Exterior Design Features

Decks, porches, balconies, verandas and patios are outdoor architectural elements that are often confused with one another. An explanation of their intended use, history and design allow for useful distinctions, although a certain degree of exception and overlap is unavoidable. Decks A deck is a large, raised wooden floor attached to the back of a […]

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Choosing a Manufactured Home

Manufactured homes no longer have to be the simple, rectangular, boxy trailer homes of the past. Depending on the size of your home site, you can choose from single-section or multi-section designs. Homes range in size from 900 to 2,500 square feet and can be customized to meet your needs and preferences. Here are some […]

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Earthquake Preparedness Inspection

Earthquakes are a serious threat to life and property not just in California, but in many parts of the United States. Areas of the country that are less prone to seismic activity typically have less stringent building codes that govern earthquake preparedness. Catastrophic earthquakes are rare, but even minor ones can cause substantial damage to […]

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Collar Ties vs. Rafter Ties

Collar ties and rafter ties are both horizontal roof-framing members, each with different purposes and requirements. Home inspectors should be familiar with these structural members and the differences between them, as they are not the same. Please note that, according to the International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection, the inspector is […]

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Attached Garage Fire Containment

An attached garage is a garage that is physically attached to a house. Fires that begin in attached garages are more likely to spread to living areas than fires that originate in detached garages. For this reason, combined with the multitude of flammable materials commonly found in garages, attached garages should be adequately sealed from […]

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Inspecting Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum Wiring Between approximately 1965 and 1973, single-strand (solid) aluminum wiring was sometimes substituted for copper branch-circuit wiring in residential electrical systems due to the sudden escalating price of copper. After a decade of use by homeowners and electricians, inherent weaknesses were discovered in the metal that lead to its disuse as a branch wiring […]

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Chinese Drywall

The Dangers of Chinese Drywall Amidst a wave of Chinese import scares, ranging from toxic toys to tainted pet food, reports of contaminated drywall from that country have been popping up across the American Southeast. Chinese companies use unrefined “fly ash,” a coal residue found in smokestacks in coal-fired power plants in their manufacturing process. […]

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Log Home Basics

What You Need To Know About Log Homes Log homes may be site-built or pre-cut in a factory for delivery to the site. Some log home manufacturers can also customize their designs. Before designing or purchasing a manufactured log home, you need to consider the following factors for energy efficiency. The R-Value of Wood In […]

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Aerogel

Aerogel is a class of porous, solid materials that exhibits an impressive array of extreme properties. Invented in 1931 and used for decades in scientific applications, aerogel is becoming increasingly feasible as a building insulation, largely due to a decrease in the price of the material. Aerogel is still prohibitively costly for most homeowners, and […]

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