News and Notes

Roofing, Portland OR

4 April 2011

Stand atop any roof in Portland, Oregon and take a look around. If you know what you are looking for you will see that half of the roofs in Portland are installed wrong. Immediately you will notice that many roofs have the flashing installed on the wrong side of the roofing, or sometimes installed with no flashing at all. This can create rot in the fascia and in the roof sheathing, leading to expensive repairs in the future. Look a little closer and you might notice that many of the the roofs aren't ventilated properly. A poorly ventilated composite (asphalt) shingle roof will not last nearly as long as a properly ventilated one. You say you purchased a fifteen or thirty year roof? In conditions like a roof experiences here in the Northwest and without proper ventilation you can expect that roof to last only two thirds that long. Examine even closer and you may notice that many roofs have the flashing merely caulked to the chimney, not cut into and lapping the masonry properly. Once that caulk fails in a year or two a slow leak may occur, rotting your roof unbeknownst to you until long after your warranty has expired or possibly creating problems for the future owners of your home. Short lived roofs are expensive and generate a lot of waste, they are possibly off to a landfill if they aren't recycled properly. Many older homes here and in other parts of the nation aren't designed with the appropriate ventilation not only because the builders usually didn't fully understand the importance but they were also originally roofed with other materials, like cedar shakes. Composite shingles are the most common form of roofing today as they are the cheapest. They are also the least durable, most susceptible to ventilation problems and most harmful to the environment. So what can you do? First, buy the best roof that you can afford. A dollar spent now is worth more than many dollars spent in the future. If you plan to remain in your home for a lengthy period of time, buy a metal roof or a slate roof, never re-roof again. Compare this against buying several composite roofs, possibly a new one every ten to twenty years. Second, if you must settle for a composite roof, make sure you have proper ventilation. There are many products on the market for retrofitting your older home with proper ventilation, adding years of life on to your roof. Most roofing companies will not offer these options to you, they frequently don't know or don't care. Ask Dwelling Renovation to come by, inspect your home and give you an honest opinion. We can help make your re-roofing project more effective, durable and we can even co-ordinate a quality roofing company for you. Put your home in trustworthy and knowledgable hands.

Getting ready for winter.

18 September 2010

As summer draws to a close Dwelling Renovation would like to offer you some advice for the maintenance of one of your most valuable assets, your home. It may sound obvious but its important to remember that winters in the Northwest are particularly wet. Moisture in a house is one of the key ingredients to making it decay and ultimately uncomfortable. Worrying about the rain's effect on your home doesn't stop with your roof. Please take the time to clean your gutters or hire a service to clean them. That little garden growing up there may look quaint, but its trapping moisture against your home, possibly even rotting your roof. Places where the gutters allow water to spill over can damage your siding, shorten the lifespan of your paint job, even contribute to mold within your home. Next, make sure your gutters drain away from your home. If you are fortunate enough to live in an antique home this is particularly important. Excessive moisture around your basement walls can lead to a damp basement or even settling and cracking in your foundation. Finally, after all that great summer gardening is over, make sure you take the time to clear any soil away from the wood around your home. Soil holds moisture against the wood and even wicks moisture in, feeding the fungi that cause rot. Help your siding and fencing last longer by moving the soil and leaf litter away from it. Have a pleasant fall and please look after your home so that it can keep you and future generations safe, warm and dry for many winters to come.

New Lead Based Paint Rules to Take Affect April 22, 2010

11 April 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules for all U.S. Remodelers are about to take affect. Exactly 32 years after finally banning lead based paint, and leaded gasoline shortly thereafter, the Federal Government is enacting some rules and guidelines for the safe disruption and removal of lead paint from older homes.

Under the new guidelines all contractors working on homes built prior to 1978 and disturbing basically any painted area (six or more square feet within a home or 20 or more square feet on the outside) will be required to be EPA certified through a lead based paint training class. During this course contractors will be instructed on testing for lead paint as well as ways to contain and prevent the spread of lead dust within and about a home that they are preforming work on. As of late March only about 14,000 contractors nationwide have completed the course. That's out of something like a conservative estimate of 200,000 remodeling contractors according to NARI (The National Association of Remodeling Industries).

The new rules are most likely intended first and foremost to protect children under the age of six who are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning. Most commonly, children ingest lead dust that has been dislodged during renovation work through normal hand-to-mouth interaction. Its a common myth that children get lead poisoning from eating lead chips. So the importance is on containment and cleaning contaminated sites. “The classic signs and symptoms in children are loss of appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight loss, constipation, anemia, kidney failure, irritability, lethargy, learning disabilities and behavior problems. Children may also experience hearing loss, delayed growth, drowsiness, clumsiness, or loss of new abilities, especially speech skills.” Adults are likely to experience, “headache, abdominal pain, memory loss, kidney failure, male reproductive problems, and weakness, pain, or tingling in the extremities.” In adults lead poisoning is more common as an occupational hazard, remodelers and painters for example.

It is important to note though that ingesting lead paint dust is not the only way to get lead poisoning. Remodeling and lead based paint abatement intentionally or otherwise have been largely unregulated until now. Contractors renovating older homes have been required to hand out a brochure about the dangers of lead paint for some time now, but for most of Portland's history a scrape now and ask questions later attitude has left much of the soil in the city probably contaminated with lead. Imagine the last 50 to 80 years of scraping and repainting most of the pre 1978 homes of Portland. Some of them multiple times, and many with high speed sanders grinding the paint into fine dust and sending it aloft on a breezy summer day. Add to that the long term use of lead containing pesticides, mix it with this city's robust interest in gardening and you have a recipe for contamination! Even while your post April 22, 2010 EPA certified renovation contractor did everything that he could to contain the lead paint within your home, it turns out you may have been eating lead infused veggies all along. Water is also possible source of contamination, and not just in groundwater. Houses with older plumbing may have fixtures made of lead or pipes with lead solder. In the US, according to some studies, 14–20% of total lead exposure is attributed to drinking water. During research for this blog entry I found out that reporters from The Washington Post discovered high levels of lead in the drinking water in Washington, D.C. in 2004 and won an award for investigative reporting for a series of articles about this contamination. If you are considering gardening or already do, you may want to have your soil tested. If you have older pipes or fixtures in your home you may likewise wish to get your water tested.

Dwelling Renovation has been using most of the EPA sanctioned techniques already. During sanding inside or outside of a home, whatever the material and regardless of its age, we use HEPA filter equipped vacuums attached to our equipment to limit the spread of dust at the source. We use drop clothes to capture paint fragments and diligently vacuum up after work even in soil. We wipe down surfaces and clean diligently for your protection. We use the same techniques even for removing finishes from floors, woodwork, built-ins and cabinets because we know you can't wait 30 years to for some agency somewhere to determine that poly-urethane dust, or the dust of other finishes, paints, silica, gypsum, wood fillers or whatever are toxic. That said, there is always room for improvement, as we learn and as the industry reveals new information we will strive to always be improving our standards for your safety. Not just at the start, by suggesting the best materials and safest finishes for your home, but during the remodeling process when your safety and comfort are key.

 

We make custom outdoor structures!

11 March 2010

It may still be slightly dark and rainy outside, but Spring is just around the corner. Warmer days, sun, bbqs and all the joys of the great weather in the Northwest. Creating a unique and enjoyable outdoor space adjacent to your home is a wonderful way to ensure you make the most of the great weather while it lasts. Dwelling Renovation builds some of the best and longest lasting decks and outdoor structures around. Our decks use hidden fasteners and under mount systems that not only enhance the beauty of your wood deck by avoiding unsightly screw holes but improve its longevity as well by reducing pathways for moisture and rot into the wood. We are also firm believers that unsightly orange pressure treated wood, with its little staple shaped indentations all over it, should be used and not seen. Dwelling Renovation goes out of its way to make sure when anyone looks at your deck they see a natural wood outdoor space that compliments your home's beauty. Whether you are looking for a standard railing, a fancy keyhole pattern, or hand shaped balusters we are also your resource for custom balustrades. Looking for a unique or charming entry to your garden? Our mortise and tenon gates are strong, durable and resemble outdoor furniture more than just a gate. Whether you live in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington Counties contact Dwelling Renovation about a custom deck, gate, fence, or pergola to enhance the character, charm and beauty of your home.

Cold Weather Damage

13 January 2010
Last month Portland, OR experienced an incredible cold snap. Many homes were severely damaged by flooding when pipes burst due to freezing. One such home I looked at recently had uninsulated PVC piping running through an attic space. Another unfortunately didn't have the heat on. Normally, in a fairly mild climate like this one most of us tend not to worry or concern ourselves with these disastrous possibilities. Nonetheless, both of these homes experienced severe damage resulting in much of the drywall and insulation having to be completely torn out. An insurance agent I spoke with recently reported that sixteen homes within one subdivision she worked with had filed claims due this last cold snap! Don't let your home become the victim of such flood damage. Make sure that your home has been properly inspected by a licensed home inspector and that you've followed through on the recommendations made. Be sure to keep your heat on to at least the minimum necessary to avoid freezing. Insulate exposed pipes. Disconnect your garden hoses and cover your hose bibs with insulated covers. The freezing potential isn't over yet this winter so don't let your house be next. If you have any questions please feel free to call or e-mail me and I'll be happy to help. Also, should your home need repairs due to flooding, Dwelling Renovation is a great resource. Just give us a call. Thanks and stay warm out there this winter!

Dwelling Renovation, now a member of the HBA

31 October 2009
Home Builders Association of Metropolitan PortlandDwelling Renovation has joined the HBA. The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland promotes, protects and advances the building industry. They have been providing services, networking opportunities and government representation to builders, developers, remodelers, sub-contractors, suppliers and other industry service professionals since 1942.

Dwelling Renovation has joined ORA

3 July 2009
Oregon Remodelers AssociationDwelling Renovation has joined the Oregon Remodelers Association, the local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The "Oregon Remodelers Association's Mission is to enhance the ability of member firms to succeed financially, improve the image of the remodeling industry, provide opportunities to facilitate a unified voice and implement education and networking opportunities for member firms." Dwelling Renovation is happy to be welcomed into an outstanding group that supports the advancement of quality remodeling in Oregon.

Welcome to Dwelling Renovation

7 January 2009
Dwelling Renovation is a full-service residential remodeling and restoration company located in Portland, Oregon. From hands on custom carpentry to full-scale home makeovers, Dwelling Renovation has your home covered. Interior or exterior, large and small, we are your contractors for restoration, remodeling, additions, kitchens, bathrooms, finish carpentry, stairs, custom decks, gates, fences, flooring, rot repair, painting, you name it and we bring the quality and detail to it. Dwelling Renovation is about where you live, its unique character and your particular qualities that your home reflects about you. Let us make your home an embodiment of what your life is about! Please feel free to review the portfolio and contact us with any questions or comments you may have.

There is a difference!

2 August 2008
You've probably heard "You get what you pay for," many times, but the truth is that the quality of something really is remembered long after the price is forgotten. What may seem cheap today may not have been worth it in the long term. A deck with screw holes on the top or a framework with untreated cut ends will rot much faster than a deck that is built well. Which is less expensive, a $12k deck that lasts the rest of your life with proper maintenance or a deck you had to rebuild three times at $6-$10k each time? Quality is about the typically unseen process that goes into construction. Did your trim carpenter kerf and prime the backs of all of his fascia boards and bed them in silicone caulk, or did he slap bare wood up and slather messy vulcum over the joints? You may already be aware that Oregon has become a proving ground for lawsuits against homebuilders for shoddy workmanship. Many homes built only within the last 10 to 20 years have turned out to have major water and mold issues. When you consider the costs of having to sue your contractor, the loss of time, money and enjoyment of your home, it makes sense to hire someone you trust and someone who takes the time to make sure your project turns out right. Quick and cheap are great qualities to look for in a fast food restaurant, but when deciding to repair or alter your home it pays to take the time and make the right investment for something you are probably going to live with for the duration of your time with your home. Good work takes time, and good contractors are typically booked. Now, is a great time to be thinking about your plans for the future of your home. Contact Dwelling Renovation today and get started on the future of your home.

Your home is your investment.

31 March 2008
It's easy to be distressed by the potential costs of renovating your home. However, as disconcerting as it may seem, it's important to remember that renovation is an investment and not an expense. Your home is the best investment you ever made! While your home is appreciating in value and saving your money in the form of an asset, it also happens to be keeping the rain off of your head. So, it's important to take care of your investment and to make improvements. Homes that fall into disrepair are losing value, and the unfortunate truth about property damage is that it usually gets worse with time. Restoration and renovation are important tools for managing your most important asset, and a licensed professional who imbues all of his or her work with craftsmanship best exercises these tools. Such contractors are not going to want to see their work fail, rot, decompose or look bad. Would you trust your most important investment in anyone else's hands?


 
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