Caring for your Home

Why a good contractor is hard to find

Home improvement is not as easy as it looks. Homes are unique, not commodities like facial tissue or breakfast cereal. Homes differ in age, the number character occupants, improvements, orientation, methods of construction, and materials. One size or solution rarely fits.   Home repair and improvement demand equal amounts of brainpower and physical strength. Visible defects are only the tip of the iceberg. The true extent of damage…

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2014 So Far: The Good, the Bad, and the Future

The end of spring/summer real estate season is time to catch up on personal business, analyze trends and plan ahead. Armed with flashlight, screwdriver and little gray cells here’smy look around the housing industry Mega-trends I’ve worked for up-and-coming multi-degreed professionals, investors, software engineers/designers/managers, medical professionals, first-time buyers, retirees, divorced and widowed persons; everyone except my main source of income; the middle-middle class.…

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Letters Home

Inspectors typically work Point of Sale transactions.  A lot of what we do gets lost in the buyers rush to negotiate, move and settle. Here are my reasons to schedule aMaintenance Inspection every 6-9 years. The science of how we build and live in homes is changing.  Materials, methods and lifestyle all have an impact on function and…

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Postcards from the field

These recent intown Atlanta inspections put my understanding of building science to the test 1.  Poor Drainage A reputable builder purchased mid-block properties in an older neighborhood.  Local ordinance required he dispose of roof and surface moisture on-site, not to the storm sewer.  He built a comfortable, durable and efficient Earthcraft home.  This property and adjacent lots contain large amounts of organic clay…

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Cool in June

Thermostat Wars and The Streetlight Effect Too much A/C gives me sinusitis, too little and I can’t sleep.  You may be comfortable at 79, but it’s 78 for me. Family beach week is a constant battle between the 70F-crew and grumpy uncle Dan. Individual comfort depends very much on the specific needs of the comforted. How homeowners solve cooling deficiencies depends upon their understanding of the problem. When I see a fan in every room during an…

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A Question of Balance

Economies in Equilibrium Efficient systems require balance.   Part of my job is to discover out-of-balance components before they compromise function and safety.  I rail against the over-emphasis on appearance at the expense of durability because I know, sometime in the future, failures will occur. Appearances do make a difference, especially when they express common architectural language with a unique voice. Lowes and Lead Paint Contractors are tasked with…

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2014 Atlanta Home Trends

These real-world trends in the Atlanta market are worth a look. Thanks to agent Peggy Desiderio and landscape contractor David Curl for your knowledge and advice   Walk To Pizza What was once a lifestyle decision is now an economic necessity.   This nation-wide trend holds for Atlanta, ITPand OTP. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2012/05/why-you-pay-more-walkable-neighborhoods/2122/                 Take the Last Train to Boomerville  Ranch-condo quads…

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Dan's List: Media, Products and Services With not much of an apology to Angie

Homes on TV Tearing houses apart makes for a show, not an inspection.  The inspector’s goal is not to entertain but to assess and recommend cost-effective repairs. If Tom tells Kevin “We’ll just have to tear it out and start over” he’s spending money most of my clients don’t have.   The success of This Old House created a market for home-style reality…

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Open Up

For 28 years I’ve seen the windows of neglect: bound with paint, sashes screwed shut, locked-never to be opened, damaged hardware and screens, rotted sills. No matter what type home, town or country, big or small, rich or poor, black or white, folks do not open windows.   Windows are designed for the simultaneous and independent control of: Natural illumination Natural ventilation:  The subject of…

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Tips for Home Christmas Gifts

Comfort, health, safety and efficiency are great presents for your whole family Open on Christmas Eve:  Decorative handles remind you to OPEN and CLOSE your chimney damper.  Open dampers are holes in your home’s comfort and efficiency. Greenlight:  LED Christmas lights are easy to install, easy on your power bill and don’t overload circuits.   Frosty Windows:  Energy…

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