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  1. The old house we have only has 1 and 1/2 baths. We are thinking about converting the half bath to a full bath. Is it a difficult job to do? How much is the cost? We are thinking about $2K for the plumb job, but not sure if the number makes sense
  2. Just a bought an old house and need to re-do the kitchen. We are thinking about two options for countertop: Option 1 - DIY, buy granite tiles/bullnose and install ourselves (tile $6/sq ft, bullnose $11/ft, total $17/sq ft) ; Option 2 - buy granite slab and hire an installer ($15/sq ft for slab, installation $10/sq ft??). Both of the options seem to be cheaper than Home Depot and Lowes (their cheapest is $39/sq ft). From your experience, which option is better? Do you have any granite installer to recommend? We don't have any experience in granite countertop. Any advice is appreciate. Thanks.
  3. First question.. Is AC service necessary? Our AC units run well and don't have problems. Do we need annual service and checkup? If so, can anyone of you recommend a company for service and checkup?? BTW, have anyone worked with a company called Admiral AC and Heating? They have been calling us all the time for service and checkup. We are just suspecious with them and don't feel comfortable with telemarkers. Thanks in advance.
  4. I am thinking about purchasing a 2nd house as investment. The house is located in a very nice neighbourhood with large lot size. I plan to use it as rental property and maybe build a dream house a few years later. Hope the forum can help me answer a few tax questions. I have mortgage for the house I am living in. There are two options to come up down payment for the 2nd house. Option 1: take out home equity loan from my first house as down payment; Option 2: take loan from my 401K plan. Obviously, I also need mortgage for the 2nd house. If I choose option 1, do I get tax deductions for the mortgage on 1st house, home equity loan, and mortgage on 2nd house? If I can only get two tax deduction for 2 loans, therefore option 2 is a better way. The rental market is not very strong in that area, and I expect to rent this house for $2000 to $2500. The rent is not enough to cover mortgage, property tax, and insurance. Can I claim business loss for the rental to reduce my overall tax? I believe there are a lot of experienced real estate investors here to answer my question. Thanks in advance for your help.
  5. Some of the cedar siding of our house are rotted and need repair. We bought the siding material but don't have time to do it ourselves. Can anyone recommend a good contractor, not necessary a cheap one? Can you also recommend one for exterior painting, including power washing? Thanks in advance.
  6. Thanks Musicman. The wood floor in the bed room is quite new, and we installed it just a month ago. When we tear off the carpet, the concret floor underneath looks fine. I did a simple moisture test, and it seems to be fine. We put double layers of the moisture barrier, so I hope the floor will hold its shape well. The white powder is not every where in the living room, and a couple rows close to the entrance is the worst. The other areas just have a few spots. I didn't see any in the kitchen and dinning room, thank god. I think I have to repair the grout, since some of them are in bad shape. I just don't know how to buff the tile surface to make them look shine. After removing the white powder, the tile lost its shine of glaze. You mentioned your friend sand them. Did he sand them with very fine sand paper (my guess), or some other scrubbing materials? Can I seal the floor with the grout sealer sold in Home Depot?
  7. We moved to this house last year. Everything is great except the white powder. We don't have carpet in the house, tile floor in dinning, living, and kitchen, wood floor in all bed rooms. We have a lot of trees and shrubs around the house. Will they be the causes for excessive moisture in the foundation? Since the white power is kind of corrosive to the tile surface, are there any ways to buff the tile and make it look better? I know I have to doing extensive drainage work to correct the problem, which will take time and be expensive. Are there any quick and cheaper ways to fix the floor and make it look nicer? If I decide to re-do the floor, how should I correct the moisture problem? Thanks for all your replies, great help
  8. mopping can wipe off the white powder, but the tile lost its shine as well. The white power seems to be corrosive as well, because some tile surface (the glaze) get loose
  9. I really can't tell if the drainage system works well or not. I don't see any undrained water around the house or in the yard after an hour of a heavy rain, but I am not sure if it is a sign that I don't have drainage problem. Is there any good anyway to clean the salt residue
  10. Thanks for answer....Any remedy to correct it? Adding a humidifier will help
  11. There is white powdery thing forming on the tile floor from time to time (around the grout). I don't know what it is. The house is 38 years old. Anybody has knowledge of the white powdery thing? What is remedy? A good seal on the ground will do the trick? Thanks so much
  12. Ivy is growing wild on the exterior wall. I want to get rid of all of it, but my husband wants to keep some of them. We don't have time to take care and trim them in good shape. Any suggestion? Is it a good idea to get rid of it? Any tips? Thx in advance. Nice forum and enjoy it. I will post a few pictures showing the floor we put in.
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