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Dwelling Styles

There are so many different styles of house. Yes, I mentioned the single house, or detached house. It is a free-standing residence building. Sometimes referred to as a single-family home, as opposed to a multi-family residential dwelling.

I get the list of these variations below.

One Story, Rancher and Rambler

A dwelling consisting of one story or single floor, of living area, with a full height stairway to the basement usually at the centre of the house or at the side door entrance. Typically the basement is unfinished at the time it is built. When the homeowner finishes the basement it can be finished as either a simple or custom design. This style of home ordinarily has a simple floor plan and generally includes a low pitched gable* roof, large windows, attached garage, sliding glass doors leading out to a back deck or patio.

1.5 Story or Cape Cod

Popular during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The Cape Cod, boasts one and a half stories of finished living area. The second level typically has a steep roof slope and dormers*. The area of the second floor is usually smaller than the ground floor area because of the roof design. The chimney is typically placed at one end of the home instead of at the center.

Two Story, Colonial

An uncomplicated, economical, and refined home of two finished floors of approximately the same living area and both with full ceiling heights. The roof structure commonly has a medium slope.

2.5 Story

A residence with three levels of living area, a steep roof slope and dormers*. The upper most level is usually 40 % to 70% of the ground floor area. The 2.5 story home is similar to the Cape Code, with the exception being, the additional level of living area.

Three Story

A residence with three levels of finished living space, of approximately the same square footage and each floor having full ceiling heights.


Popular from the mid 1950s through the 1970s. The A-Frame has steeply angled sides (the roofline), that meet at the top in the shape of the letter A. The sloped roof creates a half floor at the top of the house which can be used as a loft. A-frames have limited living space and are commonly constructed as vacation cottages.

Bi-Level, Raised Ranch or Split Foyer

A home with two levels of living area of approximately the same size. The dwelling entrance is between floors and is considered a split-foyer entrance. The main entrance enters onto a landing with a flight of stairs leading to the main living areas on the upper level and a flight of stairs leading down to the lower level of living space. Practical style that fills a need for space and flexibility, little decorative detailing and sliding glass doors leading to a back yard patio are all familiar traits of a Bi-Level.


A space-efficient floor plan of the early 20th century. The Bungalow is ordinarily asmall, one story dwelling, usually with a front porch. Wood shingle exterior walls or wood siding and wood shingle roofs are regular features of the Bungalow style home.

A bungalow house in Houston, Texas

Pic source:,_1238_Harvard_St,_Houston_(HDR).jpg


Contemporary homes are designed for today’s lifestyles with large open spaces and huge windows of very tall panes of glass. A combination of square and rectangular, geometric patterns designed are used to blend both interior and exterior. Commonly, the Contemporary home will consist of plain exteriors with the exception of the extensive use of glass.


Generally used as a seasonal home, the cottage is a small simple one story building. Cottages typically have a minimal foundation, the building resting on posts, at the corners of the building.


The Log home is typically made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber. The Handcrafted style of Log homes is typically made of logs that have been peeled but are essentially unchanged from their natural appearance, when they were trees.


The ornamentation of a Mediterranean home can range from simple to dramatic. The exterior walls are commonly stucco of white or pastel. Arched windows and balconies with wrought iron or wood detail is a common trait of the Mediterranean style.

Ornate Victorian

Elaborate exteriors, interior finishes and trims including 36’ of gingerbread* on at least three lines of the exterior of the building are the features that set this home apart from the rest. Typically the Ornate Victorian boasts 2.5 or 3 stories, which include bay windows*, turrets*, tall chimneys and extensive porches.

Queen Anne

The Queen Ann is customarily 2.5 stories with abundant use of wood trim on both the interior and exterior of the home. Victorian Queen Anne homes often have steep roof lines, towers, turrets*, wrap-around porches and other fanciful details. Queen Anne became an architectural fashion in the 1880 and 1890s.

Split Level, Tri-Level

A dwelling that is divided into several parts, with often three or more levels of finished living area: lower level, intermediate level and upper level. The lower level is immediately below the upper level as in the two-story residence. The intermediate level, adjacent to the other levels, is built on a grade approximately one-half story higher than the lower level. The main entrance is usually (although not always) on the center level.

Southwest Adobe

A home made of adobe brick. There is a common use of stucco and various wood beams for both support and ornamentation. Roofs are typically flat.


A Victorian home is a house that was constructed during the Victorian era, approximately 1840 to 1900. Victorians typically have elaborate exterior and interior finishes and trims, including 18” of gingerbread on at least three lines of the house. Usually, 2.5 or 3 stories of living area, Victorian homes commonly include the use of bay windows, turrets, tall chimneys and extensive porches.


Basic Construction Terms

Balloon Framed Wall – Framed walls (generally over 10′ tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss.

Baluster – Vertical member in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as a ‘picket’ or ‘spindle’.

Column- A vertical structural compression member which supports loads.

Crawl Space – A shallow space below the living quarters of a house, normally enclosed by the foundation wall and having a dirt floor.

Damp-proofing – Black, tar like waterproofing material applied to the exterior of a foundation wall.

Dormer – An opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for windows or other openings.

Downspout – A pipe, usually of metal, for carrying rainwater down from the roof’s horizontal gutters.

Drywall – A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2″ thick and 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 12′ in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a ‘joint compound’. ‘Green board’ type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other “wet areas”.

Duct – A round or rectangular metal pipe installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home. Also, a tunnel made of galvanized metal or rigid fiberglass that carries air from the heater or ventilation opening to the rooms in a building.

Eaves – The horizontal exterior roof overhang.

Fascia – Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.

Footing – Continuous 8″ or 10″ thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall.

Form – Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.

Foundation – The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings.

Framing – Lumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists and rafters.

Gable – The upper triangular-shaped portion of an end wall, beneath the roof.

Gable Roof – A ridge roof which terminates in a gable.

Gingerbread – Wood trim or molding of an elaborate ornamentation or superfluous embellishment.

Insulation – Any material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling or floors of a structure, will reduce the rate of heat flow.

Jamb – The side and head lining of a doorway, window or other opening. Includes studs as well as the frame and trim.

Joist – Wooden 2 X 8’s, 10’s or 12’s that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls.

Millwork – Generally all building materials made of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants. Includes all doors, window and door frames, blinds, mantels, panelwork, stairway components (ballusters, rails, etc.), moldings and interior trim. Does not include flooring, ceiling or siding.

Post and Pad Foundation – A foundation assembly for supporting a cross member that comprises a vertical timber post attached to the upper surface of a wider pre-formed concrete pad.

Rafter – Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10’s and 2 X 12’s are used. The rafters of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists.

Soffit – The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls. Usually the underside of an overhanging cornice.

Slab – Concrete pavement, including driveway, garage, and basement floor.

Stud – A vertical wood framing member, also referred to as a wall stud, attached to the horizontal sole plate below and the top plate above. Normally 2 X 4’s or 2 X 6’s, 8′ long. One of a series of wood or metal vertical structural members placed as supporting elements in walls and partitions.

Sump Pump – A submersible pump in a sump pit that pumps any excess ground water to the outside of the home.

Turret – A small tower projecting from a building, usually at a corner.

Vancouver Special – A common reference to houses built in a particular architectural styleroughly between 1965 and 1985 in Vancouver, B.C. They are characterized by their box-like structure, low-pitched roofs, balconies across the front of the house, and brick or stone finishes on the ground-floor level of the facade with stucco elsewhere. Vancouver Specials usually have the main living quarters on the upper floor and secondary bedrooms on the bottom, making them ideal for renovating to secondary suites. The style takes maximum advantage of the buildable area of a standard city lot.

Vapour Barrier – A building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation. It is used to retard the movement of water vapour into walls and prevent condensation within them. Normally, polyethylene plastic sheeting is used.

Got a Greenlee GT-16 Adjustable Non-Contact Voltage Detector

I think every house need a Voltage Detector. Especially when house owner changes the light bulb.
The day I send my car to Goodyear for service, is a good day. I have a walk and found a store. I went in and purchased this Greenlee GT-16 Adjustable Non-Contact Voltage Detector. It is just below $30.00.

It is a little bit expensive, but it worth.
Let us see the features of it.

  • Adjustable to safely detect power and low voltage
  • Safely detects AC voltage without touching the bare conductor
  • Adjustable for use on power wiring plus lighting, thermostats and other low voltage circuits
  • Use to detect voltage in outlets, lighting fixtures, wires and cables
  • Finds breaks in wires
  • Identifies hot and neutral conductors
  • Low battery indication
  • Accessories included: (1) 1.5V AAA battery
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty

Continue reading “Got a Greenlee GT-16 Adjustable Non-Contact Voltage Detector”

How to determine Water Heater Age

It is hard to find the date of manufacture of Hot Water Tank, or Water Heater. Most of time they do not put the date on the plate.
But we can decode from the serial number. Let me show you how to determine the age of Hot Water Tank of different brand.



Trade Names

Where to Look

How to Decode


American ACE, American, American Hardware, America’s Best, Apex, Aqua Temp, AquaTherm, Aquamatic, Best, Best Deluxe, Champion, Craftmaster, De-Limer, Deluxe, Eagle, The Earl’s Energy Conservation Water Heater, The Earl’s Energy Saver Plus, Envirotemp, Four Most, Hotmaster, Hotstream, King-Kleen, King-Line, Master Plumber, Nationaline, Neptune, Penquin, Premier Plus, Premier Plus Self Cleaning Prestige, ProLine and ProLine Plus, Quaker, Quick-Flo, Raywall, Revere, Riveria, Sands, Sentinal, Servi-Star, Shamrock, Special Deluxe, Standard, Super Eagle, Super-Flo, Supreme, Sure-Fire, Thoro-Clean, Tru-Test, Tru Value, U.S. Supply, Whirlpool, XCL Energy Saver Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st 2 digits = year

2nd 2 digits= week

8906xxx = made in the 6th week of the year 1989
Apollo Comfort Products Apollo
Bradford-White Bradford White, JetGlas Serial # – 1st 2 letters 1st letter = year starting with A as 1984,

2nd letter = month with January (A) through December (M)

JMxxx = made in the year 1992 (J) in the month of December (M)
Crispaire E-tech
GSW Water Heating John Wood, GSW, Moffat, Superflue, Medal Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st & 2nd number = year,

3rd & 4th number = month

8901xxx = made in the year 1989 in the first month, January
Heat Transfer Products Heat Transfer
Lochinvar Energy Saver, Golden Knight, Knight
Marathon Marathon Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st & 2nd digit = month,

3rd & 4th digit = year

0189xxx = made in the year 1989 in the first month, January
Maytag Maytag
Rheem Aqua Therm, General Electric, Hotpoint, Professional, Rheem, Vanguard, Western Auto Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st & 2nd digit = month,

3rd & 4th digit = year

0189xxx = made in the year 1989 in the first month, January
Richmond Richmond Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st & 2nd digit = month,

3rd & 4th digit = year

0189xxx = made in the year 1989 in the first month, January
Ruud Professional, Ruud Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st & 2nd digit = month,

3rd & 4th digit = year

0189xxx = made in the year 1989 in the first month, January
Sears, Roebuck and Co. Kenmore
A.O. Smith Water Products National, A.O. Smith, Glascote, Perma-Glas Serial # – 2nd, 3rd, 4th characters 2nd position (letter) = month (A being January through M being December)

3rd & 4th position (numbers) = year

AJ89xxx = made in October (J) of 1989
State Industries State Serial # – 1st 3 characters first letter = month (A being January through M, being December), 2nd and 3rd position (numbers) = year J89xxx = made in October of 1989
Summit Manufacturing


Sun Therm
U.S. Craftsmaster

Water Heaters

Ace, American Hardware, America’s Best, Apex, Aqua Temp, Aqua Therm, Aquamatic, Best, Best Deluxe, Craftmaster, De-Limer, Deluxe, Eagle, The Earl’s Energy Conservation Water Heater, The Earl’s Energy Saver Plus, Envirotemp, Four Most, Hotmaster, Hotstream, King-Kleen, King-Line, Master Plumber, Nationaline, Neptune, Penquin, Prestige, Pro-Line, Pro-Line Plus, Quaker, Quick-Flo, Raywall, Revere, Riviera, Sands, Sentinal, Servistar, Shamrock, Special Deluxe, Standard, Supereagle, Super-Flo, Supreme, Sure-Fire, Thoro-Clean, True-Test, Tru Value, U.S. Craftmaster, U.S. Supply, Whirlpool, XCL Energy Saver Serial # – 1st 4 digits 1st 2 digits = year

2nd 2 digits= week

8924xxx = made in the 24th week of the year 1989
Vaugn Manufacturing Corp. Sepco, Hydrohot, D.W. Whitehead

Continue reading “How to determine Water Heater Age”

It is Fall in Vancouver

We went to Oakridge Mall last week. I still remember the feelling when we stepped on this land about five years ago.
We resided in my aunt’s house for three monthes. It is close to the Oakridge Mall. We always walked there to buy foods.
Last week, I took a photo on the back entrance of the mall. Nothing is changed.

The first place we lived in Canada.

Continue reading “It is Fall in Vancouver”

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