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Cost for Drywall and Radon

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Paul Ness MAI

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Joined
Jan 14, 2002
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Certified General Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
I'm selling my house and the appraiser is calling for the ceiling of the garage to be drywalled as a firewall requirement. Any experiences with this and the cost to have someone do this? The garage is 20x25.

Also, the radon test came back high. Any ideas of cost for remediation?

:evil:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Do you have living space above that garage ceiling? If not I would question the need. If you do need to install drywall and you're little handy you could purchase the materials for that size ceiling for under $100.00 and do it yourself. Drywall hoists can be rented for about $40 / day so you won't have to kill yourself lifting panels to the ceiling. Drywall in my area is going for about $4.50 a sheet. You will probably need about 17 sheets.

Radon reduction gets a little trickier but it can be done yourself as well. Most contractors will charge you about 1,500.00 bucks to install a special vent that in theory ( and I stress theory ) will exhaust those nasty gasses outside. They will caulk any cracks in the floor around drains and the concrete floor where it meets the foundation wall. What they won't tell you is that the caulking and sealing of any cracks alone will usually reduce your radon amount. Try caulking the cracks yourself and perform another test first.
 

Red Blumenstock

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Paul,

In your specific area (Lancaster) I have experienced Radon systems costing from $700 - $900.

Sorry, I don't have real knowledge of the cost of Drywall installation, but the local contractors were generally willing to provide estimates. I guess it may have been relative to how hungry they were.

Red
 

Paul Ness MAI

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Thanks for your replies. Yes, the area above the garage is finished. It is a bi-level home. I wish I had the time to drywall myself. I'm more concerned about the radon cost. The lower level of our house is fully finished with two rooms, and is even at grade level in the back (half under grade in the front) so I was surprised how high it was (12.7). There is carpeting and padding over the slab flooring. I don't know if they put down a sheet vapor barrier on top pf the slab. Walls and ceilings are drywalled, so I don't know what they'll do for remediation. A contractor is coming out Saturday to give an estimate for the radon and I have calls in for estimates on the drywall work.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
You can go to Home depot and get a Radon Test Kit for $9.95. Let it sit for a couple days and send it in to the lab for you results. My opinion, get a second one! Seems high to me.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Paul:
Also before you get your bid for the drywall: Find out what the CODE requirement is in your area is for the function it is intended: and if there is no code requirement you certainly have the right to question whether the appraiser is making up his/her very own set of rules as he/she goes!

The purpose is typically to provide a "minimum 1 hour firewall" from garage (where fires often start) to the living area above. 5/8" drywall is called for in most jurisdictions, and it must typically be at least rough-taped: in other words if you have someone slap up 1/2" you may wind up paying to have the job done twice!

Good luck!
 

Paul Ness MAI

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
It's for FHA. Do you know what they require for a firewall? The realtor didn't know. :evil:
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Paul:
Sorry don't have time to look it up as this is a grey area for me - the HUD4150 as originally writ had little local options according to your local HUD office, since centralization, the rules have changed, and this is not one of the items I am currently 'up on' nor have I time to research it today, I offer you the following advice set:

You may want to post this query on the HUD FHA forum, however you may get conflicting and inaccurate advice....

1 call your local building code enfrocement agency (assuming you live in an area where such exists, and ask them what is the current firewall requirement or if it is grandfathered. If no agency has jurisdiction, forgett it - no longer important.

2 The HUD tech Support line # in Denver (only area I know-and your area may have a differnt ruling on this matter: as who to cal first~!) +1 (800) 543-9378 ext. 5217 Ask there with full explanation of what situation is: liveing area above garage, what is required... I beleive that there is no longer a specific HUD requirement but do not want to steer you wrong.

3 oh this IS nasty: ask the appraiser to provide you with the documentation or source for his request.

It is not at all uncommon to have individuals doing HUD/FHA confused as to what the current set of rules are for FHA! Even the experts at HUD can give you three different rulings on some matters.... DO write down who you spoke with, the time, and exactly what they said, treat it as you would a call to the IRS in terms of documenting...

again, good luck.
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
HUD/FHA, may have their own rules; but if you meet local "Fire Code" for your municipality-that should be satisfactory for anyone. I would check town ordinance, because you have living space, they may require some of the side wall area also, and not just the ceiling alone.

Checking with the appraiser won't help now, he/she has already let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. Also, now that your aware of this fact-if you have a Seller disclosure requirement, you'll need to fix the problem anyway.

Good Luck!!
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
If local ordinances did not require at the time of construction And/Or do not require an update to current code compliance, no 'repairs' may be required. Therby saving our fellow forumite a bundle of his hard earned cash.

The fact that it is a darn good idea to have running water and a toilet inside the house does not entirely preclude an FHA loan on a property that has neither.

FHA appraisers frequently overstep the bounds of 4150.2 REQUIRED repairs... I have to agree that it is probably a good idea to have a firewall... but indicating a repair as required is a function of the local code enforcement or the underwriter!

I'd likely put such an observed 'defect' under 11g, general health and safety, hopefully knowing the code requirements of the jurisdiction, proerly inform the underwriter what they are... and let them make the call.

Has anyone found the appropriate section of FHA verbage? I have not and now I'm curious! Tried the USELESS search function and FAQ's to no avail.
 
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