importantly Buyer Confidence in that the client can be sure of themselves when purchasing.