Rescue Work on Houses

Aging is a factor that nothing can survive in the universe. Age has always been considered to be having a most dangerous effect on any human built structure on the earth. With the sudden upsurge of real estate through the world, the construction industry has recently evolved into a burgeoning industry, which has given rise…

Aging is a factor that nothing can survive in the universe. Age has always been considered to be having a most dangerous effect on any human built structure on the earth. With the sudden upsurge of real estate through the world, the construction industry has recently evolved into a burgeoning industry, which has given rise to the appreciation of all types of structures ranging from the humble cottage to the sprawling manors and superstructures that have transformed the skyline of the metropolitan cities across the globe.

These structures include a large variety of small houses, cottages, villas, bungalows, manors and skyscrapers in both rural and urban cities. The impact of continual wear and tear on almost on every structure that is raised from the ground level is devastating. It would be pertinent to mention that residential and commercial structures are raised on a robust and strong foundation, which is of primary importance before the construction is started.

The major catastrophic effects on these structures are of the forces of nature, such as, soil erosion, denudation flooding and incessant rainfall. The dangerous after effects of the brunt of these natural forces tend to threaten the foundation of these houses and jeopardizes the protracted living of the inmates in the house. One of the most consistent forces that end the lives of the people living in the house is the heavy rain which leads to the loosing and shifting of the soil in the area.

When the residents of these houses neglect these significant factors, there is every probability that it would lead to house collapses which normally resulted in a high mortality death rates and major injuries sustained by the lucky few who survive the disaster. One of the first sign is the widening cracks that appear on the walls of the house which indicate that the soil on which the foundation of the house is based is becoming loose and the land around is becoming has been becoming unsafe and lacks stability. It is in the metropolitan cities where commercial buildings are raised floor by floor that are more prone to wide collapses raising the death toll and people suffering from grievous injuries.

In the present day scenario, there has been a substantial increase in the application of modern technologies and methodologies that are currently being utilized for saving these structures from an inevitable collapse which helps in eliminating the dangers to the people living in these houses. It is always prudent to engage the services of a professional organization that would offer their expertise on the various techniques to restore the house to its original base and structure.

Home Inspection: Roofing

Spring and fall are good times to inspect your roof and gutters. A routine roof inspection can usually find a problem before it becomes a major repair. Finding a problem early can save you a lot of money. If at all possible, hire a professional roofer to inspect your roof twice a year. Roofs are…

Spring and fall are good times to inspect your roof and gutters. A routine roof inspection can usually find a problem before it becomes a major repair. Finding a problem early can save you a lot of money.

If at all possible, hire a professional roofer to inspect your roof twice a year. Roofs are dangerous places and an accident can result in serious injury or even death. To quote the late JP Getty, who knew a thing or two about money, “If money will solve your problem, you do not have a problem.

It's always safer and wiser to pay a roofer to inspect and repair your roof.
When hiring a professional roofer, be sure they have an established place of business and that they are licensed, insured and bonded. Also be sure the roofer has a permanent telephone and a tax identification number. A professional roofer will freely offer photocopies of all credentials. Many roofers are also certified by roofing manufacturers.

If, however, instead of hiring a professional roofer, you prefer to inspect your roof yourself, here are some things to keep in mind.

Begin with safety as your first priority.

Make sure the ladder is set up on solid, level ground.
• Tie the ladder top to the roof or eave to keep it from tilting or falling.
• Inspect the ladder for weakness, rot or damage.
• Extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the eaves.
• Angle the ladder away from the wall at least 1 foot for every 4 feet of rise.

While on the ladder, use both hands to firm grip the rungs and climb. And always keep three points of contact with the ladder.

Once on the roof, or at the eave level, look for shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering. These are signs that the shingles are at the end of their life expectancy and will soon fail.

Also look for loose material and damage where pipes and chimneys penetrate the roof. These are notorious for failure and leaks. This is usually where a roof will fail first.

If you have gutters, inspect them for shingle granules, the tiny grit that protects shingles from the sun's ultraviolet rays. An excessive amount of granules in the gutter is also a sign that the shingles are at the end of their expected life.

Remember to inspect the roof from the attic space too. Sometimes water stains and damage will be apparent from below. Obviously water stains on the interior ceilings and wall should also be noted.

If damaged is detected, it's time to hire a professional roofer to either make repairs of install a new roof. When hiring a roofer, it's critical to do some homework. Not everyone with a hammer is a roofer. It takes a professional to know the materials and how to properly install them to assure a watertight seal that will protect your home from decades.

In addition to the credentialed mentioned above, when hiring a professional roofer, be sure to check the references and warranties each prospective roofer offers.

Most professionals are also certified by roofing materials manufacturers and will be listed on the manufacturer's website as an approved installer. Such relationships are often essential to insure a warranty is valid and enforceable.

Harmful Health Problems Associated With Exposure to Asbestos

Asbestos is a group of natural mineral fibers that occurs in rock and soil but with some unusual qualities. These fibers are strong enough, durable, and resist high temperature. Because of this, they have been widely used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire and electricity retardant. They have…

Asbestos is a group of natural mineral fibers that occurs in rock and soil but with some unusual qualities. These fibers are strong enough, durable, and resist high temperature. Because of this, they have been widely used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire and electricity retardant. They have also been used in a wide range of manufacturing goods, mostly in building materials such as roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products. In addition, these fibers have been used in friction products such as automotive clutch, brake, and transmission parts, heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings as well. This combination of properties gives asbestos performance capabilities that are difficult to match.

Asbestos are quite tiny that a person can not see. Disturbing them can cause fibers to float in the air which is easy to inhale. You breathe out most fibers, but some stuck in the lungs. Over time, they can build up in the lungs, causing scarring and inflammation which lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma, larynx cancer, ovarian cancer and asbestosis diseases. Over time, lung diseases associated with asbestos can usually develop. This becomes toill more worn by cigarette smoking. Since it is well recognized as a health hazard, the European Union has banned all the uses of asbestos and extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products.

Licensed asbestos removal is primarily required when working with particular asbestos containing substances which can only be carried out by someone who holds a license issued by HSE (Health and Safety Executive). Licensed asbestos removals is granted for a limited period of time usually one or three years, enabling HSE to review licenses and the performance of license holders at regular intervals. Also, everyone who works with asbestos materials does not require a license for asbestos removals. Only for the persons who are all working with sprayed asbestos coatings, asbestos dressing or asbestos lags and most working with asbestos insulating board (AIB) requires a license because of its hazardous nature of such higher risk materials.

Harmful health problems associated with exposure to asbestos can be controlled by the following steps;

For Construction and Maintenance Workers –

  • Must be aware whether asbestos is present in their working place before start working. If it is there, should take appropriate precautionary measures.
  • Must try to avoid creating asbestos dust from scraping, brushing, rubbing or cutting damaged insulation.
  • Must report insulation damage to the right authority immediately, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Manager.
  • For Public and commercial building owners –
  • Always maintain a list of locations and materials that contain asbestos to inform users, authorities and contractors.

For Homeowners –

  • Must get an expert's advice before removing asbestos stones containing materials.
  • Must check regularly to find out whether your home contains asbestos or not.

Most importantly, you can not always recognize the asbestos containing materials just by looking at it. Instead, always have it analyzed by the qualified professional to be safe and healthy.

A DIY Home Inspection Checklist

A DIY House Inspection If you own your home or buying a home here what is required for a DIY house inspection. If the home is yours this will help you to know what to correct and could save you a lot of money in the future. And if you are buying a home this…

A DIY House Inspection

If you own your home or buying a home here what is required for a DIY house inspection. If the home is yours this will help you to know what to correct and could save you a lot of money in the future. And if you are buying a home this could help you spot situations that could be problems.

What you need for a DIY house inspection.

  • Print this checklist
  • Gloves and binoculars
  • You will need a flashlight, flathead and Phillips-head screwdrivers

Start out side and check these locations

  • Check your roof's shingles: Use binoculars to check shingles for curling, or other signs of wear.
  • Look at the gutters to see if they are clogged. Clogged gutters will cause water damage in other locations of the home.
  • Check gaps around doors and windows uneven spacing could be caused from bad installation or shifting of the foundation and you may require an expert.
  • Cracked caulk around the doors and windows could be letting moisture into the house.
  • Peeling paint on siding could be from water getting behind it and making it peel.
  • Too many plants and shrubs crowding your house will cause mildew to grow on the siding and give insects a pathway into your house.
  • Is the ground water running towards your house or away from it? Check the grade around the whole house.

Inside the house

  • Go in the attic and look at the structure to see if anyone notched out the trusses to make more head room. Trusses are engineered to work as originally designed and should not be altered.
  • Look for water damage around chimneys, plumbing stacks, vents and skylights. You will be able to see discoloration and stains if the water got into the attic.
  • Look at the insulation and see if it is thick enough and still fluffy and there is ventilation from the soffit area, and a ridge vent.
  • Are the pull-down stairs insulated?
  • Do the toilets wobble? If they do they will need new wax rings and there could be water damage to the floor.
  • Dryer vented properly and not into an enclosed part of the house, attic, crawl space.
  • Test the GFI receptacles in the bathroom and kitchen to make sure they work.
  • Check under all sinks for leaking pipes and drains.
  • Check interior doors to see if they close properly and the house did not shift.
  • Are there stains on the ceilings from water damage.
  • If there are tiles check the grout, if it is missing in a wet location you will have water damage behind the tile.
  • Give stair railings a good tug. You do not want to be surprised later when you need them.

In The Basement

  • Use your screwdriver to poke at the joist to see if they are sound, especially if you notice the floors are sagging.
  • Are the floor joist full of improperly placed holes? Here are some general rules: No holes or notches in the top or bottom flanges of an I-joist. Big holes could be okay in the center, but not the ends, of the framing. Drilled holes must be at least 2 in. from top or bottom and no greater than one-third the depth of an I-joist. Notches in a conventional lumber joist should not exceed one-sixth of its depth or penetrate the center third of the joist span.
  • Look for termite tubes these will look like pencil-thick tubes snaking along joists and could be trouble. Call an exterminator to see if there is a problem.
  • If the water heater makes noise it may be soon time for a replacement, see if there is a date on it and if it is over 5 years old it may or may not give you a couple more years.
  • Check the pipes in the basement and look for any signs of leaks.
  • Look at the wiring and there should not be any splices in view. All splices will be in a box if properly done. Any questionable electrical work should be checked out by an electrician.
  • Check the foundation for hairline cracks. Cracks in a block or beloved concrete foundation are nothing to panic about. Watch for cracks that are both horizontal and vertical, call a pro if you have these.

Do not be afraid to get an expert's opinion if necessary it could benefit you in the future.

Knob and Tube Wiring – What You Need To Know When Buying a House

Knob & Tube (K & T) Wiring One of the earliest standardized forms of wiring used in homes is commonly known as Knob & Tube (K & T). This type of wiring was installed in homes up until and including the 1940s. K & T wiring systems consist of 2 wires, one live and one…

Knob & Tube (K & T) Wiring

One of the earliest standardized forms of wiring used in homes is commonly known as Knob & Tube (K & T). This type of wiring was installed in homes up until and including the 1940s. K & T wiring systems consist of 2 wires, one live and one neutral, sheathed in rubber and / or cloth insulation. In unobstructed areas, the bare conductor wires are routed through open air space and are clamped into place with porcelain knobs nailed to the wood framing. Since porcelain is an effective electrical insulator, the conductor is isolated from the wood frame of the house. Where wires run through structural elements such as studs or joists, the wires are fed through a porcelain tube which acts as the insulator between the conductor and the house frame.

With K & T wiring, if the system is in good condition it can be safely operated however there are a couple of problems or limitations:

No Safety Ground (the Third Wire)

Unlike modern wiring, K & T has no safety ground wire (the third wire in modern systems) increasing the likelihood of getting a shock or electrocuted. The purpose of the safety ground is to provide a low resistance bond between the metal enclosure or electrically conductive portions around electrical devices and a natural earth ground. In laymen's terms, the safety ground provides a direct path to the earth for electrical appliances in the case of a malfunction. Without a safety ground, if the live conductor touches the metal housing of an appliance or tool, due to an internal failure, the housing will rise to the same voltage as the conductor. If a person then touches that metal housing, their body will become the path of least resistance to ground and they will receive a shock. As discussed above, with the ground wire, fault currents follow the path of least resistance (through the ground wire) instead of flowing through the home owners body. Fault current can get very large and are larger than a home's electrical wiring can sustain for any length of time. For this reason, a circuit over current protection system such as fuses or breakers) are installed to break the circuit and stop the flow of current before the wiring is overheated and damaged.

Another point to be aware of with K & T wiring is that a two wire system also means two pronged outlets. This means you can not plug in modern appliances with three prongs without using a three to two adapter, commonly known as a cheater plug. Cheater plugs are not a good idea as they allow a safety feature to be circumvented. Also, many modern electronics devices need a ground connection to operate correctly and may be damaged if plugged into an ungrounded outlet. Devices such as surge protectors (to protect equipment from events like lighting strikes) require a ground connection to provide protection which is not provided by a cheater plug.

Is your Home a Senior Citizen?

Since K & T wiring went out of use in the 1940s, any K & T wiring currently installed in a home is very old. This can often mean that parts of the system have become detached, corroded, contacts loosened and insulation may have broken down or have been damaged. Loose, corroded or damaged connections create points of high electrical resistance which when current is forced through them become hot. This temperature can be hot enough to ignite wood or insulation materials which can cause a house fire. Poor connections or degraded insulation can cause electrical arcing with adjunct conductors or metal structure which also creates heat and sparks, another ignition source for a fire.

Getting with the Times

While K & T wiring provides adequate electrical service for the homes of the earlier part of the last century, times have changed and homes are now full of power hungry appliances (big screen tvs, computers, air conditioners, electric stoves, whirlpool tubs, baseboard heating, etc). The wire gauge and number of circuits used in K & T systems generally restricts the service size to the home to a maximum of 60 amps. Modern homes require a minimum service of 100 amps with homes with components such as, electric heat, a pool and air-conditioning needing close to 200 amps. To properly upgrade a K & T system to modern code requirements will require a complete rewiring of the home; which can be an expensive proposition.

K & T wiring was installed and joined via solder joints without the use of junction boxes, which is no longer per modern code requirements. This unfortunately did not stop many home owners and contractors over the years from illegally and improperly splicing and tapping into K & T circuits as rooms were renovated and homes expanded. This expansion of circuits often causes overloading of circuits and can lead to overheating of conductors which, say it with me, presents a fire hazard. Poor junctions, degraded conductors and overloaded circuits are buried unseen hazards hidden within finely finished walls and ceilings.

K & T wiring is meant to be installed in empty wall and ceiling cavities such that heat can be effectively dissipated into the surrounding air. As these older and often energy inefficient homes are retrofitted with insulation, K & T wiring becomes surrounded (and insulated) which results the generated heat from transferring away from the conductors. As these conductors are often already overloaded, the presence of insulation will make a bad situation worse.

What you need to know if you own a home with K & T Wiring (or are thinking of buying one)

If you own a home or are thinking of buying a home that contains K & T wiring, consider the following advice that we provide to our clients.

1. K & T wiring is safe, provided it is inspected and properly maintained by competent licens inspectors and contractors. The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) recommends that existing K & T conductors understood in walls, floor spaces supplying general lighting and receptacle circuits are permitted to remain in place if:

  • They are protected by a 15 ampere fuse or circuit breaker; and
  • No additional envelopes have been added to the original installation so as to overload the circuit; and
  • The conductors, where visible, appear to be in good condition.

Any functional K & T wiring should be inspected by qualified a inspector / contractor to verify the condition and loading of the circuits.

2. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outputs can be installed on a two wire K & T system to improve the safety of the system. In a properly functioning two pronged appliance, the outgoing current and incoming current to the receiver are completely balanced and the circuit is closed. However, in the event that the live conductor comes loose and is shorted to the metal housing of an appliance, the outgoing and incoming current becomes imbalanced. In this situation, if you are holding the appliance some or all of the outgoing current will take the path of least resistance directly to ground, which is right through your body and not return to the plug. This will give you a shock which can be painful or even dangerous. GFCIs contain circuitry which detect any imbalance in the outgoing and incoming current and quickly trips the circuit if the imbalance exceeds the detection threshold. In Class A GFCIs, the detection level is set well below the lethal threshold for a person, thus providing a similar level of protection provided by a modern three conductor grounded circuit. If you own a home with K & T wiring, installing GFCI outlets is definitely a good idea.

3. K & T system safety can also be increased through the installation of ground bond wires from each light fixture and outlet to an acceptable earth ground. (Public copper water supply, public gas supply, or grounding rods are all examples of an acceptable earth ground). In this case, all envelopes are replaced with modern three prong outlets to accept the ground wire connection. Accomplishing this can be difficult however as it often requires the ground wires to be fished through inaccessible areas. This can mean that wall and ceiling finishing (lathe and plaster, drywall, etc) has to cut to accommodate access holes which will need to be repaired after the job. In my opinion, if you are going to all this trouble, it probably makes sense to simply replace the circuit wiring with modern three conductor cable and reap the benefits of having new wire.

One Last Point

Many insurance companies have been spooked by fires caused by improperly maintained K & T systems and will not provide insurance for homes with K & T wiring. Be sure to inquire with your insurance company before purchasing a home with K & T wiring.

How To Prevent White Ant Infestation

Sometimes doing a few simple things can prevent a really bad day. Look both ways before crossing the street – even when the traffic light says you can cross. Read a contract or have a solicitor look at it before signing your name. Inspect a property – thoroughly – that you're investing in before making…

Sometimes doing a few simple things can prevent a really bad day. Look both ways before crossing the street – even when the traffic light says you can cross. Read a contract or have a solicitor look at it before signing your name. Inspect a property – thoroughly – that you're investing in before making an offer. Every simple act could get you out of a dicey situation. When it comes to property investment, no other situation could put you in a world of trouble than structural damage from pest infestation discovered only after you've already paid for the property.

For many home owners, the white ant is perhaps the most notorious pest to have around the home. These little devils, also known as termites, can do grave damage to properties. To prevent your property investment from becoming burdensome, keep termites away by doing these simple, little things.

Keep timber or any stack of wood away from your home. Timber is gourmet food for termites so when you take their favored meal off the menu, you'll have a better chance of discouraging these pests from getting comfortable in your home. Throw away any wood, building refuse, logs, and garden decorations made of timber. A few termite species may also enjoy grubbing on damp, rotting wood inside trees, dead grass, and leaf litter.

Keep every room in your home dry and ventilated. This is especially critical for basements, bathrooms, and other spaces that are susceptible to moisture. Termites can not get enough of water. Once they hear those dripping pipes and leaky faucets, they'll come rushing and start holding what humans might call a “rave.” So fix all your pipes and faucets. Make sure your foundations are not dank and your bathrooms have proper ventilation.

Prevent entry to your home by installing physical barriers, which are made from materials white ants can not chew such as metal and rocks. You can get them at hardware stores and building suppliers. Ideally, theseought to be installed during construction but you can still retro-fit them to your existing structure. You could get a professional to install them or ask knowledgeable salesmen at the hardware store which barriers are best for DIY installation.

Finally, do a regular and thorough inspection on your own by reading helpful sources like online termite control solutions or through professionals to ensure that termites have not infiltrated your property. This is done once a year in cooler locations and twice a year in warmer areas. Inspect every corner of your home. Check the edges of your house. Look for signs of termite activity.

Initial Steps for Water Damage Repair

The world has seen some unusually strong weather patterns in recent years, many of which have claimed in damage to property. Wildfires in the western United States have destroyed homes and agricultural operations, while hurricanes and tsunamis around the world have led to destruction of historical coastlines and buildings. Lesser meteorological events have also caused…

The world has seen some unusually strong weather patterns in recent years, many of which have claimed in damage to property. Wildfires in the western United States have destroyed homes and agricultural operations, while hurricanes and tsunamis around the world have led to destruction of historical coastlines and buildings. Lesser meteorological events have also caused problems for people and their homes. For example, you do not have to be in the path of a hurricane to experience water damage. Heavy rains and poor flooding control can combine to wreak havoc on your home and possessions, which is why you need to know what to do when you require water damage repair. If you have discovered water damage, your first instinct might be panic, but this is not helpful. Instead, you should try to keep calm and deal with the damage deliberately.

If the weather or other conditions have been delivered in water damage to your home, you should be thankful that you and your family are safe. After all, your home can be repaired, and your possessions can be replaced. Once you have determined that you and your loved ones are safe, you should get to work immediately to prevent as much damage as possible. If the water is coming from inside your home, you need to turn it off as soon as possible. Then, you need to make sure that electrical circuit breakers are turned off so the threat of electrocution is removed.

Once you have removed the threat of electrocution, you can begin to save items in your home. Slipping aluminum foil under legs of furniture can keep it from becoming damaged, plus it can prevent stains. If the water is too deep, placing the legs of furniture in plastic containers can offer protection. You should also gather any important items like books and photos to be placed somewhere safe. It is also a good idea to remove items that can wick moisture, such as drapes or curtains. If the water damage to your home is simply too excessive to treat by yourself, you need to call on the services of a professional restoration company right away. A reputable restoration company can secure your home and prevent as much damage as possible in a short amount of time.

Water damage can happen anywhere, especially considering the unusual weather patterns that the world has been experiencing. If you require water damage repair for any reason, the first step to take is to assess the damage and save as much of your property as possible. However, in extreme cases, you should not hesitate to call professionals to help you in the cleaning and restoration process.

What Is Under Floor Heating

When the weather gets too cold, and the fire on the hearth just will not provide enough heat for the whole house, you'll need a better alternative. There are a lot of different heaters that you can install in your house, but like the fireplace, you will not get to spread the heat all through…

When the weather gets too cold, and the fire on the hearth just will not provide enough heat for the whole house, you'll need a better alternative. There are a lot of different heaters that you can install in your house, but like the fireplace, you will not get to spread the heat all through the house. If you want your house to have a consistent warm temperature all through, you're better off with under floors. But what are these systems and how do they work? Let's look in this little bit deeper to understand further.

What are under floor heating systems?

Just as the name suggest, under floor heating systems are heating apparatuses that are installed under the floor that provide heat and keep the room temperature warm. Thermal radiation from the apparatus will help in distributing heat all through the house evenly. There are generally 2 types of heating systems; one where warm water is circulated through pipe systems underneath your floor board, and the other that uses electricity to produce the heat required to get the room temperature warm.

How does an under floor heating system work?

In the case of heating systems that use hot water to provide heat, warm water circulates through the pipe system laid out under your floor boards. The water is heated and kept warm through a boiler. Temperature can be controlled through a centralized thermostat which you can manipulate to make the temperature warmer or a bit cooler. The water flow is then controlled through check valves of the actuator. For heating systems like electric floor matting, things are a lot easier, all you need to do is to set the temperature and as long as there is electricity, the matting will consistently give out the temperature needed.

Where can I purchase under floor heating systems?

You can purchase these types of heaters in any home improvement store or any place where you can find items and materials for home improvement. You can ask over the counter for help in finding them. An even easier way would be to just go online and check out the internet for sites that sell them. All you need is a reliable search engine like Google, and the right search terms.

Under floor heating systems are really great if you live in an area where winters get too cold. If you do not have it yet, you might want to consider getting it as part of your home improvements. You can always search online for more information about the topic to make sure that you are doing an educated decision in buying one.

Being Present For Your Home Inspection

Most real estate agents recommend a home inspection before putting in an offer on a home. There are two types of home inspections: inspections for buyers and inspections for sellers. Your real estate agent may recommend having a home evaluated before putting it on the market to find out if there are any large structural…

Most real estate agents recommend a home inspection before putting in an offer on a home. There are two types of home inspections: inspections for buyers and inspections for sellers. Your real estate agent may recommend having a home evaluated before putting it on the market to find out if there are any large structural issues with the home that could affect the asking price.

Some people feel that the burden of having a home inspection should be on the buyer and that if something major is discovered, they can deal with it then. The biggest problem here is you risk having an interested party walk because they are afraid of what else might turn up. By knowing what exactly is going on with your home, you are in a better position to negotiate a fair price or take the time to fix any problems that will help increase resale value.

For Buyers, having an independent home inspector evaluate a home is a critical step in the home buying process. This is the most intimate you may ever be with your home. You will learn where your water pipes run, where your shut-offs for gas and water are, where the electrical outlets are, how your foundation was built and how solid it is.

Some people feel like all they need is a report and that they do not need to be there in person, but I'm seriously disagree with that. Even though inspectors take photographs to include in the report, being present and being able to ask questions and take a look at problems for yourself is a huge asset. You have a professional at your fingertips, so be sure to make the best use of the time.

Sellers should not be during a buyer's home inspection. Both the home inspector and the buyer will feel more comfortable talking freely and asking questions without the seller in the house.

If there is a discrepancy between the information that has been found, for example, the seller's inspector claims there are no problems with the home, but the buyer's inspector has found tiles missing from the roof, then the buyer has the option to have an additional inspection or to walk away from the deal.

If the goal of putting your home in the real estate market is to sell it, make sure you know what you're selling. If you want to buy a home, make sure you know what you're getting into. Be present when the home is being inspected and ask questions even if they seem like silly questions to you.

Home Inspectors and Infestations

A home inspector's job is to evaluate the structural integrity of a home or property. Among other parts of the inspection that include checking the roofing, the foundation, electrical and water leaks, the inspection must also evaluate whether or not there are problems due to insects, birds, squirrels, etc. Believe it or not, insect and…

A home inspector's job is to evaluate the structural integrity of a home or property. Among other parts of the inspection that include checking the roofing, the foundation, electrical and water leaks, the inspection must also evaluate whether or not there are problems due to insects, birds, squirrels, etc. Believe it or not, insect and animal infestations can compromise the safety of a home.

There are various insects that can cause problems in a home. The most common include termites, black ants, birds and squirrels. Here's how they can cause problems:

Carpenter ants: These ants set up colonies in soft wood that is moist or decaying. From there other colonies often form. The ants burrow through wood to build their nests and it's the burrowing that is the cause for concern. Essentially these ants are hollowing out wood leaving holes bored through. If the wood in question is a support beam or anything more than decorative, there can be major consequences.

Termites: Termites eat wood. Termites, like carpenter ants, like damp soil. They nest in the soil under homes. If wood is in contact with the soil, they start to eat their way up, as wood is the main food source for termites. Termites can eat holes through the wood and compromise the safety of the home. Termites may eat through other substances to get to the wood that can include insulation. Keep wood away from homes, including mulch. Building the foundation up from the ground before using wood can also help prevent termite infestation.

Squirrels: Squirrels are cute critters, but let them nest in your home and you could find electrical cords eat through. Squirrels have also been known to chew through wood, tiles and insulation. Electrical cords dangling can lead to fires. Squirrels may also chew on gas lines. Making sure there are no entry points in a home for squirrels or other rodents to enter is the best form of prevention. Squirrels often enter through holes in roofs and set up residence in the attic.

Birds: Similar to squirrels, they can peck through wiring, or pull it out thinking it might make for a good nest, which compromises the home, not to mention the health hazards of having animal feces in a home or animals that have a likelihood of carrying disease.

A home inspector's job is to identify if there is a problem that may cause structural damage to the home. The inspector's job is NOT to remove the problem. If a home inspector finds an infestation, they should refer the homeowner or homebuyer to a professional exterminator or animal relocation specialist.

Most inspectors jobs do not include identifying rodent or bird infestations unless it relates to the safety of the home, such as in the case where wiring has been eaten through, or tiles there are tiles missing or entries in the home through the roof or other areas that may cause problems for the home.

Infestations reduce the value of a home and will become a bargaining point in any real estate sale. If you suspect an infestation, have it treated as soon as you discover it. Prevention is always the best medicine. By taking care of the problem before you sell you'll increase the value of your home.

Springtime Home Inspection And Maintenance

Many of us take pride in our home but during the winter months, our home can take quite a beating. The long winters in the northern states can be hard on the exterior of the home and the weather makes it difficult for us to continue to take care of projects as they become available.…

Many of us take pride in our home but during the winter months, our home can take quite a beating. The long winters in the northern states can be hard on the exterior of the home and the weather makes it difficult for us to continue to take care of projects as they become available. That is why it is a good idea for you to set ahead a weekend or two in the spring to make sure that your home is up to speed. Here are some tips that can help you in that type of maintenance work so that you can enjoy the summer in a home that is well-maintained.

One of the first things that you should check in the springtime is the gutters of the home. If you live in an area that has ice or snow, this can easily impact the gutters and cause them to leak. If the gutters are not draining properly, this can end up pulling water into the home under the roofing or sometimes even through the walls into the living space. Make sure that the gutters are clear of any debris and that they are well-maintained in the spring. You should also make sure that any area where they drain away from the home is free of clutter so that the water can get away from the foundation.

It is likely that you are going to have some yard work to do in the springtime as well. Many of us tend to enjoy doing this work on our own but for larger projects, you may want to consider hiring some landscapers. They can help you to get a handle on the situation so that you can take care of the maintenance work much easier. One thing to look for in particular is any low areas that can result in flooding through the summer. This is especially the case around the foundation of the home where water can end up getting into the basement or crawl space.

An examination of the roof is always a good idea, especially after a hard winter. Typically, a visual inspection of the roof is all that is going to be necessary and you can do so from the ground level. If you see that the shingles are cracked or damaged, you are going to need to examine this a little bit closer. Keep in mind, working on the roof is dangerous and it is also expensive. If you're going to have any type of roofing job that is necessary, start to set some money in the family budget to take care of it as soon as possible.

Those are just a few of the things that should be done every spring when the snow and ice falls. You should do a thorough walk around of the home and inspect for any type of visible damage that has occurred as well. Making updates to your home during this time and fixing any damage will help to save you money and time to the future if the problem is allowed to get bigger.

What Is Asbestos and How Can It Impact You?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber frequently used in building materials. It's commonly used in insulation and fire resistant materials because of its thermal qualities. In years past asbestos was widely used in many industrial, commercial and home applications. In recent years the use of asbestos-containing products has significantly declined in the United States,…

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber frequently used in building materials. It's commonly used in insulation and fire resistant materials because of its thermal qualities. In years past asbestos was widely used in many industrial, commercial and home applications. In recent years the use of asbestos-containing products has significantly declined in the United States, and strict guidelines have been implemented regarding how these products can be safely removed and disposed of when detected. If asbestos fibers never broke down and became airborne there would only be praises for it because of its phenomenal ability to resist heat and fire and help keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Unfortunately, asbestos fibers can break into microscopically thin fibers and become airborne. Once airborne, the fibers can cause potentially fatal conditions such as Mesothelioma. This dangerous disease requires little exposure to these dangerous thin fibers. The other cancers and illnesses associated with airborne asbestos require more frequent and lengthy exposure. Unlike dust from other building materials, the microscopic fibers can not be seen when it is in the air and no other sense is able to detect its presence as it has no smell, no taste and it does not make a sound.

There are two common types of this often fatal cancer caused by asbestos, each based on the location in the body it affects.

The most common type is Pleural Mesothelioma, named because it develops in the pleural mesothelium (lung lining). Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma include difficulty in breathing, chest pain, weight loss, fever, night sweats and cough. Not all symptoms need to be present to receive a diagnosis of this rare and fatal disease.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma, affecting about one third of all those who contract the cancer, can be found in the abdomen. The symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma include swelling, abdominal pain, weight loss, a mass in the abdomen, bowel obstruction, blood-clotting abnormalities, anemia and fever.

Between ten and forty years often pass from the time of exposure to the time one is diagnosed with the condition. More than 2,000 cases are reported each year in the United States alone. Due to the strength of the correlation between asbestos exposure and Mesothelioma, a fatal link is known to exist.

It is imperative that materials containing asbestos shall be used responsibly. Those working with it must treat it as the potentially hazardous material it can deteriorate into. To prevent the contracting of fatal and other adverse catastrophe, factory owners, contractors and those in charge of worksites where asbestos can be found must let employees know that they are working with material that contains the harmful substance and how to work with it safely.

Homeowners and business owners concerned about the presence of asbestos in their home can have samples drawn and tested. One could prevent exposure by having materials tested before entering the demolition phase of a project. Before ripping out walls or floors, have the materials tested. It could save a life.

Is It Time To Build a Decent Garage?

A garage can be utilized in many ways; the obvious use is for looking after your car or motorbike. But if you peek inside a well designed garage you will see a lot of items securely stored away. Garden tools, neatly arranged along your chest freezer, sometimes the wooden joists are used to store your…

A garage can be utilized in many ways; the obvious use is for looking after your car or motorbike. But if you peek inside a well designed garage you will see a lot of items securely stored away. Garden tools, neatly arranged along your chest freezer, sometimes the wooden joists are used to store your bulky items that would not fit in the attic. A decent garage is more than an extra room for your house; it can add some real value to the worth of your home also. Let's consider the best and safest way to plan for your new garage.

Step One

The obvious first step is where do you want the garage to be? Should it be attached to your home, or would it be better fitted being located more or more meters away? If the garage is connected to your house; you will probably need to theme it tastefully; otherwise it may well detract from your home's original styling. A decent garage should compliment your home, not turn it into an eyesore. If you live in a cold and rainy part of the world you will probably prefer your garage to have access to your home. There is nothing worse than having to run from your dry and warm car via a freezing and pouring rainfall just to get inside your house.

Step Two

You will need to seek planning permission, unless you live in a more remote part of the world. There is a lot of red tape to consider when erecting a building of any size in your garden. If your garage is within a certain distance of your house; it will be considered to be an extension. You will need planning permission for this. Likewise, if the garage is over three meters high; you will also need planning permission.

Step Three

So you have decided where the garage will be built and you have discovered that you need permission from the authorities, then what next? Well, you should draw up the plans and send these off to the office that will hopefully give you the required planning permission. You need to speak in depth with your local authority to ascertained the correct procedures for this step. They will inform you of the specifications that you need to include on the application, usually they will include several sketches / drawings of the proposed building. They will also charge you for this consideration; bear these costs in mind when budgeting for the garage.

Step Four

Planning permission generally takes about 2 months; this will depend on how fast your local authority operates. If you have waited this long and have heard nothing; do not be scared to pay them a visit. Maybe they tried to contact you a few weeks earlier and forget to chase you up.

Approval

After a seemingly endless wait game, you have finally got the go ahead to build your dream garage. All of the red tape has finally been cut away; you should waste no time and contact your friendly builder to come and get the project started properly. Good luck and enjoy!

What to Do In Case of a Gas Leak at Home

Natural gas actually does not have any color or odor to begin with, but because energy firms add the scent of rotten eggs into it during processing, it often smells like it when a gas leak occurs. The choice of scent is deliberate because people tend to be bothered and uneasy with the rotten smell…

Natural gas actually does not have any color or odor to begin with, but because energy firms add the scent of rotten eggs into it during processing, it often smells like it when a gas leak occurs. The choice of scent is deliberate because people tend to be bothered and uneasy with the rotten smell compared to aromatic scents of flowers or fruits. When you do encounter a gas leak at home, in school, or at work, you need to take note of several procedures.

Turn Off All Gas Appliances and Switch Off the Main Valve

First in the list of steps to do in case of a leak is to turn off all gas appliances. Second, check the pipes and rubber tubes by covering them with soap suds. When an air bubble forms, you'll know where the very tiny hole may be located. Do not spend too much time doing this assessment. Once you identified where the leak is, call the authorities for professional help.

Before they arrive, however, make sure you've opened the doors and windows to help disperse the gas particles. Also, switch off the main valve in a metal box near the gas meter. In case it's a gate valve, remember to turn the valve clockwise to close it.

Some tipsters say you should close the doors and windows to keep the fumes inside. This advice assumes that you have not closed the gate valve or turned off the main supply tap of your gas line yet. The idea is to stop the leak from spreading into your neighbor's backyard and prevent further damages to property and casualties in case an explosion does occur.

Do not Turn On the Lights, Strike a Match or Use a Mobile Phone

Striking a match or using a lighter is a definite no-no in the book. A little spark is dangerous when there's a gas leak. All that natural gas needs is around 5 to 15 percent concentration in the air and “kaboom!” you're gone. With liquefied gas, concentration ratio is even lower at around 2.5 to 10 percent per metric volume of air in the room. Turning on the lights produces a spark; using a mobile phone also presents a danger with the bit of microwave heat it emits.

Help Others to Safety and Assist the Authorizations

When a gas leaks occurs at home, immediately notify your family and evacuate them outside. Check that pets and other animals are secure. Instead of using a built-in elevator or escalator for disabled persons, help them down a flight of stairs. Using these contraptions might trigger a spark unintentionally. When permissions arrive, lead them to the source of the leak and leave. You and your family may be asked to stay away for some time until the gas has dispersed and the place is habitable again.

Keep Your Home Pest-Free With Regular Termite Inspection

Small but terrible. This is so true for a lot of insects, like the dreaded termites so small that you can seriously discover them but the destruction that they cause is such that a house can be finished to a mere heap of termite trash. If you think that's an overstatement, think again. These things…

Small but terrible. This is so true for a lot of insects, like the dreaded termites so small that you can seriously discover them but the destruction that they cause is such that a house can be finished to a mere heap of termite trash. If you think that's an overstatement, think again. These things ingest timber. If you leave a termite infested wooden house neglected, you may just end up realistically ingested out of house and home in about a decade. The safety measure to consider is a regular termite inspection.

Checking for the presence of this harmful pest lets you take the correct move towards pest control. Neverheless, most people are hesitant to have their residences go through an inspection since it's an additional cost. It takes a smart homeowner to understand that prevention is a lot better than treatment, and in the case of building-devouring insects, regular inspection is the factor that could save your home from becoming termite waste and you from spending a mini-fortune of expenses in repair.

Pest control is definitely essential as research state that one in each three houses is inferred by termites, with the percentage actually rising. Preferably executed twice a year, a non-invasive inspection would not bring about hassle. Where serious issue is brought up, a more invasive strategy using bore scopes and the same devices is required. All things are done by professionals who check out the over-all property, not just the house. The document that they present to you would contain details such as which particular places are infected and which treatment is suitable for them.

With regards to selecting which pest control professional to get for the job, some research work is required. You can go by reputation and ask around to determine which one your friends and neighbors may endorse. You can also search online and look at testimonials. Once you've decided on a company, discuss to get a good value.

If you're considering purchasing a house and want the assurance of a sound investment, a termite building inspection can discover not just active termites, but old destruction too. It can provide you with the element of probability of attack and also suggestions about lessening this risk. In the case of actual infestation, it can determine kinds of termites and give specialists enough information to recommend appropriate treatment. It can certainly train you about termites.

It is usually stated that you are sorry for the things you did not do more than the ones you did. These would be the instance in a property ruined by termites. Do not waste time. Have your home checked for these vermin now by the most trusted pest control experts, Assassin Pest Control .