We think home ownership is great and want to help people be happy in whatever home they choose. Much of what we can contribute is warnings about pitfalls that plague home ownership and remodeling work. We are continually gathering the experience of professionals whom we respect and believe to be honest, service oriented, and offer information with only your best interests in mind.

There is a saying, "Stuff happens...". HomeProAnswer.com seeks to limit the amount of "stuff" that our readers run into. Our extensive radio hosting experience suggests that people tend to focus on their houses only when they are considering a current problem. To that end, we invite your questions and hope that you will include digital visuals along with your questions to better help us understand your concerns. Please click the "SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION" button for specifics.

Over the long term, we hope to have deep experience in all the trades and throughout the U.S. and Canada. We know that construction practices and standards vary with different soil types, as well as weather and climate. If you feel the site has been helpful to you, we hope you will tell us, as well as friends, neighbors, and colleagues. If you have suggestions on ways we could improve the site, we would also love to hear from you.

Are dug out foundations and addition foundations typically excavated to lower elevations than existing footings?
Yes. That is why this is a job for fully insured professional contractors. The potential for massive failures is quite high.
Why do pest control companies shudder when someone decides to dig out an old basement?
It may be due to the works excavating soil which has been injected with highly toxic chemicals. It may also be due to the difficulty in effectively treating the space after construction.
Are dug out foundations more vulnerable to water seepage?
Usually. And that’s because there is often no real access to the exterior of the new foundation pieces. This inhibits the application of damp proofing and water mitigation measures.
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Ask Us // Q&A

s there an easy way to distinguish resilient flooring that looks like tile from real tile flooring?
There could be, if you have floor registers. Pull up a register and look at the edge around the opening.

We have hardwood flooring and it squeaks in several areas when we walk over it. What is going on here?
A squeaking noise from your floor usually means that one piece of wood is moving against another. With hardwood flooring, that usually means there are loose pieces of hardwood where you are walking. If you can tighten the flooring pieces that are loose, the noise should go away.

What does “shaling” mean, relative to slate roofing?
It is the process in which the slates tend to flake apart. The lesser quality slates tend to shale while the higher quality ones do not.

What should I be looking for in determining if my slate roof needs repair?
Look for metal tabs or hooks along the trailing edges of slates. Other indicators are slates which have broken off or slipped out of position and metal pieces slipped up between slates.

Q2. Is it always obvious when slate roofs need to be repaired?
No. There can be cracks in slate that are invisible to the untrained eye. However, slates that have broken or slipped out of position are usually pretty easy to see.

Can workmen walking on slate roofing do more damage than good?
Unfortunately, yes they can. Most professional slate repair roofers will place hooked ladders over the slates and move about on those ladders to avoid damaging slates.

If I can't easily ground my old two-hole receptacles, is there something else I can do to make them safer?
You can have a ground fault interrupt device installed at the beginning of the circuit.

Is it easy to ground my two-hole receptacles?
Sometimes. If the wiring to the junction box contains a separate grounding conductor then it is usually only a matter of connecting that conductor to a replacement three-hole receptacle.

What is meant by a ductless heating or cooling system?
This is the exterior unit of a ductless unit. They are essentially the same as larger ducted systems except they are sized to heat/cool a separate or more specific space or area. The interior unit is also usually wall-mounted. For people to better understand this we should show the inside component. We might also help by showing ducted systems in contrast to this. Ductless units tend to be very high efficient, much like a car that gets great gas mileage. Ductless heaters/coolers, like this, are really space heaters and hence, offer higher efficiency by not trying to heat the entire house at one time. These units allow you to heat your living spaces during the day to a higher temperature than you might want in your bedroom or other specific rooms of the home.

How do conditioned crawlspaces differ from conventional ones?
Conditioned crawlspaces use perimeter wall insulation rather than floor insulation and do not have vents through the exterior walls. They are also usually provided with a bit of heat during the winter. In this image, we see rigid foam board that is 2 inches thick against the walls. Notice that there is no insulation in the flooring for the living space above. Given that there is no ventilation to this type of crawlspace, it is very important that roof and yard runoff be carefully maintained to avoid seepage into the space.

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