Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Install a Linoleum Tile Floor - This Old House

Use cork-backed click-together squares to lay a floating floor in an endless array of colorful patterns. (See below for a shopping list and tools.)

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Small-Home Renovation

On, Sarah Hartill explains how she transformed her compact family home into a chic open-concept space with an addition. Learn her favourite space-saving details and budget tips, and watch how Sarah creates a personal look with a mix of custom details and Ikea cabinetry.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Reduce the risk of damage from lightning and electrical surge

Power or voltage surges are brief bursts of energy caused by a sudden change in the electrical conditions of a circuit. Wherever electrical or electronic equipment is used, power surges can and do occur. While often lasting only a millisecond, power surges can raise the voltage in electronic circuits from a few hundred to as much as several thousand volts. They are one of the most severe, common and immediate dangers to modern, sensitive electronic equipment.

The resulting damage can range from loss of expensive electronic equipment to structure fires that destroy an entire house.

What Causes Power Surges

  •     Lightning can create strong electromagnetic fields, which can induce a power surge.
  •     Risk factors include your location and frequency of lightning and thunderstorms.
  •     See the map 1997-2007 Average U.S. Lightning Flash Density Map to determine your exposure to lightning flashes.
  •     Homes in areas subject to an average flash density of 10 to 14 fl/sq km/yr or greater have a severe exposure to lightning.
Local Power System Problems
  •     A common source for externally generated surges in home is the local electric company. Problems and points of failure include faulty wiring by a utility, equipment breakdowns, downed power lines, grid shifting (reallocating stored energy to match demand), and capacitor switching (a routine, daily event).
  •     Homes connected to power grids that may include industrial parks and manufacturing facilities have increased exposure to power surges.
  •     Large users connected to the same power line can also create power surges.
  •     Large electrical equipment that frequently turn on and off, such as high-powered motors, production equipment, heating/air conditioning equipment, etc., can create sudden, brief demands for power that can upset the steady voltage flow in the electrical system and result in power surges affecting everyone connected to the same power line.
  •     Externally generated surges may also be caused when two power lines come into contact with each other as a result of vehicle crashes damaging power poles, fallen tree limbs, ice storms or animals.
Reduce risk of damage from lightning and electrical surge
  •     For protection from lightning strikes in the general area of your home and externally produced surge, a whole-house surge protector is the best starting point for reducing the risk of damage or a fire.
  •     It is important to make sure that it is either a secondary surge arrestor tested to IEEE C62.11 or a transient voltage suppressor that has been tested to UL 1449, 2nd Edition.
  •     The protector should be installed in accordance with Article 280 or Article 285 of the National Electrical Code (as is applicable) and must have a working indicator light.
  •     A number of power companies have programs to provide and install the whole-building surge protection.
  •     If this is not available in your area, consult a licensed electrician.
  •     Protection should extend beyond the whole-building surge protection.
IBHS strongly recommends the following:
  •     Install additional protection for important or expensive electronic equipment.
  •     This should include localized surge protection for power cords to the electronic equipment and any telephone and cable/satellite TV lines connecting to the equipment.
  •     These devices are available at most home improvement and electronics stores.
  •     It is important for the home’s electrical system to be properly grounded in accordance with Article 250 of the National Electrical Code. Also, all utilities (telephone, electrical, and cable or satellite TV) should be bonded to the same grounding point and preferably all enter your home within 10-feet of each other. This will ensure proper operation of the surge protection system and prevent ground potentials from developing between various elements of the electrical and communications systems.
  •     Have a licensed electrician determine whether your incoming line and disconnect box is properly grounded. If not, have them provide the proper grounding.
  •     Have them also review the power, telephone, electrical and cable/satellite TV connections to your building and improve the grounding if necessary.
Note: Whole house surge protection will not protect you from a direct strike on your house. For added protection from a direct strike, you would need to add receptors on the roof and cables that would help direct the strike away from the interior of your house. Homes in areas subject to an average flash density of 10 to 14 fl/sq km/yr or greater as defined in the Figure – “1997-2007 Average U.S. Lightning Flash Density Map” shown above have an increased exposure to lightning. Homeowners in these areas and those in other areas who are particularly concerned about a direct lightening strike should consider installing a lightning protection system.

Lightning protection systems are designed to protect a structure and provide a specified path to harness and safely ground the super-charged current of the lightning bolt. The system neither attracts nor repels a strike, but receives the strike and routes it harmlessly into the earth, thus discharging the dangerous electrical event.

If a lightning protection systems is to be installed for the home, it should be designed and installed in accordance with:
  •     National Fire Protection Assoc. (NFPA) 780, Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems
  •     Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. (UL) Standard 96A, Installation Requirements for Lightning Protection Systems
  •     Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) Standard 175, Standard of Practice for the Design – Installation – Inspection of Lightning Protection Systems
  •     All materials should comply in weight, size, and composition with the requirements of the UL 96 Materials Standards.
  •     All equipment should be UL listed and properly labeled.
  •     Equipment should be the manufacturer’s latest approved design of construction to suit the application where it is to be used in accordance with accepted industry standards and with NFPA, LPI, & UL requirements.
  •     Standards and References for Lightning and Surge Protection
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 96A Standard For Safety-Installation Requirements for Lightning Protection Systems
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 452 Standard for Safety- Antenna Discharge Units
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 497A Standard for Safety-Secondary Protectors for Communication Circuits
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 498 Standard for Safety-Receptacle and Receptacle Plugs (Including Direct Plug-In Devices)
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 544 Standard for Safety-Medical and Dental Equipment
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 1283 Standard for Safety-Electromagnetic Interference Filters
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 1363 Standard for Safety-Temporary Power Taps (Power Strips)
  •     Underwriters Laboratory 1449 Standard for Safety-Transient Voltage Surge Suppressors
  •     National Fire Protection Association 70 National Electric Code
  •     Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) Standard 175, Standard of Practice for the Design – Installation – Inspection of Lightning Protection Systems
  •     Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – C62 Collection of Guides and Standards for Surge Protection
  •     Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – C62.41 Guide for Surge Voltages in Low Voltage AC Power Circuits
  •     Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – C62.45 Guide on Surge Testing for Equipment Connected To Low Voltage AC Power Circuits
  •     Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (std 1100) Emerald Book
  •     Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Emerald Book (std 1100) FIPS 94
  •     Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers C62.41 Manufacturers (Allan Bradley, Motorola, other suppliers)
  •     National Electrical Manufactures Association LS-1 Low Voltage Surge Protective Devices
  •     National Electrical Manufactures Association LS-1

© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Hang Pictures on a Wall

Hanging artwork and picture frames around your home is an easy way to create a more stylish look and show your artistic side. Learn how to position pictures, find out about different mounting options and how to deal with drywall mounting. Monkey hooks are great for drywall and frames with wire backings. Transfer measurements to the wall to get the perfect picture positioning. Also, make sure to use a stud finder to help find the best spot to hang your pictures.

If you are hanging a heavy picture or mirror, you can use a mounting hanger. Use a stud finder before installing a mountain hanger, however you don't need to look for studs if you utilize wall anchors. These anchors can hold heavy items such as televisions, mirrors and artwork. If you are trying to arrange multiple picture frames, try adjustable picture hangers. These hangers adjust easily so all pictures can be leveled with each other.

Tackling plaster, brick and cement walls might be slightly intimidating at first glace, but using the right tools will make these hanging jobs much easier. Use a drill to create a small hole before nailing a mount on plaster. Also, for any masonry, use a drill bit and masonry screws. Then you just drill the hole and add in the necessary masonry hanger and screws.

If you would like to watch more helpful how-to videos or see the printable instructions for this video, visit

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

15 Tools That Every Homeowner Should Have

The following items are essential tools, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to ask an InterNACHI inspector during your next inspection about other tools that you might find useful.

1.  Plunger
A clogged sink or toilet is one of the most inconvenient household problems that you will face. With a plunger on hand, however, you can usually remedy these plumbing issues relatively quickly. It is best to have two plungers -- one for the sink and one for the toilet.

2.  Combination Wrench Set
One end of a combination wrench set is open and the other end is a closed loop. Nuts and bolts are manufactured in standard and metric sizes, and because both varieties are widely used, you’ll need both sets of wrenches. For the most control and leverage, always pull the wrench toward you, instead of pushing on it. Also, avoid over-tightening.

3.  Slip-Joint Pliers
Use slip-joint pliers to grab hold of a nail, a nut, a bolt, and much more. These types of pliers are versatile because of the jaws, which feature both flat and curved areas for gripping many types of objects. There is also a built-in slip-joint, which allows the user to quickly adjust the jaw size to suit most tasks.

4.  Adjustable WrenchCaulking gun
Adjustable wrenches are somewhat awkward to use and can damage a bolt or nut if they are not handled properly. However, adjustable wrenches are ideal for situations where you need two wrenches of the same size. Screw the jaws all the way closed to avoid damaging the bolt or nut.

5.  Caulking Gun
Caulking is the process of sealing up cracks and gaps in various structures and certain types of piping. Caulking can provide noise mitigation and thermal insulation, and control water penetration. Caulk should be applied only to areas that are clean and dry.

6.  Flashlight
None of the tools in this list is of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem, and solution, are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy.

7.  Tape Measure
Measuring house projects requires a tape measure -- not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come in many lengths, although 25 feet is best.  Measure everything at least twice to ensure accuracy. 

8.  Hacksaw
A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and brackets. Torpedo levelHacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your purchase on a quality hacksaw frame.

9. Torpedo Level
Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly horizontal or vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be exactly in the middle -- not merely close.

10.  Safety Glasses / Goggles
For all tasks involving a hammer or a power tool, you should always wear safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix chemicals.

11.  Claw Hammer
A good hammer is one of the most important tools you can own.  Use it to drive and remove nails, to pry wood loose from the house, and in combination with other tools. They come in a variety of sizes, although a 16-ounce hammer is the best all-purpose choice.

12.  Screwdriver Set
It is best to have four screwdrivers: a small and large version of both a flathead and a Phillips-head screwdriver. Electrical screwdrivers areWire cutter sometimes convenient, but they're no substitute.  Manual screwdrivers can reach into more places and they are less likely to damage the screw.
13.  Wire Cutters
Wire cutters are pliers designed to cut wires and small nails. The side-cutting style (unlike the stronger end-cutting style) is handy, but not strong enough to cut small nails.

14.  Respirator / Safety Mask
While paints and other coatings are now manufactured to be less toxic (and lead-free) than in previous decades, most still contain dangerous chemicals, which is why you should wear a mask to avoid accidentally inhaling. A mask should also be worn when working in dusty and dirty environments. Disposable masks usually come in packs of 10 and should be thrown away after use. Full and half-face respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of very fine particles that ordinary facemasks will not stop.
15.  Duct Tape
This tape is extremely strong and adaptable. Originally, it was widely used to make temporary repairs to many types of military equipment. Today, it’s one of the key items specified for home emergency kits because it is water-resistant and extremely sticky.
 by Nick Gromicko and Rob London

From 15 Tools Every Homeowner Should Own - InterNACHI

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to Repair Cracks and Holes in Drywall

Drywall can get damaged by kids, pets and doors. In a few short steps, you will learn how to repair drywall damage, small or big, to get your walls back to normal. There are many different ways to repair drywall, but in this video with some spackle and compound, your walls will be repaired in no time.

To replace small holes, such as nail holes, apply a small amount of spackle, let it dry and then sand the wall so that the spackle is flush with the wall. For pop nails, repair is simple. Using a screw driver, screw a drywall screw about 2" above the popped nail to secure the drywall. Hammer the popped nail in, and apply joint compound to the dents so that they are flush to the wall. Allow the compound to dry, then sand with a sander.

For holes 1"-2 1/2" the repair is slightly different. To repair this hole, you will need premixed joint compound, a compound pan, a dry wall knife, a self adhesive wall patch and a sander. Apply the self adhesive wall patch over the hole. Using joint compound, cover the wall patch and the drywall. Apply until the patch is completely covered. Remove any excess compound and let dry for 24 hours. Apply a second coat and once dry, sand the area so that it is flush with the wall.

For large holes repair becomes a little more complicated. The tools you may need are joint compound, drywall knives, a compound pan, drywall, tape measure and a utility knife. First measure the area of the hole. Cut the drywall patch with a utility knife. Hold the patch over the damaged area and trace with a pencil. Using a drywall knife, cut out the damaged drywall. Cut two furring strips and attach them to the inside of the damaged hole with drywall screws. Next insert the new drywall and screw into the furring strips. Apply a layer of compound, let dry and sand so it is flush with the wall.

To enhance your homes interior, simple tasks like repairing drywall can make all the difference. For more helpful tips visit

Friday, October 17, 2014

Keep Ahead of Wood Rot in West Coastal Florida

When we look around our neighborhoods’ it is easy to think that we humans are in control,  but nature does not agree. Our coastal homes in the wet Florida coast were built over tree farms and marsh and the moisture from the humidity around us carries spores and organisms. Given the right conditions, these organisms will attach to our homes and the damage done as our homes deteriorate we call ‘rot’.

Where Does Rot Grow?
Organisms that create rot grow where there are organic materials, moisture, and warmth. Organic material is commonly wood siding or trim materials but if the rot is advanced, it can also be the wood siding and even structural walls of our homes. We have all seen images of old farm houses and barns left to rot and over time they suffer from structural collapse.

What areas are susceptible to Rot?
Air movement and sunshine are the best tools at drying the exterior of our homes. Unfortunately, the north sides of our homes see very little sun in the winter months which makes this area the most susceptible to rot. Allowing vines or other vegetation to grow against the sides of our homes can also prevent the sun and air to dry out our homes. Storage placed against our homes can also restrict movement with one of the worst stored items being wood piles which are a constant source of rot causing organisms and wood eating insects.

Another high source of moisture can come from the ground itself either through direct contact with soil or through water wicked up concrete. Flower beds and planters placed along the side of the house can quickly create rot at and below the soil level causing non-visible damage to the exterior and structure. It is best to have 6-8” of foundation visible around your entire home to ensure the house is held above the water found in soil.

How do I Stop Rot?
Wood is an amazing building product as it can absorb and release water without damaging the structural integrity of the wood fibers. However, once rot has done damage to the wood fibers, the damage is permanent. It is possible to repair areas with small amounts of rot and protect them with a new coat of paint but when large areas are effected by rot, wood products may require replacement.

Replacing wood trim occasionally is considered regular home maintenance. Keeping wood trim and siding painted or stained regularly can also encourage drying and slow the effects of organic growth. If regular maintenance, particularly on wood sided homes, is neglected for a long period the costs of repair and replacement can be very significant to the home and may involve repairing structural areas.

What Does a Home Inspector Look for with Rot?
SitePro inspectors are looking for signs of rot to determine if there is maintenance needed, minor repairs needed, or major repairs needed. SitePro inspectors are looking for visual signs of rot and may probe sample areas to see if rot is perhaps concealed under paint.

Unfortunately, rot can often be hidden by soil levels, storage and vegetation, or concealed with paint which will not be visible during a SitePro inspection.

Final Thoughts
Preventing rot is about regular maintenance. Ensuring that your home has adequate clearance from the ground, removing vegetation and storage from the outside of the home, maintaining paint and caulking, and doing minor repairs as needed can keep your home free of major rot for its lifetime

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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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Curb Appeal Helps Sell Your House

Curb appeal has always been a key component of selling a home. A well-manicured lawn, fresh paint on the front door and a clean exterior — from siding to windows to driveways and sidewalks — can immediately entice or repel a prospective buyer.

Nowadays, with the majority of buyers shopping for homes online before ever stepping foot on a property, the trick for sellers is to capture that curb appeal through photographs. Jim Hughes of Greenwell Realty and Property Management in Andover, Minn., recommends homeowners hire a professional photographer to help them capture their curb appeal to lure in buyers.

“The quality of the photograph is almost as important as the curb appeal itself,” Hughes said. “We’ll see great pictures that are taken in dim light or from bad angles all the time and they’ll get dismissed just as quickly as those (homes) that are not well-prepared (in curb appeal). That first glimpse might be the only shot you’ll get at the buyer having interest in your home.”

Once you get that prospective buyer on your property, how the home looks from the outside and immediately upon entering is key to drawing in or turning off a buyer, Hughes said.

“You want to make darned sure your entryway is super clean,” Hughes said. “People should feel comfortable walking in your house in their (socks). The first impression is the main reason for that, but the second reason is they’re really looking for a critical reason to eliminate the house while their Realtor is (unlocking the door). At that time, the buyer’s senses are overwhelmed. They’re absorbing everything they see with a lot more detail than once they get inside.”

Aside from general exterior maintenance — cleaning cobwebs, clearing the yard of any weeds, debris or decorative ornaments (think pink flamingos) — homeowners looking to sell should repair cracked windows or screens, fix small nuisances like a broken doorbell, and add fresh mulch or stones to garden beds. Cleaning asphalt roofs of black streaks, power washing siding and sidewalks, or sealcoating an asphalt driveway, can all enhance the appearance of the home.

Adding a fresh coat of paint is another cost-effective way to freshen up a home, inside or out.If your home is older and in need of updates, kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that generate the most return on your investment. Consider upgrading laminate countertops with quartz or granite; changing out old light fixtures or replacing brass fixtures with brushed nickel, said Robin Burrill an interior designer and CEO of Curb Appeal Renovations in Keller, Texas.

Before embarking on any remodeling project, though, it’s important to talk with your contractor and real estate agent to make sure the project makes sense, will generate the return you’re seeking and fits with the other existing properties in your neighborhood.

“I think the most important facet is making sure whatever you do, that the remodel looks like it goes with the house,” Burrill said. “So many times, we’ll see people do a room addition or an outdoor living space and it doesn’t look like it goes with the home. A perfect example would be a patio cover. They’ll do a shed roof or a flat roof for a patio cover, whereas, if they had gone ahead and spent the money and went with (a style) that fits that home, it would add so much to that curb appeal and to the value of the home.”

Hiring a good real estate professional can help you decide the right projects to get the most out of your curb appeal. Hughes retains a professional home stager on staff to help prepare his clients homes for sale.

“Good curb appeal is like having an auction to sell everything you own,” Hughes said. “If, on the day of the auction, you get a big rainstorm, you’re not going to get much money for your items because the audience will be smaller. Essentially, the same is true with curb appeal. If you do a good job on curb appeal, you’ll have more buyers that are interested. Though they might not make offers, you’ll have a larger audience of buyers.”

 By Angie Hicks

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List.

Read more here:

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Value of 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.

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.
Request an Inspection
Or Call 850-934-6800
To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why does my Roof Leak and How do I Repair IT?

There is almost nothing more concerning to a homeowner or buyer than buying a home with a leaky roof. While our roof plays an important structural role in the design of the home, we most of all depend on our roof to keep us dry in the rain and when our roof leaks it is a major concern.

Why do Roofs Leak?
Water flows under the force of gravity and winds and is always trying to follow the path of least resistance. When the path of least resistance allows water to get past the roofing system, a leak will develop. Roof systems are largely divided into ‘flat roof’ systems or ‘steep roof’ systems. 

A 'steep roof' system uses layers of roofing products like tiles or shingles to create a series of umbrellas that water flows down as it follows gravity. These umbrellas are typically installed in at least two layers at any point and there is often an underlying tar paper or plastic material as a last line of water defense. Leaks tend to happen most often at weak spots in the roof coverage like at chimneys, pluming stacks, skylights, and changes in roofing materials or angles. The roof system in these areas is penetrated and if the roof material and flashing is not correctly installed and maintained, it creates a risk area for water to penetrate. When the leak occurs in an area of concentrated water flow like a roof valley, leaks can be quite severe.

Flat roof systems require the entire surface of the roof to be water tight. Leaks in flat roofs can be caused by failing roof products, poor maintenance at roof penetrations, or by mechanical damaged often caused by people.

How Can I Tell if My Roof is About to Leak?
Roofs are very unpredictable as to when they will fail. New roofs that are poorly installed can leak in the first rain fall and roofs that have worked excellent for 15 years may fail suddenly on the 16th year. Regular maintenance is needed on roof systems in order to ensure the material is solid and that any roof penetrations are water tight. Most roof systems have a life span around 20 years. Having a roofing contractor begin an annual maintenance program on the roof when it is about 10 years old can help to extend the life of the roof to the maximum amount and reduce the risk of leaks prior to roof replacement.

My Roof is Leaking, How Big a Repair Job is It?
Small leaks in roofs can be a very big nuisance. First, water can flow down surfaces in the roof before eventually showing a leak on the interior ceiling. This can create a big challenge for roofing contractors to find the leak, especially a small one. Even with a small leak found and patched, the repairs to the interior of the home can be very disruptive and likely will cost more than the roof repair.

Major (or multiple) roof leaks may suggest that the roof material has reached the end of its service life and needs replacement. This can be a very expensive job for home owners but replacing a roof every 20 years or so it part of regular maintenance on a home and should be budgeted for by home owners.

What do Home Inspectors Look for When is Comes to Leaks?
As we have discussed, roofing systems can fail unpredictably. SitePro Inspectors are doing a visual assessment of the roof looking for damage to the roofing material, quality of installation, correct flashing, signs of regular maintenance, and trying to estimate the remaining life of the roof. Common roofing comments from a home inspector may include:
  • ·         No Deficiencies Observed/Satisfactory - At the time of the SitePro home inspection, the home inspector determined the roof material was in good condition and in the early to middle part of the roof material life expectancy. The home inspector visually does not have concerns about the roof in the near future. This is not a guarantee the roof won’t leak, it is just that as a trained observer, your home inspector cannot see a problem during the visual home inspection.
  • Maintenance Needed/Further Evaluation by a Contractor – The SitePro home inspector can see some concerns on the roof system and it needs some maintenance which should always be done by a roofing contractor. This maintenance may be flashing details that need improvement, missing roofing materials, or areas that may need some repair. The inspector may categorize the concern as minor maintenance or a bigger repair job.
  • ·         Roof Nearing End of Service Life, Budget for Replacement - In these cases, the SitePro home inspector is observing that the roof system even with maintenance will need replacement soon. Home buyers should not fear this comment as all roofs need replacement and the home inspector is giving the home buyer notice before purchasing the property to anticipate the upcoming expense.

Final Thoughts
Water is a very unpredictable element. It can be driven under our roofing systems in heavy winds or find the smallest of cracks in a roof system in which to leak into our homes. The best prevention for roof leaks is regular maintenance during the roof life cycle and preventive replacement at the end of the expected service life of the material. 

SitePro, LLC
Van Hibberts
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

NFPA Sprinkler Specialist Tim Travers discusses benefits of sprinklered homes

Tim Travers with the National Fire Protection Association discusses how a sprinkler installation at a new home in Hanover, Massachusetts, is debunking myths on residential sprinklers. Travers also underscores the Massachusetts Fire Sprinkler Coalition, which worked with other fire safety groups and Habitat for Humanity to initiate the sprinkler installation.

For more information on the coalition, visit http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.or...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Circular Saw Tips

A circular saw is more versatile than you might think. These tips from Tim Carter of will help you get more out of your circular saws and make better cuts. You can get a smooth line if you cut along with the grain of the wood. You will get a lot of splintering if you cut against the grain. You can also cut curves with a circular saw.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How To Build A Deck - Stairs & Steps

When building stairs for your deck you will also be expected to follow the IRC building requirements. These requirements are strictly enforced by building inspectors. The minimum width for stairs is 36”, but we recommend using 48” stairs wherever possible.The maximum riser height is 7-3/4” and the minimum recommended rise is 4”.The minimum stair tread depth should be measured at no less than 10”.The tread width and riser height shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8”.This means you will have to plan ahead to make sure each and every one of your stairs measurements are the same. In other words plan ahead so you aren’t left with a really tall or short last step because you will fail the inspection.

The first step in designing a set of stairs using stringers is to determine the overall height a flight must extend to. The height cannot be measured directly down from the deck at the stair location if the ground is uneven, instead measure from the location where the stairs will land vertically to the height of the deck floor.  The maximum rise between adjacent treads in mainstream building codes is 7 3/4". Divide the overall height by this value and round up. This will yield the minimum amount of rises required for the stairway. Subtracting “one” from this value provides the number of treads (assuming the first tread is a step down from the deck). Once the number of treads is determined, the exact location the stairs will land can be discovered. Multiply the number of treads by their depth (minimum 10 inches) and measure out from the deck to where the stairs will land. Now determine the height from this point to the deck and adjust the rises uniformly as necessary. Once the riser height and tread depth is determined, you can begin building your stairs.

Open risers are permitted by code with a catch because they may not be large enough to permit the passage of a 4” sphere the same as rail infill rules. In most cases it looks nicer and is just plain easier to close the risers. You must maintain a minimum 6'-8" headroom clearance and provide stairway illumination at the top landing. Stair stringers should be cut from 2x12 pressure treated lumber and spaced no greater than 16" O.C. Not all composite decking material is approved for use on stairs.

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

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Friday, October 3, 2014

NFPA's Lorraine Carli underscores America's home fire problem and residential sprinklers

At the site of a new home construction, Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), discusses the frequency of U.S. home fire deaths. Carli also underscores the effectiveness of home fire sprinklers in reducing these deaths.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014