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Monday, July 30, 2007

Chicago (little known fact)

Hi again... the little known fact I am referring to is the fact that Chicago is known world over as the inventor of balloon framing for housing.

I discovered this during some research I did after reading an article in last Friday's Chicago Sun-Times.
The article goes on to mention that Chicago was the fastest growing city in the world during the 19th century with the main factor being the innovation of a balloon frame house which was relatively easy to erect and cheap this aloud waves of immigrants to flock to Chicago and work in our many factories.
There are still thousands of them available in the Chicagoland area though many have been torn down for new homes.
One reason to rehab rather than tear on is the fact the studs go from the sill plates all the way up to the top rafters.  What this does is allow you to adjust the floor height for instance you can turn a 2 flat frame style house into a single family style house featuring cathedral ceilings.
Anyway during research I discovered that credit for this innovation is often given to a Chicago carpenter named Augustine Taylor developed  it in the 1830s.  For a little more of my article you can check out my blog site on active rain, assessable through the home page.
Mon, July 30, 2007 | link

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Inspection defects in rehab and new construction
Continuing on with nagging problems I often observe is when including a dryer the contractors often use a flexable type vent that can be a fire hazard.
The vent I am speaking of is a metalic foil type that has a spring inside.
The reason this should not be used is the fact lint can get caught or trapped between the springs which in turn due to the heat of the dryer can catch fire.
Thu, July 19, 2007 | link

Monday, July 16, 2007

Inspection defects on rehab and new construction
Since we are still in the kitchen another defect I see all the time is the cabinet guys coming in to cut the baseboard that runs along the bottom of the cabinets and then neglecting to stain the cut end which leaves a bright spot sticking out at you that does not go with the cabinet colors.

So far the items mentioned are defects seen more than 75% of the time and another one to add to the list would be the lack of caulking between the counter and the walls.Not only would a bead of silicon help steady the counter of vibration but behind the faucet the water will splash and run down the wall getting trapped between the wall and the counter.

Less often will I see a lack of GFCI protection which is required in the kitchen other than a few exceptions such as where the fridge plugs in.
This outlet does not require GFCI since the power surge from the compressor would have a good chance of tripping the receptacle thus leaving you with no power to the appliance.Yikes!.

Another item I check with regularity is the kitchen vent.Believe it or not there are often situations where the vent goes nowhere and is basically doing nothing.A piece of paper will confirm that one rather quickly.
Mon, July 16, 2007 | link

Friday, July 13, 2007

Inspection defects on rehab and new construction
Not everything I see is a major issue ,but certain items left unfinished seem to pop up over and over again.
These are items that go on a punch list for the seller to correct before an aggrement is made.
Most of them are minor but when my client is paying big bucks for a piece of property they expect these details will be taken care of.
1) Now in days there is often a microwave with built in vent hood.Many times this is not vented to the outside which is acceptable but when the air is directed back into the kitchen there should be a charcol filter installed behind the mesh screen model that is included with the unit.
I have never seen this done yet.
2)Another appliance often included is the dishwasher which has a drain hose running to the sink drain.
Often times this is running low along the cabinet in such a fashion as to allow water to backup from the sink and into the dishwasher.
This is anoyher easy correction in which the hose should be clamped up to form a reverse trap.
More to come next blog
Fri, July 13, 2007 | link

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