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Flat or Lumpy Insulation?

Increase the R-value The question only keeps total nerds awake, but if you’re concerned with how well the insulation in your attic is actually working, you want to pay attention.   Allison Bailes, physicist at the always entertaining Energy Vanguard blog,  explains it all rather nicely, with mathematics and impossible to dispute commentary. In essence…

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Aluminum Wrap on Steel Lintels / Big Mistake

I see it everywhere. Otherwise nice and well maintained buildings that have had their windows replaced, and the window installer wraps the structural steel lintel with aluminum.  Ouch. When you wrap lintels in aluminum,  they remain saturated.  Lintels are supposed to drain and not sealed up with aluminum or caulk.  It dramatically accelerates the deterioration…

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Things to Know About Split Face Block

Split face block works on: single story strip malls, warehouses, Big Box stores, and similarly industrial or mercantile structures. Split face block doesn’t work on: Multiple floor residential structure with wood floor platforms.  Most of them leak. Some leak a lot. I have looked at hundreds of split face block residential buildings and I’ve never…

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Avoiding Laundry Floods

This problem barely existed 25 years ago.  Everyone had their laundry in the basement.  Now, everyone seems to have them at the same floor as the bedrooms, or in their apartment or condominium.  Guess what? Laundries leak.  Sometimes they leak a lot.  When they’re at an upper floor, the leaks either cause major damage that…

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Roof Vent Locations

Occasionally, some home inspector will make a big deal about mixing up different types of roof vents.  There’s studies that kind of sort of maybe indicate that it’s not the best idea, or some true blue home inspector straight out of Home Inspector University thinks it’s a problem and everybody gets confused for a while….

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Tile Shower Pans

Chicago is a tile town.  Plastic and fiberglass are a *shande*, a soulless submission to the falsity that tile is a maintenance intensive stinking mess.  That said, the high skill tile setting that characterized previous generations of tile showers has been replaced with mortar beds applied by the less skilled.  Showers turn into mold farms…

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