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TDsngumbo
USA Fan
Member since Oct 2011
20269 posts

Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
I bought a fixer upper a few years ago and have been renovating it little by little since then. Over the last few years, I've come across quite a few cut corners and odd things. Here are a few:

1. Replacing a ceiling fan - no ground wire
Yesterday I replaced a ceiling fan and noticed there was no ground wire available. Odd, yes, but the house is about 45 years old and I figured maybe, for whatever reason, it wasn't available when the house was built. Still odd and probably wrong but I figured it's gone this long without one with no problems so what the hell. Ended up not being able to use the existing bracket/housing in the ceiling because the fan I bought was too heavy. Went into the attic to replace the bracket and when I pulled the wire, I realized the ground was there, it had just been cut off way up into the attic. WHY WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN DONE? If the previous owner/builder installed a fixture there that didn't have a ground, why not just not use the ground wire in the feed? Cutting it off a foot from the end of the feed wire is just odd.

2. All the floating flooring in my house was installed using roofing felt as a moisture barrier and no padding was installed. ROOFING FELT! Yes, technically it's a moisture barrier but it held moisture really bad and it was all full of mold and mildew. After replacing the floors, the house smelled MUCH better. And the floors were much more comfortable and quieter to walk on, too.

3. Recently gutted a bedroom to replace insulation because the room was frigid in the winter time. Figured either very little insulation existed or there was none at all. To my surprise, there was LOTS of insulation in the exterior walls. Too much, actually. The builder had actually compressed two R-11 pieces of insulation between each stud in an attempt to create R-22 insulation when in reality it was compressed so badly that it was probably only about R-8 or so. Replaced it with R-13 and the room is much more comfortable and quieter now.

I'm sure there have been others that I'm just not remembering right now but these are the ones that stick out in my mind at the moment. What are some that you've come across that made you say "WTF"?


indytiger
LSU Fan
baton rouge/indy
Member since Oct 2004
8974 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
I’m pretty sure the guy who built my camp didn’t own a level, square, or tape measure.


ItzMe1972
Member since Dec 2013
2859 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
Large pile of razor blades in the wall behind the medicine cabinets.

Also a note from my younger self when I remodelled before. Had the date and signature.


guedeaux
USA Fan
Tardis
Member since Jan 2008
12889 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
quote:

Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations


dozens of beer cans in the walls. Building crew really enjoyed mexican beers.


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150
CoachChappy
LSU Fan
Boudin Capitol of the World
Member since May 2013
24022 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
I owned a condo in college. It was full of "that's the next guys problem" jobs.

More than once, I went to replace a light switch and every wire in the box was black. I used withe out to paint the wire white and stuffed it back in.

NO barrier underneath the flooring.

No drip pan underneath the ac unit.

I don't even want to know the whys on some of the wiring in my current home. Why some things are on the same circuit is mind boggling.


fishfighter
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2008
34847 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
I built the house I am in 25+ years ago. Had install a set of French doors going to the patio. Having to move some light switches, I found that at the time of building, I had wired the dinning room, living room lights for a 3 way light switch which was only with a single switch. Took me 3 hours to trace out what was what. It's all fixed now.


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30
hungryone
LSU Fan
river parishes
Member since Sep 2010
10058 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
I also came across the wall cavity razor blade disposal system. Weird, but I guess it must have seemed safer than tossing the blades into the trash.

Same house, which I no longer own thank-the-angels-and-all-the-saints: ripped out some built-in bookshelves in the living room, which required removing paneling and replacing it. Discovered that there was literally wadded up newspaper in the wall cavity as insulation. Newspapers dated from the early 60s.


Mr Fusion
LSU Fan
The American Dream City
Member since Dec 2010
7359 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
My living room has 5/8" drywall, every other room has 1/2".


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10
Weekend Warrior79
LSU Fan
Member since Aug 2014
3968 posts
 Online 

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
The people that owned my house (original owners) were master electricians.

They used 2 sets of scrap wire, about 2-3 feet each, to extend a light fixture about 4 inches. Had A LOT of slack in the ceiling.

Wired one of my lights backwards. Could not figure out why my new fan wouldn't work when the light was turned off.

Used on old vacuum cord to install a new outlet in the hall. Worked for lights, not for power tools or a vacuum, ironically.


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40
BlackAdam
Nicholls St. Fan
Member since Jan 2016
3472 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
quote:

I’m pretty sure the guy who built my camp didn’t own a level, square, or tape measure.


Nobody uses squares anymore. At least not anybody the average person can afford to use. If you want something framed up that is dead on square you have to pay out the ass, or do it yourself.


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30
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BlackAdam
Nicholls St. Fan
Member since Jan 2016
3472 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
I had a shower panel fail in an upstairs shower. When I ripped it out the subfloor was rotted away, and it turned into a complete bathroom remodel.

When I pulled up the subfloor around the toilet I found that several joists had been cut off because the stink stack ran perpendicular to the joists to the other side the shower. There was no beam or anything. Three joists just ended about two feet from the wall carrying the load. I have no idea how this didn't sag. I put a double ribbon between the two joists that hit the exterior wall.


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10
Bleeding purple
TCU Fan
Athens, Texas
Member since Sep 2007
25166 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
1993 I was doing custom wood work and dry wall on a plantation home that was moved into Plaquemine. The upstairs was being remodeled to present day and the lower floor was to be restored to original. When repairing a door that was stuck I had to remove the doorknob. Inside a small dead space hole notched into the solid door, I found the original receipt folded into a 1/2" by 4" strip of wax coated paper. I don't remember the exact date on the paper but it matched the history of the home's original construction.
This post was edited on 12/2 at 5:18 pm


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70
IMATIGERFAN
LSU Fan
San Antonio, TX
Member since Apr 2007
805 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
Replaced carpet in the upstairs game room of our house and found several smashed flat beer cans in the corner under the pad. We never noticed it because we had furniture there.


nolabuilder
Member since Jul 2016
25 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
Found a plastic container with old porn DVDs and skunky, old weed. My demo guy wanted to take the porn home with him. Who am I to judge.


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110
keakar
Member since Jan 2017
11660 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
Large pile of razor blades in the wall behind the medicine cabinets.

this is SOP, all medicine cabinets came with a slot in the back wall to eject used blades into the wall

it was safer then in the trash since in older days most trash got burned and/or recycled and it was dangerous to have discarded razer blades mixed into the trash


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200
keakar
Member since Jan 2017
11660 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
im remodeling a house built around the 40-50s era made completely of 10ft 2x6s for all the joists

the roof and floor joists were just 3 ten foot 2x6s butted together and they had a 24" brace nailed to hold the ends together. thats 12" overlap on each side with no support under it to carry the weight except that 2ft brace and a couple of nails

as expected every single one was sagging to hell. the floors sagged 8" in the center of the house and the ceilings and roof sagged a full 6"

had to add 16ft sister joists on each side after leveling everything to tie it all together straight and true again
This post was edited on 12/2 at 7:00 pm


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40
Golfer
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2005
73366 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
quote:

2. All the floating flooring in my house was installed using roofing felt as a moisture barrier and no padding was installed. ROOFING FELT! Yes, technically it's a moisture barrier but it held moisture really bad and it was all full of mold and mildew. After replacing the floors, the house smelled MUCH better. And the floors were much more comfortable and quieter to walk on, too.


Felt paper is a very common moisture barrier for flooring. I laid it under my hardwood last year.


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
26623 posts
 Online 

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
Lots of open electrical splices.
New electric panel and romex running far enough to make me think it was all new electrical. Turns out they tied into the old knob&tube wiring where I couldn't see the splice when I did my inspection.

Bois D'arc stump piers in a pier& beam house.

Copper T's that weren't square and eventually started leaking and ruined a downstairs kitchen. I called in a plumber because I couldn't find the leak. He tested and said it was definitely not fresh water so had to be toilet. When I pulled the toilet a wood panel behind toilet came loose and exposed the leaking T.

Lead drain pipe that flowed up.



shell01
Texas A&M Fan
Marianna, FL
Member since Jul 2014
354 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
good thread

We're just about wrapping up a renovation of our circa 1995 home thanks to Hurricane MIchael. A few highlights:

- second floor master bath vent exhausted into attic, not to the exterior
- first floor bath vent exhaust piped 30' away to the far side of the house instead of 2' to the most obvious exit point
- dryer vent...sheesh... 25' and 4 x 90 degree turns of 3" PVC; we replaced with a 4" galvanized to a much more efficient exit (next to the above rerouted bath vent)
- most impactful find: improper flashing resulting in completely rotted out walls at every vertical roof/wall intersection. Kickout Flashing is not optional! 20 years of water running down OSB behind vinyl siding is disastrous.


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40
TDsngumbo
USA Fan
Member since Oct 2011
20269 posts

re: Odd things you've come across while doing home repairs/renovations
quote:

Felt paper is a very common moisture barrier for flooring. I laid it under my hardwood last year.

But it’s so porous that it just absorbs whatever moisture comes up through the slab. That results in mold/mildew on it. You gotta use an approved moisture barrier for floating floors instead. I guess maybe in some areas of the country roofing felt would be okay but not anywhere south of Missouri IMO.

We noticed that the house stunk like mildew after coming home from an extended leave once and went crazy trying to figure it out. Ever since we replaced the floors the smell is gone.

The stench when I pulled the flooring up, exposing the felt, was indescribable. So glad we replaced the floors now!
This post was edited on 12/3 at 5:43 am


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