Chinese Drywall Repair: Ready, Set, Sue!

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“Don’t anticipate there’s going to be some magic paint… that’s going to fix this problem,” announced David Kraus, a state toxicologist with the Florida Department of Health.  Damnit!  Now what am I going to do with all this paint I bought from those lying magicians!  If your home smells like eggs and your appliances have stopped running, you may want to get in touch with a professional liar- in other words, a lawyer.

What is it?

Chinese drywall repair refers to the repair of drywall that has been imported from China which is emitting gases that corrode copper, reek of rotten eggs, and worst of all, can make you sick.  This is not to imply that all Chinese drywall is tainted, though recent reports have primarily targeted several Chinese drywall manufacturers.  It is still unknown, however, if any of the contaminated drywall was originally manufactured in the U.S. or made in China and later rebranded in the states.

This specific type of drywall is alleged to contain high levels of sulfur, which causes corrosion in copper piping and wiring within houses, as well as within electronics and appliances such as air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators.  There has not been much conclusive evidence to pinpoint the reason for the drywall’s toxicity, although a popular theory is that the drywall became tainted from being manufactured in gypsum mines, which used coal fly ash, a waste by-product from power plants.  When coal fly ash leaks into the air, it can potentially emit sulfur compounds.

While it is unknown how many U.S. homes contain Chinese drywall, most reported cases are developing in Florida, with a smaller, yet significant amount in Alabama and Louisiana.  This is most likely due to the humidity and heat of these areas, which causes the sulfur in tainted drywall to migrate into indoor air, creating a noxious odor. However, some attorneys involved in Chinese drywall class action suits believe that the problem may be larger than the scope of the three states in question, claiming that the humidity of these areas is what’s exacerbating the foul smell and corrosion of copper.  Likewise, the head of construction consulting firm Foreman & Associates claims that in 2006 and the early months of 2007, the United States imported enough drywall from the Chinese manufacturers in question to build at least 50, 000 homes.

Who needs it?

The tell-tale signs of tainted Chinese drywall are foul odors (especially noticeable when first entering the house), corrosion of household appliances and electronics (most evident through blackened wires) which causes them to break down (especially if they’re fairly new), and the onslaught of health ailments, primarily headaches, sore throats, and irritation of the eyes.  So if you’re experiencing at least two out of the three (be mindful, it is allergy season), you should probably contact a local inspector.

Most of the homes affected were built between 2004 and 2006, when post-hurricane reconstruction forced a U.S. drywall shortage, which in turn caused builders to look abroad.  However, … Read More

Home Improvement Loans-Get FHA Home Improvement Loans Online

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Home Improvement Loans-Get FHA Home Improvement Loans Online Home improvements can be a great way to make a property a better place for you and …

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Home improvement

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Home improvement

Home improvement

Posted by Fancy Home & Flooring on 2012-12-16 20:34:00

Tagged: , Home , improvement … Read More

10 Secrets to Get a $30,000 Kitchen For Under $3,000

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You see it all the time on TV. People spend outrageous amounts of money to get new kitchens. You can get a new kitchen for a lot less money than your TV would lead you to believe.

I once owned a lovely Cape Cod house with an 80’s style melamine and oak strip kitchen. When we decided to sell to start a new business, potential buyers all hated that kitchen. We didn’t get a single offer. We had no choice but to take the house off the market and fix the kitchen. If you think you might need to resell an attractive kitchen is important. But more importantly it’s nice for any homeowner to have a kitchen they love.

We asked the pros what it would cost to reface our kitchen. They estimated it would cost $20,000 to $30,000. And hiring “pros is not without risk. They may or may not do an adequate job. We did our first DIY attempts because of bad experiences with “experts” who didn’t deliver.

So we decided to do it ourselves…again.

We did it for $1,200.

Yes we saved at least $18,800 bucks, maybe more.

You can do it, too. Here’s how.

Do it one step at a time.

1. Your first step involves making decisions about the layout of your kitchen. If it is reasonably functional keep the sinks and appliances in their current positions. We did not move anything in our kitchen and saved lots of money.

2. Next keep your cabinet boxes if possible. This is a “green” issue as well as a price issue. Cabinets cost a lot of money and should never end up in a landfill. If you do not plan to reuse your cabinets at least donate them to a local charity like Habitat for Humanity or Good Will.

3. Check out home stores for good buys in cabinetry or rejects from manufacturers and cabinetmakers.

4. You can keep the boxes and just get new doors for a new look without some of the cost. I had a cabinetmaker make me paneled doors out of MDF and spray painted them cream. They did wonders for my kitchen and made my house sellable at the same time.

5. Make sure the style of your kitchen matches the exterior style of your house. This is important. My house did not sell because the house was very traditional and the kitchen was 80’s modern. People who liked the house hated that kitchen. The house did not sell because of it.

6. Check out appliances that have a few dents or are lightly used. You can find good serviceable things if you can’t afford new and perfect. Also look for in stock appliances that are on sale. Stores that keep inventory sometimes have sales. Paying cash might give you an edge for bargaining for better prices, too. Sometimes the only barrier between you and a better price is just asking. Have the gall to ask.

7. Consider using lower cost options … Read More

7 Bathroom Renovations for Aging in Place Gracefully

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Today, with the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age, more people than ever are considering where to live as they age.  Recent studies have shown that, when given an option, more seniors will opt to stay in their own homes.  With arthritis, wheelchairs, and other considerations, it’s often difficult to remain in the same home as you age – but today, with the right renovations, it can certainly be doable.

The National Association of Home Builders has recently found that the senior population is one of the fastest growing segments in the residential remodeling industry.  Rather than moving to assisted living or moving in with family, people are aging in place and doing so beautifully.  While there are many areas of the home that can use renovations for aging in place, one of the key locations is the bathroom.  These specific bathroom renovations should help to pave the way for people to remain in their homes longer than they ever thought possible.

1. Grab Bars – Certainly, the first item to install for aging in place is a bathroom grab bar.  This allows elderly people to have extra support as they enter and exit the shower or tub. It also creates a place where a person can gain support if they feel like they are falling in the shower.

2. Shower Seat – If you have the financial resources, installing a shower seat is an excellent option to accommodate the elderly.  Other similar ideas include converting the bathtub into a walk-in shower and installing an extra step or small ramp on the side of the bathtub for easier entry.

3. Cabinet Hardware – Cabinet Hardware is an item that many people would not consider changing on their own.  Cabinet knobs are much harder to grasp than are cabinet pulls.  This is especially true for someone with arthritis or other difficulties.  Cabinet pulls, on the other hand, offer a larger area for grasping and don’t require your hand to curve around the hardware and to make a ball.  Lever handles and bathroom pulls are much easier on the hand, while still offering a decorative and lovely look.  Obviously, this change can be implemented in the kitchen cabinets and drawers, on the bedroom armoire, and anywhere else where you would find cabinet hardware.

4. Pull-Out Shelves – In order to ensure easy access to bathroom supplies, install pull-out shelves on each bathroom cabinet. This will allow for easier access to items in the back of the cabinets and will make it smoother and easier to access everything.  Pull-out shelves are also a great addition to kitchen cabinets for aging in place.

5. Electrical Switch Placement – If you believe that you’ll need to be in a wheelchair at some point in the future, then it’s a great idea to lower the electrical switches in the bathroom and throughout the house.  This will allow you to remain independent for turning on and off lights, using hair dryers, and more.

6. Bathroom Vanity – … Read More