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Old 02-05-2009, 08:30 AM   #1
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Hello from Pittsburgh


Hello All! After coming across this site time and again when researching various projects, I recently decided to join the forum and have received some great responses to some questions I posted. So I figured I ought to post here to introduce myself. I'm an avid DIYer from Pittsburgh who sits in a cubicle all day and loves to work on my house during the evenings and weekends. I'm also a hobbyist woodworker, though I don't have my own shop; I have to 'rent' time in my father-in-law's shop.

My wife and I closed on our house about a year and a half after graduating from college and twenty days after getting married. Our 'honeymoon' was spent refinishing hardwood and doing what we could to get our 1950 ranch ready to be lived in as it hadn't seen any upgrades... ever. Early on my father-in-law helped a lot with the work we needed to do. But over the past five years I've become a pretty competent DIYer and now do everything I need to do myself. Some things we've done...

* Completely renovated the kitchen. This included removing the floor down to the subfloor, putting in a new one with ceramic, and building oak cabinets in the shop. Before & after:





The walls are actually a dark red now, but don't have a good picture of them handy. I plan to put a tile backsplash using 4" tiles that match the floor this year. Also, we're thinking new countertops might be a good investment as the current ones look cheap.


* Fully renovated the bathroom, same as kitchen - down to the subfloor, replaced some rotten subfloor sections from years of closet flange leakage, laid down cement board, then tiles. Installed a new toilet & pedestal. Tiled the shower after I accendentally melted the plastic shower surround while trying to solder in a new mixing valve. And built a medicine cabinet & display shelf from poplar in the shop. Before & after:








* Replaced every window in the house. The house had the original 1950 steel-framed, single pane casement windows. They leaked heat like a seive, water condensed on them constantly, and in the winter that water froze over completely. Before & after:






We've since finished up the stain, polyurethane, wall paint and added casing & sills. This after pic was taken right after the windows went in.


* French drain system. Our foundation leaked water. Bad. During Hurricane Whatever in 2004, when we got a record 6" in one day after having received a record 3.1" just a week earlier, there was water literally squirting through the walls. We got a one-call permit, rented a mini excavator, and dug out our house. The foundation was sealed with tar and plastic, the trench lined with landscape fabric, a collection pipe laid at the bottom, and the trench backfilled with coarse river rock. Inside we had to cut several channels through the basement floor slab, dig trenches 15" deep, and put in collection pipes plus gravel. All the water is channeled 150' away from the house, down grade. These pipes drip water even during the dryest spells of summer. A year later after there were no signs of seepage, we sealed the insides of the concrete block walls with drylock, after removing any efflorescence. The basement has been bone-dry since the summer of 2005. Pit of dispair:




* Patio - last spring I built a patio using pavers from the big box store. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.




* In addition to this, we also replaced all the gutters, painted every room, installed new baseboards and casing around all the doors and windows (finished it myself, bought it from a saw mill), replaced all electrical outlets, switches, and light fixtures, installed a few new circuits for the bathroom, kitchen, and basement, installed a ceiling exhaust fan in the bathroom (there wasn't one), poured a concrete walkway, poured some driveway pads, installed a versa-lock retaining wall, landscaped like mad, and I'm sure I'm forgetting stuff. It's been five and a half years of nearly non-stop renovation. Right now I'm finishing the basement since I know it's dry down there. I'm really enjoying that project.

* Here's a pic of something I made in the shop:



I really like this site and look forward to being a part of the community.

-Jack


Last edited by jpsmith; 02-05-2009 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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Hello from Pittsburgh


Welcome to the forum Jack. Glad to have you as a member

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