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Old 03-20-2012, 10:34 PM   #46
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526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit


Had "Foundation Man" over to remove a bunch of cement from the back yard; remove the window wells, and repair the back wall of the foundation. I had started this work and realized I had no way to dispose of all the cement, nor a desire to buy equipment I would only use once.

This is part one; showing mostly up front stuff. I don't even know where to start on this chapter of the house... let us be; positive.

While they worked, I dug out more tree stumps and fence posts; as can be seen in the attached pics.

They set to work trying to avoid work. Apparently the original plan involved removing the top of the window wells and then burying them. Strike 1?!

I was glad I took off work to supervise. Anyways...

In one picture you can see the main beam cleaned at the corner. You can then see it filled in and being parged. The next shows the back walk after removal. The back yard looks pretty much like a dirt pit at this point.

I'll do a full explanation in the next post, things did not turn out well.

also; is this a better way to handle the pictures?!?!
Attached Thumbnails
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0930.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0936.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0941.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0945.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0954.jpg  



Last edited by coderguy; 03-20-2012 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:08 PM   #47
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So, lots to explain. This is part 2 if you missed the previous post.

Foundation Man was supposed to remove the rear cement, repair the back foundation at the beam, and remove the window wells in the back and on the west side of the house.

They continuously fought with me to not remove the wells; we got that out of the way and I thought it was done.

Then they argued with me about flashing the back of the house. Who puts a 20 inch sheet of metal up as flashing? Over the siding?!?! I ended up asking them to simply explain it to me... I still don't understand.

They then tried not to haul half the debris away. I asked for some debris from previous work to be taken and they finally agreed before leaving.

So it was time for them to go... time to settle up. They raised the price on me. On the spot. Said removing the window wells was extra work. I explained if I wrote them a check for that amount; they'd never work for me again. They didn't flinch. I lost my temper and it didn't go well from there.

Attached are some more pictures. The dirt wasn't put back and I've been put in the position of having to do the next stage of work immediately. You can see the metal flashing and how they left the wells.

I NEED to figure out the french drain plan and get to it.

Enjoy the pictures; let me know if it is better to handle them differently.

I swore at one of the two guys and I feel bad about it. But I'm also still so angry I could put my fist through a wall. I paid them the money they wanted.
Attached Thumbnails
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0961.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0962.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0963.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0964.jpg  
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:37 AM   #48
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526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit


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Originally Posted by coderguy View Post
So, lots to explain. This is part 2 if you missed the previous post.

Foundation Man was supposed to remove the rear cement, repair the back foundation at the beam, and remove the window wells in the back and on the west side of the house.

They continuously fought with me to not remove the wells; we got that out of the way and I thought it was done.

Then they argued with me about flashing the back of the house. Who puts a 20 inch sheet of metal up as flashing? Over the siding?!?! I ended up asking them to simply explain it to me... I still don't understand.

They then tried not to haul half the debris away. I asked for some debris from previous work to be taken and they finally agreed before leaving.

So it was time for them to go... time to settle up. They raised the price on me. On the spot. Said removing the window wells was extra work. I explained if I wrote them a check for that amount; they'd never work for me again. They didn't flinch. I lost my temper and it didn't go well from there.

Attached are some more pictures. The dirt wasn't put back and I've been put in the position of having to do the next stage of work immediately. You can see the metal flashing and how they left the wells.

I NEED to figure out the french drain plan and get to it.

Enjoy the pictures; let me know if it is better to handle them differently.

I swore at one of the two guys and I feel bad about it. But I'm also still so angry I could put my fist through a wall. I paid them the money they wanted.
That looks just terrible. Take that flashing down. I'm still trying to understand the whole scope of this project but nail metal to the siding is wrong. It needs to go behind. dorf dude...
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Last edited by shumakerscott; 03-27-2012 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:59 AM   #49
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Where the hell did you find this guy???

It's blatantly clear in one of the pictures that he applied a ton of the mud with a baker's bag. That's not how a mason really works, unless they're paid by the hour.......

If you need a local mason again, I would recommend asking Nathan or one of the other folks at the Brickyard for a referrel. I'm sure they have plenty of names of good contractor's down there.
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:51 PM   #50
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So, I was digging out the rear window well to proceed with repairs and a mysterious hole showed up. I don't know where it goes or how long it actually is, but my tape measure easily went 30 inches in. Thought I would do a quick post about it before getting back to work on planning. Here are the pics:
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526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0966.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-100_0968.jpg  
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:24 PM   #51
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So, update. You may or may not have been following the landscaping thread. But I haven't heard anything from anyone in there; so my final plan is coming into being.

I've called The Brick Yard and gotten quotes on various things; allowing me to estimate costs pretty accurately. They also gave me some referrals as advised by Joe.

Here is the plan up to this point, based on Joe coming out and all feedback.

1) Repair back of foundation. I'm going to dig it out as far as I can in a weekend; repair cracks/etc. Add a layer of waterproofing (the black tar stuff from Menards unless someone suggests otherwise); and then back fill. I will put glass block windows in the remaining two back windows and add a new window well on the rear basement window. Finishing touch is a window well cover of course :-)

2) Level the back yard (actually 1 degree towards garage and 1 degree towards cement retaining wall); with a retaining wall in front of the garage.

The retaining wall will be 40" high (total). 6" base, 6" for base block (below grade); 4 blocks above grade (at 6" a piece) and a cap. This will bring it to 8 inches below the siding on the garage. It includes a stair up into the garden area. More on this later.

3) French Drain from the garden all way to the front of the house; with a solid drain running parallel. for the downspout

4) Grade side yard as best as possible.

I am looking for ideas for the side yard because growing grass there may not be a good idea. Just river rock the whole thing? (ugly?) Some type of water hungry plant or bush and then mulch around them? Something that isn't a tree, will drink a lot of water, etc.

5) Help my neighbor. The north-west corner of the house will still be under grade with this plan. Help my neighbor dig out his hill and work on his backyard; giving him a larger patio and eliminating the grading problem at the corner of the house. Possibly connect him to drainage.

6) Continue the current cement retaining wall out towards the alley. Back fill neighbors side with dirt; front fill our new garden :-) Of course; this will be done with versa-lok and at a later date.

I have attached a picture that shows the plan. Orange is french drain. Purple is solid. Green is the possible french drain behind my neighbors possible retaining wall. The orange french drain running along the garage is already there.

As for the retaining wall in front of the garage; here are the specs since people like to ask about pricing. Assume versa-lok from a midwest dealer.

Wall: 28' 3" wide
Stairs: 32" wide

Estimates:
Versa-lok standard blocks: 148 x 5.08 = 751.84
Versa-lok standard caps: 37 x 5.69 = 210.53
Versa-lok pegs: 120 x .45 = 54.00
Total for versa-lok: 1,066.33
When you add sand, rock, rentals, delivery, cap adhesive, and tax you end up at $1,478.40

I am still working on estimating the entire project.

I feel confident the wall won't be too tall; and so will be attractive. I feel confident grading is the single best water solution - it is the only part of any solution that everyone agrees on. Nobody ever posts about how proper grading is a horrible idea.

Maybe I'll get some feedback, suggestions and ideas that will improve the whole thing even more. At some point; I have to figure out how to dress up the ugly cement retaining wall that is there now... (parge with dyed cement and press to look like brick?)
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Last edited by coderguy; 04-13-2012 at 11:45 AM. Reason: spelling/grammar edits.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:11 PM   #52
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I got one of the glass block windows in, after repairing the wall the best I could; picture attached. I will have to revisit this and pretty it up a bit; then paint white around it to match the other windows. Masonry isn't a strong point for me; but I feel good about the work.

Next; while I was working in the basement my wife took a shower and I realized that my temp job on the shower was no longer holding. Water coming to the basement from the second floor is NOT good. The drain is glued (purple stuff that fuses) in; but about 3/8 of an inch too high. I can't just keep filling it with caulk. Long story short; I declared the guest bathroom the temporary master bathroom. I've been planning the master bathroom redo for a while (finally; something I WANT to work on). I have a plan and a budget. Attached a few pics of getting started on the gutting.

So we'll continue work on the basement, yard and now master bathroom in parallel. Maybe I'll drop my bathroom plan into the scanner for some feedback.

In the bad news department, my camera died. So these are cell phone pics. Also, my charger and/or batteries for my cordless tools died. Sigh.
Attached Thumbnails
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-bathroom_before_1.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-bathroom_construction_1.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-glass_block_done_1.jpg  
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:39 PM   #53
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It looks like you made a wise choice & had the window pre-fabbed??

I see nothing wrong with the installation in the pic, but if you need to clean up some mortar smears, 000 fine steel wool works wonders in the first few days............

I think your yard plan looks pretty good as well, I just want to mention one thing: The sidewalls of the stairwell you want to build are easist accomplished by buildign the walls straight vertical (no batter or 3/4" backset to the walls.) Although Versa-Lok manu's cast holes for straight vert. walls, they have to line up perfectly on half bond, as they only have holes in this position vs. the slot that is used for the more typical 3/4" batter. The front of the wall will still have the batter, so you'll have to cut 3/4" off of the corner or the adjacent block on every course so the pin holes line up perfectly. Not a big deal if you have the tools to saw the block, but if not, it can create issues.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:03 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
It looks like you made a wise choice & had the window pre-fabbed??

I see nothing wrong with the installation in the pic, but if you need to clean up some mortar smears, 000 fine steel wool works wonders in the first few days............

I think your yard plan looks pretty good as well, I just want to mention one thing: The sidewalls of the stairwell you want to build are easist accomplished by buildign the walls straight vertical (no batter or 3/4" backset to the walls.) Although Versa-Lok manu's cast holes for straight vert. walls, they have to line up perfectly on half bond, as they only have holes in this position vs. the slot that is used for the more typical 3/4" batter. The front of the wall will still have the batter, so you'll have to cut 3/4" off of the corner or the adjacent block on every course so the pin holes line up perfectly. Not a big deal if you have the tools to saw the block, but if not, it can create issues.
Yeah, I could use tips on cleaning up the mortar. While I feel great about getting the window in (yes, prefab), it could use to look a little 'cleaner'. I'm planning to make a batch of mortar and clean everything up a bit.

I put the second window in tonight; I'm waiting for it to set up enough to remove the wedges.

It is amazing how much light they bring in.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:32 AM   #55
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I wanted to post an update on the yard work.

I dug out the west side as needed and brushed/cleaned it in preparation for repair. I also continued some of the digging. All of the dirt that I thought would work as fill went to the front of the house as regrading material (see picture); the rest went towards the alley for removal (sandy stuff, overly rocky stuff).

I hosed it down good and let things dry a bit. I was concerned at how quickly the water was draining away; like it was running somewhere.

I also did more repair work on the outside of the rear window. The other window is also in and looking good (but no pics yet).

Finally, I got more work done digging out the corner of the house by the retaining wall. There was a large sheet of fiber glass material buried (wtf?);
and of course lots of tree root. This area is still a large question mark, what do I do here? I can't force my neighbor to put in a retaining wall...

See the pics!
Attached Thumbnails
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-before_repair_1.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-after_repair_1.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-window_1.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-yard_work_1.jpg   526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-some_regrading.jpg  

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Old 04-16-2012, 09:07 AM   #56
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Progress updates on the dual projects.

Bathroom - everything is ripped out and hauled away; along with all scrap from previous projects that was building up next to the garage. I got the floor up in 5 or so chunks. Picture is of largest chunk I got up in one go. I'm very excited about the bathroom.
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-imag0282.jpg
Outside - I finally got some 'after rain' pictures Sunday. I think the east side of the house may be a much bigger problem than I thought. I'm now thinking to go ahead and run solid pipe down both sides. This way I can disconnect both laterals; pump the sump pit to daylight and add a surface drain; even if temporary. I'm including two of the pics.

526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-imag0284.jpg526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-imag0285.jpg
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:37 AM   #57
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No pictures today.

The bathroom is cleaned up and remeasured; in some places I have more room than planned due to weird shims/etc.

The window well is 100% complete in the back and looking nice; having trouble finding the right size cover; but I have one on there for now. Dissapointing that Menards sells separate brand covers than window wells.

Met with a guy suggested to me by the Brick Yard; he is getting me quotes for regrading the back yard in preparation for the retaining wall. Sounds like we will have him grade the front yard and sod. We'll get this water moving away from the house!

The guys I hired to do the hauling were the best contractors I've brought in so far (next to the carpet guys; they were awesome too!). I couldn't believe they swept my sidewalks. Very affordable; much better than a dumpster.

We had a break in; they got my cordless trimmer, skateboard, car jack, jack stands and possibly other items I haven't noticed.

Lots of rain; so lots of water in the basement. Trying to stay positive and get the work done. As with previous weekends, if I can't start the french drain this weekend; I'll be in the bathroom framing. Pics either way!
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:12 PM   #58
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Ok, I've been out of the country; but it is time for an update! We will start with the yard!!!

First, the landscaper made some time to do the rear regrading. I really appreciate the discussions we had. We ended up going with changes he suggested in preparation for proper draining and the patio. Here is a picture of his handy work:
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-imag0296.jpg

Quite a lot of dirt was removed. I know it looked wet; it was. But it hadn't rained! So; that done, he worked with me a bit on designing the patio, etc. Next would be my turn to build the retaining wall; add drainage on both sides of the house; and then call him back.

So, the east side of the house has drainage as of this weekend (freshly back from vacation and right to work!). I know that anyone who reads these forums probably was thinking I would never break ground on this. I asked for help, argued, planned, asked again, argued more, planned again and rehashed the whole thing about 100 times. Well, I broke ground. Phase 1 was regrading, phase 2 is east side drainage; since it will not receive most of the water from the back yard. Here was the grueling install:
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-102_4254.jpg526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-102_4260.jpg
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There are no pictures here of the smallish french drain dividing the back yard from the side yard. This is designed so that the natural french drain (the rocks under the solid piping) will help drain light rains to the front. Moderate to heavy rains will bring water into the modern french drain which connects into this solid pipe (in a slight V). Later, the downspout and/or sump can connect to this solid drain as well. The really important part right now is the natural french drain; the back yard was pretty well 'disconnected' from the side yard before (draining wise); water would pool near the corner of the house because it was a bit of a low point; even though the side yard is graded towards the street really well. This now connects them. Basically, water can get past all the cement and clay.

Bathroom update in the next post I swear. It's going really well. Built-ins are framed; plumbing is done, etc.

Oh, the above project, about $250.00; which includes all the supplies to do the other side and hook up the down spouts.

Feedback, ideas, etc all very welcome!
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:22 PM   #59
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Oh, and as a special treat...

Some pictures from Tokyo, Japan!

526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-102_4241.jpg
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-102_4247.jpg
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-102_4195.jpg
526 Lincoln Victorian - AKA The New Money Pit-102_4120.jpg
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:32 PM   #60
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Love your new "Money Pit" it has loads of character. Looks like you have quite the rehab ahead of you.

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