Categories in Learn It
Explore these popular topics and let your home improvement adventure begin!
recommended for you in Learn It
Content selected especially for you from our most popular posts, galleries, videos and podcasts.
your questions in Learn It
Help! House Flooded Right Before Closing
Wow, that's one heck of a story! And, its not the first time I've heard of this same scenario. I spent years as a profesional home inspector and was asked once to recheck a house before closing. Well, it was winter, and the water was left ON and the heat was left OFF so you can guess what happened next. This was a bi-level home that had 6 feet of water in the lower level, and the high humidity had also caused doors, floors and walls to swell all the way up to the 2nd floor.
As a first step, I'd immediately consult an attorney and put the closing on-hold, because you will need a lot more than the assurances of your commission-hungry real estate agent to move this deal forward. This much water in a house is a huge issue. At the least, the lower level will need to be completely gutted, dried out, treated with mildewcides and then rebuilt including insulation, wiring, heating or other mechanical systems and appliances, doors, maybe even windows. Mold is a serious possibility as well, especially if there is any delay in getting those walls torn open so the drying process can begin.
You'll also need to have a licensed structural engineer examine the home and its foundation. All that flooding can disturb the soil under the home and cause shifts in the foundation that can potentially lead to cracks and instability.
Realistically, you are looking at month's worth of work here, which means you can't enjoy the home in peace and quiet. Issues could also show up months or even years later that are not apparent now but could be the result of this damage.
If you do go forward, I'd recommend you hire your own licensed structural engineer to supervise the repair and remodeling every step of the way. I'd make the seller reimburse you for that cost, and make it super clear that the engineer works for you, and NOT the seller. He or she will be your trained eyes and ears to make sure this home is put back together better than what it was when you found it.
Missing Return Vents in Home for Heating and AC
Thanks for listening to the show, glad you're enjoying it! It sounds like your heating system is very uncomfortable because there are no return vents installed. This is a real issue because the way a forced-air heating system works is that the air is heated or cooled at the furnace or air conditioner, and then supplied to the rooms. But, that same air must be returned to be heated and cooled over and over again for that to be efficient. If no return duct was ever installed, I imagine you're very uncomfortable in this place. (And probably wasting a lot of energy, too!)
There are a couple of ways to fix this, one of which is to install returns directly to the room itself. This is the most common, but also the most expensive and hardest to do as a retrofit. A better way is to install one large central return near the upstairs bedrooms and then undercut each bedroom door so the air has a way to get out. By undercut, I mean you would actually physically cut the bottom of the door so there's an inch to an inch-and-a-half of space when the door is closed. This way, air will be drawn from under the door back into the heating system to be reconditioned, then sent back to the rooms. Those are really the only two options that come to mind. I would suggest finding a good-quality heating and cooling contractor to visit the home and give you an additional opinion. The best way to do that is by searching on HomeAdvisor.com!
Renovation Tips for a Finished Attic
Finishing your attic is a great project because it is an area of the home most people don't take advantage of! So, it makes a lot of sense to utilize it as a living space. Insulating an attic space like that, however, is difficult. Basically, you want as much insulation as you can get.
However, in a finished attic, you don't have a lot of room to work. At the uppermost level of the home, you most likely want to have 15-20 inches of insulation. This is almost impossible to achieve in a finished attic situation. Typically, you're going to be insulating the underside of the roof rafters - and if it's fiberglass insulation, you have to leave an extra couple of inches for fiberglass insulation.
For this reason, I think your best move is to avoid fiberglass insulation and use spray foam insulation instead. Spray foam insulation is much denser and does not need to be ventilated like fiberglass insulation. It's going to be more expensive for the initial installation, but you will find that it provides many benefits. In addition to insulating, it will also seal the entire attic from drafts. Plus, it has the added benefit of being sound proof. This is why I believe it is the best way to go!
Good luck with your project and be sure to send us pictures when you're done!
tips in Learn It
Quick, easy tips and ideas to help you become the master of your own domain, one simple project at a time.
Ladder Safety Tips for Smart DIYers
Ladder safety should be a top priority when using one. Make sure you follow all the precautions before you decide to use your ladder to...
Choose Energy Star Appliances
Shopping for a new appliance and not sure what to buy? All the choices can be daunting, but there's an easy rule of thumb you can follow.
Considering Alternative Energy? Check Insulation First
A poorly insulated home leaks away valuable energy dollars whether you're using new solar or old-school electric, so do all you can to...
product reviews in Learn It
The latest products in home improvement, decor and more with reviews by The Money Pit's band of serial home improvers.