Author Topic: Home Improvement Thread  (Read 18986 times)

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Online MarquisDeSade

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Home Improvement Thread
« Topic Start: May 06, 2015, 10:29:49 AM »
Let your inner needledick shine here folks.  Any yard or home projects you're working on can and should be discussed here.

On Saturday we removed the crappy 1980s flagstone patio which resulted in another acute gout attack but a happy MDS since said patio was not being used and was an eyesore.  Here are some of the flagstones we removed waiting out by our neighbor's garage for someone to come by and take them away:



Here's what the old patio area looked like once we removed all of the remaining flagstone detritus, river pebbles, and weeds and after we tamped everything down and smoothed out the sand for the topsoil and sod:



And here it is now after putting down topsoil, new Home Cheapo sod, and a ton of Scotts lawn feed:



I'm not convinced this Home Cheapo sod is going to take root (it looks to be some form of Kentucky bluegrass, which doesn't fare well in harsh climates) but it's only 250 square feet so replacing it next spring if it doesn't is no big deal.  "This Old House" used a really sweet sod product on their Lexington house that roots well beyond the 6-9" most sod does that we might do some of the yard in next year if this sod and the grass seed-fertilizer-watering process doesn't work on the rest of our lawn.  We're having to correct five plus years of lawn neglect the previous owners subjected this yard to so we're probably looking at having to, at a minimum, resod a lot of this yard next year and regrade parts to correct drainage issues. 

The sod "This Old House" used on the Lexington lawn is not cheap ($25/10 sq feet vs. $6/10 sq feet of Home Cheapo quality sod) but if it will take root and survive harsh weather that's money well spent.  If there's one thing I've learned from owning a really old house in harsh climate it's this - do it right the first time.  You end up having to do it right regardless so save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration and just buy and do it right from the jump.  Also, do it with permits.

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #1: May 06, 2015, 10:57:26 AM »
might as well try here- I've decided to replace a ceiling fan (I've replaced every light fixture in my house other than fans, which I've been dreading, but the time has come). I went ahead and took off the cover on the top of my current fan and found this

current fan is secured to a piece of plywood with a what looks like a D ring.  Looks like a simple swap out is going to turn into a chore (my guess is there is no joist above- hence the d ring) - I'm thinking put out a hole in the plywood, put a brace above in between the two joists, pancake box then new fan- what should have taken five minutes is now going to be a fun project :bang:

Online GburgNatsFan

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #2: May 06, 2015, 11:41:47 AM »
You are replacing it with another ceiling fan? I'm not sure what's wrong with that set-up, assuming that the plywood (if that's what it is) is attached to the joists...

The rig you are looking at is very similar to the one that came with big, heavy Hunter fans. Big 1/4" eye bolt up through a 2x4 that was screwed into the joists. When I did it, I screwed through the ceiling at an angle (like toe-nailing) and then spackled the holes.

might as well try here- I've decided to replace a ceiling fan (I've replaced every light fixture in my house other than fans, which I've been dreading, but the time has come). I went ahead and took off the cover on the top of my current fan and found this
(Image removed from quote.)
current fan is secured to a piece of plywood with a what looks like a D ring.  Looks like a simple swap out is going to turn into a chore (my guess is there is no joist above- hence the d ring) - I'm thinking put out a hole in the plywood, put a brace above in between the two joists, pancake box then new fan- what should have taken five minutes is now going to be a fun project :bang:

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #3: May 06, 2015, 11:45:52 AM »
You are replacing it with another ceiling fan? I'm not sure what's wrong with that set-up, assuming that the plywood (if that's what it is) is attached to the joists...

The rig you are looking at is very similar to the one that came with big, heavy Hunter fans.


the main problem is that nothing manufactured now seems to fit that kind of setup- every fan I've seen is a rod going into a box (and yes it is a big heavy hunter fan)

Online GburgNatsFan

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #4: May 06, 2015, 11:47:12 AM »
the main problem is that nothing manufactured now seems to fit that kind of setup- every fan I've seen is a rod going into a box (and yes it is a big heavy hunter fan)

Well, it was 25 years ago when I did it.

Online MarquisDeSade

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #5: May 06, 2015, 11:49:06 AM »
Head on down to the Home Cheapo and pick one of these up:



www.homedepot.com/p/Westinghouse-15-5-cu-in-Retrofit-Ceiling-Fan-Saf-T-Brace-0110000/204845572?N=5yc1vZbohn

It could just be the picture, but is it grounded to the hanger and not the ground from the feed line?  That looks like some form of conduit grounded set up and not a Romex line so that might be ok, but I prefer grounds to be to something that can actually act as a ground and not just a box like that.  Also, are there three hot wires and only two neutrals? 

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #6: May 06, 2015, 12:00:44 PM »

It could just be the picture, but is it grounded to the hanger and not the ground from the feed line?  That looks like some form of conduit grounded set up and not a Romex line so that might be ok, but I prefer grounds to be to something that can actually act as a ground and not just a box like that.  Also, are there three hot wires and only two neutrals? 


I see someone is used to new construction (actually it is grounded to the rest of the house/a grounding rod)- it's two separate romex lines from the attic - one to the switch, one to the circuit (I think). One line is hot to the fan, neutral to the other line's hot. The other line is neutral to the fan, hot to the other line's neutral. Both lines have their grounds tied to each other and the fan

Online MarquisDeSade

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #7: May 06, 2015, 12:11:43 PM »
I see someone is used to new construction (actually it is grounded to the rest of the house/a grounding rod)

:lmao:

My house is over 100 years old so, no, I'm not used to new construction.  I'm just used to working with Romex since we had our entire house rewired once we moved in.  There's still some old knob-and-tube we need to decommission in the dining room but almost everything else is now Romex.  One of the kitchen outlets (running the toaster) is grounded to the conduit but that's grounded to the water supply along with most of the basement, everything else is grounded to the grounding rod.

Online Slateman

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #8: May 06, 2015, 12:26:56 PM »
Oh I have a ton of pictures. Should be interesting.

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #9: May 06, 2015, 01:09:54 PM »
You guys really pull permits??

 

Online Slateman

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #10: May 06, 2015, 01:12:09 PM »
A permit for sod?

Offline varoadking

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #11: May 06, 2015, 01:15:35 PM »
A permit for sod?

Certain cities do require permits either to install sod or to be able to water newly installed sod during times of water restrictions.

Online MarquisDeSade

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #12: May 06, 2015, 01:16:22 PM »
You guys really pull permits??

Spending $50 now saves a lot of headaches and fines down the road.  Besides, other than the plumbing inspector, almost every inspector we've dealt with has been cool and helpful.  For the cedar fence we built we didn't need a permit but for the new hot water heater (natural gas with a 4" fresh air feed install) we had to pull a permit since the old version wasn't up to code.  For most things you don't need a permit as long as the city doesn't require it and you're meeting minimum code.  But, much like Mike Holmes, I don't even like minimum code.

Online MarquisDeSade

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #13: May 06, 2015, 01:23:00 PM »
Certain cities do require permits either to install sod or to be able to water newly installed sod during times of water restrictions.

Another reason to be glad you don't live in California.  We currently have one rain barrel but we're going to order three more so that all rainwater off of the house and garage gets captured for plant and lawn watering.  If I can get it set up in time I'm going to set up a snow water reservoir so that all of the snow next winter gets converted to water for plant and lawn watering. 

Offline varoadking

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #14: May 06, 2015, 01:27:34 PM »
Another reason to be glad you don't live in California.  We currently have one rain barrel but we're going to order three more so that all rainwater off of the house and garage gets captured for plant and lawn watering.  If I can get it set up in time I'm going to set up a snow water reservoir so that all of the snow next winter gets converted to water for plant and lawn watering.

Speak to mitlen...he was all over this in 1883...


Online tomterp

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #15: May 06, 2015, 09:02:16 PM »
You guys really pull permits??

When you sell the property, you'll be asked to represent that all work was done under permit and according to building codes.

If you falsify that representation, you can be found liable for fraud.

We had work done on our basement in Alexandria - drywall to cover the crumbling and dusty brick walls, a ceiling with lighting, walling off the old oil furnace, rebuilding the stairway that was falling apart.  The city guy was adamant about not giving us a permit, one sticking point being that the stairway incline no longer met code and to rebuild it would require major modification to the house to fit it in.  So we di the work without permit, of course.   :lol:

However, we later sold the house and then came the legal representation.   :?

I decided to say that we had not done the basement work under permit because it would have required us to (see above) do unreasonable stuff.  The buyers accepted this qualification and bought the house.

Online Slateman

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #16: May 06, 2015, 09:04:28 PM »
Uh ... so is this everywhere? Because if so, I might be freaked.

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #17: May 06, 2015, 09:09:10 PM »
You'd be surprised what people will waive in a sellers market

Online tomterp

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #18: May 06, 2015, 09:11:28 PM »
There is another reason to pull a permit, if inspection is required it's really in your own interest.  If a contractor can't meet code, you really shouldn't use them ( except in rare self serving cases like mine own noted above.   :D  )

Online MarquisDeSade

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #19: May 06, 2015, 09:16:41 PM »
Uh ... so is this everywhere? Because if so, I might be freaked.

That depends.  Unless it's something egregious (e.g. removing a load bearing wall that fails after the sale and kills the new owners, you rig up the exhaust from a gas furnace to vent into the dryer vent and cause an explosion) you can usually just sign the representation without issue.  If a house is really old you're pretty much buying something that's had tons of work down without permits.  However, in this inferno of information overload and oversharing, if do major things without a permit and sign the form you're probably going to be freaked if something goes wrong.

You'd be surprised what people will waive in a sellers market

There's a dipcrap I work with that's buying a house with freaking aluminum wiring and tons of visible friable asbestos without an inspection in north Arlington at $740K and thinks he's getting a deal. 

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #20: May 06, 2015, 09:19:40 PM »

There's a dipcrap I work with that's buying a house with freaking aluminum wiring and tons of visible friable asbestos without an inspection in north Arlington at $740K and thinks he's getting a deal. 

The wiring I can understand,it can be replaced and you could still wind up with a good deal, but good luck with the asbestos

Online tomterp

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #21: May 06, 2015, 09:20:27 PM »
You'd be surprised what people will waive in a sellers market

They bought our 1,350 sq ft bungalow in Rosemont (Alexandria) for $280k and sold it 2 years later for $465k, so yeah, they weren't unhappy.  It's now worth north of $800k I think.   

Online MarquisDeSade

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #22: May 06, 2015, 09:26:15 PM »
The wiring I can understand,it can be replaced and you could still wind up with a good deal, but good luck with the asbestos

The asbestos is easier to deal with than a whole house rewire unless you're really good at drywall (this guy couldn't swing a meat hammer, much less an actual hammer).  He asked me what we paid for a whole house rewire ($5K with me doing the drywall work) and he thought it wasn't that bad.  When I told him "if you're not doing the drywall add another $5-10K onto it and more if you're not at 220 already" he didn't sound too happy. 

They bought our 1,350 sq ft bungalow in Rosemont (Alexandria) for $280k and sold it 2 years later for $465k, so yeah, they weren't unhappy.  It's now worth north of $800k I think.

If you got into the housing game there in 2004 you're probably kicking ass right now.  I feel sorry for young people there without deep pockets and long arms trying to get into the housing market there. 

Online Slateman

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #23: May 07, 2015, 11:36:44 AM »
Okay, panic attack averted. We're moving the washer and dryer from the kitchen to the coat closet. Water is going down a slightly smaller than code pipe to the sewer. Eh, if I can sign a waiver, freak it.

Online Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Home Improvement Thread
« Reply #24: May 07, 2015, 12:27:34 PM »
Hmmm, guess I'd be selling "as is"...not that I have any intention of selling. At least we hired someone legit to put in the air con.
When you sell the property, you'll be asked to represent that all work was done under permit and according to building codes.

If you falsify that representation, you can be found liable for fraud.

We had work done on our basement in Alexandria - drywall to cover the crumbling and dusty brick walls, a ceiling with lighting, walling off the old oil furnace, rebuilding the stairway that was falling apart.  The city guy was adamant about not giving us a permit, one sticking point being that the stairway incline no longer met code and to rebuild it would require major modification to the house to fit it in.  So we di the work without permit, of course.   :lol:

However, we later sold the house and then came the legal representation.   :?

I decided to say that we had not done the basement work under permit because it would have required us to (see above) do unreasonable stuff.  The buyers accepted this qualification and bought the house.