Originally Published: December 22, 2011 9:58 p.m.
Q: Our builder has suggested that we obtain a soil engineering report. What is that exactly, and why should we follow his recommendation?-Ed and Sue, Prescott Valley
A: You should know the type of soil you are building on. As the population continues to move into the outer reaches of the communities, project sites cab become questionable. These sites can still be built upon; however, you should be aware of the soil conditions.
A soil report presents a picture of what the intended project will consist of, such as information about the type of structure, number of floors, basement, anticipated cut and fill conditions, structural loads, retaining walls, pavement structures, retention features and more. A soil report will present recommendations by a structural engineer for footing depth, width, bearing pressure, estimated settlements, heave potential and lateral earth pressures. Civil engineers will be aware of site grading requirements, ground slopes and minimum permanent cut and fill for slopes.
A soil report will detail a description of the site and soil conditions so a contractor/builder and owner will know what they have to contend with. Recommendations will be made as to the type of on-site soils that can be used and where they can be used on the lot. The report will give a procedure for preparation of the site and direction about drainage around and away from the home.
The more you know and understand the soils, and their characteristics, the easier it will be for your builder to accomplish the project in a successful manner. Yes, it will cost more - however, knowing the soil conditions of the site will identify, quantify and remove most, if not all, of the unknown factors of your site.
Q: I am contemplating replacement of my laminate countertops, and I want something that is ultra-durable. What do you suggest?-Kelly, Williamson Valley
A: There is an extremely durable product that is now being sold right here in Prescott - Samsung Radianz Quartz. Arizona Tile has recently been designated as an authorized distributor of this product line. Radianz is a remarkable blend of nature and technology, combining beauty and functionality in a high-performance surface for countertops and other interior surfacing applications. This product is resistant to scratches and chipping and is ideal for high-use surfaces, especially kitchen counters. This product is made from 93 percent quartz, which is one of the hardest natural minerals found. This is a non-porous product and is virtually maintenance-free. It is non-toxic and very hygienic.
Q. We have white cabinets in our master bath. I am constantly cleaning off fingerprints. Can I repaint the cabinets?-John, Prescott Valley
A: Not knowing the type of material the cabinets are made from, it is hard to say yes or no. If the cabinets are white laminate, you are pretty much stuck, unless you reface the cabinets with new doors that would fit well with a white cabinet body. If the cabinets are white-painted wood, you can certainly have them refinished.
Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.ycca.org.