Originally created 03/12/06

Home briefs



Home front

Shop around

You can't judge a book by its cover, and the same can be said for house-hunting. Buying on first blush might leave you seeing red later.

You might want to hire an inspector before you sign the contract. Here's a checklist of some common problems and estimated costs to fix:

- Driveways, walkways or low spots that pitch toward the home. Water should be directed away from the foundation, not toward it. The cost to regrade or repair: $1,000 to $10,000.

- Wall cracks in the basement or interior rooms. As a foundation shifts, floors and walls can move with it. It could be a sign of age, sagging or bowed basement walls or other factors. Cost to repair the foundation: $10,000 to $30,000.

- Buckled or wavy roofing. Caused by aging shingles, heat trapped in an unventilated attic, or ice dams. Cost to repair or replace faulty roofing: $2,500 to $20,000.

- Are floors or ceilings sagging or cracked? Might be evidence of past water damage or damaged support beams. Cost to replace: $1,500 to $7,500.

Ups and downs

If your garage door has done more liftoffs and landings than a helicopter in a war zone, and sounds like it's also getting ready to retire, you can probably extend its service with a little maintenance and TLC.

First, lube the drive and all moving parts. There are many lubricants on the market, but white lithium grease still works best. Oil the long tension springs, too, to prevent rust. If it doesn't open all the way or close tightly, there's a nut on the long screw drive or stops on the chain drive you can adjust until it takes off and lands smoothly.

- From Wire Reports

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Contact Features Editor Tharon A. Giddens at (706) 823-3347 or tharon.giddens@augustachronicle.com.