Sunday, June 30, 2013

Navarre Beach and Beyond - The Best Florida Has to Offer

The beaches of the Florida Panhandle and Northwest Florida are thought to be some of the best beaches in the world. White sugar sand, clear blue waters and miles of beautiful coastline all add up to a great vacation destination.

The sun seekers of summer often crowd the beautiful Gulf shoreline looking for their ideal spot but there's so much more to Northwest Florida than the beach. This area is also home to unspoiled wilderness, state parklands, with peaceful rivers and streams to explore and adventure.

The Florida panhandle is a diverse eco-system with includes seashore, swampland and forests. Each of these areas has a unique, diverse landscape with its own natural wonders. Wildlife abounds in this part of Florida and visitors can enjoy all the wonders of each within a short drive.

Learn about the other side of Navarre Beach and historic Milton Florida. Here, there are thousands of acres of woodlands for hiking, camping, canoeing. Milton is known as the canoe capital of Florida. It has several calm rivers that allow visitors to canoe, kayak or tube in the serenity of Blackwater River State Park and the surrounding area.

If you're looking for more adventure than the serenity of the forest and Navarre Beach, there are companies that offer zip line tours, challenge courses and orienteering adventures in the pristine and lush forests of Blackwater State Park and on the Blackwater River. While these type of ecological adventures are not for all they do offer a wondrous and outdoor educational alternative for those looking for more than just the beach.

In these surroundings you'll experience all types of birds, fishing and other wildlife. You can camp in State Park or any of the local campgrounds that offer access to all the water sports or adventuring if your game. The Blackwater River and its tributary Juniper Creek have been named as "Outstanding Waters" for canoers as they meander through beautiful, serene forests.

Imagine yourself and your family biking, canoeing or kayaking through the forest, eyeing hawks and herons, spotting whitetail deer and other wildlife. You can rough it in a tent, stay in a rustic cabin, enjoy a modern hotel or luxuriate in an antique filled bed and breakfast. They are adventures and experiences to match every lifestyle and pocketbook.

Remember you don't have to trade your Navarre beach vacation for any of these adventures. Blackwater State Park and historic Milton FL are just a mere 25 minutes from the beautiful white sandy beaches of the Gulf. This easy distance allows you and your family to experience so much more than just the beach.

Vacation destinations like Navarre Beach attract families from the South and across the country, and while every family is different many people are looking for more than beach lounging. If you're family loves the great outdoors and if hiking, canoeing, biking, zip lines, and adventuring in a serene forest appeal to you, visit us in the Canoe Capital of Northwest Florida, historic Milton.

Navarre Beach  is great destination for families, couples and friends. To learn more visit here:

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Engineered Wood Flooring

Engineered wood flooring is an alternative to solid hardwood flooring made entirely out of real wood.  It's currently the most popular type of flooring in the world.  North America is the only area left where traditional, solid wood floors still outnumber engineered floors, but engineered wood flooring is quickly catching up, with the rate of use for new builds, as well as remodels, increasing steadily every year for the past few decades.  Inspectors and homeowners alike may be interested in how this product is manufactured and installed, and what its advantages are compared to older, more traditional forms of flooring.

Brief History

The beginnings of mass-produced wood flooring can be dated as far back as 1903, when an E. L. Roberts mail-order catalog offered “wood carpeting.”  This flooring consisted of 1½ x 5/16-inch wooden strips that were glued to heavy canvas that was then installed by tacking it down with brads.  The wood was then sanded and finished.  The varnishes used were usually slow-curing tung oils from China.  These were not durable in themselves, so the floors were hot-waxed and buffed to a shine with a floor brush.

Early examples of the “wood carpet” eventually evolved into more modern iterations, such as laminate flooring, which consists of melamine-infused paper as its upper layer, and wood-chip composite beneath.  Laminate flooring typically features a printed or embossed top layer meant to approximate the look of real hardwood.

The current incarnation of engineered wood flooring has been available since the 1960s, and has steadily increased in quality, leading to improved advantages over traditional hardwood flooring.


Engineered wood flooring is most commonly made with a plywood-core substrate and a real hardwood veneer or skin, which comes pre-finished from the factory.  The top veneer, which looks just like the top of a traditional solid wood plank, is called the lamella.

Some engineered flooring utilizes a finger-core construction, with a substrate comprised of small pieces of milled timber running perpendicular to the lamella.  This can be made with an additional layer of plywood running parallel to the lamella, which gives it added stability.  Fiberboard-core flooring is also available, but it's generally considered to be an inferior option.

Engineered wood flooring is meant to be indistinguishable from traditional hardwood floor once it's installed, and only the lamella is visible.  The lamella veneers available are made from nearly every type of common wood, as well as many more exotic ones, in order to provide the same variety of aesthetics typical of quality hardwood floors.  The substrate that the veneer is attached to is just as strong and durable as hardwood -- if not stronger -- and the finish applied at the factory often outlasts one applied on-site to solid wood flooring.  Even surface effects are available that can be applied to the finish to give the flooring a time-worn look, such as light distressing.

Engineered flooring runs the gamut from the low end, starting at $3 per square foot, to the high, at $14 and more. To judge quality, check the thickness of the lamella, the number of layers in the substrate, and the number of finish coats.  Typically, the more layers, the better. Listed below are descriptions of the advantages of adding layers to the construction in the common classes of engineered boards:
  •     3-ply construction: 1- to 2-mm wear layer; five finish coats; 10- to 15-year warranty; 1⁄4-inch thick; current price is about $3 to $5 per square foot.  Options for lamella veneer are limited to common species, such as oak and ash, and just a few stains are available;
  •     5-ply construction: 2- to 3-mm wear layer; seven finish coats; 15- to 25-year warranty; 1⁄4-inch thick; about $6 to $9 per square foot.  More species, such as cherry, beech, and some exotics are available for lamella, as well as all stains, and a few surface effects, such as distressing; and
  •     7-ply or more: 3+-mm wear layer, which can be sanded two or more times; nine finish coats; 25+-year warranty; 5/8- to 3⁄4-inch thick; average price is about $10 to $14 per square foot.  The widest selection of species is available for lamella, including reclaimed options.  More surface treatments are also available, such as hand-scraped and wire-brushed.
The cost of engineered flooring can be around 20% more than that of traditional flooring, but the difference can be offset or recouped by saving on installation, staining and sealing.


Installation of engineered wood flooring is generally quite simple compared to the installation of traditional hardwood, and can often be accomplished by a homeowner without the help of a professional flooring contractor.  If the services of a professional are enlisted, the job can be done more quickly and cost-effectively than if solid hardwood were to be installed.  Engineered flooring can be fastened in place with screws or nails, glued down, or left to "float," relying on its mass to hold it in place.  Listed below are several installation methods:
  •     A bead of glue can be applied to the tongue of each board, which is then tapped into place with a block. The floor floats, unattached to the sub-floor except by force of gravity.
  •     A floor stapler and compressor can be used to rapidly secure the boards to the existing floor, without having to deal with any glue.
  •     Boards can be laid in a bed of adhesive, as is done with tile.  This approach works particularly well over cured concrete, which precludes the use of staples.
  •     Some types of engineered floor are designed with milled tongues and grooves that lock together without glue or fasteners. It's the quickest and cleanest installation method.
Advantages of Engineered Flooring

While solid hardwood is a great traditional building material that provides aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound flooring, it does have its limitations.  For example, it cannot be installed directly on concrete or below grade, such as in basements.  It is generally limited in plank width and is more prone to gapping, which is excessive space between planks, and cupping, which is a concave or "dished" appearance of the plank, with the height of the plank along its longer edges being higher than the center with increased plank size.  Solid hardwood also cannot be used where radiant-floor heating is in place.

Engineered wood flooring, on the other hand, can actually provide some distinct advantages over traditional hardwood in many instances and applications.  Some of these include:
  •     Lamella veneer is available in dozens of wood species.
  •     Surface effects can be applied to further enhance its appearance.
  •     The factory finish can outlast site-applied finish on solid hardwoods.
  •     Drying time for the finish is eliminated because it's pre-applied at the factory.
  •     It can be used in basements and over concrete slabs.
  •     Installation is quick and easy.
  •     It can be used over radiant-heat systems.
  •     It can be refinished to repair normal wear and tear.
  •     The core layer can expand and contract more freely without warping.
  •     The flooring can be removed and re-installed elsewhere, if desired.
Engineered wood flooring is increasingly the first choice for floor installations, and its advantages, in many circumstances, can be exceptional.  Homeowners with a little DIY experience can usually install it themselves.  Inspectors are likely to encounter it in new builds as well as remodels even more frequently as it continues to gain in popularity every year.

by Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward

From Engineered Wood Flooring - InterNACHI

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

All You Need to Know About HVAC Systems

Have you ever wondered how you would feel if after coming back home from a day's work you find that the environment and temperature of your house does not soothe your tiredness, but rather aggravates it? Yes, this is exactly where the HVAC system can render its valuable service. This system must comprise an essential part of the infrastructure of your home and workplace, as it is a determining factor to increase the livability of your house. Having a HVAC unit suggests that the temperature of your home can be kept within your comfort level without burning a hole in your pocket, whereas having no HVAC system means that the comfort level of your house will be low and you would jump in shock at the end of the month to see the hefty sum you must pay as the electric bill.

The acronym HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning; it implies that this single unit is capable of providing you all the three services. It is generally installed by the HVAC professionals. The orientation of the idea of HVAC went hand in hand with the Industrial Revolution and its concept is based on the inventions made by Micheal Faraday, Willis Carrier, Reuben Trane,

William Rankine and many others. The three major functions of heating, ventilating and air conditioning are closely linked with each other and act as a composite when it comes to keep the temperature and moisture of a place under control and to keep the cost of installation, operation and maintenance within budget.

Components of HVAC system:
Although the components of the HVAC unit can vary depending on the need they are to serve, but there are some basic components that remain constant.

1. The furnace: The furnace helps to generate heat in order to provide warmth to your home during the winter. It can be run on natural gas, oil, propane or electricity depending on your house set-up and the nature of the furnace.

2. The air conditioning unit: This particular unit keeps your house cool during summer. It is placed outside your house but delivers cool air with the aid of a motor that enters your home through ducts and spreads all over the place.

3. Ducts: They are the tubes which helps cool air to spread all over the house.

4. Vents: Vents permit the air to blow out into the house and also provides the return of the air which has turned too hot or cold. They should be placed intelligently for facilitating the return of air at the proper places and also should have the option to close it when a certain room does not require conditioning.

Benefits of HVAC system:

1. Energy efficient: It is a single unit that provides you with both heat and cool air according to the demand of the weather, so it is cost-effective as well. It is also eco-friendly, as this unit can be run on solar or wind energy.

2. Purifies air: This system helps to purify air by stripping the air of all the germs and harmful particles, so that you can breathe a pollution free air. So it provides a healthy home environment for you.

3. Keeps a check on moisture: People living in the areas where climate remains the same or changes very rapidly, controlling moisture poses a big problem. Since the air of such regions are damp, so mildew forms under floors and inside walls. This can be prevented by sending cool and dry air inside the house with the help of HVAC unit.

On the final note it can be added that HVAC has the power to award you with an enhanced comfort level by providing you with a favorable atmosphere, whether at your home or work place. It should be installed by the professionals and must be inspected regularly. In that way you can be assured to get a long-lasting service from your HVAC system.

Deven Bush is an experienced HVAC Orange county engineer who writes blogs about air conditioning system. Here he makes certain facts known about commercial air conditioning and provides advice to install this system.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient Ratings for Windows

The amount of solar radiation that can pass through a window or skylight can be measured in terms of its solar heat-gain coefficient, or SHGC.  SHGC ratings are used to help in quantifying the energy efficiency of windows and skylights.  Understanding some of the specifics about SHGC ratings can be helpful to energy-conscious consumers who are planning a new build or renovating their home.  Inspectors may find that knowing something about SHGC ratings can be useful for energy audits.

Why Use SHGC Ratings?

By knowing how a window behaves in relation to sunlight and solar heat, the most appropriate windows can be chosen for a specific installation on a home, which often depends on the climate of the region where the home is located.  For example, windows that allow a larger amount of solar heat to pass through are best utilized in heating-dominated climates where extra warmth from sunlight can be beneficial.

SHGC is best described as a ratio where 1 equals the maximum amount of solar heat allowed through a window, and 0 equals the least amount possible allowed through.  An SHGC rating of 0.30 means that 30% of the available solar heat can pass through the window.  The SHGC rating assigned to a window generally includes the entire window assembly, and is meant to help quantify the energy efficiency of the combination of the glazing, window frame and any spacers (which separate the glazing panels).  So, the type of window, as well as the glass, affect the SHGC rating.

The ability to quantify how much solar heat a particular type of glass can block is even more useful as manufacturers have recently begun to experiment with different treatments for window panes intended to influence SHGC.  Tinted and reflective glass have been in use for some time now, especially in commercial and office buildings.  Spectrally selective glass has recently gained in popularity, as well, utilizing tints and coatings, including special low-emittance coatings, to further affect how windows perform in relation to solar heat.  The SHGC rating allows for easy comparison of these different products’ attributes.

SHGC, U-Factors and R-Values

When windows are rated for energy efficiency, the rate of non-solar heat that passes through is quantified as the U-factor, as opposed to SHGC, which quantifies the rate of solar heat that passes through the window.  SHGC and U-factor ratings are specific to windows and measure properties different from insulation R-values, which are used to quantify the insulating capabilities of building materials used elsewhere in a house, such as insulation behind walls, under floors, in an attic, etc.  These different values are each designed to measure very specific properties, which is helpful when examining the individual factors that can all be addressed to improve the energy efficiency of a whole house.

How are SHGC Ratings Determined?

The procedure for testing window products and assigning SHGC ratings is performed by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and started in 1993.  The NFRC is a non-profit organization that administers the only independent rating and labeling system for the energy performance of windows, skylights, doors and attachment products.  When evaluating the energy efficiency of windows for product certifications and federal incentive and rebate programs, the U.S. Department of Energy and the EPA take windows’ SHGC ratings into account.

SHGC ratings are documented on labels affixed to products that are part of the NFRC's certification program.  Also noted on the label are the window’s U-factor, air leakage characteristics, visible transmittance, and condensation resistance.  These factors add up to determine a window’s overall energy performance.  The labels provided by the NFRC help guide consumers in purchasing windows that are best suited to specific applications and installations.

Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient in Different Climates

Although windows and skylights with a low SHGC can sometimes be used effectively in cooling-dominated climates that also experience some hot months, they are much more effective and important in heating-dominated regions.  The following are some recommendations for the best window and skylight choices based on SHGC and the region of the U.S. they will be used in.

    In colder, heating-dominated northern climates, SHGC is less important than a window’s U-factor, which can still be taken into account for energy efficiency.  When air conditioning is generally not of concern, a higher SHGC in the range of 0.30 to 0.60 can be helpful, since during winter months, the solar heat gained can help warm the house.  If air conditioning is sometimes used and cooling is a concern, windows and skylights with an SHGC of less than 0.40 should be used.

    In the mixed climates of the North and Midwest, where both heating and cooling are used but cooling is used less often, windows and skylights with an SHGC of less than 0.40 are best.  In situations where air-conditioning costs during warm months can become high, windows with an SHGC of less than 0.30 can be beneficial.  While lower SHGC windows can help to keep homes and its occupants cooler during the summer, they also allow less gain from solar heat during cold months, so costs for heating versus air conditioning can be compared in these regions to help determine whether less or more solar heat gain will be most effective.

    In the mixed-climate South and central regions that use both heating and cooling, SHGC for windows and skylights is best kept under 0.30, though, again, in areas where heating may be used extensively for some periods of the year, a lower SHGC equates to less warmth gained by solar heat.  Cooling and heating costs can be compared to determine the best window choices.

    Using windows and skylights with a low SHGC is most beneficial in southern climates that are cooling-dominated, since the main concern in these regions is keeping interiors cool during long periods of the year of hot weather, while maintaining reasonable air-conditioning costs.  These areas can most effectively utilize windows with an SHGC of less than 0.27, and skylights of less than 0.30.

Knowing something about SHGC ratings, as well as the ratings that are better for particular climates, is useful for inspectors who perform energy audits.  When clients have questions about windows and energy efficiency, inspectors can pass along this information about SHGC ratings so that they can make sound investments on their windows.

Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient Ratings for Windows
by Nick Gromicko and Ethan Ward

From Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient Ratings for Windows - InterNACHI

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Replacement of Doors and Windows - Make Your Home Beautiful

Someone has rightly said 'Home is where the heart is'. A person spends most of the time at home with his family and friends, where love and comfort surrounds him. However, in today's world, people hardly have any time to stay at home and spend quality time with their dear ones. Nevertheless, we all will agree with the fact that in a complete lifespan an individual spends most of his time at home.

It is the place where the best memories are made. People always dream of owning their 'Dream Home'. The place where we live should be the most beautiful place to be. Interior designing gives a complete new feel to our house. The Doors and Windows are an integral part of every house. The entrance of a house is the first thing that a visitor sees. The entrance door should be ideally tall and wide in comparison to rest of in house. It is a sign of welcoming guests with open arms. If the doors and windows of your house are too old and maybe damaged too, there is a need for replacement.

There is wide range available that professionals offer. Steel Entry doors, Fiberglass doors, Garden entrance, Sliding ones etc. Sliding doors, also known as Patio doors, offer maximum view with a very thin frame. If you live in a beach facing home, this type is apt for your balcony. There is no need to dedicate some additional space to this as it rolls on tandem ball-bearing rollers inside an aluminum monorail for a smooth and effortless opening and closure.

Similarly, there are various types of windows. Casement, which is an ideal choice for new custom homes or for replacement for old homes, Single slider and double slider, Awning windows are good alternative for your house. This type is somewhat similar to casement one but wider and less tall. If you always like to be in trend, this is for you as it is modern and versatile. It creates wall-lite effect and provides efficiency in ventilation and light without compromising ones privacy. Bay windows are recommended generally for those who like to give their interiors a classy touch. It gives a place classic and kind of vintage look. These are three windows are joined together in an angle, which is generally 30 º to 40 º. It protrudes from the surface of the wall. As mentioned, it is made from three windows a large one in centre and two smaller ones on sides, which can be stagnant or operational casement windows.

Replacing doors and windows gives a new look to your home. It is a great way to save money rather than going for all new interiors or a completely new house. In case you are looking for a replacement, contact an agency that provides similar services. The experts at the agency will guide you on how the old doors and windows in your home can be replaced. They will also provide an estimate and try to accommodate the replacement plan within your budget.


Nathan L Arnold is the author of this article on PVC Bay Windows.
Find more information, about Elba Windows and Doors here

Article Source:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What Will Be Inspected?

Outline of a typical home inspection

A typical SitePro home inspection in Pensacola, Navarre, Walton and Okaloosa counties consist of an educational tour of the property. You are most welcome and indeed encouraged to accompany the professional inspector to gain valuable "show & tell" information, to ask questions and to gain knowledge regarding the true condition of the property. A professional SitePro inspector will follow a practiced, efficient and comprehensive methodology to examine the entire home. The home inspector will use an earnest effort to disclose the visual problems of importance and to document those observations in a final narrative report that you can read and understand in order to make intelligent decisions. 
The inspection process begins with a tour of the exterior of the home including the roof and then progresses into the crawlspace (if applicable) and then upwards finishing in the attic. Outside, the inspector will observe such things as the drainage grade on the property, vegetation, driveways & walks, entrances, porches, decks,foundation above grade, siding, doors & windows, soffit, garage, roof, gutters and chimneys. While not required, an effort is made to climb on the roof to inspect it from above unless the height, pitch and weather conditions put the inspector's safety at risk.  

When climbing on the roof is not possible, the roof is examined by binoculars, or from a sub-roof or by a ladder at the eaves. While in the crawlspace, the inspector will observe the condition and function of each of the mechanical systems including: heating system, electrical system, plumbing system, hot water heater and central air conditioning system. Also while in the crawlspace (if applicable), the professional home inspector will observe the condition of the structure including: foundation, columns and floor frame. Special efforts are made to disclose any evidence of decay or water infiltration. Progressing upwards, the inspector next examines the kitchen. He checks the function of the sink and all plumbing connections and briefly operates the appliances. Each bathroom fixture is examined and the functional condition is evaluated.

Within the living spaces, walls, floors, ceilings and staircases are all examined along with a representative sample of windows, outlets, switches & lights. SitePro professional inspectors will even stick his head inside the fireplace. While in the attic, the building inspector will examine the accessible parts of the roof structure. He will also alert you regarding signs of previous roof or flashing leaks and potential leakage points. The attic insulation, vapor barrier and means of ventilation are also inspected. At the conclusion of the actual inspection of the property a full verbal report will be given to you. 

The inspector will then return to SitePro's office where a full reference library is available to the inspector so any additional facts can be copied and made available to you, something a on the spot report cannot do. We spend on average 2-3 hours after the property inspection  to prepare a very comprehensive narrative final report. The report will document all of the observations made at the time of inspection and will advise you to contact other qualified experts when major repairs are anticipated. The report is then delivered to you in a form that can be easily read and understood. After the SitePro residential inspection process has been completed we will always provide as much free Phone consultation as needed.  Click here for repair costs & estimates

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Maintaining Your HVAC Equipment

Maintaining your HVAC equipment not only ensures that it performs efficiently, but it also prevent it from wearing out quickly thus increasing the chances of a longer working period. This is particular important since wearing out of all working equipment is inevitable, however regular breakdowns can be avoided by ensuring that the equipment is properly maintained. One of the equipments that require good maintenance is the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This is because proper HVAC maintenance ensure the home in which it is used in is always properly air conditioned as there are lesser chances of a breakdown.

One of the ideal HVAC maintenance measures includes ensuring that the filter is clean always. This is because the filter usually accumulates a lot of dust and other impurities which are trapped and prevented from entering the interior of the HVAC. If the impurities accumulates for a long time without being cleaned, dust mites and other harmful organisms can readily hide there consequently putting the people living in that home at danger of developing respiratory problems. The accumulated impurities can also block fresh air from entering the interiors of the equipment thus making it dysfunctional. Consequently the filter should be cleaned regularly by switching off the HVAC and wiping with a dry piece of cloth. If the filters are too dirty to be cleaned, then they should be replaced so as to save the entire equipment.

Another important HVAC maintenance procedure is ensuring that the contractor is always clean and free from intruding organisms. This is because the contractors have high voltage electric plates that attract insects which craw inside the HVAC where they die. These insects interrupt the flow of current thus stopping the HVAC from working. Besides removing the dead insect, the other preferred measure is keeping the insects away from the equipment by using strong insect sides around the areas around the HVAC. This is paramount since it is not possible to cover the entire equipment or keep watch to ensure no insect is going towards the contractor.

The condenser coil of the HVAC is another part that is prone to damages subsequently hindering normal drawing of fresh air into the equipment. Some of the most common cause of such damages includes dust, leaves and other unwanted objects which might penetrate to the condenser coil. These foreign and harmful objects should be removed by gently washing the coil using substances such as weak dish soap solution with water. High pressure washers are discouraged from cleaning the coil since they can readily damage the thin fins.

The ventilator belt is also another important component that should be emphasized on during HVAC maintenance. This is because if the belt wears out, then the entire equipment cannot work. A normally performing belt is usually relatively quite while the HVAC is working, however if it produces quelling sounds once it is worn out which are an indication that it needs replacement. While replacing the belt it is paramount to know the exact size before buying a new one since different HVAC system uses belts of different sizes. Thus proper HVAC maintenance can ensure it does not break down regularly and it also ha a longer working life.

By John Stackson
Article Source:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Three Deadly Mistakes Every Home Buyer Should Avoid

Deadly Mistake #1: Thinking you can't afford it.
Many people who thought that buying the home they wanted was simply out of their reach are now enjoying a new lifestyle in their very own homes. 
Buying a home is the smartest financial decision you will ever make.  In fact, most homeowners would be broke at retirement if it wasn't for one saving grace -- the equity in their homes.  Furthermore, tax allowances favor home ownership. 
Real estate values have always risen steadily.  Of course, there are peaks and valleys, but the long-term trend is a consistent increase.  This means that every month when you make a mortgage payment, the amount that you owe on the home goes down and the value typically increases.  This "owe less, worth more" situation is called equity build-up and is the reason you can't afford not to buy.
Even if you have little money for a down payment or credit problems, chances are that you can still buy that new home.  It just comes down to knowing the right strategies, and working with the right people.  See below.
Deadly Mistake #2: Not hiring a buyer's agent to represent you.
Buying property is a complex and stressful task.  In fact, it is often the biggest, single investment you will make in your lifetime.  At the same time, real estate transactions have become increasingly complicated.  New technology, laws, procedures, and competition from other buyers require buyer agents to perform at an ever-increasing level of competence and professionalism.  In addition, making the wrong decisions can end up costing you thousands of dollars.  It doesn't have to be this way!
Work with a buyer's agent who has a keen understanding of the real estate business and the local market.  A buyer's agent has a fiduciary duty to you.  That means that he or she is loyal only to you and is obligated to look out for your best interests.  A buyer's agent can help you find the best home, the best lender, and the best home inspector in your area.  That inspector should be an InterNACHI-certified home inspector because InterNACHI inspectors are the most qualified and  best-trained inspectors in the world.
Trying to buy a home without an agent or a qualified inspector is, well... unthinkable.
Deadly Mistake #3: Getting a cheap inspection.
Buying a home is probably the most expensive purchase you will ever make.  This is no time to shop for a cheap inspection.  The cost of a home inspection is small relative to the value of the home being inspected.  The additional cost of hiring a certified inspector is almost insignificant by comparison.  As a home buyer, you have recently been crunching the numbers, negotiating offers, adding up closing costs, shopping for mortgages, and trying to get the best deals.  Don't stop now!  Don't let your real estate agent, a "patty-cake" inspector, or anyone else talk you into skimping here.  
InterNACHI front-ends its membership requirements.  InterNACHI turns down more than half the inspectors who want to join because they can't fulfill the membership requirements. 
InterNACHI-certified inspectors perform the best inspections, by far.  InterNACHI-certified inspectors earn their fees many times over.  They do more, they deserve more and -- yes -- they generally charge a little more.  Do yourself a favor...and pay a little more for the quality inspection you deserve.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Choosing the Right Home Flooring

Choosing new home flooring can be a difficult task because there are many possibilities, such as hardwood, laminate, carpet, ceramic, vinyl or area rugs. Hardwood flooring is very popular, as well as laminate. Living room and dining room are the most appropriate areas for hardwood flooring. If you need a special style, try to find exotic woods for your floor. If you are a home owner, you can easily rediscover the beauty of natural materials for floors; you can choose natural stone tiles, bamboo flooring, or cork floors.

It is not easy to install floors; you need experience and expertise to choose the right floor type and install it. You also need the necessary tools. In the long run, the most affordable and secure solution might be to hire a professional to do this job. While you may save money on outside labor by doing it yourself, this type of project can be quite costly when it comes to your time and effort. Keep in mind that you must also buy your own tools and materials.

Hardwood floor is easy to maintain, natural, beautiful and comfortable. You will never feel the need to replace a wooden floor and you can have a cedar, cherry, ash or beech wooden floor. Traditional choices are still trendy; mahogany, pine, or oak are good options for any room of your house. Fine hardwood flooring increases the value of your house adding style, comfort and elegance to your living room or dining room. Many designers are charmed by the hardwood flooring qualities, and recommend exotic woods such as cherry, walnut or mahogany for their qualities and value.

Never forget that the hardwood floors contract and expand in accordance with your home humidity. You can also choose parquet, plank or strip flooring. The strip is easy to install, and has an elegant look like long wooden strips. Plank flooring is a set of boards that can be nailed or screwed into the floor. Plank flooring is more attractive than strip flooring, but less spectacular than parquet flooring.

It is important to choose the wood floor species; you can create a contemporary feel to your house using light wood; to have a traditional look, use dark wood. The best idea is to choose what you can afford and respect your personal style. You can find red oak, white ash, walnut, pine, cherry to have the best hardwood flooring you are searching for.

Laminate floors are solid, resistant and really easy to maintain. Laminate floors are also more affordable than wood floorings and imitate the look of real marble or wood. Laminate flooring is strong, resistant to moisture and scratches; laminate flooring keep the awesome fresh look for at least five years. This type of flooring must acclimate to the surroundings; as laminate as easy to install, you can do this job yourself. Don’t forget to allow the flooring to adjust to the future environment.

Plastic laminate flooring can sometimes look unnatural when it imitates exotic wood or marble. However, it is easy to install and is resistant in high traffic areas.  tab-newsletter

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
NACHI #10071802
362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)
"Looking Beyond The Obvious"

Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and other authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail. SitePro LLC is neither liable for the proper nor complete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this e-mail has been swept for viruses. However, we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. This e-mail is meant to communicate company related materials only. Opinions expressed by the author of this e-mail are solely his/her own. SitePro Residential and Commericial Inspections will not be liable for opinions expressed in this e-mail.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Central Vacuum Systems

A central vacuum system (sometimes called a whole-house vacuum system) is a cleaning device installed throughout a building. Located in the garage or basement, a canister receives dust and debris sucked by the force of a motor from wall outlets, which are located for the homeowner’s convenience.
Central vacuum systems are powerful, yet expensive alternatives to portable vacuum units
While many Americans are unfamiliar with central vacuums, they are not new inventions; the idea dates back as far as the 1850s in Sweden, where horse-powered fans were used to create suction through in-wall plumbing. Horses were later replaced by servants, who pumped giant bellows or pedaled stationary bicycles, until electric motors eventually took over. Shortly thereafter, however, portable vacuum cleaners became available, and central vacuum systems were largely forgotten due to their relative expense. Their hibernation ended by the 1990s when growing house sizes and concerns over air quality combined with the availability of cheaper plastic piping, more powerful motors and refined filtration systems. Yet, even today, American homes are dependent on portable vacuum cleaners, in contrast with Canadian and Scandinavian homes, where central vacuum systems are more common.
Central vacuum systems boast some advantages over portable units, some of which are as follows:
  • They are long-lasting. Their motors can handle more usage than typical portable units. Warranties, too, are usually longer for central units.
  • They are quiet. Because the motor is located outside the living area, users are not subjected to noise created by the motor, which can be excessive and stressful.
  • They can be retrofitted into older houses, or built into new construction.
  • They are a good investment. Just as a kitchen renovation or new deck will make a home more valuable, many buyers will pay extra for a house equipped with a central vacuum.
  • They are hypo-allergenic. Unlike portable vacuums, which recycle air back into the room, dust-laden air is blown into the outdoors from central vacuum systems. One comprehensive study conducted at the University of California at Davis' School of Medicine compared portable to central units and concluded that “a central vacuuming system would best provide [allergen removal] as it would be installed outside the living area of the dwelling and/or vented outdoors."
  • The system is easy and safe to use. There is no heavy equipment to carry from room to room, and no electric cords to trip over or catch on furniture.
Types of central vacuum cleaners available include:
  • cyclonic, in which air is spun in a canister and exhausted to the outdoors. Location is critical for these units, as it is possible for exhausted, debris-laden air to find its way back into the house through open windows. The filter must be removed and cleaned periodically;
  • inverted filter, in which the dirt enters the vacuum canister amidst a tornado-like swirl of air. The canister must be emptied periodically, and always outside of the home. Allergy sufferers may find disposal unpleasant, as mold and other debris become airborne; and
  • disposable bag, in which dirt is sucked into a paper bag in the same fashion as for portable units. This is perhaps the cleanest and most hygienic method available, as mold spores, bacteria and other debris are physically separated and stored in a bag from which they cannot escape.
The disadvantages of central vacuum systems include:
  • price. A good system can cost $1,500, which is significantly more expensive than even premium portable vacuum cleaners;
  • damage caused by items sucked up inadvertently. With greater power comes higher risk that large items will be sucked up, potentially causing damage to the unit. Tales abound of units becoming jammed or broken when they swallow, often at the hands of children, broken jars of jelly, toilet water, and even pet birds. Portable units are usually too weak to readily suck up items that can cause them to break;  
  • a system compromised by weak suction.  Such a problem may be due to obstructed pipes or exhaust, an excessively dirty filter, or a full canister that needs to be emptied. If the unit does not operate at all, the motor might be broken, a breaker may have tripped, or the wiring may be defective.
In summary, central vacuum systems are convenient, powerful and expensive home-cleaning devices.
by Nick Gromicko  
From Central Vacuum Systems - InterNACHI

Monday, June 10, 2013

Home Repair Rip-Offs

Homeowners have more to worry about than being ripped off by shady contractors in this lagging economy, but such a climate brings desperation -- and with it, sadly, fraud. Of course, the majority of tradesmen are generally honest professionals, but there is a large number of unscrupulous contractors who will fix items that don’t need fixing, or grossly overcharge you for services or parts. Worse, there are plenty of con artists posing as tradesmen who will simply take your money and run. Inspectors are often the first ones to uncover such fraud, so they too need to be familiar with its common forms in order to best serve their clients.

Some common home repair scams include:
  • roof work. Con artists are known to travel from state to state following natural disasters and looking for victims of storms. Beware of people who suddenly arrive in your neighborhood, offering to fix your roof at a discount. Also, don’t trust a roofer who makes an assessment of a leaky roof from the ground without examining it. Very often, the flashing is all that needs to be replaced, even when the tradesman tries to convince you that you need a whole new roof.
  • driveway sealers.  This time-honored grift has a tradesmen pulling up to your home in his truck and offering to re-seal your driveway using leftover "sealant" from a job "just down the block."  The low price is unbelievable, and so is the job.  Generally, the sealant is paint or some other cheap, black spray media that will quickly wash away with the next rain.
  • termites. Myths that exaggerate the dangers of termites abound, and homeowners can be easily duped into unnecessary treatment. Ask for prices from more than one company and compare their services. Make sure to get a guarantee that covers you in case termites return within a given period of time. Read the guarantee and the rest of the contract carefully before you sign! Be on guard for the following ruses:
    • The exterminator shows you termites on a fence or woodpile that is not connected to your house. If he were competent and honest, he would know that these termites pose no threat to your home.
    • He (but not you) witnesses “evidence.” Make the exterminator show you the alleged evidence of the infestation. Termite-damaged wood is hollowed out along the grain, with bits of soil or mud lining the galleries.
    • He offers a free termite inspection, and his motives are questionable to begin with. He may bring the evidence to your house with him.
  • chimney sweeps. Beware of any chimney sweep who arrives at your door unannounced, offering to perform his services for a low price. He might say that he's just worked on your neighbor’s chimney, and offer you a suspiciously low price for a sweep. The inspection will uncover "problems" that quickly balloon the price.
  • HVAC specialists. The most common HVAC rip-offs are replacing parts that work fine and substituting used parts for new ones. If you get suspicious, ask to see the alleged broken parts before they're replaced, and look at the packaging and documentation for the new parts before they're installed. If possible, have HVAC work performed in the off-season, as it may be significantly cheaper.
  • plumbers. Parts cost plumbers only a tiny fraction of the total charge for their services, but some plumbers will still cut corners to boost their profit. They may use plastic or low-grade metal, for instance, or 1/2-inch pipe instead of 3/4-inch pipe. Ask what they are installing and how long the parts will last.
  • painters. Some painters agree to use a specific brand of high-quality paint, then pour cheap paint into name-brand cans. Most of the cans the painter brings with him should be sealed when the job is started. If not, ask why. Other painters skimp on the prep work.
Homeowners should heed the following advice whenever they hire a contractor:
  • Go to to find an InterNACHI inspector who will stop by and make sure your construction project is done right.
  • If you are calling a contractor for an estimate and you live in an affluent neighborhood, don’t mention your address or phone number until you get the estimate. You can even call a tradesman in a less wealthy town or neighborhood that’s nearby, as their price will likely be lower than the going rate in your area.
  • Try to negotiate a flat rate if the tradesman has no idea how much the job is going to cost. This is especially helpful in plumbing work, as almost all pipes are hidden behind walls and the job can easily become more complicated than originally planned.
  • Ask if the tradesman charges for travel time. If he does, it may be cheaper to choose someone who is closer. Also ask if he charges for time spent traveling to supply stores.
  • Know your contractor. Be sure he is licensed, and get a written agreement stating the cost and the work to be performed.
  • Beware of any contractor who shows up at your door unannounced or calls you on the phone. Con artists must move every so often to frustrate law enforcement, so they have no fixed address and rely on door-to-door or phone solicitation. For the same reason, their invoices may contain only a P.O. box rather than a street address.
  • Always be wary of a contractor who recommends a particular company or individual after “discovering” a problem, as he will probably receive a kickback for the referral, so you cannot trust his advice. 
  • Beware of a contractor who tries to unnecessarily increase the scope of a project. Also known as an upseller, these people will do the following:
    • not offer you a range of options, including cheaper alternatives or work that is different than what you had anticipated; or
    • use scare tactics to persuade you to take his recommendations.
  • Beware of contractors who insist that they are  charging you only for what they paid for the materials, if they are, in fact, making a profit on the materials. Material over-charging is unethical if the contractor lies about it.
  • Beware of material-swapping, in which the contractor will buy premium products and make you reimburse him, but then he returns the product for something cheaper and of lower quality, and pockets the difference. If you suspect material-swapping, you can uncover the farce at the end of the job by comparing the packaging with the products listed on the receipt.
  • Do not give a large down-payment. It may be appropriate to pay a small percentage of the total estimate up front, but if the contractor asks for most (or all) of the money up front, he may be a con artist. Even if he does return to perform the work, he may botch the job or leave it unfinished, leaving you with little power to contest. And, of course, never pay in cash.
  • If you are elderly, be on heightened alert for scammers because you will be targeted more often than your children.
In summary, homeowners and inspectors alike should be wise to the plethora of ways that home repair contractors, or those posing as such, rip off their clients.

by Nick Gromicko

From Home Repair Rip-Offs - InterNACHI

Saturday, June 8, 2013

GOT WEEDS???? A Biodegradable Solution!

GOT WEEDS????   
Don't promote "Round-Up"

Homemade Weed Killer: 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, & a few squirts of liquid dish soap. It's cheap, very safe, biodegradable, and works fast!!!

How to Apply: You can use a watering can, a spray bottle or a pump-sprayer to apply vinegar. A pump-sprayer works best because it is more efficient. Do not dilute the vinegar, pour right from the jug to the sprayer. Be sure to rinse your sprayer after use, or metal parts (if any) can corrode.

Make your application on a warm, sunny, calm (not windy) day. Vinegar is not selective; it can potentially harm plants you wish to keep, should you accidentally spray them. Use vinegar on walkways, where grass and ornamental plants are not an issue.

Will vinegar kill every weed in every garden? Not sure, but it's been known to keep pathways free of unwanted growth. The soap helps the liquid mix stick to the weeds, and it's antibacterial in places where kids and pets may play!

Make this a part of your garden ritual and you wont be sorry!
Monsanto, the product’s evil manufacturer, agreed with the New York Attorney General’s office to discontinue their use of the terms “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly” in ads promoting Roundup. Why? Because these terms were untruthful. Roundup is neither biodegradable nor environmentally friendly.

Be sure to pass and share this with friends!

SitePro, LLC
Van Hibberts

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tips to Hire a Commercial Property Inspector

Hiring a commercial property inspector is an important part of buying, selling, or owning a building. Having relevant and accurate information regarding the state of a building can be helpful in each of these circumstances:

1. When an individual is preparing to purchase a building and wants to know the true state and value of their investment.

2. When an individual already owns a building, but wants to know the condition of their building, enabling them to take preventative care measures or reevaluate their investment.

3. When an individual is preparing to sell a building and wants to know the true state and value of their investment.

In each of these circumstances, the property-owning individual requires information that can only be provided by a commercial property inspector, making the process of hiring a commercial property inspector rather important. The tips included in this article are therefore intended to help commercial buyers, investors, and owners gain an accurate evaluation of their investment in order to protect and grow their investment portfolio.

Six Tips:

1. First and foremost, it is crucial to make sure that your commercial property inspector is licensed, whether by National Property Inspections, the International Code Council, the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the state, or another reputable and trusted standards association.

2. Do your research. Social media sites like Yelp and Google Reviews provide unfiltered reviews of commercial property inspection businesses. Though business owners can control the reviews that appear on their company website, they cannot control the reviews posted about their business on social media sites like the examples above. These are the best places to get a feel for the businesses you're considering; however, don't let one bad review rule out a company - look for a general consensus.

3. Do more research! Follow up on the company's references. Of course the references that any business owner provides you with will have a positive review to share, but they may be able to answer specific questions that you have regarding work styles, principles, and other miscellaneous concerns.

4. Make sure that your commercial property inspector's equipment is updated and conforms to current standards of practice. Advances in technology, such as thermal imaging systems, have bettered an inspector's ability to identify water and air leaks, and should be on your list of requirements. Further, make sure that your commercial property inspector has adequate training to use advanced equipment - ask for credentials!

5. Discuss payment options. Some commercial and home inspectors are small, often family-owned, businesses and may not have the ability to take credit cards. If you plan on paying by credit card, make your intentions known early on so that you may decide to choose another company or another payment option.

6. Communicate effectively. Be clear about your expectations for the commercial property inspection and discuss obstacles. Inspectors are not expected to move potentially harmful objects, such as heavy machinery or hazardous materials.

If you are unsure of whether to hire a commercial property inspector or not, make the smart decision and move forward with an inspection. For property owners, preventative maintenance is always more cost effective than repairs, which may also stall productivity. Additionally, whether you are interested in buying or selling commercial property, an inspection will give you the information you need to accurately assess your investments.

By Brandon Arthur Lobo
Article Source:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mobile, Alabama - Positioned For Economic Growth

Mobile's market area is composed of seven counties in Alabama, three counties in Florida and one county in Mississippi

Mobile is located in southwest Alabama at the head of Mobile Bay, 31 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. It is the second largest metropolitan area in Alabama and the state’s major port.

The metropolitan area includes Mobile and Baldwin counties and covers 2,828 square miles. The dominant urban area is the city of Mobile, measuring 159.4 square miles of the 1,238 square miles in Mobile County.

Find out more using these two links:

A major aircraft manufacturer is locating to Mobile,  planning and selection of vendors began 1st Quarter, 2013 and final completion of the facility due by the 4th quarter of 2014.

Find out more about Airbus / Mobile using these two links:


The three counties in Florida considered part of the Greater Mobile market area include Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties.

Pensacola, contained within Escambia county in Florida is a community of about 52,000. It is a sea port on Pensacola Bay and is the home of some of the best beaches in the US. It is also the home of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the US Naval Air Station. It also is home to the National Naval Flight Museum and the main campus of the University of West Florida.

Find out more about Pensacola using these two links:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Why Realtors and Their Clients Trust Our Services

You often suggest to your buyers and sellers that they obtain a professional home inspection. But it can be difficult to know who to call. As professional home inspectors, our goal continues to be making the home inspection experience reliable and useful. We conduct You often suggest to your
buyers and sellers that they obtain a professional home inspection. But it can be difficult to know
who to call.

As professional home inspectors, our goal continues to be making the home inspection experience reliable and useful. We conduct comprehensive visual evaluations and provide objective, easy-to-understand reports that your clients can use to make sound decisions. For your buyers, we help you provide peace of mind.

For your sellers, we provide another valuable marketing advantage: Flexible schedules. Professional services.

Our inspection services include
  • Commercial Inspections
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Home Maintenance
  • Inspections
  • Listing Inspections
  • Mold Testing
  • New Construction
  • Inspections
  • Moisture Analysis
  • Infrared Survey
  • Wind Mitigation
  • Assessment
  • 4 Point Insurance Letter
  • WDO Repo

SitePro Home Inspections

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791
NACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
850.934.6800  (Office)
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)

"Looking Beyond The Obvious"

Nothing in this message is intended to constitute an electronic signature unless a specific statement to the contrary is included in this message.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom it is addressed and other authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this message in error, please contact the sender immediately by return e-mail. SitePro LLC is neither liable for the proper nor complete transmission of the information contained in this communication nor for any delay in its receipt.

 SitePro Residential and Commercial Inspections has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that any attachment to this e-mail has been swept for viruses. However, we cannot accept liability for any damage sustained as a result of viruses and would advise that you carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. This e-mail is meant to communicate company related materials only. Opinions expressed by the author of this e-mail are solely his/her own. SitePro Residential and Commercial Inspections will not be liable for opinions expressed in this e-mail.