Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How to Boost Your Home’s Market Value Before You Put Up for Sale

by Suzie Wilson

Few things can be as nerve-wracking as when you are trying to sell your home. You want to be able to
sell your home quickly and for more than you got it for, but navigating this world can be intimidating and
confusing. Thankfully, this process doesn’t have to be fraught with anxiety.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Guide to Hiring a Contractor for Your Project

When it comes time to work on your home, the first step towards getting the greatest value for your money is choosing the right company. In most cases, home owners are handing over their most important asset to a company with the intent of making significant changes or alterations. Good contractors take the pressure off and alleviate some of the worry. Professional contractors should always add value to your home and not leave customers with shoddy workmanship, half completed jobs, or a project that was not what was agreed upon in the contract. Here's a guide to choosing not just any professional, but the right professional.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Slate roofing is a learned craft. As opposed to using electric tools to mindlessly attach mass produced roofing shingles, there is very little in the way of gas or electric power need for slate roofing. Cranes, trains and saws maybe, but angle grinders? Really?  Once the big slabs of slate come out of the ground, individual slates are hand split from a larger block. They are then typically punched using an iron jig and stacked by hand. When it comes to installation, its all done by hand, cutting, punching, nailing and layout. Not much is needed in the way of tools. A slater's stake, slate hammer, a story stick, some nails and paper (and a modicum of skill) and one could slate just about anything. 

This video is not unique. There is ample evidence out there of people with just enough knowledge to seem like they know what they are doing, and yet their lack of skill or understanding is quickly unmasked. I am all for encouraging people to take up a craft, but at least read a book or ask an old timer how it's done and go practice on a barn or shed. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deck Collapse Demonstration

Although somewhat rare, deck collapses are dramatic and can be deadly.  Between the years 2000 and 2006 there were at least 179 deck collapses resulting in thirty-three deaths and 1,122 injuries. (See Report)

Most of the deck failures occur where the deck is attached to the home similar to the demonstration below. A ledger board is attached to the home, and if this is done improperly, the entire deck can collapse with horrifying results. Most of these failures occur where the deck is occupied.  Professionally constructed decks where a permit was pulled are less likely to collapse than decks built by a homeowner where no permitting was done.

If you have a deck that is 8' or more above grade, do an annual inspection.
1. Look for rusted fasteners.
2. Look for nails or screws that have pulled loose.
3. Check for loose or wobbly railings.
4. Inspect for large checks or splits in main supports.
5. Make sure the ledger board was lag bolted or bolted using carriage bolts to the house and a piece of flashing installed at the decking/wall junction to prevent the structure from rotting out. Consult a spacing chart for bolt spacing and size.

Your deck should never wobble If it does have a professional do an inspection.

thomsonremodeling.com (C)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mineral Deposit Leak

Yes, it seems like an odd title for a post, but we recently replaced a shed dormer roof, the shed flashing and the flashing around a vent pipe. The only problem was, after we did the job, the home owner complained of a leak in the vicinity of our work. We went back out to inspect the job, including the head lap, side lap, broken slate, etc. The installation appeared to be fine. Everything began to point to a leak in the cast iron pipe itself. But after measuring the leak in the dormer from the front wall, the leak was actually several feet behind the dormer and vent pipe, unrelated to the work on the dormer. First, we inspected the keyways of the slate behind the dormer. Nothing. We had to resort to pulling slate. This yielded a slate that appeared to be normal, but where the slate above it overlapped, there was a dimmed sized hole in the slate. Yikes! This slate had a mineral deposit that eventually deteriorated enough to leave a hole. It was close enough to the keyway so that during a heavy rain or wind driven rain, a leak resulted.

I guess after eighty-three years of protecting the house, a few slates are allowed to yield to their faults.

Pictures on left, front of Vermont Slate, right, back side of same slate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thomson Remodeling Wins Historic Preservation Award

Thomson Remodeling Company has been awarded a 2012 Historic Preservation Award by Baltimore Heritage.  Since 1960, Baltimore Heritage has been  Baltimore’s leading  non-profit architecture and historic preservation organization. 
Thomson Remodeling was recognized for the restoration of the exterior of 2214 E Pratt Street near Patterson Park. The project was designed by architect Virgil Bartram for the current home owners. The award wining project involved rebuilding the home’s cornice and replacing the slate roof. The cornice had been torn off at some point in the past when the house was covered with form stone. The new cornice was constructed using prefabricated moldings and lots of custom copper work. The gutter was lined with sheet copper as well as the parapet caps. A diamond pattern was incorporated to the cornice just below the parapets and pyramidal copper embellishments were installed. New Vermont Black slate was installed on the roof. This job also included masonry work and painting. There are many historic neighborhoods throughout the region. The Maryland Historic Trust continues to offer its Maryland Sustainable Communities Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. The program offers a 20% tax credit towards certain improvements on owner occupied certified historic structures. Some of the items covered include roof repair and replacement, HVAC systems, repairing windows and doors, exterior restoration, some interior restoration and consulting and architectural fees associated with the restoration.

If you think your house could benefit from the tax credit, call us at (410) 889-7391.