April, 2008
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Simpson Strong-Tie Offers Free Technical Literature and More


Simpson Strong-Tie’s Web site is a gold mine for anyone looking for information on design solutions for deck framing, seismic retrofit, code-compliant repair and protection, and high-wind framing. The ASHI affiliate offers the free literature to help designers, contractors, inspectors and do-it-yourselfers ensure decks are constructed according to the IBC® and IRC®. Visit the catalog page on www.strongtie.com to order or download information on design solutions, connectors and anchor systems at www.strongtie.com/catalog_order.asp.

But there’s more than free technical literature on this site. Click on “For Your Home” to find checklists and diagrams for making a home earthquake resistant, a downloadable document to 5 steps to a Safer and Stronger Home, or almost anything you might want to know about deck safety.

PATH case study looks at project from homeowner’s viewpoint

First study looks at storm-resistant and energy-efficient home in Florida

Over the years, the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) has worked with innovative builders leading the way toward implementing better building technologies and practices. While these builders deserve much credit, they are quick to remind you that these innovations only become reality thanks to open-minded and progressive homebuyers.

PATH is taking a look at innovative home construction and remodeling projects from the consumer’s point of view in order to understand what motivates them and what they are looking for in their new home.

In the first consumer case study, PATH shares the story of retirees Randy and Karen Wiles who left Buffalo, N.Y., for the sun and fun of Florida. However, after having a brush with Hurricane Charley, the Wiles were committed to storm-resistant construction that took energy efficiency into consideration.

“We’ve had a few houses built over the years and watched how they do it. We learned from mistakes with previous builders,” Randy Wiles says. “I wanted to be a little more hands-on this time around.”

The PATH Consumer Case Study details what the Wiles went through trying to educate themselves about housing construction, how they decided on what to include and their relationship with Mike Romig, president of Tarpon Coast Development, who was selected to build their new home.

Notable features in the Wiles’ home:

  • Precast concrete walls
  • Roof trusses & anchors engineered to 150 mph
  • 5/8-inch plywood roof decking, ring shank nailed and glued to trusses
  • Miami-Dade rated shingles
  • 5/12 pitch hip roof
  • Spray Foam Insulation on underside of roof deck tying entire roof system together
  • Adhesive, sealing membrane roof underlayment (secondary water barrier)
  • Sealed soffits and attic prevent wind and rain from entering attic area
  • Miami-Dade pressure-rated windows
  • Miami-Dade shutters on all openings and lanai area
  • Double-paned low-e glass
  • 16 SEER air conditioner with fresh air intake
  • PEX manifold plumbing system
  • Water conserving toilets, showers and faucets
  • Xeriscaping

Visit  www.pathnet.org to learn more about this homeowner’s preferences and future consumer case studies.

Healthy Home Tips by Jeff May available soon

Jeff May’s Healthy Home Tips: A Workbook for Detecting, Diagnosing, and Eliminating Pesky Pests, Stinky Stenches, Musty Mold and Other Aggravating Home Problems is a layperson-friendly workbook intended to allow homeowners and apartment dwellers to conduct their own indoor air investigations —  from basements to attics and the rooms in between.

There are easy-to-follow instructions, clear diagrams, colorful photos and real-life anecdotes. According to author Jeff May, a retired ASHI member, and Connie May, the workbook arms readers with customized tools to conquer their own particular brands of indoor air pollution. Tools include:

  • Checklists for avoiding, identifying and correcting potential health hazards, room by room;
  • Dos and Don’ts for addressing dust, mold and moisture problems in heating, cooling and air conveyance systems;
  • Special considerations for people with allergies, asthma or environmental sensitivities;
  • Resources including Web sites, print publications and professional organizations.

This new book from the authors of My House is Killing Me! and The Mold Survival Guide will be published June 30 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Is there a visit to a National Park or Refuge in your future?

American’s national parks, from the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Keys, welcome visitors for a single day of relaxation or weeks of adventure. From beautifully pristine to bubbling with visitors and activities, each offers a unique experience. Visit www.eNature.com and use ParkGuides  to browse or search more than 300 listings offering descriptions, species lists, maps and more for National Parks and Wildlife Refuges all over the country.

Each day the site features a park or refuge, such as Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is 130 miles southwest of Jacksonville, Fla. It encompasses 12 islands in the Gulf of Mexico and protects colonies of nesting herons, egrets, ibises, cormorants, pelicans and other birds. Activities include fishing, hiking and paddling. Visitors have rated the park four out of five stars.

In the Northeast, Acadia National Park is 50 miles south of Bangor, Maine. Miles of trails in the park on Mount Desert Island take in dramatic scenery, wildflowers and a stunning array of birds and inshore marine life. The park offers bilking, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, horse trails, paddling/rafting, RV camping, swimming, winter sports and cross-country skiing. It also has wheelchair trails and access.

Heading west, you’ll find Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, 90 miles southeast of Billings, Mont. The meandering, steep-sided river gorge and 71-mile-long Bighorn Lake are the main attractions, but the Pryor Mountain Horse Range, with a herd of about 140 wild horses, also is within the reserve.

With more than 300 to choose from, it seems that almost everyone could find a park or refuge they’d like to visit.