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ridge vent, attic

Whole House Attic Fan vs. Ridge Vent

I have a 1300 sq/ft house with 8 foot ceilings that recently had a metal roof put on.  They didn't exactly cut away wood where the ridge vent is even though they installed a ridge vent.  There is a 1.5x1.5 vent at 1 gable end and we have soffet vents.

My question is, how much attic ventillation do you need to run a whole house attic fan with a house  similar to mine.  Also, any web sites you recommend to review products such as this.

Our Answer

It sound's like the house attic fan installation was not done correctly.  A ridge vent installed over solid sheathing is useless.  My first step would be to make the installers one back and cut back the sheathing at the ridge to open up the ridge so the vent will work.  Next step, make sure you have continuous soffit vents.  If those two sets of vents are in place, you DO NOT need an attic fan.  Using one can actually drive cooling costs up.  Read why attic fans can waste money for more info. 

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Insulation with Paper Backing

Is it ok to use the roll type insulation with the paper backing in the attic. If so, does the paper go up or down?
Thanks.

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Home Improvement Project Guarantee Coverage: How to guarantee your home improvement project is a success

I have some home improvement projects I want to have done this summer. If I have a contract and warranties on all my products, do I need to find a remodeler who offers a project guarantee? Shouldn't I as a homeowner have the broadest guarantee I can find?

Our Answer

When it comes to home improvement, a project guarantee that assures completion in accordance with the contract is very important. The contract spells out what will be done. The warranty assures that the products will perform as expected. But only the project guarantee will make sure this all comes together.
When considering home improvements, having the broadest gaurantee depends. With a company like Home Depot, a homeowner can be pretty confident that Home Depot is going to do whatever it takes to make the project a success. But with an independent or smaller company, you'd want to know very specifically what the project guarantee covers, and what you need to do if you think the home improvement project has not been completed to the contract specifications.

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Painting a Patio Rug

I love the idea of a weatherproof rug for our patio but the designs are limited. Any ideas?

Our Answer

Why not try painting a patio rug in your exterior room? By painting a rug, you can create an interesting decorative element that stands up to the sun and rain. To do this, you'll need a good oil based primer like Kilz and concrete floor paint. If the color choice is limited, you can tint concrete floor paint to any color you need.
To create the rug, first prime and paint on your base color and allow to dry well. Then, lay out a design or even just a border using rug stencils or patterns which are available at your local craft shop. Make sure you wipe the stencil between each use and use a brush that is not too wet.
To add a fun tassel edge to your painted patio rug, pick up a tassel stencil as well. Paint the tassels in a lighter shade first. Allow to dry well, and then use a darker color and off set it from the first round with the stencils. This will create a realistic shadow effect. Be as creative as you like and as colorful as suits your tastes.

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Building a Patio: Easy do it yourself approach

I'd like to make my own backyard patio. I know a little about pouring cement, but what do you recommend as an easy DIY approach?

Our Answer

Building a patio is a fantastic project but considering the expense and complexity of working with the materials involved, you need to know a lot more than a little about cement to get great results with your backyard patio project.
 
Instead, we'd recommend using the concrete pavers available at your local home improvement center for your backyard patio project. The wide variety of shapes and colors make it easy to create a customized outdoor room, and with the proper tools and site preparation, you'll get a long-lasting, weed-free surface.
 
To get started building the patio, do a careful assessment of the planned patio location and its drainage needs. Keep in mind that nearby downspouts can cause erosion and the appearance of unwelcome plants. Also, surfaces that slope toward the house can lead to flooding in basements and crawl spaces.
 
From there, you'll next need to figure out all the materials you'll need to build the patio, including the crushed gravel and sand needed as fill for the eight-inch-deep excavation of the patio zone. A five-inch fill of crushed gravel goes in first and is tamped down with a power tamper, followed by a sand base, more tamping and your pavers.
 
Attention to detail at every step of the patio building project is critical, but the work is worth the attractive, low-maintenance patio you'll have as a result.

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Clean Algae from Asphalt Roof: How to Remove Those Stubborn Algae or Moss Stains from Your Asphalt Roof

My roof is 6 years old. I discovered some nasty black staining that I believe is a moss or algae. Can you suggest a product to get rid of this and prevent it from returning on my roof? I would like to do this myself, and was wondering if this is a do-it-yourself project, or do I have to hire someone to clean my roof?

Our Answer

Sounds like your asphalt shingle roof has been marked by blue-green algae or "moss", a typical phenomenon in areas with hot, humid summers. Removing the algae is certainly a DIY project as long as you have the proper gear to reach the affected area safely. Removing the algae from your roof yourself is also dependent on your roof's pitch and design. Removing the algae from your roof requires a ladder or scaffold, and extra rigging.
To remove the algae from your roof, you can either purchase a ready made cleaning/antifungal solution at your local hardware store or home center, or make your own algae remover using one part bleach, three parts water and some tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) for extra cleaning action.
Before you begin the algae removal from your roof, make sure to wet down any plantings around your home's foundation in order to protect them from damage caused by the cleaning solution.  Covering them with tarps while you're working will not be enough.
Then head for the roof and use a plastic garden pump sprayer to apply the solution to algae affected areas, letting it sit just as long as is specified by package instructions or, if you've made your own mix, 15 minutes. Then rinse it away using a garden hose.
Do not use a pressure washer to clean algea or moss as it can damage your shingles. If some algae stains remain on your roof, allow the roof to dry completely before making another pass with your cleaning solution. Repeat the rinsing of the landscape plantings once you're done with the roof algae removal.

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Deck or Patio?

What adds more value to a home a wooden deck or a patio of pavers?  We are making some improvements to our home over the next year and want to sell it once the market gets better.  Can you compare and contrast the two options as far as cost, labor, dyi-ability or contract it out, etc.?

annasz 5-30-07 9:35am

Our Answer

Building an outdoor room, the idea that you can create a living space beyond the four walls of your home, is gaining ground as one of the most popular home improvement projects around.  Return on investment is also very strong.  According to the 2006 Cost vs. Value Report produced by Remodeling Online, installing a deck will give you a 76.8% return on investment when it comes time to sell your home.  Patios are not rated, although I would expect the results to be similar.
As for the degree of difficulty, anyone with basic construction knowledge could install either.  The exception might be building a concrete patio, which involves some specialized skills to handle the concrete.  However, building a brick patio isn't nearly as difficult and could be a DIY project. 
In either case, be sure to get a building permit.  If you are planning to sell the home, your local zoning or code enforcement inspector may be contacted for an inspection and you want to be sure that you have done everything properly.

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Proper Attic Ventilation: A drafty attic is actually a good thing

We have a Cape Cod-style home with attic vents on each end of the attic, along with a ridge vent. The attic is insulated. These vents are very helpful in the hot summer. However, in the winter the upstairs is very cold. I want to cover the attic vents in the winter when the air doesn't need to flow through like in the summer. Your thoughts?

Our Answer

While a drafty house is a bad thing, drafty attics are actually a good thing when it comes to proper ventilation! Here's why: Attic insulation works best when it is dry. In the winter, attic insulation can get damp from humidity that works its way up from the heated spaces below. If you allow just two percent moisture to get into fiberglass insulation, the R-Value (resistance to heat loss) goes down by a whopping 33 percent! Having plenty of attic ventilation means that the moisture can dry out and the insulation remains effective.
For the most effective attic ventilation, I recommend continuous soffit and ridge vents. Air will enter the attic at the ridge, run up under the roof sheathing when it carts heat away in summer and moisture away in winter, and exit at the ridge. This 24/7 ventilation solution is far more effective than any other type of mechanical or passive attic ventilation solution.
A Cape Cod home with a partially finished second floor is particularly difficult to insulate. However, I can offer one trick of the trade. Make sure that the joists (first floor ceiling joists/attic floor joists) between the floors are sealed at the ends so that cold air which gets into the attic crawlspaces does not pass through between the first and second floors. To access these areas, open the doors to the attic crawlspace at the eaves and look down. These are the open areas of the joists which must be blocked. Use foam insulation cut to fit in between each open joists to stop air flow across the first floor ceiling, and you'll achieve proper attic ventilation.