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  1. Haven't see it either. It looks like they turned it into a strip mall.
  2. I dont see any expansion joints. They should no more than 12' apart and at all windows and doors. The crack looks like it is consistent with a plywood joint. This would suggest that the bottom and second course of plywood wasn't blocked behind it. This has allowed the plywood to expand and contract, thus the failure of the stucco that sits on top of the plywood. If they failed on these basics of installation, no telling what else was screwed up. Run don't walk.
  3. Your best, and most variable return on investment, will be your insulation package. Certainly we have come a long way from practices of the old days. The newer minimum standards set forth in the building code are head and shoulders above the old methods. Going to an Icynene system will certainly pay itself off over time, but expect to pay double that of fiberglass insulation and you have to factor in the uprades required to the HVAC system. Icynene requires outdoor intake systems that are 16 SEER minimum and 90% or better efficient furnaces. Price all that into the system, and you will have to take a shot of vodka. But it will pay for itself. Who knows, with energy prices always going up, you may look like a genius some day. My current opion of the tankless system is that it really never pays for itself. You will have a lot more comfort with a high efficiency tank and a recirculating pump loop. Radiant heating. Lol. How often will you use that? Solar panels are still overly priced. I wish they made windmills for individual homes. Not sure how that would go over in the neighbors though. With the goal of green in mind, there will be a lot of garbage to sort through. There are "Green" light bulbs like LED's which are highly efficient but produce a different spectrum of light that not everyone is used to, but heck at least they're expensive. There are water reclamation systems, but do we really have water shortages in Houston? There are even "Green" disposals. That's right enviornmentally friendly ways to grind up your old spagetti. What you have to look at is that the entire industry has jumped on board and began marketing everything they have as "Green" even if it provides no direct benefit. If they can sell it green they will. It will take a lifetime to master it all. Good luck, and if you have a specific question, we'll probably have an opinion on it.
  4. I thought the Heights had architectural restrictions that prevented carports? I think you could expect to pay a couple thousand dollars depending on your design and materials used. I have a design that is more of a Port-o-cochere with corner posts, shingle roof and hardi gable. It's nice because you can always later add walls and a garage door and make it a garage.
  5. Yes you can. The center beam in the room that can be seen on your photo as well as the framing plan is the main structural member that supports the roof and the ceiling joists. Notice that there are supports run diagonally and vertically in the attic space to this beam. This design transfers the load of the tile roof. Obviously, your challenge will be to eliminate the supports and allow that room to be open. The way you will accomplish this is to add 2 new heavy support beams at the approximate location shown on the framing plan as "22' - 2x10 ". These beams will carry the loads of of the diagonal supports that you will remove. These beams will also be the base of the new walls for your room. In order to carry the load of the existing verticle supports, you will have to run new left to right beams under your current roof ridge. These beams will also define your ceiling height. In addition to all of this, you will need to reroute the wiring, ductwork, AC copper lines, plumbing pipes, ect... to the new outside walls. As for the new bridge from the inside, it will not be a problem. You could probably net a 16' wide x 25' deep room with a ceiling of about 8'.
  6. There is no sheetrock inspection. It makes the most since to remove the sheetrock first and then run the new wiring and recess cans. Then the electrician will call for his "cover" inspection. There may be one more inspection after the sheetrock is up and the light fixtures are installed. That is called the electrical final.
  7. A fifty dollar investment in an electronic hand sander would go a long way. Countersink all exposed nail heads. Then fill with a stainable wood filler that you can buy at any hardware store. Run the hand sander over the entire wall untill the holes and joints are relatively smooth with a 100 grit paper, then a 180 grit, and finally a 220 grit sandpaper. Then put your oil based stain of your choosing. Lightly sand with 220 grit again and touch up any spots. Then apply a couple of coats of oil based sealer. Light sanding between coats. If there are large gaps at the joints, fill them with a color matching caulk. Have Fun.
  8. It depends on you. Paint will hold up, but not as well as stain over time. Espescially if the stain is covered with a few extra coats of varnish. Paint can also be really slick, so I'd be careful if you have kids.
  9. To get a baby smooth finish on the beams, follow these steps. Use a paintable wood filler to repair any imperfections in the beams - found at most hardware or paint stores. Sand first with a 120 grit sandpaper, then a 220 grit. Use a blue painters tape to prevent paint from getting on any ajacent material. Next use an interior oil based primer and prime everything that is to be painted. Put a flashlight up to the beams for a check on any bad spots. If the light creates shadows, the trouble spots should be repaired. If you really want it smooth, apply an automotive bondo with cream hardner to any imperfections. Then do a final sanding with 220 grit. You can then apply your first coat of enamel - semi gloss or gloss are more durable than satin or eggshell paints. If there are still any trouble spots, do one more application of bondo and resand with 220 grit. Finally, apply your last coat of enamel. One note on enamel paints, they need to be mixed with 10% laquer thinner so that there will not be brush marks. You will not be able to undo the paint once it is applied.
  10. You can't just say that I'm incorrect. You have to say why I'm incorrect, then provide evidence to support your claim. That is the nature of debate.
  11. It could be a coincidence, or it could be something that you are saying to the contractor. Sometimes contractors avoid potential clients based on initial phone interviews.
  12. If you have to ask, then you probably shouldn't attempt it. Call glasscraft, they have a good showroom and good installers. www.glasscraft.net
  13. Anything under his name would have shown up. Of course not. It doesn't necessarily discourage start ups. People break from there employers all the time and start up great companies. But at least the information is out there for homeowners to see. People shouldn't make up lies about how long they've been in business.
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