Q: How do I find a contractor or home improvement company that will do good work on my houses in East Point and Union City, Georgia?
A: This is how you do not get burned. Be careful using a contractor someone else has used and referred to you. What may be acceptable to them may be less than what you may expect. I have heard of nightmares in many cases. Be acute when it comes to those who advertise with flyers on windshields, newspapers, magnetic signs on personal vehicles, hand-outs and cold phone call sales. These may be signs of newcommers to the industry or a company that has no customer base or has a poor rating. Never hire any repairman or contractor who come-a-knocking at your door offering services after disasters or those that say: "we were in your neighborhood down the street and thought you may need our services."
Q: I have a new house in College Park, GA. that is only a few years old and I already have a roof leak over my great room and my ceiling has water stains. I was told by the builder when I purchased the home I had a 25 year roof. I thought that the roof would provide protection and last longer than 3 years. Do I need to replace my roof? What is wrong and what can I do?
A: Don't panic. Your roof does not need to be replaced. In most cases it is only a minor repair needed to fix the roof leak. Usually $250.00 is a average cost to repair a roof leak on an average home. If the home's roof is steep or high off the ground it may cost a little more. If the ceiling is not damaged (only stains) this is a easy fix also.
When roofers install roofs on new homes they sometimes drive nails in the roof to secure safety boards and other elements to assist in installing the roof system. Sometimes roofs are so steep that one could slide off the house if a stop board or ledger is not in place. When these nails and boards are removed they leave holes in the shingles and roof deck allowing rainwater to enter. Sometimes ceiling stains don't show up until a year or so later because of insulation and other components in the attic. A good roof installer will repair or fill holes after all work is completed but sometimes this is not always the case.
Sometimes a shingle has became loose or displaced because of too few nails or fasteners were used, Sometimes a nail in the roof system is pushing back out the roof deck creating a hole in the shingle. Even improper or missing flashings can allow water to bypass the roof surface or other normal damage can take place. I have even removed lodged bullets from roof shingles.
But first, call the builder or installer to see if you are still in the warranty. If not get a honest and experienced roof repair person not a company to do this handyman project. Make sure the problem is identified and verified before any work shall start.
Q: I have floors popping in several of the upstairs rooms in my house in Decatur, Georgia. It seems like every time I walk in the bedrooms I hear squeaking. Why is this occuring and is there anything that can be done?
A: Yes. Floor noise can be from several causes. The house could be settling which in most cases is normal and in some cases not normal. The nails used to fasten the subfloor to the joists may be an incorrect type. There could be joists with the crown or bow side turned downward.
Sometimes simple nailing the floor to joist again with ring shanked nails will solve the problem. Type W screws are a better choice to secure the subfloor to joists. Getting to the subfloor usually is the challenge if there is carpet, wood or vinyl covering the area needing repair. If the floor can be accessed from a crawlspace or basement, repairs can be made from this side if floor coverings do not permit repairing on the house side.
Q: What is a Licensed Contractor?
A: A licensed contractor is a person or persons who applied for and received a business license from the city or county where he or she lives or do business. The license is a government document stating this person can do work in the city or county on the business license certificate. The license has specific rules and guidelines for that business. It is not a certification of skill or training. In some cities and counties you cannot get a contractors business license unless you have completed some form of training and hold proof of completion or been in business for several years and held a business license in those years.
Q: What Is Green Building?
A: Green Building is many things. I will try to be brief but complete in the answer. It means less use of anything that can't be renewed naturally with little impact to the enviorment. It Means less ozone depletion, less forest depletion, less air polution, less oil and coal use, less water polution, less soil erosion and contamination as we live and on earth.
These things have a short term indirect impact on humans and life but a direct impact on our existance and habitat in the long run. It means finding ways to develope renewable energy and create incentives for utility customers who conserve energy and lower emissions. It also means those who waste energy or resources would be required to find ways to conserve or not receive credits and lower utility rates in the future. Those who continue to waste energy, deplete resources or do not lower emissions would face additional fines and penalties.
Green Building is being creative in the concept of energy efficiency and finding ways to conserve resources when it comes to buildings and structures.
All things that we use or use then dispose of will have to be considered a depletable resource and guidelines to conserve and renew shall be in place.
Everyone should try to maintain and operate their home or building in the most efficient way that he or she can. Achieving a level of energy efficiency will reduce overall building cost. This means that anyone who occupy, work in, work on, provide repair services for, maintain, or operate your building or home should be aware of the Green Building goal.
Q: How can I tell if the contractor, repairman, handyman or remodeler is qualified to do the job I have in Lithonia, Georgia?
A: First, look at the type of services he or she offer. Do you see your project in their featured advertisement. Is it listed as a service in their advertisement or part of the name. Or, when you asked did they say "yes we do that to". There are many services that learn on the job. This is not a bad thing, but it is not a good thing neither when it comes to homes and the various components and systems within them. You may be able to tell if the contractor can do what you need by their advertisement content. Has he or she been trained or certified in the line of work they do. Have they walked you through the project step-by-step explaining the process before you hire them. Listen to the tone of voice and the quickness of answers to your questions.
Q: I am getting water in the basement of my house in Lithonia, GA. whenever it rains. I have had several people trying to repair my problem. Every time it rains hard even for only a few hours I still get water in my basement. I have had some contractors to say I need waterproofing and some say I need a sump pump in the basement.
What is wrong with my house and why is this happening?
A: There can be several reasons for damp or wet basemennts. In most cases this is a easy or general repair. In most cases water proofing is not needed and it is also expensive. Keeping water away from the foundation and diverting it away from the home is all that is needed in most cases. Soil slope, drainage, gutters and downspouts are the most important components for rainwater diversion and having a dry basement. Loose, clogged, improper, missing and defective gutters are one cause. Soil slope near the home can be another concern. Improper drainage around the home is another. Holes in foundation walls and masonary is a cause. Before any repairs are made identify and verify the problem. Remember if you call the wrong service person or company they are going to sell you their service not what you may need. Never tell someone you need waterproofing. Just say you have water in the basement and see what the answers are.
Q: I bought a nice home with a large sunroom and screened porch on the rear in in Riverdal, Georgia. The seller said he added it on himself. After living here for less than a year I have some structual problems and water problems. The sunroom and screened porch appears to be defective. Atlanta House Surgeons told me the cost to correct the problems may cost $20,000.00. I was told to verify the addition was installed based on building requirements. I contacted the building dept. and found the addition never passed the local building code and no occupancy permit was issued. In the disclosure form there was no mention of the sunroom not passing the code. I contacted the seller, broker and agent to settle this matter but no progress. No one has agreed to repair the problems or take responsibility. They will not discuss my concerns. What should I do?
A: Write a formal letter to all involved in the transaction. Sometimes this will get results. Send all support information and your desire to get the room fixed. Be firm but polite. Let them know you are serious about this matter and all responsible shall be held accountable. If this fails to get results the next step is legal action. If the seller knew the room was defective before selling the property, the disclosure form is your protection. It requires the seller to state any conditions or defects that exist which would alter the true value of the home.
Q: What is a Certified Contractor?
A: A certified contractor is any installer, repairman, service person or craftsman who works for him or herself and has been tested and holds proof of certification in the field of work or service he or she provides. A certified Contractor has some form of training in his or her filed.
Q: I have a houses in Roswell and Marietta, Georgia that was built in the seventies which have a ceramic tile shower in the master baths. Lately I have noticed water stains on the ceilings which are below these areas. Can you tell me what is wrong? What may be causing the stains?
A: Mud base, sand base and cement base showers built in these years had lead or metal shower pans on wood floors to catch water that bypass the tiles. These shower pans will rust or corrode after continued contact with acid, water and lime in the cement base. The average life of a metal or lead shower floor of this type is 20 years or less with average use. Some can last a little longer. Once leaking has occured there is no quick fix. If allowed to go unrepaired there may be subfloor damage and floor joist damage. Sometimes a good tile regrout may prolong the life but leaking will come back. Also, settling and shrinkage at the floor area causes cracks at corners and joints which will allow water to saturate the mortar bed of the shower floor and tiles will release. If the walls are OK the shower floor and shower pan can be replaced. During the repair a new drain and outlet should be installed also. Most new shower pans are rubber material and last longer if installed properly.
Q: I have insulated double pane windows in my home in Palmetto, GA. They are the original windows. My home is about 15 years old and some windows are fogged or glazed and on some days I see moisture in between the glass. What is this and what can be done?
A: Double pane windows of the first generation last about 8-12 years before showing signs of gas loss. Sometimes they last a little longer. The glaze or sweating is the result of breakdown. If the windows have sweating only this can sometimes be fixed by drilling holes in the rubber butyl seal to let evaporation take place and allow air circulation. If the windows are glazed nothing can be done. However, the glass can be replaced in the windows that are glazed.
Q: I have a small house in Sandy Springs, GA. with only a living room and dinning room. I wanted to make the area more open to give me more room. Can I remove the wall between the rooms to combine them? Is there anything I should know about wall removal?
A: Yes you can remove a wall between rooms but there are some rules and things you must consider. First, weight bearing walls are always a cencern when being removed. They support what is above and if removed have to be replaced with beams, post or both. The location of the posts and beams must be correct also or ceiling sagging or collapse may take place. Weight bearing walls transfer loads down to the foundation and there to the ground. Non-weight bearing walls can be removed with no problems. They don't support anything. They only divide rooms. Where ends of joists rest on a wall, chances are the wall is weight bearing.
Most times, walls in the center of the home or under the centerline or ridge of the roof system are weight bearing. You can tell a lot about the walls by visiting the attic and see where the ceiling joist rest.
Q: I am getting birds and critters in my attic. I live in Douglasville, Georgia. I hear them moving around at nite. How can I get rid of them?
A: First, you got to get them out and then keep them out. There are ways you can evict your new tenants with no harm. If animals are in your attic the easiest way to get rid of them is in the daytime when they are normally outside. I have found a loud radio in the morning and lights will get them out long enough for repairs to be made. Evict them when babies are able to be on their own. There are a lot of areas around the roof edge that are doorways for animals. There are natural gaps and spaces between the fascia board and roof deck that are wide enough to allow entry. Make sure vent screens at eaves and soffits do not have holes. They love warm areas like attics and babies are protected during rearing. A attic is a good incubator.
Once you have removed the critters all holes and openings should be sealed or closed. Wire mesh is a good material for quick fix. Repair any rotted or soft fascia board. some animals will chew threw water damaged wood.
Q: I hear water seeping in my toilet tank after flushing. I see water trickling in the toilet bowl. I live in Newnan, Georgia. Do I have to replace the whole toilet or can it be repaired?
A: No you do not have to replace your toilet. Yes your toilet can be repaired. Toilets have several components that work together to fill the tank with water and release it when flushed. There are two components that can cause water seeping. There is a third that is involved but it will be explained. There is a water inlet valve, overflow tub and a water outlet valve in the bottom of the tank. The inlet valve lets water in and when the tank is filled to the right level the valve closes shutting off water supply. There are three things that go wrong with the water inlet valve: defective valve or seals, debris lodge in the seating of the valve seal and improper float adjustment. All will cause water to bypass the valve seal. Sometimes adjusting the float can correct the problem. If the valve is allowing too much water in the tank or the float is not correct the water goes out the overflow tub pouring into the bowl. The water outlet or flush valve in the bottom of the tank that lets the water flow out into the toilet bowl is the other component. The flush valve flap is operated by the toilet handle on the outside of the tank. The flush valve flap can be damaged, not seating over the hole properly, the chain or line connecting the flap and handle can be too short not allowing the flap not to close or tangled. All these parts can be replaced and the toilet should be good as new. The repair kits are under $10.00
Q: What areas do Atlanta House Surgeons Serve?
A: These are some of the Cities, Towns and Areas we serve: Atlanta, Austell, Acworth, Alpharetta, Buckhead, Carrollton, Clarkston, College Park, Conyers, Covington, Dunwoody, Duluth, Douglasville, Doraville, Decatur, East Point, Ellenwood, Fairburn, Forrest Park, Fayetteville, Griffin, Jonesboro, Kennesaw, Lithonia, Lilburn, Lawrenceville, Lithia Springs, Marietta, Midtown Atlanta, Mcdonough, Morningside, Newnan, Norcross, Palmetto, Peachtree City, Powder Springs, Roswell, Riverdale, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, Union City, Villa Rica... Metro Atlanta and Georgia.
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