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Old 08-24-2012, 03:54 PM   #91
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


No, it's missing the raccoons.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:06 PM   #92
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


So it finally stopped raining for more than 12 hours and I decided to try and do something with the leaky porch roof. Previous maniacs apparently noticed the leaking and figured hey, another layer or two of shingles ought to clear that right up! After burrowing through those and the layers of Henry's goop here's what I found.




OSB is porch roof, above that is an adjacent wall. This is right below a valley, I didn't remove any felt, that's where it stops, way off the edge, the edge that doesn't reach the wall. You can still see the edge of the next shingle to the lower left, that's all that was covering it since the randow chunks of flashing tacked on w/ drywall screws didn't really count as covering anything IMO. Sweet huh? I think I taught my 8 yr old a few new words today.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:57 AM   #93
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


This is a fun thread!

My house isn't horrible at all. The only head-scratcher I have is the fact that the upstairs bathroom linen closet has two switches inside it. One turns on a big outdoor light in the backyard (down a flight of stairs and on the other side of the house) and the other turns on a big whole-house attic fan. I almost get why that one is there. It's at least near the fan. But why they didn't turn the boxes around and at least have the switches in the hall is something I'll likely never know.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:51 PM   #94
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Sump pump and battery charger for battery backup sump pump wired into basement lights. That took me about a year to figure out because of where the light switch and utility room were in relation to each other.

While getting the house ready to move I found out the old door bell transformer was wired into the circuit as well---we had gone remote a long time ago because that one "didn't work".

I can't say much about our new house because the previous owners (and apparently a few before them as well) didn't do a darned thing.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:29 PM   #95
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I have a 3-switch panel in my entryway. One switch turns on the outside porch light, another switch turns on the outside security light, and the third switch - damned if I know what that does or what it is connected to. I opened the box and the switch is wired in somewhere. I have yet to find a connection or dead-head anyplace in the crawlspace or upstairs, so it has to be in the wall of the entryway somewhere. Only way to find out is to pull all the drywall.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:31 PM   #96
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You can put a tone generator on it (dead) and possibly trace it. It would save ripping out a lot of drywall.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:27 PM   #97
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


We just replaced the well pressure tank on our foreclosure. The old one was about 10lbs heavier than the new one, because the old one was full of sand.

The water heater is full of sand too, water comes out the flush valve at a trickle. Sigh.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:54 AM   #98
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Here's the story of the 1951 Bungalow that I bought 12 years ago. I've since moved out, but the house was a great project, and I got lots of experience working on it. The house was an estate sale of the original owner, but was abandoned for 10 years. The old man's wife died, and he then met another woman, moved in with her, and let his old house sit for the next 10 years. When he passed away, the family sold the house.

The house sat only 30 feet from the street, but one could not see the house from the street the yard was so overgrown with weeds and debris. The backyard was much bigger, but no different. I cleaned out the yard and hauled away about 4-5 Econoline Van loads of yard debris to the dump. From the day I moved out I was still battling greenbriar vines encroaching anywhere they could on the property. Upon cleaning out the backyard, I found a rusty old Ford Fairlane sedan from the early 60's hiding in the weeds. While it would have been fun to take on the project of restoring the old car along with the house, I didn't know when I would get to it. The car was sold to the next door neighbor for $2K. He got the car running and passed inspection, drove it around for another year or two before selling it for what he had into it. The car was a great way to meet the neighbor. I also found the house had a storage shed in the back too. The roof had caved in and there was a large family of cats living in the shed. I evicted the cats and put a new roof on the shed. Till the day I moved out if you left the door open to the shed, a feral cat was sure to wander in there! I had a concrete driveway poured in the backyard for parking and working on vehicles, and I also ran electricity to the shed.

I found one (big) problem with the front porch though. As I was walking around on it up there one day, I fell through it. All the ceiling joists had rotted out, and were not structurally sound. I ended up having to remove all the ceiling and pretty much rebuilding it all from scratch!

Okay, now for the inside of the house! The inside of the house looked like the inside of one of those Hoarders TV shows. Everything you could imagine was found in there! I ended up selling some of the stuff in the local trading post newspaper, like a collection of National Geo magazines that dated back to the early 70's. The rest went to the dump. One of the good finds was a large stash of building materials, like extra tongue & groove strips for the hardwood flooring, and plenty of lumber to rebuild the shed out back. The entire house smelled of fuel oil though, and I was trying to figure out why. The old furnace was a wick-type floor furnace that resembled a large Kerosene heater. The heat exchanger however was rusted out, and exhaust was permeating the house. The floor furnace was replaced with a Trane heat pump. The house only had 60 ampere service to it, but according to the neighbors, the old man was an electrical engineer....It showed, as all the wiring was grounded 12 gauge. Quite remarkable for such an old home! All I had to do was replace the fuse box with a breaker box, and the electrical system was better than any new home! The Kitchen needed help too. It had the old metal cabinets in it, and small 3-burner stove from the seventies. I replaced all the cabinetry and the stove. I also moved the laundry hookups to the bathroom closet, and connected the old ones in the kitchen up to a dishwasher.

When it came to outward and inward appearance, I was delightfully surprised at some things. For example, the floors cleaned up really nicely and sanded down to a nice luster....I thought they were done for! The walls though were another thing. there were 3 layers of painted wallpaper on the walls, and it was *quite* a chore to get down to the original plaster and re-finish it. It took me close to 3 years just doing one room at a time working on this project. I would have just ripped out the plaster and re-drywalled, but I wanted the real plaster. The bathroom looked like it had a remodel done back in the seventies where they covered the walls in vinyl and replaced the tile. The vinyl was ugly and moldy! The bathroom was re-tiled with the classic Black & White tile. There were 3 layers of flooring underneath the "frogskin" looking vinyl flooring too. After I removed all the layers though, was a nice looking layer of black & white tile! I then ran into a problem with the height of the toilet pipe after I removed all the layers of flooring.

The neighbors were delighted all the work I did to the place and the fact that it was now being maintained. I hope the new owners take as much care of it as I did.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:28 PM   #99
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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The neighbors were delighted all the work I did to the place and the fact that it was now being maintained. I hope the new owners take as much care of it as I did.
This is so true, you can inherit a huge amount of goodwill from neighbors thrilled to have an eyesore cared for.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:00 PM   #100
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


It's hard to say whether it was the builder's or homeowner's faults for many of the issues I've encountered.

My brother moved into a home where the water heater had fallen through the subfloor and was sitting on dirt in the crawlspace. The pipes had been lengthened to accommodate the new location! When we went to pull his ceiling, we went up in the attic to push it down. One kick and the entire ceiling (drywall, not framing) came down... all the drywall screws were completely rusted through. He and my dad ended up replacing everything in that house except the framing and utility lines out to the road.

My current and previous houses had numerous disasters with the electrical systems. I've encountered at least nine "wire nuts and a ball of electrical tape" junctions in the houses. My latest one was a very loose piece of romex connected to a 4" piece of romex connected to another piece of romex. I still haven't figured out why they needed that 4" extra piece. Every light switch and outlet in my current home is absolute garbage (switches "pop", I've had 2 outlets burn out, etc.). It's just cheap components. I've been slowly going through and replacing everything with better parts (TR outlets where the kids are, etc.). The home owner also decided to re-wire the entire upstairs (2 full baths, 3 BR inc. the master) onto 1 circuit. I have no clue why he decided to do this... the old wires were still in the wall but I of course didn't want to trust them.

In Oregon, most builders seem to not understand basic insulation (especially in post-1960 homes). Building debris seems to be a popular insulation material. There were huge air gaps around all of my windows in both homes. In the new home I've found some large insulation and vapor barrier gaps (like the entire backside of a staircase). I'm debating whether or not to get a spray insulation kit (a few hundred $$$) or try to wiggle myself in and apply the barrier and rolled insulation. I just went through shoving myself into tight places taping some flex duct back in place (and replacing 1 section).... it was not pleasant. The windows will all eventually be replaced but the cost/benefit is not as great in the new home (the old house was single pane & framed with aluminum).

Another fun item in the new house is the radiant heating system. That's my next major project: converting the in-series water heaters to parallel (or replacing them entirely) and making the system a closed loop system or one that at least pulls cold water through the pipes during the summer. Right now the water just sits in the lines until cold weather hits... not good!
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:52 AM   #101
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


When I bought my current house I noted that there was several, shall we say, miles of ice melt cable on the roof edge. The house is an "L" shape with the entry door on the insidecorner of the "L". Being August, I did not think too much about it, but one night the wife and I were discussing how unsightly the cables looked. We decided to trace back the wires and at least see where they were set up to be plugged in. What we found was all 4 50' runs were plugged in in the garage and in fact still were.

Thinking back to what the previous homeowner was telling us about her electric bills I decided to see if they were still on. They were, no thermostat on these. Plug them in and they get warm. unplug them to turn them off. Wondering why they were up there I decided to venture up into the attic. Wow, 4 inches of insulation, explains the heat cables. from the outside I noted that there was ridge vents running the length of the roof. Now, I need to change that from ridge vent to ridge cap, as they never cut the plywood open for the vents to work. Now I have some work to do.

First step is to get 12 more inches of insulation up there. Next day I pick up insulation and vent baffles to install in the attic. while up there installing the vent baffles I noted that I could not see any light coming thru the vented aluminum soffits. OK, need to check that. Get the insulation done and get up on the roof to open up the ridge. Pop off the formed aluminum ridge vents and decide they were of no use so I installed the better shingle-over vents after I cut the openings. Down off the roof and a couple weeks pass I decided to investigate the soffit issue. I found that when the previous owner had the house sided in aluminum siding and soffits, they never removed the old plywood soffits. I had to remove all of the aluminum soffits around the house and remove all of the old plywood ones.

A couple weeks after all of this I was talking to one of my new neighbors and he was telling me about all of the Ice dam problems thay were having with that house. He was telling me that the entry door in the corner of the "L" was not used durring the winter due to the large pile of ice that would build up in front of the door due to there being no roof over the porch. needless to say, I have not experienced any of these problems
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:33 AM   #102
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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Here is another one, yes that's the roof inside the closet.
That looks like our side attics.. House used to be a one floor and the cut off the top of the roof and built up. You can still see the old pitch roof in both side attics complete with shingles!!
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:04 AM   #103
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Mine certainly cant beat some of these, but there were a few horror stories i found. This thread is the reason why people who do not know what they are doing should not ever attempt DIY!
I think the biggest problems were
1. Bathtub not attached to ANYTHING but the drain. Seriously, no screws or caulk or anything. Backed by normal drywall. The mold was unbelievable.
2. Back door was an interior door, unpainted, and completely rotted.
3. The vanity had five holes drilled into the floor and left uncovered. Ten wolf spiders were living underneath the vanity.
4. All ductwork is gone
5. Master closet is gone, leaving the breaker panel hanging in midair
6. A/C units were installed in the bedroom windows without the plastic accordion things to keep out rain, so birds and mice and rain came in at will and completely rotted out the subfloor and framing under the windows.
7. Instead of fixing things that went wrong in this house, the people would just paint over everything. There was unbelievable amounts of paint on the walls.
I cant resist, check out these freaking holes under the vanity
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:47 PM   #104
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Uh... what am I seeing through those holes? And how the heck did these people deal with the BUGS flying in through the gaps, let alone the incredibly ineffective cooling and BIRDS?
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:23 PM   #105
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You're seeing the ground. Yeah no insulation at all. And i have no idea how they dealt with it. I know for a fact birds were coming in because when i set glue traps for the mice, i found feathers on them.
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