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Disorder in the House

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    The White

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    I live in an apartment. I'm not particularly proud or happy about this. I live in an urban area, and where I live a home that doesn't require bars on the windows and land mines in the front yard is so expensive I wonder how anyone is able to afford one. I imagine most people that bought them actually couldn't, and we can all thank them for driving the economy (and my chances of ever owning a home) right into the toilet.

    Anyway one nice thing about an apartment is that I have to spend a limited amount of my time fixing shit. This weekend was a fixit weekend for me, where I got everything cleaned up, scrubbed the bathroom, went to Home Depot to get parts so I could Jerry-rig a standard lampshade on my busted nonstandard lamp, found the kilogram of hair that was causing a slow drain in my shower (the girlfriend claims it was from the people who lived here before, but when I moved in the shower drained just fine), and so on.

    People who live in houses, on the other hand, talk incessantly about how much of their time is spend maintaining the homestead. It's second only to "guess what amazing thing my child did this weekend?" as the most annoying thing you can talk about.

    FOCUS: What are your greatest triumphs (or defeats) of home repair and improvement? Is your house six months away from being red-tagged, or have you sold your soul to Home Depot?
     
  2. BL1Y

    BL1Y
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    This is more an inadvertent win than a true victory in home repair.

    My first summer in New York I was living in the ghetto (Inwood, so one of the nicer ghettos, as far as ghettos go) and couldn't afford air conditioning. About midway through the summer my toilet started doing something weird. After the tank filled, it would continue running, it wouldn't overflow or anything, just constantly run water through the system. And, if you know how AC works in older buildings, it's basically cold water flowing through pipes. My toilet became a moderately effective air conditioning unit. Kept operating after I flushed it and everything. (And to answer the obvious question, in NYC water is free.)
     
  3. Arctic_Scrap

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    I live in one of my parents rental houses. I live rent free while I am going to school and was fixing up the basement to at least feel a little less guilty about not paying rent. I stripped out most the basement and had $100s of dollars of sheet rock, lumber, and tools sitting on the basement floor through the winter. Spring came and I was gone for a few days and my basement decided to flood, ruining all my shit. There was literally a decent sized waterfall coming into my basement, you could hear it upstairs. An early thaw made a lake in my yard which then refroze. We then got a big snowstorm and it all melted on top of the ice and ran into my basement.

    This house is old as hell and the concrete wall only went as high as the ground and the lake leaked between the concrete and wood frame. It got so bad that while I was cleaning the water out with a portable pump I stepped through the cement floor in a few spots, the water went through cracks in the floor and eroded away the earth. It wasn't even standing water either, it was more like a large river and I never really figured out where it was all going. Me and my step father redid the wall so no more water can get through but I haven't touched the basement since.


    Also, I use a coat hanger to hold up my toilet float because the rubber seal in the tank is cracked and I'm too cheap to replace it. Water continuously runs without it. It's hilarious when people try to flush it and I have to show them how to use the hanger.
     
  4. WickedBitch

    WickedBitch
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    Our current house, which we rent, has seriously inadequate cabinet space in the kitchen. To combat that, hubby built this:

    [​IMG]

    It's not the prettiest thing ever but it is really sturdy and keeps up from having to store our pots & pans in the oven.
     
  5. Juice

    Juice
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    Last summer I built a bird feeder. It wasnt just any bird feeder, it was a bird feeder built as a response to a disaster. Why? Let me paint you a picture.

    Prior to May 2009, my parents had a bird feeder in their backyard. For years they greatly enjoyed the various birds in our temperate climate feasting on the seed provided for them. The bluejays dancing in the sunlight, the sparrows gracefully fluttering about, these were true sights to behold. One day, in the wee hours of May 15, a great crash was overheard outside. My parents nervously leapt out of bed and ran to the window. The horror they witnessed was almost indescribable. A mighty black bear had knocked over the bird feeder with the strength and power of 100 men. As the beast began to devour the seed, my mother fainted and my father fell to his knees and cursed the Gods for such a travesty. After the bear had returned to whence it came, thousands of birds cried out in grief at the sight of what once was.

    The following weekend I returned to my humble abode, and was filled in on the events that had befallen my homestead. It was then I decided to accept the challenge of crafting a bear-proof bird feeder, whereby the birds may fear not a repeat of this nightmare. Using available parts from the old feeder, some supplies from Home Depot, and a little luck, I built a bird feeder suspended in mid-air supported by the trees. The feeder is a spherical and the food can be accessed from 360 degrees. It hangs with majesty, as if the guiding star to our feathered friends.
     
  6. Harry Coolahan

    Harry Coolahan
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    I posted this in another thread months ago, but still topical.

    Here was my "fix" for a leaking bathroom sink. Redirected the leaking water to my bathtub using various household objects. I actually lived with this setup for like 4 days until I realized my apartment building offered free plumbing services. I have no idea how long I would have put up with this, probably months.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal
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    First off, fuck Home Depot in their retarded fucking orange assholes. With an egg beater.

    Right now I'm half way through building a finished laundry room, it will be my best and biggest project yet since I'm only still in my first house. I can istall many kinds of flooring, put up and tape drywall, I paint mediocre at best, and can use any kind of power or hand tool you throw at me (if it's made by Ryobi I'll slap you like your mother does).
     
  8. guernica

    guernica
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    My dad "wins" this thread. Around the time I was born (first child), he started renovations on our house. It had only 2 bedrooms, and he and my mother planned to have more than one child (ended up having four). He started by building a seperate, larger section behind the house, which we moved into, then he knocked the original house, and built a joined area onto that. An upstairs level has been added to it, as well as a downstairs garage/storage area.

    22 years later, and he's still hasn't finished. I'm not talking minor stuff. We still have 2 rooms (dining and upstairs gameroom/attic) that haven't really been started on at all. I was woken an hour or so earlier than I intended this morning because he was working on our new carport. The front yard still has leftover bricks and pavers, and we only just recently got rid of the hundreds of tiles sitting out the back. Throughout Primary school and Highschool I was known as the kid living in half a house.

    As I've grown older it hasn't bothered me as much. Considering he's solely an electrician, and has done 90% of it himself, it's still more than a fair effort. From the outside, apart from the messy front yard, it looks complete, and is one of the better houses on the street. I'm sure in 10 years or so he'll look at our house as a great achievement, as he deserves too.
     
  9. MadDocker

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    My best achievement so far has to be plumbing the downpipes on my new patio into the stormwater mains. I am not a plumber… I was a bit worried at first but once I told myself not to be a pussy and got started it was really easy. Hardest part was planning which elbows etc. I needed to get the job done.

    It has been tested out well with a few really heavy downpours and a big hailstorm. Job well done and cost me about $70 and 2 hours all up.

    The next best thing was laying down the slabs and putting up my garden shed. Getting the slabs down and level was easy, putting up a tin shed with 2 mates while drinking beer was a nightmare. It all finished well but we almost came to blows a few times and there is a bit of a dent in the back panel from one of my mates chucking the shits and throwing the rivet gun when he couldn’t get 2 panels lined up correctly. Luckily for me, he has just moved into a new house and will be putting up his shed in the next few weeks. Its going to be much more fun working on someone else’s.

    I have also been painting inside on and off for a while. Painting fucking sucks.
     
  10. Dcc001

    Dcc001
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    Before I moved to this wonderful city, I spent eight months gutting my father's house and completely redoing it. The exterior is stone, and the interior was plaster and lathe. The kitchen got fully gutted; the other rooms had holes punched every 16", top and bottom, to retrofit for insulation (there was none in the original construction). My work involved patching every single freaking hole, doing all the paint, all the design work and all the general contracting work - finding, contracting and managing all of the subtrades. The "before" photo was taken after we'd pulled out all the interior walls.

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    And after (complete new layout, tiled floor with in-floor heating, backsplash, fixtures, etc):
    [​IMG]

    My own house had a partially unfinished basement. Thanks to a flood, it gave me the kick in the ass needed to do something similar here. Once again, I did all of the painting and designing. Mercifully, there was no plaster/drywall work this time.

    Stairs before:
    [​IMG]

    Stairs after:
    [​IMG]

    Basement before:
    [​IMG]

    Basement after (including suspended ceiling, new carpet, and a built-in closet at the end of the room):
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Slambrarian

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    We bought a fixer-upper a few years ago, it was a duplex that we turned back into a single family home & it had 2 non-working bathrooms when we bought it & now has 3 working bathrooms. My dad and a friend of his did a lot of the work but we helped out every step of the way. I am an excellent assistant, can do/help with pretty much anything my dad shows me, but I can't trust myself to do much on my own (I suck at measuring & cutting). This was a full bathroom on the first floor (it was almost a deal breaker it was in such bad shape) when we bought the place, we turned it into a powder room b/c we didn't need a tub on the first floor and needed the extra room for the kitchen.



    The finished product:



    The only thing I have ever built totally on my own was a small cold frame for our plants this past spring. It's a little thing, but I was really proud of it and it gave me a smidge more confidence in my measuring/cutting skills.



    I love doing renovations like this - I have become an okay tiler, can paint like no one's business, etc. I just wish I could learn all the stuff my dad knows (his dad was a carpenter) and do more on my own.
     

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  12. Harry Coolahan

    Harry Coolahan
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    I broke all 8 of the support posts on my chair after leaning too far back on it.

    But don't worry, I fixed it:

    [​IMG]

    I feel like a fucking carpenter.
     
  13. Allord

    Allord
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    Uh...Oh yeah? Oh YEAH?! Well, uh, I once moved in to a room in an apartment where the previous tenant had, aside from being a batshit insane 30-something alcoholic living in a college town (he left various stains everywhere, almost burned down the apartment twice, almost flooded the apartment once, and threw a chair out the only window in the place before the house-mates got together and threw him out), been a fairly competent carpenter. He'd taken the living room of a 2 bedroom apartment and built an entire wall out of plywood to divide it from the connected kitchen and make a surprisingly spacious third room which I rented out.

    The only thing I ever did was the door didn't actually have a handle, it was just a deadbolt and nothing else. I happened to be driving down the road and saw that someone had fortuitously thrown out one of those displays Home Depot puts up to show off all their cabinet handles in one place. I snagged it with the intention of selecting a pair of different handles for each side of the door.

    However at the end of the 6 months when my other 2 housemates were graduating I decided not to spend my time looking for new tenants and be fully responsible for the net $2000/mo rent the landlord required, so I wound up throwing the door handle display away unused and smashing up the wall with a few friends, some hammers, and a bottle of vodka. We had fun throwing huge wooden boards off the second story balcony.
     
  14. eric

    eric
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    At our previous house in the city, I mainly did flooring and painting. By the end of the 10 years there, I had painted every room in that house. I don't really enjoy painting, but I like to think I'm pretty good at it. I can cut/trim using the brush only, without resorting to tape. Our agents and several of the prospective buyers thought the house had been professionally painted, so I can't be that bad. The other thing I did myself was to rip out all the carpeting and replace it with either floating laminate or hardwood floor. There was some minor plumbing here and there (replacing a leaky faucet, plumbing a double sink in place of a single) but fairly minor stuff.

    At our current home, the cottage, its getting to the point that it might be shorter to list what I haven't done. Thus far in the last 7 years we've:

    -Structural repairs, involving jacking up parts of the cottage and running new beams next to rotting ones.
    -Tore down the old rotting front deck and replaced it with a new 12' x 30'. Its a little more complicated than it sounds as the front deck is a good 15' off the ground.
    -Ditto for the back deck, although this one is at chest level so it wasn't nearly as difficult.
    -Dismantled the old dock and built a new 12' x 16' floating dock. Best fucking dock on the lake.
    -Winterized the water system, which involved replacing the old jet pump with a new submersible pump in the lake, installing a pair of pressurized tanks in the small heated room below the cottage and the associated plumbing, 240V wiring, etc.
    -Tore down the old aluminum siding and put up new vinyl siding.
    -Replaced the old wooden front and back doors with insulated metal exterior doors. The front door was a bit more challenging since it was only a 28" door (non-standard for exterior), so I had to widen the opening to accept a standard door. This did wonders for keeping the cottage warmer in the winter.
    -Redid the countertops with tumbled marble.
    -Installed a new metal roof.
    -Installed laminate flooring on the main floor and upstairs.
    -Pulled off the old 1/8" laminate walls in the kitchen and replaced with decorative MDF.
    -Resurfaced the cabinets in the kitchen.
    -Replaced all the interior lights, switches and plugs.
    -Did a bunch of new wiring outside, installing new exterior lights and plugs.
    -Redid the bathroom on the main floor (new flooring, sink, vanity, toilet, etc), which included relocating the hot water tank from the bathroom to the heated tank room below the cottage, and the plumbing/wiring involved in doing so.
    -Snaked plumbing through the wall up to the 2nd floor for the washing machine.
    -Recently built a 10' x 12' storage room below the cottage to free up as much living space as possible inside.

    The added wrinkle to all of the above is that there's no road access to the cottage, so the bulk of the materials were brought in by boat with the odd stuff being brought in across the ice via skidoo.
     
  15. CarbonCopy

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    I cleaned my bathroom yesterday. Kneel before your king.

    My friend has a vacation house on the coast which was built from a bunch of scrap by his grandfather. It also has multiple additions. As a result of this, lots of stuff needs to be replaced/redone. The posts holding the house up were just put in the dirt and didn't seem to be treated. Some of them were completely rotten at the base and weren't holding up anything anymore. This caused the floor to be uneven and sag in some places.

    We replaced several posts on one side of the house and poured new concrete footings for them so they might last a little longer. We set all the floor joists level because it seemed like the correct thing to do. This took four of us a whole Saturday and we were really patting ourselves on the back when we got done. It looked great with the new concrete and posts and the floor being level again. When we got it all done, we went back upstairs and discovered none of the doors on that side of the house would shut. The one going into the kitchen would only move about 6 inches. Awesome.