Because we go over so much information from week to week, it’s important to review that information to increase our chances of retaining it. So, this week we have a semester exam. I’ll ask questions based on the information that we learned in the mini lessons and interviews from episodes 21 to 39. The questions and answers will serve as a review of some important points that you should have learned from each episode.
1. Which are better quality asphalt shingles-- 3 tab shingles or architectural shingles?
The answer is architectural shingles. Architectural shingles are heavier and more durable than 3 tab shingles. In fact, architectural shingles weigh about 50% more than the 3 tab shingles and they’re more wind and hail resistant than the 3 tab variety. Architectural shingles usually have a 30 year warranty whereas 3 tab shingles typically have only a 15 year warranty. (EPISODE 21)
2. True or False. Because metal roofs are so heavy, extra framing is needed in order for your house to support them.
That’s… false. Most metal roofs are actually pretty lightweight. They are also recyclable, energy efficient and durable, usually lasting 40-75 years. Metal roofs are resistant to wind, rain, fire, and rot. The main disadvantage of metal roofs is that they can be fairly expensive. (EPISODE 21)
3. Which subcontractor typically installs door and window trim and crown molding plus builds bookcases and built-ins?
A. Finish carpenter
E. All of the above
It’s A, Finish carpenters install the interior trim around doors and windows. They add baseboards, crown molding, and other moldings. They may also install and trim out stairs, and build bookcases, shelves and other built-in. Cabinetry in the kitchen, bathrooms and mudroom is usually installed by finish carpenters too.
Framers are sometimes called framing carpenters. Framers build the home’s “shell” with dimensional lumber, roof trusses, and plywood or OSB sheathing material.
Masons build structures of brick, concrete block and stone. That includes outdoor stairs, patios, walkways, retaining walls, and masonry fireplaces.
Painters prime and paint your house. (EPISODE 22)
4. True or False. You should pay subcontractors a deposit upfront, before they have started any work.
This is absolutely false. You should NOT pay subcontractors before they have started work on your home. If you sub insists on a deposit or money for materials upfront, look for another subcontractor.
Strongly consider buying your own materials so you don’t have to give subs money up front. Another reason to buy your own materials is so YOU will get the builders discount, instead of letting the sub take advantage of it. Finally, if you own the materials, you can more easily hire new tradesmen if the guys you initially hired are not showing up as scheduled or doing subpar work.
A general rule of thumb is to pay subcontractors in thirds— after the first third, second third and last third of their work is complete. Clearly specify in your contract exactly what work must be complete and what inspections passed before payments are released. (EPISODE 22)
5. True or False. Rare or no maintenance is needed for brick for the first 25 years.
This is true. With brick, for the first 25 years, there is almost no maintenance beyond occasional exterior washing. After that, it’s important to ensure that the mortar between bricks is maintained to prevent moisture penetration.
6. Which of the following is the most expensive type of exterior siding?
C. natural stone
D. fiber cement siding
The answer is C, stone. Natural stone is generally the most expensive of all the siding options. The average cost of natural stone is around $15 to $30 per square foot installed. The least expensive siding option is vinyl siding at $2 to $12 per square foot installed (EPISODE 24).
7. The main disadvantage of putting a ceramic or porcelain tile floor in the kitchen is:
A. It’s not very durable.
B. It’s difficult to maintain
C. It’s easily stained
D. Tiles are very hard so dishes will usually shatter if dropped and your legs and feet get fatigued if you spend significant time working in the kitchen.
The answer is D. Ceramic and porcelain tile flooring is very hard. Remember that porcelain tile is a version of ceramic tile that’s denser, less porous and more expensive than ceramic tile. Both ceramic and porcelain tile are low maintenance, extremely durable, stain resistant, and water resistant. (EPISODE 25)
8. Which flooring is more stable and less susceptible to moisture damage— engineered hardwood flooring or solid hardwood flooring?
The answer is engineered wood flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring is a better choice for the kitchen because it is more stable in moist humid environments. Engineered wood flooring is a veneer of real wood backed by layers of plywood. (EPISODE 25)
9. True or False. The best kitchen ventilation systems are those kitchen fans that are found in over-the-range microwave ovens.
This is false. Those over-the-range microwave oven fans are inexpensive and not very effective. They simply filter and recirculate stale air, instead of removing it. The best ventilation systems use fans to take stale air through ductwork to the outdoors. It will improve your indoor air quality and remove odors, moisture and airborne particles before they travel to your cabinets, appliances,countertops and to other rooms. (EPISODE 25)
10. Cabinets are considered “all wood” cabinets when they are made of
A. Solid hardwood
B. Wood veneers
D. all of the above
The answer is D, all of the above. Many people think that the term all wood means that cabinets are made with solid hardwood. Although all wood cabinets can be made of solid hardwood, they don’t have to be. The cabinet industry classifies cabinets as all wood if the cabinet box, frame, doors and drawers are made of plywood and wood veneers. (EPISODE 26)
11. Which of the following is the poorest quality cabinets?
A. Plywood cabinets
B. Thermofoil cabinets
C. Laminate cabinets
D. Melamine cabinets
The answer is D, Melamine cabinets. Melamine is a plastic-based cabinet finish that’s often placed over particle board construction. As a result, melamine cabinets are economical, but tend to look inexpensive and they have reputation for swelling and showing signs of wear and tear. Remember this…Melamine is minimally durable. The only reason to choose melamine cabinets is price. Plywood cabinets with a wood veneer finish are the best quality cabinets. Solid wood cabinets are also good quality, but they tend to be more susceptible to warping and swelling in moist environments like the kitchen. (EPISODE 26)
12. Fill in the blank: R-value is used to express the energy efficiency of walls and ceilings, __________ is used to express the energy efficiency of doors and windows.
The answer is U value. U-value is the measure of unobstructed, unwanted heat flow, so the lower the U-value the better. R-value is the measure of a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value the better. (EPISODE 27)
13. What type of insulation is known for its sound absorption and is often used for soundproofing rooms.
A. Mineral Wool Insulation
B. Fiberglass batts
C. Blown in fiberglass
D. Sheep’s wool insulation
A, mineral wool insulation is the answer. Mineral wood is made from either waste products of steel production, or from fibers of natural rock. It’s only rarely used as the primary type of insulation in residential construction, but it is often used for soundproofing rooms. Cellulose insulation also has some soundproofing properties (EPISODE 28)
14. True or False. A Blow in Blanket system, or BIB system, is an insulation system that contains blown in fiberglass insulation within membranes or netting.
True. With a Blow in Blanket system, also called a BIB system, the wall cavities have netting placed over them before the loose fill insulation is blown in. This system not only helps contain the loose fibers of insulation, but it also provides increased R value when compared to standard blown in fiberglass insulation. The BIB system must be installed by licensed, certified, trained professionals. (EPISODE 29)
15. What type of insulation can settle almost 20%, reducing its R value?
C. Blown in mineral wool
The answer is B, cellulose insulation can settle almost 20%. That’s one the main disadvantages of cellulose. If an inexperienced or untrustworthy installer fails install extra cellulose to offset settling, the R-value of the cellulose will be less than it should be. Fiberglass insulation can settle a bit too, but not as much of cellulose. (EPISODE 29)
16. What is the name of the system of insulation which combines a thin layer of closed-cell foam insulation with fiberglass batts.
A. Flash and batt
B. Insulo Combo
C. CC and FB
D. Board and batten
A, Flash and batt is the answer. If you decide that you like the idea of closed cell spray foam insulation, but not the price, you might want to consider flash and batt. It’s a more cost-effective way of getting some of the air sealing and R-value benefits of spray foam without the paying for a full spray foam insulation job. Fiberglass batts are added to the thin layer of closed cell foam to increase the overall R value. (EPISODE 30)
17. Fill in the blank: The two insulation systems that we talked about that combine insulation and structural framing elements are ICFs or insulated concrete forms and _____________________.
Can you remember the name of the other system?
SIPs or structural insulated panels is the other system. SIPs are made of a core of foam insulation sandwiched between two pieces of rigid sheathing, most often oriented strand board. SIPs can be used for walls, roofs and floors.
Insulated concrete forms are comprised of concrete sandwiched between two layers of foam. The foam, which serves as insulation, is made into interlocking modules that are stacked together like Legos and then filled with concrete. (EPISODE 31)
18. Although SIPs and ICFs are usually more expensive to build than traditionally framed and insulated houses, which of the following are ways that you can recoup the added expense of these systems?
A. Having to purchase a smaller, less expensive HVAC system
B. Lower utility bills
C. Lower labor costs
D. Lower insurance premiums
E. All of the above
I bet you know this one, it’s E, all of the above.
Since SIPs or ICFs are faster to build that traditional wood framed homes, the labor costs associated with construction them will be less. And since they are more energy efficient and stronger than stick framed homes you’ll save on your HVAC system, your utility bills and your home insurance premiums. (EPISODE 31)
19. Which has a longer life expectancy, conventional storage tank water heaters or tankless water heaters?
The answer is tankless water heaters. With proper maintenance, tankless water heaters are said to last 20 years or so. 10-15 years is life expectancy of most conventional water heaters.
20. True or False. Tankless water heaters are so energy efficient that they can save the average family about $500 a year on utility bills.
That’s false. Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than conventional water heaters, but many online sources say that the savings for the average family will be about $70 to $80 per year. (EPISODE 32)
21. This countertop material is manmade and is also called engineered stone or manufactured stone. It’s made of about 93% crushed, natural stone combined with pigment and resin. It resists scratches, bacterial growth, heat and stains and never needs to sealed. What material am I describing?
That was a description of quartz, B. Quartz is a manmade, low to no maintenance material. Quartzite, on the other hand, is a natural quarried stone that requires a sealant every year or so. (EPISODE 33)
22. To minimize your chances of having a squeaky hardwood floor, which should you install, a floating floor or a glue and nail system floor?
The answer is a glue and nail system— that is the better flooring installation method if you want to decrease squeaks and creaks. With this system, the finish floor is both glued and nailed in place.
In general, to prevent your hardwood floors from squeaking, construct a firm, stable floor system that minimizes movement and wood-on-wood contact. So using good quality materials and proper spacing of floor boards is essential. (EPISODE 34)
23. Which hardwood floor is higher maintenance and more likely to show dirt and wear and tear?
A. A floor with a medium wood tone, a distressed finish and a natural oil finish coat
B. A floor with a very dark wood tone with a smooth, high gloss finish
The answer is B. A very dark floor is higher maintenance because it is more likely to show dust and footprints and a smooth high gloss finish will more readily show dings and dents and scratches will show as white marks. (EPISODE 35)
25. If your main priority is to get your hardwood floors installed quickly, should you choose pre-finished floors or site finished floors?
The answer is pre finished floors, they can be installed in less time by less experienced workers. That’s one of the main advantages of pre finished floors. (EPISODE 35)
26. True or False. Induction cooking provides faster, more consistent heating and increased energy efficiency than cooking with electric or gas.
That’s true. Induction cooking is a technology that heats the cooking vessel with magnetic energy, instead of thermal energy, which is what’s used with an electric or gas stove. If you touch an induction cooking surface, you won’t get burned because it only produces heat through when combined with magnetic pot or pan, like something made of cast iron. (EPISODE 36)
27. What’s the advantage of using factory built construction elements such as those used for a panelized home or a modular home?
A. It takes less time to assemble those homes
B. They are water proof
C. There are no size or design limitations
D. You can easily make last minute design changes.
A is the answer. It takes less time to assemble panelized and modular homes as compared to traditional stick built homes. Dimensional lumber is the basic building unit in traditional stick construction, factory built walls are the basic building unit in panelized construction, and square or rectangular modules are the basic building unit in modular construction. Because much of the building process has taken place within a factory environment with panelized and modular homes, it takes much less time to assemble those homes once the components are on site. But there are some size and design limitations and they are not waterproof, but they do spend less time in the outdoor elelments. (EPISODE 38)
28. Concrete homes naturally stay cooler in hot climates because concrete has
A. Convective energy
B. Thermal mass
C. Radiant barrier properties
D. Reflective properties
The answer is B, thermal mass. Concrete homes are great in hot climates because of their thermal mass. That means that outside heat is slower to transfer to the inside of the house. Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy. (EPISODE 38)
29. Which type of in floor radiant heat is best to install if you only want heated floors in one or two areas of the house, should you install hydronic radiant heat or electric radiant heat?
The answer is electric. You’d use hydronic radiant heat if you wanted radiant heat throughout your whole house.
30. Electronic toilet seat bidets go do all of the following except;
A. Wash your bottom with warm water
B. Dry your bottom with air
C. Give you a warm place to sit
D. Dry your bottom with toilet paper
The answer is D, bidets than are integrated into toilet seats can do lots of things, but they can't dry your bottom with toilet paper. You’ll have to do that.
Well, that’s it for your semester exam. How’d you do? I bet you know far more now than you did several weeks ago.
Please remember that purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete, it’s subject to change and it may not apply to your project. In addition, Building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.