Tips on passing your roof or construction inspections from a municipal or city inspector

Part 1

Scheduling inspections can be very nerve racking and daunting task for a homeowner or a greenhorn contractor but with these tips you can be more prepared and feel more confident in your experience with the inspector.

First thing to remember is that inspectors are people too, they can be married, have hobbies and attend football games and go to church on Sundays. Most inspectors are semiretired contractors, engineers or architects with tons of experience working in the industry; they should be very familiar with the local building code and city ordnance. Their tasks include; reading and interpreting blueprints ,enforcing code and citing code violations ,visually inspecting damaged structures or in other words pretty much doing exactly what their job title says, inspecting.

So you have submitted all of the necessary documents and drawings to your building dept. They have been approved, you picked them up. You have commenced the work and you are now ready to schedule your first inspection.

First tip: know your inspector. Depending on how complex the job is, the first thing you want to do is contact your inspector, find out who your inspector will be and get to know them. Let them know that you are the homeowner and you are seeking their assistance along with their guidance and that you want to do everything possible to comply with the approved plans and building code, give them a call or pay them a visit, give them a brief description of the type of work you will be constructing, explain if you will be doing exterior or interior work, concrete, framing, roofing etc. bring the plans and go over the with the inspector. Find out if rough inspections from the sub trades will be required the more information given to the inspector the more they’ll be able to help you.

Second tip. Be prepared. So you met your inspector, you went over the scope of work. You’re ready for your first inspection. Rule number one “the permit card should always be posted on the jobsite” this rule will most likely be written on the back of the permit card. The permit card should be placed in a visible location where the inspector can see it while driving up to the job. You may be concerned about protecting the permit card which a good idea because the building department may charge a fee for a duplicate copy if it destroyed or lost. So keep it in a zip lock bag or have it laminated. Sometimes the building department will allow you to post a copy of the permit card ,but you must still maintain the an original on site. Keeping the permit card visible on site will also let your neighbors and local code enforcement know that you are working with a permit and save you time from having code officers stopping in to ask you for your permit number. Note: you can purchase a permit box from your local supply house, permit boxes are a good idea to keep the permit card and plans safe from the elements.

Once you permit is posted and you have scheduled your first inspection, you will want to make sure that you will be able to  be on site with the approved plans and the page already turned to the detail in reference to the inspection requested. If you have scheduled foundation inspections the inspector will be looking for a well compacted clean trenches, free of loose rocks, debris or vegetation. Continuous steel with a minimum 3’’ clearance from the soil, ensure all steel thickness is as per plan and that all corners have corner bars on both inside and out, and that all splices are minimum as per the plans or the local code all stirrups are in place as per the plans, some documents may be required will be density report or a soil statement. The request of these documents may be noted on the plans and stated in your states building code.

This post is part 1 of a 3 part post

hope this helped!



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Roof Repairs in South Florida

It is safe to say that any type of roof system ( asphalt shingles, flat roof,epdm,single ply roof,metal roofs) will eventually leak , if not properly maintained.

Extreme weather conditions ( especially in South Florida with the constant rays from the sun, beating down on our roofs).Hurricanes,tornados,wind driven rain and hail storms can really pound a roof into submission and accelerate its life.

On flat roof systems such as modified bitumen, fiberglass cap sheets  look for deteriorations or delamination of the roofing felts by running your fingers against the edge of the felt overlap especially in an area where ponding of the water has caused the sheathing over the trusses or rafters to sag creating a look of a dry pond. Inspect for blisters, rusted metal flashing and gravel stops. Look for blister or pockets of water trapped in the membrane. Check the a/c equipment stands pitch pans for any deteriated  roof cement.

On asphalt shingle roofs look for exposed roof nail heads by looking for the shines created by the suns reflection, sometime the nail head may be rusted and harder to see but you should be able to see a streak of rust. Look for deflections or lumps in the field of shingles this may be a roof or sheathing nail that has popped out of place and should be removed . Inspect the condition of the shingle, look for any missing ridge or field shingles. Check around all roof vent, lead stack penetrations look for any holes or rust. Check around the base of the penetration for cracked or loose roof cement. Look for any shingles with dark stains or discoloration on them this will indicate loss of granules. Also lookout for curled shingle ends or the shingles that have been shredded by high winds.

For wood shingles or shakes. Look for missing or rotted shingles. Look for curled or buckled shingle ends that could allow wind driven rain to find its way to the nail causing a leak.

On metal or steel roofs look for and cracked or rotted roof sealant at the panel joints or vertical wall flashings. Examine the metals pieces closely. See if any of the metal components have become loose due to high wind check for deteriated fastener heads and neoprene’s. Check the rubber vent pipe flashing for cracks or deteriation .

On Spanish or flat tile roofs it may be more difficult to find the source of the leak since the roof will be covered by roof tile that show no deflections or exposed roof nails so a good place to begin will be any section of the roof that intersects a vertical surface such as a wall, chimney or dormer. Other typical leaks on a tile roof will be the valleys especially those that run in to a vertical surface. But one should also look for any broken or missing tiles and any of the penetrations for cracked or loose roof sealant.

Finding potential leaks on top of the roof is one way of finding the point of entry If the tell sign are there like those just mentioned. But sometimes the top of the roof will show no evidence of the leak. So the next option will be to inspect the attic. Before climbing in to the attic you’ll will most likely need three things. A flashlight, water hose with running water and a ladder .once inside the attic inspect the sheathing and trusses. Look for any discolored, rotted wood near the area of the leak, again remember that most times the leak will become a higher point of entry and trickle down. It is also a good idea to inspect the roof insulation for any portion of the insulation that looks dented as appose to the rest of the insulation. If the leak is new and there’s not much damage to find the final option will be to run the water hose over the area in question for ten to fifteen minutes. This should give the water enough time to find the point of entry and recreate the leak. Ones the leak has begun to drip again climb back in to the attic and follow the stream of water to the point of entry and mark it by hamming a nail to the outside of the deck. Estimate the distance you are from the wall and the ridge of the roof, return to the roof and retrace the location of the leak and remove the tiles or shingle until you have found the exposed nail. Mark the nail hole, remove the nail and patch the roof accordingly. It will be good practice to run the water hose over the repaired area one more time for good measure before reinstalling the tiles or shingles if the roof is sloped.

Exposed nail heads on shingle roofs should be removed and spot checked with enough roof cement to cover and seal the hole. Cracks in the asphalt shingle can also be touched up with roof cement as well. Any repairs with roof cement can be concealed by sprinkling loose granules or rubbing two pieces of shingles over the roof mastic making for a cleaner and unnoticeable repair.

Sometimes there will be no access to the attic and no real concrete way of finding the leak. In this case the only option will be is to remove a portion of the interior ceiling and running the water test to find the point of entry. Begin by removing only the damaged part of the ceiling and begin to locate the leak. Once found mark the leak as previously mentioned and repair the roof. Again run a water test before repairing the interior ceiling to avoid doing it twice.

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Tips on hiring a contractor

How to hire a contractor

Need home repairs? Interested in remodeling your home or office ? Need an addition for extra space ?

Well; unless you are a skilled, do it yourself handyman, and have the time needed to invest in  the project, you should strongly consider hiring a licensed contractor. Now, don’t get me wrong, you could get away with hiring the neighbors’ fifteen year old,  to paint your fence that needs a little touching up, or have your driveway pressure cleaned by your brother in-law, but when it comes down to any project consisting of adding or replacing electrical or plumbing fixtures ,  replacing exterior doors, windows including structural repairs or remodels one should always hire a certified professional licensed and insured contractor. Hiring a licensed contractor could be a challenge in it self but with these few tips we will guide you in the right direction.

Step one.

Make a list of four to six local contractors, its a good idea to hire  local contractors’ over contractor from other city’s or counties because they should be more familiar with local ordinance & building codes  and have good working relationship with your local building dept which should translate to a smoother job. Keep in mind that, there are a lot of excellent contractors with good reputations that work well in any city or county. This decision will be left up to the customer.

Step two.

Once the list of licensed and insured contractors have been compiled ,begin to schedule the estimates .Write down the time of the scheduled visit next to the contractors name so you don’t loose track or get your appointments mixed up, which could lead to having multiple contractors on the jobsite at the same time. You should only want to meet one contractor at a time. Giving yourself  and the contractor a comfortable window of time to go over the scope of work and write up an estimate if possible without any distractions. And always set aside time to conduct a short interview with the contractor to find out his or hers experience with the type of work you need done and how long  they have been in business, and can  provide a list of referrals. Other solid questions would be – time availability of the contractor ,start date, and a time needed to complete the job.

Step three

Once you have received at least three responsible written estimates,the first thing to remember is never go with the absolute cheapest estimate this could end up costing you more in the long run. A lot of times contractors will low ball the customer in the front end by leaving out necessary items only to add them back on through expensive change orders once the job has commenced and the customers has made a financial commitment and is tied to the contractor.

A difference of ten percent range or less in cost between the estimates is perfectly acceptable anything greater should be strongly questioned, remember the old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is “. Once you have the three estimates other items to consider is type and quality of material to be used, you should try to always ask for good, better and best price because sometimes the difference in price between the  three may only be small percentage in money which could end up paying itself off in the long run, because of a longer life span and warranty of the upgraded material.

By now you should have at least two contractors that you are serious about hiring, you’ve thoroughly read the contracts and satisfied with the warranties offered and the cost of the work to be completed. The final obstacle  to consider will probably be the amount of the deposit to get the work started. A reasonable initial deposit should be about a twenty-five percent but no more then a third of the contract amount. This should cover permit fees and materials needed to commence the work, the second payment should come once the work is halfway through and all inspections have been approved and a partial release of liens from the suppliers and sub contractors has been provided by the contractor and again should not exceed 33%. The final payment shall be made once all of the work has been completed to your satisfaction, all materials and debris have been removed from the job unless you have a prior agreement to keep it, and all permits and necessary inspections have been final, confirm this by contacting your building dept where the permit was pulled and ensuring that there is no pending inspections or outstanding fee’s and once again the contractor should provide you with a complete release of leans from the suppliers, subs and the contractor.

The contractor has his terms but so do you. Reaching an agreement should be a win- win for both the owner and the contractor, so strongly consider the contractor who’s willing to go a little above and beyond to make you feel comfortable in order to earn your business and hopefully if you do your research and follow these simple steps you’ll hire the contractor who is right for you .

Hope this helped!


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Renovations on a budget

Hello Broward and Miami!


Renovations can be done inexpensively if you have time to look for bargains


  • Items can be found at Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.
  • Paints,Windows, Doors , Electrical , are all items that can be found at a re-store
  • If cabinets are different colours, remember they can be painted to match
  • You may not find enough of the same flooring material to complete a project. Try a mosaic pattern use three different pattern but choose the same manufacturer and the same finish and production date.
  • For backsplash put  together a neutral mosaic from several tile varieties. This has to be mapped out and planned ahead otherwise you may end up with a chaotic looking area. Lay the entire project out on the floor before touching the trowel. A symmetrical design and colors within the same family will  help minimize chaos.
  • Old , outdated furniture from a re-store or thrift can look drab. rejuvenate with paint


Seems like too much of a hassle? Call a professional

Hope this Helped!

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Roof Coating- can it extend the life of your roof?

Happy Holidays!! Broward and Miami -Dade!

Roof coatings provides preventive maintenance and repair for existing   roof surfaces.

The two  main reasons to apply   white coatings are 1. to protect roof membranes, resulting in longer roof life cycles, 2.reflect solar radiation, resulting in lower energy costs (these coatings typically reflect 70 to 80 % of the sun’s energy)  .

The main advantages of   roof coatings and cements are : they are affordable, proven performance life, and   ease of use. Roof coatings and cements are generally one-component products that   can be applied directly from the container. Today’s coating and cements are   versatile and easy to use. Non-flammable products are also available. This can be a DIY project , however if your roof currently has issues , such as ponding water, call a professional (

Coatings are applied in thickness greater than typical paint.The roof must be clean and compatable with the coating system.If the roof is light in color , it can be made very reflective with fewer coats.

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Roof Rebates

A cool roof can cut heating cost. Normally homes with dark coloured flat roofs or concrete tile roof absorbs more of the sun’s heat , resulting in higher electric bills.If the roof is reflective and emissive it can provide a range of benefits. A reflective roof can reflect 73% of the sun’s rays.

Cool roofs,  offer both immediate and long-term benefits including:

  • Reduces building heat-gain
  • Savings of up to 15% the annual air-conditioning energy use of a single-story building[5]
  • Extended service life of roofs
  • Improved energy efficiency of roofs, especially when there isn’t adequate insulation provided in the roof envelope

FPL ( see there website for any changes) overs a rebate of  50  cents per square foot when the qualifying heat reflecting roofing materials meet the following requirements:

  • Light- colored thermoplastic roof membranes , or reflective roof coatings that are Energy Star compliant or Cool Roof council rated.
  • Coating or membranes with an initial solar reflection of 73% or more
  • existing ceiling/roof insulation with an R- value of R19 or less
  • Existing roof solar reflection of less than 40%

You must select a FPL Roof Independent Contractor


10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50 – $300Expires:December 31, 2011Details:Must be an existing home & your principal residence ( on the following)

  • HVAC
  • Roofs ( metal and asphalt)
  • Windows and Doors
  • Insulation

For more information




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Roof Maintenance can extend the life of your roof!

By adopting a roof maintenance plan many issues can be addresed before turning into a need for costly repairs or replacement.Many roofs need to be repalced prematurely because of poor design or poor installation. Pro active roof maintenance can often times detect early signs of failing roof components and fix issues and increase the roof’s lives.

All roof systems require maintenance some warranties become void without a maintenance plan in place.The roof is often times over- looked because it isnt a visible component of the building.

Maitenance Tips

  • Remove debris ; leaves , paper …
  • Trim trees that hang over the roof
  • Remove obstruction from drains and scuppers
  • observe the integrity of the roof coating

As a property owner ,whether residential or commercial, planning and maintenance is key to maximising your investment. Contact  a roofing company ( about having a maintenance plan in place.

Hope this helped!

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