November 1996 Edition

Lead Screening Requirements

The October issue of Home Tips explained what Title X required, but could you tell us what is involved in a lead paint inspection or a risk assessment and approximately what they will cost?
Home buyers will get a 10-day period during which time they may obtain a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment at their own expense. The regulation does not require purchasers to investigate lead hazards, nor does it require sellers to take any specific action to fix lead problems. 
According to EPA guidelines the inspector must test all surfaces where lead paint may be present. Any painted surface must be individually tested in each room and outside the house. This will include baseboards, windows, doors, chair rail, crown molding, walls and ceilings. A paint inspection tells you the lead content of every painted surface in the house. It will not tell you whether the paint is a hazard or how you should deal with it. There may be between 200 to 1000 separate tests conducted in a single residence. The inspection must be performed by an EPA Certified Inspector, may take up to 8 hours to complete and probably will range between $350.00 to $2,000.00 per inspection. 
A risk assessment includes all of the sampling required in a paint inspection, but will include additional items as required by EPA guidelines. A risk assessment tells you if there are any sources of serious lead exposure (such as peeling paint or lead dust). It also tells you what actions to take to address these hazards. Pricing for a risk assessment is determined on an individual basis only. Obviously it will be more expensive than a lead inspection. 
Although not required, the expectation is that purchasers will opt to include language making their sales contract contingent upon a satisfactory lead evaluation. In this case, the purchaser may cancel the contract if high levels of lead are found. If the purchaser waves this right in writing, a standard lead test may be conducted, by any inspector, to determine the presence of lead. If lead is found, the purchaser will not be able to cancel the contract. This may be an acceptable option for many buyers. 

 Dryvit Below Grade  

We have Dryvit on the exterior of our house. We are trying to sell the home and the Pest Control company, we called for the Termite Letter, refused to issue the letter because the Dryvit extended below grade. What is going on here?  
Dryvit is just one of the many synthetic stucco systems that is actually called Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems or EIFS for short. EIFS has been used on many homes in the Atlanta area over the last twenty years.  
It has been determined that many of the installers have not finished or sealed the bottom lip of the system where it extends  below  grade.   This  allows  the  insulated  sheathing 
to be exposed and is a perfect environment for wood destroying organisms to enter the structure. Even if the system is properly sealed, any small openings in the finish could allow the entrance. The organisms simply crawl up the insulated sheathing into the wood framing. The problem is: you cannot visually tell if the structure has infestation since the area is totally covered.   
The manufacturer’s installation instructions require all EIFS to terminate a minimum of 6” above the grade which allows a visual inspection of the foundation wall.  
This is also a problem for all slab on grade homes with perimeter insulation around the foundation as required by the Georgia Energy Code. The new code allows the builder to omit the foundation insulation if the difference is made up in the insulation in the walls or ceiling.

Insulate Attic Or Roof  

Our attic has insulation on the floor of the attic or actually in the ceiling of our house. Wouldn’t it be better to insulate under the roof between the rafters?   
Although this does seem logical, insulating right under the roof in the attic wastes energy. The best way to end the confusion is to think of the ceiling as an outside wall, except that it’s above you. In the winter you need to keep the heat from escaping, and in the summer, the heat from entering. If you insulate just under the roof at the top of the attic, you would be heating the attic area in the winter. That’s because the outside insulated wall would be the roof and not at the ceiling. If you have central air conditioning, the same would be true in the summer when you’d be forced to cool the entire attic.  
Another important factor in attic insulation is ventilation. The attic area above the insulation needs to keep moisture from condensing on the insulation and on the roof framing. This is achieved by ventilating the attic. In the summer months, a well ventilated attic and the actual roof above it will stay cooler by allowing excess heat to escape through the vents, thereby keeping the living space below cooler.
Source: The Family Handyman

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