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Jedi Clint
07-24-2002, 01:56 AM
I thought I'd start a topic where home owners can share their experience with home improvement projects. I hope there will be some in depth explanations complete with visual aids. I will begin by detailing my experience with replacing a basement wall and an abominable basement access renovation.

The Problem:

My dad is stressing the importance of gutters as we work toward completion of this project, but I stress the previous care-taker's lack of ingenuity in dealing with water infiltration through my south basement wall. They must have thought that the 100+ lb. concrete slabs they placed against a brick wall lacking reinforcement would solve their troubles. Instead, it merely ensured the wall's demise. This wall makes a couple of 90 degree turns as it becomes the south wall of the access/stair area of the basement (which used to be an outdoor entrance). Rather than extending the basement area to contain the new entrance when a porch was added to the property above this area, someone decided to simply place wooden stairs on top of the dirt slope where stairs poured in forms once rested. I eventually want to turn the outside walls comprising the corner of this area into load bearing walls when I replace the roof.

The Solution:

Remove a large number of bricks. Remove a good foot of the dirt wall responsible for pushing the brick wall to it's demise. Level the footing for the new wall. Remove dirt slope of stair/access area. Create a new footing for the wall to set on. Create a basement floor/footing for the access area. Rebuild wall with concrete blocks, re-rod, and concrete mixes (there will be a window set slightly below ground level with a window well). Rebuild stairs into basement.

Where I'm at:

The footing for the new wall has been laid, except for the footing/basement floor in the access/stair area. Dirt from the access/stair area must be removed along with remnants of brick walls for same.

What's next:

Wall separating living and dining room area to be removed. There is really a never ending list, but I can't get too far ahead of myself.

I will post a few pictures of the project.

I hope that others will share their experiences here as well.

Jedi Clint
07-24-2002, 02:04 AM
Down the access area. You must take a 90 degree turn to the left in order to enjoy the dirt slope :).

Jedi Clint
07-24-2002, 02:06 AM
Exterior view.

Jedi Clint
07-24-2002, 02:07 AM
The big pile of dirt (there is another pile underneath the tarp seen in the previous picture).

Jedi Clint
07-24-2002, 02:10 AM
Pile of bricks.....note it's size relation to the Geo Metro next to it. There will be more dirt and brick added to the piles before all is said and done.

jjreason
07-24-2002, 03:23 AM
That could be described as "my worst nightmare". We bought a real starter home when we moved out west in 00, it's all we could afford. Here's a list of everything we've done to it so far, in chronological order:

Reseated the support posts the house sits on in proper cement; also added and replaced a few of the posts. Damage: $500.00

Finished the fence in the backyard so it's enclosed. Damage: $800.00.

Renovated the kitchen: Dishwasher installed, plumbing and everything, 600.00; New stacking washer and dryer added, plumbing and everything, 1000.00; painted all walls and cupboards, little money but much time; new floor laid, $600.00.

Ripped out a major built in closet in the living room then had to pay to have the textured wall repaired: 400.00.

New stairs and railing built: $600.00.

New paint in living room: again cheap, but time consuming.

New flooring in living room (laminate - looks great!) 1600 "parts and labor"

New carpet laid all through the upstairs: 1700.

Literally a fortune. At least now the inside looks great. I still have to do a few finishing jobs - puttying joints in trim, putting sealer on the floor boards that don't fit perfectly tight together, a few small paint touch ups in the kitchen.

Then we can start on the outside....:rolleyes:. There's something to be said for condo fees. Sorry I didn't offer much in the way of instruction, my wife is the project manager and Im usually only physical labour support staff.

Jedi Clint
07-24-2002, 04:28 PM
Thank you for your contribution jjreason. You have 2 projects completed that I have yet to schedule. I would like to fence in my yard and add a dish-washer in the kithchen. It all depends on $$ though. My dad and I got 2 rows of concrete blocks laid for the south wall today. I have a friend coming to help me remove the stair/access area tomorrow night.......after a full day of block laying :(.

Jedi Clint
08-14-2002, 10:27 PM
Six blocks up and ready for more + the access area has been cleared of unwanted dirt, and 3 blocks are in place for that area.

Jedi Clint
08-14-2002, 10:31 PM
The blue hue I spoke of previously looks more green at 6 PM.

Jedi Clint
08-14-2002, 10:35 PM
The access area is making me really happy as of late.

TylerD
08-15-2002, 02:06 AM
Home Improvement Project...those three magic words that a man lives for.....until he realizes what he has gotten himself into!

My Story:

Last month, we bought and Arts & Crafts Spanish Style house from 1926. And let me tell you, it needs a LOT of work. And since I am only 16, the task seems even more daunting.

So Far, we have:

torn out the carpeting and carpet pad
painted the kitchen
painted the bedrooms
sanded the hardwood floors
cleaned off the outside of the house
totally cleaned and redid the windows

Next comes:

Staining the hardwood floors
Tiling the Shower
tiling the ugly kitchen counter from the seventies
replacing outdated light fixtures
sodding the back yard
converting the attic to storage space
and so much more

It is a lot of work, but I do like doing it....I am really interested in historical preservation, so to be working on a house from 1926 is a dream come true for me....especially when I currently reside in a ranch style home from the 60s!

Captain Trips
08-15-2002, 09:19 AM
my wife is the project manager and Im usually only physical labour support staff.

I know the pain. I have had to put the Parental Block on HGTV to prevent her from coming up with screwey schemes.

Mandalorian Candidat
08-15-2002, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by Captain Trips


I know the pain. I have had to put the Parental Block on HGTV to prevent her from coming up with screwey schemes.

LOL! We just got a dish and that's my wife's favorite channel. I cringe everytime it comes on because I know I'll be getting bombarded with stuff that "we" (to wit: ME) have to do.

I bought a duplex last year (ca. 1973) but I'm in grad school and hence am short on $. The rental unit defrays the cost of the mortgage so I have to shell out the clams for repairs and upgrades.

So far I've painted the whole unit, installed new carpet in the LR and hallway, installed a new fridge and washer, put in new double-paned insulated windows, and done a lot of minor fixups like finishing off the storage room and repairing water damage to one of the walls (the sprinkler water was spraying inside the window and dripping down the wall. I've also replaced the water heater which had been around since the 70's!

I have yet to:

put in new baseboards
replace the vintage 1970's Brady-style inoleum
fix the chipped cement on the basement stairs
put a sort of barricade around the windows to keep sprinkler water from entering
replace the kitchen wallpaper and possible install newer cabinets
replace the bedroom carpets
install a new shower box in the bathroom
repair a leaky pipe under the bathroom sink
install a garbage disposal
repair the shower/bath toggle switch (it doesn't seal off the shower water 100%)
put in a new light fixture in the hallway

And the big one...

REPLACE THE FRIGGIN' FURNACE

That's the big mamma jamma I'm not looking forward to.

Isn't home ownership grand though. Even though I despise yard work, I do get a great sense of satisfaction when I'm done and I sit back and survey my realm.

Master of my domain indeed. :)

Vortex
08-15-2002, 02:29 PM
Quite the mess Jedi Clint. I don't envy you at all. I'm working on replacing my sidewalk, front stairs and side entry stairs and I'm trenching and digging.

So far everything is looking ok. If you want to further water proof your basement, or certain areas, gutters will help, but its not a sure fire solution. Gutters are sometimes more work and headache than what they are worth.

Once you have the block done, plaster the entire bock wall with a tar solution you can find at any home store. (now a days this is being accepted as code requirement to help keep out water...you will need a water proof membrane on the blcok.)

You can tile the area next to the wall with sand, rock and some drainage tile. The faster the water filters down below the house the better, or if you can move it away from the house and block the better.

I don't have the books handy but there are tips and trick in masonary book, contractors guid to cold/war climate construction and some of those "do it yourself" books.

I've only dabbled a bit in home design and construction here at the firm, but a few of the architects here have done lots of home construction and design. If you have a hard question I can always bounce it off some of the guys here.

But good luck.

Jedi Clint
08-15-2002, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by TylerD
Home Improvement Project...those three magic words that a man lives for.....until he realizes what he has gotten himself into!


:D You betcha! It would be fun to revitalize a classic style home. My house could be defined as "unconventional", or cobbled together ;).


Originally posted by Mandalorian Candidat
And the big one...

REPLACE THE FRIGGIN' FURNACE

That's the big mamma jamma I'm not looking forward to.

Isn't home ownership grand though.

I just closed up shop on my HVAC business (for the most part). However the experience has ensured I will never cringe at furnace replacement again. At least you aren't working in a crawl space or an attic........are you?


Originally posted by tjovonovich
Quite the mess Jedi Clint. I don't envy you at all. I'm working on replacing my sidewalk, front stairs and side entry stairs and I'm trenching and digging.

So far everything is looking ok. If you want to further water proof your basement, or certain areas, gutters will help, but its not a sure fire solution. Gutters are sometimes more work and headache than what they are worth.

Once you have the block done, plaster the entire bock wall with a tar solution you can find at any home store. (now a days this is being accepted as code requirement to help keep out water...you will need a water proof membrane on the blcok.)

You can tile the area next to the wall with sand, rock and some drainage tile. The faster the water filters down below the house the better, or if you can move it away from the house and block the better.

I don't have the books handy but there are tips and trick in masonary book, contractors guid to cold/war climate construction and some of those "do it yourself" books.

I've only dabbled a bit in home design and construction here at the firm, but a few of the architects here have done lots of home construction and design. If you have a hard question I can always bounce it off some of the guys here.

But good luck.

Thanks for the tips and encouragement. I have been painting that "lovely" tar substance on the outside of the basement wall as every couple of rows have been laid. Gutters will come soon......but the roof needs replaced in the not too distant future and I don't want to waste resources on gutters when they would need to be reworked or replaced when that project comes due. When I say replace the roof, I mean the whole thing. Because I have a home that was constructed addition by addition, the roof has like 8 planes and 2 lean-to type roof planes. I want to reduce it down to 2 planes and perhaps a single lean-to plane as well. I appreciate your offer to check with your associates for tips on this project. I might need to take advantage of that as the project progresses. Right now the plan is to tar up the outside of the wall well, and dump dirt back in the gap. Hopefully that will be enough. Resources are a bit limited at this time. Thankfully I am on pretty much over the hump on this basement project.

Mandalorian Candidat
08-16-2002, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by Jedi Clint

I just closed up shop on my HVAC business (for the most part). However the experience has ensured I will never cringe at furnace replacement again. At least you aren't working in a crawl space or an attic........are you?


I'm fortunate enough that the unit is in the basement and is pretty easily accessible.


I'm a total neophyte when it comes to doing any home improvement/repairs. My brother-in-law is a little braver than me and says the best thing to do is jump right in and do it. He counsels not to be afraid to make a mistake because you probably will and that it's just gaining experience. Since I'm don't have disposable income I'd have to do a lot of stuff myself.

Are you guys also in that same boat?

Vortex
08-16-2002, 02:42 PM
yea income is a big kicker with home improvements and I learned my lesson early. I was putting in a flagstone patio a few summers ago and I just started digging. Didn't plan anything out, didn't research how much the no. 5 gravel cost, the sand, the flagstone, extra sod. Didn't do my homework or draw anything up, just figured, "can't be that hard" or "can't take long"...what a mess. I had this hole in the ground. About 1' down, 16'x12'.

Went to buy sand and gravel. 3 week wait since it was summer and they were back logged. So during that wait, it rained and rained and I had to re-dig and re-frame the hole. gravel showed up, no sand. Put the gravel in, sand and stone finally came a week later. Leveled the sand, tamped it down, wet it down, did that afew times. Then started with the stone. Since its various sizes and shapes I had huge gaps and had to break, and cut down pieces to fit. This alone took me 2 weeks to piece them together as best as possible, grind and cut down 2-1/2" thick stone and then level it on the sand bed. What a mess and headache that was. If the pros would have done it after I dug the hole - 400 bucks. WhenI did it 700+ with tools and my time figured in.

I've also got into trouble redoing floors and sheetrocking. Thinking I can do it as fast as the trade guys do, and as good...wrong.

Now a days I draw everything up, measure sq. footage, areas, etc. scout out prices, find out lead times, shipping fees and take a long hard look at possible trouble areas. Figure out details, how things are going to terminate or die into something else. And try to anticipate trouble. The old job has taught me to be cautious, and what pit falls to watch out for and what tools I'll need.

I find if I start to rip into something it usually costs me 3 times as much. Now I plan it out, and work around schedules, and get a refined ideas as to how it should go and what it should look like.
Its the anal architect in me.

Jedi Clint
08-16-2002, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by Mandalorian Candidat


I'm fortunate enough that the unit is in the basement and is pretty easily accessible.


I'm a total neophyte when it comes to doing any home improvement/repairs. My brother-in-law is a little braver than me and says the best thing to do is jump right in and do it. He counsels not to be afraid to make a mistake because you probably will and that it's just gaining experience. Since I'm don't have disposable income I'd have to do a lot of stuff myself.

Are you guys also in that same boat?

Yeah :(. Re-roofing this place is dependent on refinancing the house, and that won't happen for a few more years. I have already decided that I won't do that job myself! After this basement project, no home improvement job actually scares me. It's just that I can't afford to fall off of my roof either ;)

tjovonovich,

I've never really just jumped into a home improvement project as I begin thinking of them long before funds come available to set things in motion. It seems no matter how much planning I do prior to digging in, there are always a few "nice" suprises waiting to happen at the most inopportune time.

Mandalorian Candidat
08-16-2002, 04:06 PM
Originally posted by Jedi Clint


Yeah :(. Re-roofing this place is dependent on refinancing the house, and that won't happen for a few more years. I have already decided that I won't do that job myself! After this basement project, no home improvement job actually scares me. It's just that I can't afford to fall off of my roof either ;)


Roofing is actually the one thing I think that I could do fairly well. I go to school with a guy who owns his own roofing company. I've been out with him a few times on shingle tear-offs, repairs, and reroofs so that exposure has made me not intimidated to that work. I think I'd have a tough time dealing with the dripedges, getting the first few shingles lined up properly, and making sure everything was sealed well around the pipes and chimney though.

From all the 411 this guy's given me on the roofing business it seems like a major racket. A bundle of average asphalt 3-tab shingles is about $7 but a roofer will charge maybe $250 if you're lucky on a small repair job that only uses a few of them. Most of them don't want to be bothered with a reroof so they'll bid you high to get you off their back.

If you have to tear off the shingles before rereoofing, do it yourself and save a ton of money. All you need is one of those weird looking tools that looks like a shovel with a serrated edge and a dumpster. Once you get it down to the tar paper or the sheeting then make sure all the naiis are out and have them do the rest. Depending on the size of the roof, you may save yourself at least 1 or 2K.

At this point the only thing that would keep me from roofing a house is just the pitch. I already am squeamish about heights so if it's too steep I won't get on it.

I guess it goes to show you that once you get some experience you begin to get more comfortable with doing home repair. At first I was just scared of even putting in a new faucet. During the job I had to replace a turn-off valve, the waste pipe, and a couple of other things until I finally made the whole thing work. Now I feel like it's not that big of a deal.

Vortex
08-16-2002, 04:31 PM
Originally posted by Jedi Clint

It seems no matter how much planning I do prior to digging in, there are always a few "nice" suprises waiting to happen at the most inopportune time.


Its the nature of the beast...good old Murphy's law. Its a given and usually as a general rule of thumb we tack on an extra 15% for change orders or the unexpected.

But its good to hear you plan a head.

Jedi Clint
08-16-2002, 06:10 PM
Originally posted by tjovonovich



Its the nature of the beast...good old Murphy's law. Its a given and usually as a general rule of thumb we tack on an extra 15% for change orders or the unexpected.

But its good to hear you plan a head.

I've never calculated the unexpected to a percentile post project. 15% sounds good. I think I'll use it for my own estimations and see how it works out :)


Originally posted by Mandalorian Candidat


Roofing is actually the one thing I think that I could do fairly well. I go to school with a guy who owns his own roofing company. I've been out with him a few times on shingle tear-offs, repairs, and reroofs so that exposure has made me not intimidated to that work. I think I'd have a tough time dealing with the dripedges, getting the first few shingles lined up properly, and making sure everything was sealed well around the pipes and chimney though.

From all the 411 this guy's given me on the roofing business it seems like a major racket. A bundle of average asphalt 3-tab shingles is about $7 but a roofer will charge maybe $250 if you're lucky on a small repair job that only uses a few of them. Most of them don't want to be bothered with a reroof so they'll bid you high to get you off their back.

If you have to tear off the shingles before rereoofing, do it yourself and save a ton of money. All you need is one of those weird looking tools that looks like a shovel with a serrated edge and a dumpster. Once you get it down to the tar paper or the sheeting then make sure all the naiis are out and have them do the rest. Depending on the size of the roof, you may save yourself at least 1 or 2K.

At this point the only thing that would keep me from roofing a house is just the pitch. I already am squeamish about heights so if it's too steep I won't get on it.

I guess it goes to show you that once you get some experience you begin to get more comfortable with doing home repair. At first I was just scared of even putting in a new faucet. During the job I had to replace a turn-off valve, the waste pipe, and a couple of other things until I finally made the whole thing work. Now I feel like it's not that big of a deal.

I got it! You can do my roof, and I'll do your furnace! :D Seriously, I just can't risk fallin' off the damned roof and busting my arm or my leg or my neck. Too many kids and bills, and not enough necks ;).

Obi-Don
08-18-2002, 07:38 AM
Me right now ,I'm working on changing the play room into a baby's room. Yep, got another on the way. Still have some time thank goodness. Just repainted the room and my wife is working on painting some pictures on the wall. She is pretty good at it. When we get done,maybe I can get a few pics for those that are interested.