Elena

In the US, the same brand can have inferior products in the same country.

For example, if I was to buy a faucet, say Brand X, at a plumbing supply company, it could be different than what I would buy at a home improvement store. The plumbing supply company buys the standard one while the home improvement place has such buying power that they will buy the same looking faucet with different specifications to keep the price down.

So it looks the same, but one would have metal parts for the valve and the other would use plastic. So people go get a price from the plumbing supply company and then see the "same" faucet at the home improvement store and are thinking that they are being overcharged by the plumbing company while they were really priced a different product.

Also, this happens not just with plumbing but most goods.

Elena

Continuous footings are what you find under bearing walls on houses. they're typically (2) - #4 bars top and bottom. continuous footings are around the entire perimeter of a house, and then under all the bearing walls. On a raised floor foundation they will have a stem wall above them. on a slab on grade situation it will just be the footing with a slab.

They'll be called out on the footing schedule, but will only have a width and depth, not two widths and a depth. if it's not on a schedule, then you would typically see something like: 18"(W)x24"(D) cont. ftg w/ (2)-#4 T&B

Spread footings and pad footings are the same thing, they're what go under posts. typically on a footing schedule, you'll have F1, F2, F3, etc and they'll have a dimension in each direction and a depth and reinforcing.

If it doesn't say top and bottom reinforcing, then it's just at the bottom. typical callout format would be: 3'-0"x3'-0"x18"(D) pad ftg w/ (4) - #5 bott.

That's as simplified as it gets. some people call continuous footings spread footings. on larger projects (i.e. not houses), spread footings implies a shallow foundation system, where each of the columns lands on a pad footing and there's usually grade beams between them. another shallow foundation system would be a mat foundation.

Deep foundation would be piles/caissons with pile caps and grade beams.

So if you're on a big project and they say "it's on spread footings", that basically means "it is NOT on piles" (which is the most important distinction in construction, because pile foundations are a billion times more expensive than shallow foundations).

Foundations can generally be split between deep foundations and shallow foundation systems.

Deep foundations: consist of piles (of which there are different types).

Shallow foundations: footings

  • Pad footings are used to pick up a point load, such as a post or column. Imagine a deck with posts coming down at the end. At the bottom of each post is likely a 4'x4' (or whatever) footing there specifically to support that single point load
  • Continuous footings/track footings/strip footings are footings which usually encompass the perimeter of the structure, whether a building or retaining wall. So, when you see a foundation wall for a house or retaining wall to hold back earth at the bottom of that is a footing which continues along the entire length of it in order to support the load of the bearing wall or the foundation wall itself.

"Regular footings" is a general term which will encompass both of these categories.

"Spread footings" is likewise a general term which encompasses both of these categories, as the footings function by delivering the weight that they must support over a larger area - spreading the load.

I feel the answer above is far more informative but just wanted to chime in to stress that continuous footings are actually spread footings/regular footings (although, as pointed out above terminology probably changes by region and sector of industry).

Elena

Tell me why is it that sixty degrees indoors so much colder than sixty degrees outdoors?

How any given temperature makes the human body "feel" is related to humidity.

One thing a professor told me was that the body feels hot or cold based not on whether the air is hot or cold, but on the rate it is losing heat. This explains why you feel freezing when you have a fever because you are extremely hot, but you have an increased rate of heat loss due to the air temperature difference.

Air conditioners lower the temperature by removing the humidity from the air. That is why air conditioners have a drip line.

As for why there is a difference between outside and inside I can only assume there are many factors. Perhaps it is the humidity situation as others have mentioned or maybe its that there is a stronger airflow through the house and thus it is taking the heat from your body quicker.

The water you see dripping from an AC unit is the humidity that has been removed from the environment.

Low humidity makes you feel cooler while high humidity makes you feel hotter. When the humidity is low your body sweat can evaporate easily. Body sweat evaporation is how the body regulates its temperature. When the humidity is high your body sweat cannot evaporate because the air is already full of water.

When your sweat cannot evaporate it makes you feel very hot and sticky.

Elena

Some of my doors close softly, for example: the bathroom bedroom doors, yet others slam no matter how gently I try and shut them. The front door is the main offender.

But why do they slam?

Air pressure differentials in larger buildings are deliberate, part of the mechanical design

In commercial buildings here, including residential buildings, the common areas(halls, stairwells, lobbies) are kept at slightly higher air pressures for two reasons.

  • Life Safety. If a fire breaks out in a suite, they want to keep the smoke inside the unit. If air pressure in the hall is higher, smoke won't exit the unit easily and danger is more contained, since smoke kills many more than flames. In high rise buildings, stairwells and stair landing areas are pressurized to keep smoke out(and they are built of non-flammable materials), as these areas are often refuges for people who get out of their suite or office but the elevators are shut down and they need a safer place to wait for help.
  • Common or public areas are pressurized because building engineers want to better control unconditioned air. If the air pressure inside a building is lower than outside, air gets drawn in through every door, window and crevice. It is more desirable(cheaper) to slightly pressurize the air, so the reverse happens in a more controlled way. It is why when you open the front door of a big building, you feel a slight rush of air leaving. It is a balancing act, the desired outcome is a slight positive pressure.

When shutting your bathroom door there is air pressure generated as the door shuts. With a small room that air pressure can't dissipate fast enough and creates resistance.

In larger rooms like your front door there's enough room that no resistance is generated. This effect is increased as the weight of the door decreases. Plain hollow core doors feel the affects of this phenomenon the greatest.

Your front door is likely heavier being designed to block out some sound from the hall or your neighbors which would contribute to how easily and loudly it shuts.

Elena

Have you ever wondered how the numbers on the top of a paint can from a home improvement store relate to the color of the paint? And how does the store account for the color viewed under different types of light?

When I was younger I worked at Home Depot.

The different colors of paint available are really just different mixtures of a few basic colors. It's impractical for the store to stock a bunch of buckets of thousands of different colors, so they mix the colors on site by combining a few basic colors in the proper proportions.

Basically you tell the guy at the desk what color you want, he punches it into the computer, the computer tells him what base to get (usually white in color), sticks it into the machine, and the machine dumps in the precise amount of each of the basic colors required to produce your desired color. The specifics of the data on that label vary depending on the store/paint manufacturer/etc., but they identify the color somehow. It might be an amount of each base color in the mix, I'm not familiar with that specific label.

The colors are all pre-programmed into the computer, it doesn't care about how the light looks under different types of light.

That's why when you're picking out a color for a room in your house, it's a good idea to take the paint chips home and actually look at them under the lighting conditions present in that space.

Elena

I love watching the remodeling shows on HGTV. But I always see people with homes way nicer than mine, with prices way outside of my budget which is probably why I enjoy watching.

But I could if I wanted.

Buying a house isn't so much about how much you make month to month.

More important is how much money you have sitting around at your disposal. There are many people that have money because of their parents or the property value rise in the place where they live. Example, if you bought a $180,000 house when you were 25, 25 miles west of Baltimore in 2004, you'd have a $450,000 house today, that if you sold, you'd have $300,000 to throw down on a $600,000 mini mansion even farther out.

The remaining mortgage wouldn't be too bad for a family making 90K per year.

While I can't help but think that is is just a show, most are filmed in Canada if I am not mistaken.

Housing prices went up above the ability of middle-class people to afford them here in the US, so banks and other institutions came up with mortgages below prime rate that had a high chance of failing.

But they didn't assume that risk themselves, rather they bundled those junk loans up in packages and sold them to clients, assuring them they were solid investments. They even sold "derivatives" of the junk loans, essentially bets that the loan would succeed or fail. They bought the "fail" bets, they sold the "succeed" bets to their clients.

When the loads did start failing, the people who bought the packages got screwed, the people who bough the house got screwed, the people who originated the subprime loans made out like bandits.

Houses are still being foreclosed on from that mess.