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Old 01-16-2013, 02:12 PM   #106
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Well, as long as I am replying to every thread (almost) in the general board, I will throw my towel into this ring. As bad as some of the stuff the previous owner did was, some of the stuff I did 20 years ago is a close second if not the winner. I have no defense other than I was young and pretty much broke. These days I claim to be old and pretty much broke. May God have mercy on the soul of the poor people that end up with this place after me!

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Old 01-19-2013, 08:29 PM   #107
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


How about my own bad DIY'r boo-boo?
I made a little project a couple years ago.....I tiled a table top that I was going to use outside on the patio. It was winter, so I did the project inside.
I did not know you could not wash mortar down the kitchen sink.
Hubby was not happy.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:25 AM   #108
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


One day I noticed some water on the floor under the dishwasher. Turned out it was just a leaking soap door gasket, a $1 part and 2-minutes with a hex driver to fix.

As I was poking around, I realized that the cabinet kick extended over the lower panel of the dishwasher, which isn't right at all. Tearing it away I found that the leak had been ongoing for years, and it had rotted the endgrain of the hardwood floor planks and the particle board subfloor.

Instead of doing a $1-and-2-minute fix of the leak, a previous owner thought it was better to just cover it with a kick gorilla-glued to the front panel of the the dishwasher. Now *I* have to figure out how to fix this floor.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:47 PM   #109
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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As I was poking around, I realized that the cabinet kick extended over the lower panel of the dishwasher, which isn't right at all. Tearing it away I found that the leak had been ongoing for years, and it had rotted the endgrain of the hardwood floor planks and the particle board subfloor.
That reminds me of a good one I had to deal with. Our water heater is in a closet that shares a wall with the garage. However, that wall was covered by a large shelving unit so during our inspection we never actually saw that wall.

One day I came home to a flood in our garage. Pull aside the shelving unit and found that there was a huge wet hole in the wall. There was a slow hissing leak in the hot water pipe. Unfortunately those pipes were behind the shelving unit and on the water heater side they were behind a wall of plywood so completely hidden from view.

It must have been leaking for years until it finally burst through the drywall, I wish I had taken pictures before we fixed it.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:52 AM   #110
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


And the hits just keep on coming.............

Three years in and I'm still discovering "interesting" things here. Two long disconnected duct runs under the living room didn't get my attention before now turn out to be more "Sure, I'm handy!" chop jobs where someone cut out approx. 7' of the floor joists and carved large, jagged holes in the rim rim joist to stuff registers up into an outside wall. As a stopgap I have foamboard/sprayfoam constructions to plug the holes and try to cut the wind blowing through, but my list just got a little longer.

<sigh>

HomeDepot should have gotten a restraining order.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #111
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


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And the hits just keep on coming.............

Three years in and I'm still discovering "interesting" things here. Two long disconnected duct runs under the living room didn't get my attention before now turn out to be more "Sure, I'm handy!" chop jobs where someone cut out approx. 7' of the floor joists and carved large, jagged holes in the rim rim joist to stuff registers up into an outside wall. As a stopgap I have foamboard/sprayfoam constructions to plug the holes and try to cut the wind blowing through, but my list just got a little longer.

<sigh>

HomeDepot should have gotten a restraining order.
Had one just like this, was working on reinsulating and refinishing the attached 1 car garage on my house and found where a register had been rerouted from the common all into the toe of the cabinet. Instead of getting new HVAC duct he just cut it, smashed the top down with a hammer and stuffed some fiberglass insulation in it. That register was basically heating the wall cavity to the then uninsulated garage....
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:18 PM   #112
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Cutting up sod to level the back yard for a cheap above ground pool we discovered that the previous owner apparently didn't like the original tumbled river rock landscaping and sprinkler layout - so they put sod over everything (including sprinkler pops) and installed entirely new sprinkler lines and pops while cutting the original line somewhere we have yet to find. So far in a 6'x10' area we have found approx 2 cubic yards of nice tumbled river rock and at least two redundant sprinkler pops connected to defunct pvc line... I guess on the plus side, it will save us money on landscaping materials lol.

The same people used liquid nails to affix about 1200 sq feet of wood parquet directly to the concrete slab. The tile guys we hired burned out three jack hammers getting it all up - and we learned the more colorful side of the Spanish language in the process. To be fair, we warned them when they saw it for the estimate.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:16 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Mom In Charge View Post
Purchased a 1941-built house because I wanted older charm. Who knew they either had no building codes, else did not enforce them! (my basement stairs are bult with odd width, depth, thickness of scrap wood; steps are not square, level or same sized.)

I cannot afford to really fix up the basement. Have consoled myself that my future selling strategy will be that, although not finished, the basement is free of DIY electrical and plumbing. These postings make me believe I am not so dumb in this matter. I'll offer photocopies of these postings whenever I list it for sale.

An aside: Cannot afford to rewire house. Had licensed electricians install GFCI outlets at __every__ plug (none had third hole for grounding -- could not plug in most items). I figure, at least, wire-fire now would be contained. Good choice? Did I add any safety?
You replaced all the outlets with GFCI plugs? That may have been more expensive and a bit of over kill. It shouldn't hurt -- I guess that kind of make a built in fuse box. Code usually only requires a GFCI if withing 3 feet of a water source, like the kitchen or bathroom faucets. I had a pool that also required GFCI plugs.

Otherwise, you could have just replaced the plugs with three prong, interior plugs in the house, and pigtailed them for the extra ground. It is a lot cheaper to do but a bit of a pain. You trade labor for material costs.

My 1940 house had about two original circuits and very, very few outlets. It now has a new box and is filled with circuit breakers (and additional plugs through out the house for convenience).

One day, I was horrified when my wife would try to make coffee and use the microwave at the saem time. One half of the house woud blow and there would be no electricity. That is when I made a map of the place -- for wiring wise -- and got under the crawlspace and started running new romax. The crawl space is no ones favorite place to go but since there was a peer and beam house, it wasn't all that bad.

Fortunately, one of my best buds and neighbors is a master electrician, so everything was up to code. Saved me a bundle but it is a dirty, spooky, tedious task.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:30 AM   #114
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Well, after getting the electrical wiring fixed in the house, we decided to splurge and put in granite counter tops. I thought, "I can put the sink and plumbing back in after the granite is installed.

After all , the stainless steel sink and faucet looked new. When I started to put in all new drain traps, hoses, garbage disposal connections, etc., I noticed something I had never noticed before. My drain pipe ran up hill!

Yep. My house was built in the 40s. Back in those days, the sinks were much shallower than they are now. When the newer stainless steel sink was installed it lowered the level of the outward drain about 2 inches -- therefore making the water have to run up hill.

Not knowing exactly how to fix the problem, I moved on to replacing the faucet only to find the faucet was much older than I imagined. The added thickness of the granite and the old water pipes that would extend though the top of the counter ALMOST would not thread and become tight enough to keep from leaking.

Once I got that all fixed, I haven't been able to make myself revisit the uphill drain. Anyone have ideas on how to fix this? If you want, I will take a picture!
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:38 AM   #115
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Quote:
Originally Posted by eieio_2 View Post
You replaced all the outlets with GFCI plugs? That may have been more expensive and a bit of over kill. It shouldn't hurt -- I guess that kind of make a built in fuse box.
GFCI recepts do not act as fuses/OCPD. They will not trip as a fuse will on overcurrent

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Code usually only requires a GFCI if withing 3 feet of a water source, like the kitchen or bathroom faucets. I had a pool that also required GFCI plugs.
Current codes are more involved than that.

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Otherwise, you could have just replaced the plugs with three prong, interior plugs in the house, and pigtailed them for the extra ground. It is a lot cheaper to do but a bit of a pain. You trade labor for material costs.
You can not replace two prong recepticles with three prong if there is no ground wire present. GFCI recepticles are permitted for this purpose but should be labeled as "no equipment ground present". Not sure what you mean by "and pigtailed them for the extra ground" . I suspect you might mean create a bootleg ground.

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Originally Posted by eieio_2 View Post
My 1940 house had about two original circuits and very, very few outlets. It now has a new box and is filled with circuit breakers (and additional plugs through out the house for convenience).

One day, I was horrified when my wife would try to make coffee and use the microwave at the saem time. One half of the house woud blow and there would be no electricity. That is when I made a map of the place -- for wiring wise -- and got under the crawlspace and started running new romax. The crawl space is no ones favorite place to go but since there was a peer and beam house, it wasn't all that bad.

Fortunately, one of my best buds and neighbors is a master electrician, so everything was up to code. Saved me a bundle but it is a dirty, spooky, tedious task.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:24 PM   #116
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I think eieio_2 is about to find out how serious we are about sticking to code around here. And not electrocuting ourselves.

Pigtailing to a metal box only provides a ground if armored cable (aka BX) is in use. Obviously, if two prong receptacles are currently in use it's likely that the BX wasn't grounded anyway (or else the installer would have used it), and this would have to be confirmed before using the pigtail method.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:34 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by operagost View Post
I think eieio_2 is about to find out how serious we are about sticking to code around here. And not electrocuting ourselves.

Pigtailing to a metal box only provides a ground if armored cable (aka BX) is in use. Obviously, if two prong receptacles are currently in use it's likely that the BX wasn't grounded anyway (or else the installer would have used it), and this would have to be confirmed before using the pigtail method.

I know you didn't read my other post about pulling all new romax (with ground wire) under the house and adding a new circuit box. Yes, I understand all that you are saying about code violations and although I did most of the dirty grunt work myself, namely pulling the wiring under the house, up through the flooring, to the new scoket locations -- I had a master electrician wire the box, a permit, with inspection and passed (in my town you need them). Did you get a perment in the backwoods where you can replace all you pos/neg, two-prong, rat chewed, two wire, wiring with GFCIs? As far as water within 3 feet of a GFCI, you are right, the code is a little different that that simplistic description and only a generalization. By the way, what else are you trying to do with all the GFCI plugs (GROUND fault circuit interrupter) except keeping a short circuit from burning you out of house and home? It is not a replacement for a breakerbox and I was trying to be nice. No, I was not suggesting setting up an illegal ground to the box -- there has to be a real earth ground to safely pigtail. You spent a lot of money on expensive plugs that are nothing but rubber gloves protecting you from a leaking fountain pen. Someday, you should rewire -- and wire correctly with grounded 3-prong plugs a suffient breaker box and a permit with inspcetion. Just my $.02.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:22 PM   #118
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Thanks for the spiel, but I wasn't the OP.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:27 AM   #119
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Thanks for the spiel, but I wasn't the OP.

I am so sorry about that. I certainly do not want to blast an innocent bystander. I am new to the bboard and felt a little on the defensive ... all the BS about ... eieio_2 doesn't know how much we are sticklers for code ... or something to that effect. I wish everyone was a stickler for licenses, code, and inspections but they are not all that way. I have been a DIYer for a long time and know when to stop. I have also learned the first thing to do when getting new property is to get an inspection from a qualified, licensed home inspector. Then, unless the property is a steal, before the sale, get as much fixed as the seller will allow. At least we alll know what we are getting into and none of us would be in some of the pickles we find ourselves. GFCIs that shorted as soon as something was pluged in! SheeshI Operagost, I wish you all the best. Please accept my appology.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:04 PM   #120
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


I feel better about the small money hole I purchased.

1) The kitchen was a mess. 70's stove and dish washer that had grease all over them. The cabinets were refaced with white but the interiors were dirty and full of roach traps/poisons. I ripped the cabinets down and in the spaces between the shelves there were hundreds of dead roaches. The faucet for the sink had been leaking for so long the drywall and cabinet were both rotted out. Someone had painted over the glass for the ceiling light fixture. The range vent hood had some "special" wiring done. They had cut an extension cord, wired white to white and black to ground. Then wrapped the whole thing with plastic packing tape.

2) Downstairs powder room had a rusted sink. Lots of clear caulk around the vanity, like 1/4" worth. Pulled the sink out along with the vanity, my friend pressed his thumb against one of the rust spots and his finger went right through. Oh and a coax cable runs though the room from the garage to the front closet to the front room, presumable for cable.

3) Upstairs room has a exterior hole. Another cable installer drilled a 1" hole through the stucco and interior wall. At least there's a nice plastic grommet that fills the hole and passes the cable through. I've got a thread submitted on advice on fixing that issue. The floor in this room slants towards the front of the house. I pulled up 2 of the floorboards and found that the 6"x12" beam is warped about 1/4" raising the floor in the middle of the room while the down side is actually LOWER than the rest of the room by about 1/8". Looks like crappy track housing construction so I can't blame that on the previous owners. They just hid it by having a bed there so I and the home inspector couldn't feel the drop.

4) They hid a hole in the wall by putting wallpaper over it. The hole was through the existing wallpaper, they just put another strip of the same wallpaper from floor to ceiling over it.

5) Trash - This was basically a foreclosure home so they left a lot of crap behind. We demolished 2 couches, 2 love seats, 3 or 4 end tables, 1 child's bed, 1 sofabed, 2 dressers, 2 entertainment centers, 1 table and some other odds and ends. Plus they left behind clothes, about half a closets worth. Along with family photos and karaoke cds.

6) Surprise dead things in the floor/wall. I took off the faceplate in the kitchen to find a lizard skeleton inside the box. Same with the floor in the aforementioned room.

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