The following is a general outline of topics covered:
· The Home Maintenance Quiz – Review & discuss.
· The four different methods of construction:
How is construction going from field to factory – What’s good & not so good
Hiring A Contractor/Builder:
Contractor/manager verses Manager/Contractor – pros & cons
· Structural overview – where is the stress?
Basic design characteristics
Green Building / 1 verse 2+ story homes / Concrete homes
Component review – What’s new & not so new
Foundation walls & floors – Why they must work together
The Floor & Wall Systems:
Engineered verse non-engineered lumber. Which is better & why?
Plywood verse OSB – What used to be more dimensionally stable
Roof Trusses –What are some of their problems & which are the best?
Structural movement & settling:
Where to look – The Why/Where/When & How of it
Repair Options & what not to do
· Foundation moisture management (how moisture moves through a home)
Types of foundations (block / concrete / stone / wood)
Management/Installation – what & where to watch
Gutters – How they can save or kill a home
Soil bearing strength or lack of it / Moisture Pressure / Lot style
Water Proofing verses Damp Proofing / Drain tile
What is preferred? A positive or negative membrane? Why?
Concrete metal ties and wild flowers–What is the investment connection?
Concrete walk and stoop warning signs and when it’s too late
Vapor and air barriers – Where they should go and not go
Details details details – it is very important to seal the gap!
· Radon Gas – New & Old Construction
What is radon gas? Where does it come from? What does “source strength” mean?
What in the radon gas actually causes lung damage?
What is the time frame from damage to physical symptoms?
Where are the points of entry?
A walkout basement or slab construction may still have high radon.
Proactive verses reactive / temporary verses long-term options.
Sub-Slab depressurization and pipe routing (interior verses exterior).
Which is better and why?
Radon Resistant New Construction – How it improves indoor air quality, more than
Testing: Long verses short-term. When is the best time to test? How does weather,
ice, rain, wind etc affect the levels? Which season historically has the highest radon?
· Exteriors – Windows / Doors / Walls / Decks
Windows – Compass heading and windows, what to consider
Construction materials and warm air technology
E-coatings / What is the best gas for those sealed units?
Are they worth the money?
Doors – what’s new and improved, where are the maintenance hot spots
Walls – Different siding materials and compass heading considerations
Sealants / Drainage planes / Flashings / End Grains / Capillary Breaks
Caulking 101 – How-Where-When-Why
Decks & Balconies – Materials / Height / Structure & Safety
· Roofs – Factors that contribute to wear & tear
Flashing details / Vulnerable areas / proactive water management
What to look for when you can’t see it.
Ice Dams – Problem areas (new or old construction)
How is it working with the insulation / Roof design / Compass heading
Installation / Materials / Workmanship
Slope / Roof type / Color / # of layers of material
Installation: Time of year may play a negative factor
Ice and frost in the wrong place at the wrong time
How, wear & why will gutters reduce wear & tear on the shingles?
· Mechanicals – How to keep them running today & long-term
Heating & Cooling – Forced air / Radiant Heat / Geo-thermo & Solar
Factors affecting efficiency – What happens if air cannot move
High efficiency verses mid-efficiency:
The effects on the floor drainage system
PVC or Metal Flues (what to watch out for)
Location – When is a mid efficiency better than high efficiency?
Oil Furnaces – What to consider during that annual service call
Radiant floor heat – A very efficient system, if installed correctly
Solar Energy – How to buy and maintain free energy
How could a make-up vent kill you?
Plumbing: (Pipe material, size, & support)
How water softeners add & take away from a water heater’s service life.
What needs to be tested and reviewed annually?
Electrical – Wires / Panels / Outlets – Safety
Old wire considerations & warnings
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) – what do they protect?
Arch Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) – what do they protect?
Which are safer fuses or circuit breakers? Why?
What is the difference between grounding & bonding?
· Indoor Air Quality & Moisture – Proactive ideas everyone should be doing
Best practices / System function / What not to do in the winter
Bathroom fan type, location & timer (a win win win combo)
Heat Recovery Ventilators (pros and cons)
How they affect indoor air quality, & other mechanical systems
Energy efficient window shades. Which types avoid potential mold buildup?
· Energy Efficiency & Savings/Green Building (save $$$) for the future
The Building Envelope (making it as efficient as possible)
Where is your energy dollar going?
Energy savings start in the basement
Many one time options, people never think about
How much, what type & where? You may only get one shot at it!!
Insulation methods & materials (Weather-stripping / Sealing gaps)
What to watch for / The 7 structural energy loss hot spots
How to avoid “Convective loops”
Plans for: The Basement / Walls / Attic / Crawlspace
Where they should go and not go
Details details details – it is very important to seal the gap!
When is a fireplace chimney your worst enemy?
How can you seal & use the fireplace without messy insulation?
The Home Owner: “Zero Energy To Think List”
What needs to be asked every step of the way
· Remodeling 101 – What am I doing? No one seems to know
Mechanicals & Wiring – What to consider for selling down the road
De-construction/Re-wiring/Re-routing & other long-term considerations
Insulation & Ventilation – Basements & Attics spaces are not the same
Indoor air quality, comfort strategies, & energy efficiency are all priorities
Finished Wall Material(s) – Remove, Replace, Repair or Install?
Best practices / Less expensive options / Long-term resale appeal
Long-term accessibility, how will this affect future maintenance work?
Functionality & Re-sale Appeal – I like it, but what would “Joe Public” think?
What to install/consider before the drywall
Indoor Air Quality & Energy Star Home Performance Consultants:
Contact information and resource data for these specialists will be shared.
Depending on consultant availability and class progress consultation/discussion
with the specialist may be limited.
The home sciences require continual learning.
New methods and materials are constantly being introduced. It is important
vendors/contractors and homeowners are aware of changes.
Maintain/Build Your Home Value
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