Look At Zoning Regulations For Tiny Homes And Storage Containers Before You Start To Build

Zoning regulations dictate “where and when” housing can be established. Urban cities are often stringent because of increasing demand and limited space. This can pose a problem for owners of tiny homes. Here is more information on how zoning regulations are impeding the tiny house movement at this point.

A tiny white cottage with red shutters and red petunias.Required Need For A “Foundation”

The property cannot be established on wheels according to state regulations. Zoning regulations indicate primary housing on any piece of land has to be “set down”. The easiest solution is to remove the wheels and then establish the location of your house. These regulations apply to all land types (private or public).

Size Matters

There are sizing requirements present with zoning as well. The tiny house has to fit a minimum before it is deemed legal in states that allow such properties. What is the general requirement? It is set at around 450–1,500 square feet. Remember, this is for the “primary” residence. If you can show the tiny house as a secondary unit, it can be smaller.

The size is based on a property that requires plumbing, runoff control, emergency vehicle access, and water connections. Since, that is the case with a tiny house, it is important to follow through with the minimum requirements of your state.

What if the size requirements are not being met? There are a few states, which still have a workaround to this problem. The idea is to send a notice to your neighbors and apply with the zoning board in your city. If they approve the house, it can be established. This is “hit and miss” at best and a major hassle when such an investment is being made. Therefore, it is smarter to go for a bigger setup in states with rigid regulations.

Secondary Dwelling

The term used for this is “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (i.e. secondary house) which is smaller than the primary space. This can be troublesome for property owners who are hoping to use the tiny house as their primary unit. Even with the “accessory dwelling unit” tag, the property has to have a foundation as listed above.

Permission is required to deem a tiny house as your “primary unit” and there can be numerous hassles along the way. Unfortunately, many states are only leaving the change to accessory dwelling units. The primary unit needs to have appropriate plumbing along with being “grid-tied” (i.e. connected to nearby properties). Tiny houses are not able to do this, so they are deemed illegal.

An example where secondary dwelling units are not allowed would be New York City, Michigan, and Salem. There are online resources available to find out whether your state allows for secondary dwelling units or not. Reading through those state regulations is pertinent. If you are not heeding to these regulations, building officials will pay a visit if a house is illegally set up.

Rural Towns With No Zoning Laws

Rural towns do not pose a problem for tiny house owners in America. Most of these cities are sparsely populated and have acres of land to offer. To prop up the economy in these areas, zoning regulations are not pushed on local citizens. Tiny houses and storage containers can be used as required.

It is best to read up on the regulations in these towns before beginning. At worst, there are minor requirements, but nothing which poses a challenge.

Forecasting Change

The cities of Boston, New York, and Portland have legislated change in the development of “micro-apartments” (small rooms) because of the increasing prices. In a bid to manage real estate, these changes have been approved and are now a part of built-in regulations.

What about tiny homes and storage containers? Current laws remain in sync with what has been described above. Forecasting suggests laws will be enacted enabling freedom for those who are pursuing this option and wish to avoid zoning hassles.

These are the zoning regulations present at the moment in various states around the nation. There is a variation between what major cities are enabling compared to rural towns with no regulations in place at all. It is important to read up on these zoning regulations before starting the process.

Things To Consider When Deciding To Refinish Or Replace Hardwood Flooring

The good news is that if you have hardwood flooring, in most cases, it can be refinished. Unless the wood has been damaged from sanding too many times or if there is extreme movement in between the boards, you can get your floor refinished, which is a lot less expensive than the alternative of replacing it. The bonus is that you already know that the wood grain and species of wood suits your home and decor. After many years of use, the wear and tear does a number on them. Yet, it is still a big decision to decide if you would rather replace or simply refinish your floors.

Is The Price Right?

Hardwood FlooringWhen considering the price of flooring, it is the labor and the cost of the materials. Consider that harvesting new trees requires many natural resources, from the fuel and human capital to chop down a tree to the processing and shipping of logs from the forest to the factory to a local lumber yard.

The companies that sell the wood, likewise, have to market their products and pay people to handle everything from invoicing to cleaning the office. You pay for all of that when you order new floors. It costs more now than ever to buy flooring because the cost of everything from resources to salaries and labor continues to go up. The cost of professional installation by a trustworthy company is tacked onto all of these other expenses. All of these costs are the reason that many people revisit the option to refinish their floors.

Refinishing floors costs much less than buying new wood flooring. It will definitely involve having the flooring contractor in your house for a much longer period of time. In addition, there is nothing you can do about the dust and fumes from the lacquer.

In the case of new flooring, dust is comparatively minimized. In addition, fumes may be unheard of with a new installation because pre-finished flooring is an option. One way many homeowners attack this project is by doing it themselves. This allows them to prevent strangers from being in their home on the many occasions it would take to complete a refinishing job. It also gives homeowners the power to perform the work at intervals that could minimize dust and fumes exposure to the whole household.

The Project Schedule

White empty simple old kitchen room with pastel blue ceiling and hardwood flooring. Refinishing a floor involves many steps that make it time-consuming when compared to installing new floors. From the preparations, multiple sweeps of the sander with different types of sandpaper to equipment rentals, vacuuming and lacquering, it is a job for patient people. If you have trouble watching a pot boil or watching paint dry, then this job will challenge you at the very core. It turns out there are many steps where you will have to simply wait for the next finish to dry. It is also very challenging for the whole household who cannot use the floors that are being refinished for the duration of the whole project.

Replacing flooring by comparison is faster. Even if you account for rebuilding of the subfloor or making repairs and removing the old flooring, it is much faster usually to replace the floor than to refinish it. In particular, if you take into account having a professional team that is known for doing a great job both quickly and efficiently, then you will have use of your floor much sooner when you purchase a new floor.

Is It Adding To The Value Of Your Home?

When you are replacing flooring or refinishing the wood, make sure that you maximize the potential for return on your money. For instance, if oak adds the greatest value, as long as it is in a traditional color (not painted bubble gum pink), you will, more than likely, boost your home’s value. What you may not know is that tackling a refinishing project delivers three times the payoff of the cost. That’s fantastic considering that it also costs a lot less than buying a new floor. If you replace the flooring entirely, you will realize a lower return on investment of only little more than two times your cost to replace the flooring with new materials.

Deciding whether to replace or refinish flooring is a big one. By taking the cost, the time and the return on investment into consideration, you can decide what makes the most sense for your particular home and needs.

Why Refinishing or Reglazing Your Bathtub Is The Better Choice

No matter how high quality a bathtub is, it is inevitable that it will one day begin to fail. Bathtubs are a part of the home that sees near constant use and over time, they begin to show signs of their daily wear. Permanent stains form, chips happen and the shiny finish that imbues them with that classic porcelain look starts to become dull. In this way, a bathtub that was once attractive and hygienic looking can start to be a major eyesore.

old fashioned luxirious golden bath tub in a bathroomWhen bathtubs begin to fail, the first impulse many people have is to replace the tub altogether. The problem with this line of thinking is that buying a new bathtub every time any sort of wear starts to show is an expensive and ultimately, wasteful habit. Despite its outer appearance, a bathtub with water stains and a few surface cracks or chips is still perfectly functional in every way. The superficial damage is just that, entirely on the surface.

Fortunately, there’s a way to rejuvenate the appearance of a bathtub without having to buy and install a new unit. Refinishing and reglazing processes utilize a two step process to make an old tub look brand new again. This procedure is effective, time efficient and has the potential to save you money in the following ways:

1. Increases Lifespan

When the coating of a bathtub begins to wear away and crack, the damage can quickly cost the tub its ability to retain water effectively. This means that the appearance of visible damage on a tub’s surface often signals the fact that a quick and merciless drop in the bathtub’s functionality is swiftly forthcoming.

An old claw foot bathtub in an old broken down house.Refinishing a bathtub essentially halts this process by applying an all new waterproof coating. This coating is generally made of a synthetic material like acrylic, which is bonded to the original surface of the tub by a solid bonding agent. Using this process to refinish a bathtub ensures that no bubbles or gaps between the coating and tub surface will form, which helps to guarantee that the tub continue to be water tight for years to come. The synthetic coating is flexible and resilient, which enables it to extend the lifespan of a tub by a significant number of years.

2. Revives Style

Sometimes, a tub becomes an eyesore not because it gets damaged or worn out, but because the progress of style has proven unfriendly to the tub’s design. This leaves homeowners with a bit of a quandary: what do you do if a tub is still functional, but looks about as fresh as a fossil?

Tub refinishing provides an elegant and cost effective solution to this problem. Tub coatings come in a wide variety of different colors, patterns, and finishes. This means that even the oldest and least stylish of bathtubs can be given new life and made to look perfectly up to date.

Luxury white flat rim roll top clawfoot bathtub isolated against a white background3. No Need for Removal

Finally, replacing a tub altogether often presents a surprising challenge when the homeowner has to remove the original unit. Those who live in smaller homes or apartments will often find that due to changes in the building’s layout or structure, bathtubs have great difficulty getting out the way that they were brought in. Homeowners may have to hire movers or contractors in order to dispatch the unit or get the tub out the door. This represents a considerable excess cost.

In short, refinishing or reglazing a tub allows homeowners to revive their bathrooms at just a fraction of a new bathtub’s cost. This quality, combined with the fact that it can be completed in a very short span of time makes it a very desirable option for tubs that are looking less than perfect.

Problems That Can Be Missed With A Home Inspection

When purchasing a house, a home inspection should always be a part of the buying process. The services of an inspector who is certified by The American Home Inspectors can identify numerous types of problems in the home. However, it is not fail proof.

Male supervisor looking up while writing on clipboard against blue house standing with energy ratingEven the most experienced home inspector cannot detect everything. In some cases, you may consider hiring a specialist to inspect the problem areas that are missed during a home inspection. Here are some common issues that may arise after you move in:

Sewer Lines

While inspectors can determine if a line is entirely blocked, partial blocks are frequently missed. The water may need to run for substantially longer for the problem to appear, or it may worsen after your family moves in. Damage to the pipes may not show, particularly if the home has not been in use for a while.

Electrical Troubles

A home inspector does not have the training nor time to perform an in-depth inspection of the electrical workings of the home. They will check all of the outlets and switches in the home, but may not be able to determine deeper troubles and malfunction origins. For these, you will need to hire a certified electrician.

Leaks

From the roof to the piping beneath your home, leaks can be caused by a variety of home problems. Left untreated, they can be a source of mold and create damage to the foundation and structure of your home. However, they are not always easy to detect.

If your home inspection is during the dry season and the previous homeowner has painted any stains or otherwise covered the visible damage from the leaks, your inspector will likely not find it. For leaks inside of the home, if the previous residents have already vacated the building, the water may have already dried, leaving no trace of leaks. The water may need to be on for a few days before they become visible again.

Concept image of Business Acronym HVAC HEATING VENTILATING AIR CONDITIONING written over road marking yellow paint lineHVAC

Determining when an HVAC system is going to fail is virtually impossible. It may operate powerfully for years or have a vital part malfunction tomorrow. If an inspector checks out your home during moderate weather, the system will not be put through the same rigors as during extreme temperatures. One heat wave or freeze snap may be all it takes to cause system failure.

Because the price of an additional, thorough inspection is so high when compared to just replacing a unit, most inspectors do not recommend it. Check the maintenance records of the previous homeowner. The more diligent they were about regular maintenance visits, the greater the chance it is in good order.

However, if you have an old furnace, you may want to have the heater exchange inspected separately. A cracked one can be dangerous by raising carbon monoxide levels in the home.

Structural Damage

The roof, foundation and internal walls can have problems that are not detected in a traditional home inspection. In some cases, the inspector may suggest that you bring in a contractor who specializes in the area in question to make an assessment, including the cost of repairs.

Septic System

One advantage to using the public sewer system is that you need not worry about this one. However, if the home has a septic system, you will be responsible for it. Some states require an inspection of the system. Even if yours does not, you may want to see if the previous homeowner pumped it regularly and performed other relevant maintenance tasks.

Buying a home is the largest investment most people make in their life. Make sure that you are choosing wisely by having the house inspected and being aware of troubles that may arise once you move in. These are some of the most common issues you will encounter that even the best inspector can miss.