A Brief History of What Happened and Why

This is a companion piece to the “This Is Not My Beautiful House” post.  Both are talking about the same thing only coming at it from a couple different directions. uilding stuff was pretty much the same for a few thousand years.  Old growth timber, skin fired bricks and lime mortar, maybe adobe in warm…


Restore Bungalow Porch & Brick / Vol. 1

I’m breaking this up into edible bites.  Volume 1 shows the preliminary fundamentals. It happens after 90 years (plus or minus a decade or so).  Side walls fall apart, previous owners messed up the face brick with old awning hardware,  nearly a century of dirt and limestone staining,  a big settlement and lintel jack crack in…


What is Sill Pan Flashing?

What is sill pan flashing? It’s very simple and there isn’t any window or door manufacturer that doesn’t require it.  Sill pan flashing is a formed pan that can be made from multiple materials.  You can use roofing membrane,  any sheet metal (copper, aluminum, steel),  there are commercially available adjustable pans, they can be plastic,…


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…


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…


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….


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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