Friday, May 30, 2014

Does your home have good 'bones'?

There are 3 main components to the structure of your home, the foundation, the exterior walls and the roof.  If these parts of your home are properly designed and built then your house can be said to have 'good bones'.
Foundation
Newer foundations are formed from poured concrete surrounding a crawlspace or basement.  Other foundation materials are concrete block, brick and stone.  In some it is a poured concrete slab which serves as both the foundation and the finished floor for the first level of the house (aka, slab on grade).

Signs of potential problems:

  • Any Horizontal Cracks
  • Vertical Cracks greater than 1/4" 
  • White powdery substance "efflorescence"
  • Bowing of walls


Exterior Walls
If you have a house built using wood framing you will have an exterior covering over the wood sheathing.  Siding is made from a variety of materials such as vinyl, wood, concrete fiberboard, aluminum, steel or composite wood.  Your exterior walls may also be covered by stucco, stone, tile, brick veneer or a combination of any of these.  For aesthetic purposes and to cover joints at corners and around doors you may also have exterior trim.

Signs of potential problems

  • Peeling or cracking paint
  • Cracks and/or staining on stucco
  • Cracks or holes in siding
  • Damage, swelling or rot along edges
  • Cracks in brick or mortar
Roof
The roof is usually built to provide a sloping surface intended to shed rain or snow.  In most homes these angled surfaces are created by engineered lumber called trusses.  They are most often finished with shingles but a wide range of materials are used such as tile, slate or steel panels. The rafter or truss ends are covered with framing lumber commonly referred to as fascia and overhangs are typically covered with wood or vinyl pieces referred to as soffit.  The gutter and downspout system is designed to direct and move water away from the house.  This system includes: drip edge or flashing, gutters, downspouts and extensions.

Signs of potential problems

  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Leaks behind gutters
  • Missing drip edge (flashing)
  • Damage to soffet or fascia

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tool Box Essentials


15 Things Every Homeowner Should Have in Their Toolbox


GLOVES AND SAFETY GLASSES
Safety Glasses – A home improvement MUST!  Protect your eyes, you’ll be glad you did. They now make safety glasses with magnifiers in the bottom half for those of us over 40.  Be sure you buy glasses that fit and will stay in place while you're working.  Don't skimp on this vital safety tool.

16 OZ FINISH HAMMER
Gloves – You never know when you’ll need them and splinters really do hurt. They continue to improve the sizes and offerings, look for ones that fit.

16 oz Finish Hammer – Great for big and small jobs and fits nicely in your toolbox. The heavier the hammer the tougher it is to swing, especially for women.  If you need a heavy duty hammer look for one that has a lightweight head but a long handle.  





6 IN ONE SCREWDRIVER

6 in 1 Screwdriver – Has phillips and slotted tips along with 2 different sized nut drivers.  It doesn’t hurt to have several of these.








25 FT TAPE MEASURE
25 ft Tape Measure – Compact enough for small scale work but stretches for bigger tasks. They also make some great tape measures that I call "cheater" tape measures.  All of the incremental fractions are printed right on the tape measure and I love it.  The number one error in most projects is measurement error.






UTILITY KNIFE



Utility Knife (box knife) – Great for cutting just about anything from vinyl floor and roofing shingles to cardboard. Buy extra blades and change them often.
ADJUSTABLE WRENCH






Adjustable Wrenches – a 6 inch and a 10 inch should cover almost any job.









RECEPTACLE (OUTLET) TESTER

Receptacle Tester – A must for electrical inspections and mapping your circuits.







VOLTAGE TESTER

Voltage Tester - This simple tester will ensure you are working safely with electricity.











TORPEDO LEVEL AND 24 IN LEVEL

Torpedo Level –  A nice compact tool that works  well for when hanging pictures, shelving and small carpentry projects.


24 inch Level – For big and small tasks.  You may not use it often but you’ll be glad you have it when its needed.



STUD FINDER

Stud Finder – Use it to find the “studs” in your walls for hanging artwork, shelves and more.  They work!









CAULK GUN

Caulk Gun
 – You’ll use this for all kinds of jobs  from tub and ; tile work in your bath and kitchen to gutters and sidewalk repairs.  







CORDLESS DRILL AND DRIVER
Cordless Drill – Use as a drill and power screwdriver.  A 12V model will handle most around the house tasks.  Power tools - the great equalizer.









DRILL AND DRIVER SET
 Drill and Screwdriver Bit Set – Use with your cordless drill for all kinds of chores.
There are many other items you will add to your toolbox over the years but these will give you a great start at handling most chores.