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Old 02-07-2014, 07:42 PM   #121
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Wowthat sure sounds like a lot of fun----out with the old---

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Old 02-19-2014, 02:50 PM   #122
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Our previous house wasn't terrible but there were a few things. It's always amazing how sometimes someone will go to a lot of trouble to do something the wrong way when doing it the right way would have been easier. A few examples:

* All of the downspouts were too long; there wasn't enough room to put an elbow on the end. So what did they do? Dig down next to the foundation! Every place where there was a downspout, the area immediately around it sloped towards the house. Oh, and to make it "perfect", the splash blocks were all turned with their open ends towards the house. Wouldn't it have been easier to just cut a few inches off the downspouts so there would be room for the elbow? Why, yes it would. Which is exactly what I did, plus dump in fill to make the grade slope away from the house. And I turned the splash blocks around. No more water in the crawl space.

* The home inspector had noted two drain lines under the master bath that were sagging. The PO said he'd fix it. And he did, sort of... when I checked, he had built some preposterous circus-balancing-act pillars out of rocks, broken brick pieces, and wood scraps to prop up the pipes. Took me all of ten minutes to knock those down and install a few pipe straps.

* I had noted when we moved in that there was a two-pole breaker in the box that was not labeled and didn't seem to go to anything. Because I couldn't figure out what it was for, I left it on... first mistake. One day a few months later, I got curious about a hole in the garage wall near the (gas) water heater. I stuck my finger in... second mistake! 240 volts and one tingly finger later, I knew what that mystery breaker was for... an unused circuit for an electric water heater. For some reason the PO had cut it off and stuffed the end back into the wall, and somehow did so without electrocuting himself. Wouldn't it have been easier to simply shut it off, nut off the end of the circuit, and leave it alone? Since it was now cut off too short to be usable, I disconnected it, removed the breaker, and marked the circuit inside the panel abandoned.

* Two ceiling light fixtures in bedrooms had been replaced with ceiling fans. Of course, the boxes were plastic and not fan rated. One of them was coming out of the ceiling. When I investigated, I found that the PO had put in byzantine constructions of wood shims and scraps to try to get the boxes to stay in. It was, again, a ten-minute job to replace both of them with proper fan boxes, since they were easily accessible from the attic.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:54 PM   #123
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Bought a house built in the 70's one of the basement windows was two door hinges with plywood and plexy glass taped together with packaging tape. Then two metal latches that locked into holes drilled into the cement foundation. I think a 40 dollar window from menards would have been less trouble.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:26 AM   #124
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House 1:
-Modular built in the 60's on block piers. The tub would not drain properly, so I crawled under and found the tub outlet connected to a 1-1/2" galv elbow, then to a 1" reducer, then a 1" 90 elbow on it's side, then back to 1-1/2", then another 90, before connecting to a 1-1/2" black poly tube that ran directly to the septic tank.

House 2:
-Built in the 50's, front to back split level. The lower portion of the house had major rot that was hidden in behind the ceder lap siding (they added on a sunroom, so they did not notice the rot). I ended up ripping out about 1/2 of the wall studs and replacing when doing a "simple" renovation project to convert the sunroom into a living room.
-After a week long rainstorm, the basement had 4" of water in it (sump could not keep up). Sellers disclosure said they never had water in basement. Neighbors said they had water in basement for the 1st time in 50 years. With so much water in basement and ground saturated, the toilet on the lower level would not flush. The lot had a large farmers field sloping towards it and the setpic tank had flooded.
-House only had a 60A elec service and was grossly overloaded. I counted 5 ceiling lights and 15 wall outlets on one circuit.

House 3:
-finished basement with suspended ceiling. Found (2) 4' shop lights laying in the ceiling grid with no other support than the wiring.

House 4 (current):
-Built in many phases starting in '57 and ending sometime in late 80's. House has a 30' x 40' basement along with (4) craw spaces. One crawl space is only accessible from the outdoors. When doing some reno work in the room above it, I had to modify the electrical from above (removed carpet, subfloor, etc.) as the crawlspace had a dirt floor that was so dry that when I opened the trap door to access it, the breeze rushing in created such a dust storm, I could not dare to enter it.
-Basement had so many wall leaks from the outside at the base level (lot of water penetration), that the previous owners created their own french drain around the interior perimeter by chiseling out a trench. The end result is a scalloped trench that holds tons of water.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:08 AM   #125
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My house's previous owner - DIY horror stories


Oh why not.

1. Improperly vented attic above renovated kitchen including openings through firewall into garage.
2. Badly installed sheet vinyl flooring in kitchen (edges not done right, peeling and curling) which was also glued directly on top of asbestos vinyl floor tile.
3. Replaced main panel with used circuit breakers and improper neutral connections (didn't t discovered the neutral issue until years latter when I had the panel replaced ).
4. Amateur electrical additions including junction boxes with too many wires, 14 guage cable on 20 Amp circuits, unsecured junction boxes in basement for kitchen renovation, badly wired and badly mounted outlets in conduit in basement, three wire outlets installed without ground, stove wired with parallel 10 guage wired rather than single 8 guage.
5. Termites
6. Improper attic venting on main house and improper sealing of scuttle holes. Resulted in extensive ice dam damage in 7 rooms on both floors.

Yes all of this was missed by my home inspector and some not found till years later when the problems crept up or doing other renovations. At least I will be able to tell the new buyer everything in the last 25 years has been done to code and inspected. Your own your own for the prior hacks.,
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:44 PM   #126
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Previous owner finished our basement on his own - I'm always finding something done half ass down there.

This one takes the cake though - I'm not even sure how this could be classified as an accident. Even worse, it was buried in the insulation.

Basement coax cable ran directly through 12/2 wire running up to my kitchen. Burned out, but had no symptoms prior to the find.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:20 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by jimn01 View Post
2.....which was also glued directly on top of asbestos vinyl floor tile.
Actually, this is perfectly acceptable and one of the recommended solutions for asbestos vinyl tile. It encapsulates the asbestos-containing floor preventing problems.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:40 PM   #128
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Basement coax cable ran directly through 12/2 wire running up to my kitchen. Burned out, but had no symptoms prior to the find.
wow, the circuit wasn't even tripped?!? I don't see how that's possible.
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:41 AM   #129
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Wow. Getting a laugh out of this thread. I can see myself getting written up in here if I ever sell my house!

I have a home made 1100 gallon indoor/outdoor hot tub which has crossed the code line on a number of points.

When I converted my heat from gas to electric, I didn't replace the furnace. I simply ripped out the gas guts and stuck electric ones in, so the furnace is not csa approved.

My DSC alarm system is completely self installed (self monitored through auto text massage) and is a little unorthodox. The low house temp warning is simply the old mercury bulb type thermostat set at about 60 degrees which trips one of the zones on the alarm. I even have my door bell connected to the alarm (silent, non latching zone) so I get a text massege when I'm away and someone rings the door bell.

I love DIY! I'd much rather take on the challenge of building it myself than buying it in a store. Now, I'll probably take a 10 thousand dollar hit if I ever decide to sell the house.. but hey.... hobbies cost money and I had fun doing it. That to me is worth a lot.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:35 PM   #130
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My 10' by 20' shed was intended to be a hot tub house by a previous owner, but they gave up that idea when the floors bounced just by walking across. We'll get into why the bounce so badly in a minute. The entire shed is off the ground, supported on concrete filled steel posts on two beams running the length of the shed, and the bottom isn't closed in.

Anyway, they insulated the whole thing, even the floor. The interior is nicely finished, but they thought that it would be good enough to stick the insulation up into the floor joists and just cover it with some tacked up landscaping cloth, vs. plating it with plywood.

This last winter was mighty cold, and the local squirrels found that A) landscaping cloth is really easy to get through and B) R-19 fiberglass filled joists make great nests for the winter! This spring after the snow melted off, there was about 500 lbs of sodden fiberglass, leaves, and landscape fabric (and some still occupied squirrel nests) piled underneath my shed. Two days of low crawling to drag all that crap out, dry it out, bundle it into bags for the trash.

Now that all the insulation is out of the way, I was able to figure out why the floors were so bouncy. There are 2 parallel beams that run the length of the shed. Unfortunately, one of the beams is about 2 inches lower than the other (because the posts are 2 inches shorter, or settled 2 inches). Anyway, the shed rests on one beam just fine, but hovers about 2 inches over the other one - it doesn't touch at all! How is it supported? Well, when they discovered their error, they just cut some 2" by 4" blocks, rested them on top of the beam above the posts, and rested the nearest joist on them. So there are 4 of these blocks, nearly crushed to pieces, holding up half of this big shed. I quickly fixed up some cribbing and screw jacks to take the load off, so now I get to figure out how to fix this.

I'm a nice guy normally, but I hope whoever did this to me dies in a fire.
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Old 07-12-2015, 01:02 PM   #131
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And the hits just keep coming folks. One of the previous owners (I bet it was the same nitwit as above) put a dryer vent in the wall, but the duct was two inches short (it vented into the wall instead of through the wall). The air vented, but not before swirling around inside the joist leaving all of its moisture inside the wall.

Again, I'm trying really hard to be a nice guy, but he still needs to die in a fire.
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Old 07-12-2015, 09:37 PM   #132
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So what you're saying is that the guy that committed atrocities on my house moved on to Massachusetts..............interesting
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Old 07-12-2015, 11:20 PM   #133
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Wow. Getting a laugh out of this thread. I can see myself getting written up in here if I ever sell my house!

I have a home made 1100 gallon indoor/outdoor hot tub which has crossed the code line on a number of points.

When I converted my heat from gas to electric, I didn't replace the furnace. I simply ripped out the gas guts and stuck electric ones in, so the furnace is not csa approved.

My DSC alarm system is completely self installed (self monitored through auto text massage) and is a little unorthodox. The low house temp warning is simply the old mercury bulb type thermostat set at about 60 degrees which trips one of the zones on the alarm. I even have my door bell connected to the alarm (silent, non latching zone) so I get a text massege when I'm away and someone rings the door bell.

I love DIY! I'd much rather take on the challenge of building it myself than buying it in a store. Now, I'll probably take a 10 thousand dollar hit if I ever decide to sell the house.. but hey.... hobbies cost money and I had fun doing it. That to me is worth a lot.

Diy it yourself does not mean do it complete and utter nitwit.
If your house does not burn down before you ever put it for sale I'd be surprised. But have fun!
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:40 AM   #134
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So what you're saying is that the guy that committed atrocities on my house moved on to Massachusetts..............interesting
The thing that really burns me is that most of the crap I've had to fix was caused by something that, had the previous owner spent 2 more minutes doing the job right in the first place, everything would have been fine. It's like they had this amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm to do a lot of work, did a wonderful job for 99% of the work, and when they accidentally miscut something at the end of the day, they just decided to say " it, close enough", stuffed it in, and guaranteed that their job would rot or collapse.

This house has been the starter/flipper house for probably 20 different owners since it was first built, and so a lot of stuff was made to just look good enough to pass inspection for sale. That seems to be one of the meanest things one can do to someone you have never met, sabotaging someone's house before selling it to them.
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:47 AM   #135
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My dad bought a house when I was around 10 years old. It was about 1.3 acers in southern IL. We had to clean the place for 2 weeks before we could move in and there was a famliy living there when dad bought it. Here is what I remenber doing to clean it up. First was to pump out the well because we found a dead rat in there so dad pumped out the well and cleaned junk out of it. I remember a bicycle being fished out and part of a old time washing machine with the rollers on top. We poured bleach in there then we had the water tested. 11 rats ( not mice. foot long rats) were caught in the house. We had a trailer which was an 8 foot truck bed that was cut from a truck and a hitch put on it. 12 loads from the yard went to the dump. 8 loads of trash from the back yard went to the dump. I guess they just took the trash and dumped it in the back yard. The pile was around 20 feet long and bout 6 foot high. Man it was nasty. 3 loads from the upstairs 2 bedrooms. We just parked the trailer under the window and shoveled it out the window. I don't remember how many was taken from downstairs but it was nasty. The kids fought a lot so there were big body sized holes in the walls all over. But dad bought the house for a song so he couldn't pass it up. I'm not making this up. I lived it. But after it was said and done, it was a nice place.

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