View Full Version : Horror Stories
01-22-2003, 11:45 AM
I was standing in line the other day at Home Depot, and after looking at what folks were buying, and I wondered if most people actually knew what they were doing to their houses?
Some obviously looked like they knew, but others it looked downright scary. Sometimes I overhear conversations in the isles and the advice given as well as the project the person has in mind is dowright laughable, I want to ask them for their address to make sure I never buy that home.
I had a house where I pulled up some aweful looking lino in the bathroom, and low and behold there were 1000 sheet-rock nails pounded in the floor holding the edges down of the previous, and very hard, old linoleum. I had to rip up the entire subfloor cussing at whoever had that bright idea the entire time. I have hundreds of other stories, but are interested in yours.
What have you encountered in yours or other people's houses of what brainless people or those who overratted their skills and didn't ask for directions or help did in their Home Improvement/destruction projects?
01-22-2003, 12:53 PM
So here goes - Bought the house last Aug. First one to own :)
Two months ago I shut off the water to plant some flowers for my wife (how nice, yea yea) I shut it off at the house and just out of curiosity I went out to the alley and checked the meter. It was still moving x(
Turns out the contractor that did the work, decided to use that thin walled (less than 1/16) PB pipe to go under a 4" thick Concrete slab. Needless to say it failed and because I couldn't prove when he put it in (he has since lost his license twice and gone into hiding) I couldn't get any $$$ back form that settlement :(
A jackhammer rental later (along with some PVC Sch 40 and my first sweat joint to mate to copper) and were ready to lay some bricks!! This way if thereís another problem we don't have to rent a jackhammer!
I also noticed he ran some electrical lines for 20 amp service and used 16 gauge wire. GRRRRRRR, I need more time to work on my house.
I had a gas line coming into the laundry room for a clothes dryer. The line coming through the floor was a flex line and very old at that.
When I finally cleared out under the laundry room so that I had enough room to work I found out that when they had run the line they had run hard line all the way to under the hole but had cut the whole two inches away from where it was supposed to be. Instead of cutting another hole, they just attached the flex line at that point. Fixing that part of the line was cake. It took me about 6 assemble/disassemble sessions (with a lot of cursing) to figure out where the line was leaking from after I put it back together (it was leaking after the shutoff valve).
After the last time I just cranked the offending fittings down to the point that I don't think they will ever come apart and the leak stopped. All that effort because the previous owner didn't want to redrill a hole.
Almost forgot. Before I replaced the electrical service the fuse box had 20A fuses for 15A lines. Of course the lines themselves don't use junction boxes for splices etc, just electrical tape.
01-22-2003, 01:16 PM
The old farm house that I just bought and did a complete re-model plus a second floor addition had several "porches" added onto it in the 100 yr history. It was a complete nightmare, the last owners were the worst. They put a 21' x 21' addition onto the house and built the walls first and then built the floors, at least that what appears to have happened because the walls wern't on the floors. To make matters worse, when they put the walls up they put the bottoms below gradeand cemented right up to them. You can only guess what happened, Yep, the walls rotted out taking the floor with it(dropped 12"). Well those were all fixed right. Then there was the wireing, The guy used to have a trucking co in the 60s & 70s and must have got a deal on trailer wire because that he used to wire some of the rooms(single strand braided). Oh yea, plus they didn't believe in wire nuts, just wind the wires together and use a half roll of tape. Another wireing no no was they used a 20 amp breaker to feed a 60 amp subpanel(old style with fuses) that supplied power to the hot water heated and the furnace. Things were a pretty shade of blue in there, plus the fact that they used the penny trick behind the fuses.
The scarriest thing that happened during the re-model was when I went to disconnect the power to the house. I had called our local electric co several times to make sure the power was off before I put the new service in. On the day I did this I called one more time to make sure and they said that it was off at the pole. Well they were sadly mistaken there was still juice in the wires when I cut them with the bolt cutters! SPAP POW bright light, luckily when I was cutting the wires I made sure that my hands were on the rubber grips. Moral of the story, use caution when playing with power and never assume that the things that were supposed to be done were.
As I sit here and tell you this I just have to laugh and wonder why I went through this. It was well worth it though, got to move back home and what started out as a shack that cost us 20K(with 30K invested) now has an appraised value of 180K which is not completely finished. Still have to finish 1 room, some trim work and the biggest thing the landscaping.
Those are all the horror stories that I can remember right now.
01-22-2003, 01:21 PM
Mind you, don't laugh too hard at this one, as I did buy the house knowing it is rather long with shortcomings...
A previous homeowner paid to have an addition put onto the backside of the house in 1990. The joker who did the job built the addition over the existing porch (not a bad idea per se). Thing is, he apparently had never heard of a level, as the whole thing was built over the post and beam structure at the same grade as the original porch (ah, what's a little slope between friends?). Luckily they properly reinforced the structure, otherwise I wouldn't own the thing.
I've pulled up the flooring in one of the two rooms of the addition (finished the job with new hardwood connecting to the old oak just this weekend). This time I used a level...it's the simple things.
01-22-2003, 03:26 PM
Speaking of electrical situations, my in-laws house had a room where two outlets and the light switch didn't work. I followed the lines in the attic and low and behold I found a baseball size wad of electrical tape taping three wires together (they had removed an interior wall and pushed the wires through the attic. I left the electricity on and as I just bumped the baseball with the handle of my hammer and the outlets worked. I replaced the baseball with a j-box.
This other joker decided to pump the water from his sump-pump up and out of the basement and onto his lawn. When I pulled that crappy thing through the wall, I realized that he hammer drilled through the brick wall from the outside and into the basement just above the foundation. What I didn't see until the last minute what that the drill bit shaved off the coating on the 220 line that serviced the dryer.
My neighbor had a light sconse by their front door that didn't work, didn't have a switch, and they couldn't even tell how it worked. I traced the lines into an upstairs bedroom. they wired it through the garage and up the wall into an outlet. The fixture was actually broken and the people before used to screw and unscrew the bulb to turn it on. Go figure?
01-22-2003, 04:12 PM
In the house we own now I have a bathroom that is one of those stories. When we purchased the place we knew it was a work in progress and since we got it for a steal in our neighborhood we were OK with it.
The bathroom floor was an decent looking linoleum. The problem with it was that they didn't bother to take out the base boards before installing it so around the edges there is between 1/4" to 1" of gap between the edge of the linoleum and the baseboards revealing to my happiness the original hardwood flooring. (This has been salvaged and will be reused to replace the bad spots in the rest of the house and the gaps left from taking out the old ductwork when adding a new HVAC
The bathtub walls are that plastic shower wall that has been peiced together and caulked. The real problem with this is that it was placed on top of particle board and we all know what happens when particle board gets wet. Above the plastic shower wall and around the toilet were more particle board walls that were trimmed with some 1/4 round molding to make it look nice. Imagine trying to make particle board look nice as a bathroom wall. The parts of the paricle board that were showing are painted an glossy bathroom white, I guess another attempt to make it look classy.
Overall this was the only real bubba job that we had in our house. It may not be the best story in this forum but it sure makes me laugh.
-- If evolution is outlawed, then only outlaws will evolve.
01-22-2003, 07:00 PM
These stories are great. Everyone keep em' comming.
01-22-2003, 07:30 PM
At the bottom of any brick wall there are weep holes to allow moisture which accumulates in the wall to drain out. They're put there to prevent water from rotting the wood at the bottom of the exterior walls, and to prevent water from accumulating in the winter, freezing and cracking the brick.
My last house was owned by someone who obviously didn't like weep holes. They had filled them all with expanding insulating foam. Give them credit for being thorough - every single weep hole around the whole house was completely filled.
01-22-2003, 08:39 PM
Hmm lets see if I can explain this. I was just recently putting up some drywall in a friends house. I took down the old particle board based faux wood paneling (ick!) and found that there was hardly any framing holding up the room. This was an add on mud room that a previous owner had probobly built themselves. There were lots of problems but the worst was the door frame. At the bottom of the door there is a small concrete wall that comes up about 2 feet on either side of the door. Above that is a wall, only thing is that this wall had no framing. From the top of the concrete all the way up to the ceiling there is nothing. The sheathing on the outside is all that makes up the wall and it was just loosely fastened to the door frame. I don't know if I explained this clearly enough but it was a mess. I had to build the framing in around the sheathing instead of the other way around.
01-22-2003, 10:37 PM
The particle board isn't so bad... you should see the OSB in my kitchen :)
01-23-2003, 07:40 AM
Recently,I purchased a double block home,it had a total of six outlets in it and 4 light switches,that was my first project,I upgraded the service,but prior to that I could not figure out why two of the switches did not work,as I pulled them carefully out of the wall,I saw that there was two 24 gauge wires pigtailed to the main run and going to the switches,they were smoked and fried.
Next project was to get some new outlets in the kitchen and while chatting with a friend,I leaned against the kitchen wall with a huge casement type window in it,I thought I was going to fall out of the house,the wall gave almost 6 inches,I ripped everything off the wall to find a plank wall that the previous homeowner decided to cut off with a recip saw ,the tops of the planks that were originally nailed to the main beams.Needless to say I had to knock the wall out and completely rebuild it and the exterior siding which could not be matched.Other ventures such as the plumbing were also a challenge,I have already put an extra $30,000 into this building,but at least now I will not be afraid to live there.It just never amazes me ,how many jerks there were in the days past.And,I'm sure there are still quite a bit of them around,only now they are educated jerks with diplomas to show for it.Trying to save a buck,and never even thinking of their safety or the safety of their families.There must have been an awful lot of LUCKY people back in the day,at least those that are still alive due to their repairs.I could go on and on about the trials and tribulations of home buying,but I'll leave some room for the others.
01-23-2003, 10:54 AM
Man these are hilarious.
This lady wanted me to build her a sewing room in her basement, her adult son had recently moved out of the basement to get married (lucky girl). She said she had a problem with water in her basement in the past and my first thought of course was a french drain on the outside and a sump pump. Well I got down to her basement and and I just had to laugh. Apparently the solution her son had come up with to keep the water from the rest of the basement was to build a concrete channel around the base of the SHEETROCK!! wall. Not only that the sheetrock was full of mold and I had to rip it off the 1x2 strips that were glued to the concrete walls with liquid nail! I spent more time chistling and busting up that wall then hauling it up the stairs...good thing she paid me for it...then I dug the drain and sump for her and she never had the problem again.
01-23-2003, 11:01 AM
I think I saw a commercial for a horror story waiting to happen. Had anyone seen these Bath Fitter commercials, I don't know if they are local or not. They will come in and fit your tub with an acrylic cover that is like a flimsy tub that uses your old tub for support and they glue up matching panels on the walls over whatever is there. There motto seems to be in and out in a few hours or less. In the commercial they show all these baths with mildew problems and rust, and then they just cover them up. Imagine the next owner coming in and ripping this stuff out to find a rusted cast iron tub and walls covered in mildew behind the plastic covering. Does this disturb any one else but me?
01-23-2003, 02:52 PM
My buddy is also a woodworker, and one of the best teachers in the world. About 15 years ago, he found a home for sale for a song. It was a real fixer upper. But, it had a view to die for. He had me look it over for him and I helped him decide how much to offer and they got it. The house was a desaster in many many ways. It was added on to my the prior owner. Added a second story and made lots of major changes to the house. The layout ended up as a ton of little rooms and walls everwhere.
One of the things that had been done was to add a wall between what had been the master bedroom and the master bath. The master bedroom was opened to the kitchen make a family room. Mike wanted to take this old master bath and open it to one of the other bedrooms to make a nice guest room. We ended up moving all the plumbing to do that. Whe we tore into the wall they put up we found that the wall was framed with misc wood. They found parts of 2x4's and nailed them together to get some long enough. A few of the boards were used even though they showed a lot of dry rot. We ripped out the whole wall and reframed it. I could go on for days talking about what we found in that house. Today it is a beauty. His is the shop I have rewired for him...
01-23-2003, 03:16 PM
My home doesn't really have "horror stories" per se, just some wierd idiosyncrosies. The owner/builder was an engineer. In some circles, this could just go as "nuff said", but I'll mind my Ps and Qs around here}>
Any way He was a hydro engineer of some sort and new just enough to cause the builder and myself as the next owner problems. He did odd things like designing the house to be 110+ ft long and only 24ft at the widest point.(can you say "custom built single-wide"?) The garage attaches to one end and is offset by 3.5 ft. A 3.5ft. eave of the house is on plane with the wall of the garage, yet the garage has no eave. Looked very odd. He then built all the decks with 6x12 timbers for the structure-- sounds solid right-- on 4' centers! Then he planked it with rough sawn pressure treat. I "only weigh 265 so I get my own trampoline! I never knew you could buy rough sawn pressure treat! With the house only being 24' across, one would assume a guy could use 11-7/8 I joists. Not exactly sure what code is but I think you could span that entire distance. This house has a pony wall in the crawl space and plenty of interior walls in the basement, so it's not an issue. Well guess what? he used two foot deep bar joists! Just a bit of over kill! You shoulda seen me trying to run cable through the floor to the basement when we first moved in!:D
01-24-2003, 12:29 PM
Second thing to add -
I just remembered tracing that 16 gauge 20 amp wiring. The crammed two wired into some conduit to run to the built in BBQ. OK whatever - the only problem came up when the outlet was wired for an outside lil fridge. The line was run to the outlet first then up through the countertop (makes sense as there is a brick wall extended up past the countertop they couldn't drill down through). On top of the brick wall they add a framed wall extending the entire thing to 10 feet tall. Looks nice but the problem came from the outlet. They used a wet environment cover for the outlet but rather than extend the conduit the entire way up from outlet to the add on wall, they just went form the counter to the new wall. This left the wire running down to the outlet exposed and rather than use a wet environment plug for the outlet box, they just used one of those quick connects to secure the wire into the box. The result was - every time it rained, water that hit the countertop pooled around the conduit and ran down through the hole in the countertop along the conduit (transitioned to wire) and past the quick connect into the outlet box. When I got to it there was still power running to it and the bottom receptacle in the outlet was completely rusted!! Yikes
01-24-2003, 01:03 PM
My old house had a leaking bathtub faucet. Go into the access in the bedroom closet and open it up. Turns out the previous owner put the faucet in and it must have leaked. The access is stuffed full of caulk and cardboard. They caulked everything to death and then stuffed it full of cardboard to soak up what little water was still leaking. A moldy smelly mess.
We started having all sorts of weird problems with our electronics. The microwave went crazy, the TV volume control stopped working, etc. Put a volt meter on the service and found I was getting anywhere from 80-95 volts and it varied about 15 volts continuously. I'm suprised the refrigerator ran.
Called the furnace guy in to inspect the furnace. It was about 40 years old. Good thing I had it inspected too because it was due. It had last been inspected 39 years previously!
But that house is long gone. We bought new this time, and that creates it's own set of unique problems! (Like a countertop that's not supported in the back! Put a small TV on it and it starte pulling away from the wall!
01-26-2003, 01:08 AM
I bought my house new. Three years later, I added 1000 sg ft to it. When I took down the drywall in one room to put in a new set of trusses for the story I was adding I found some interesting things in the wall. Beer bottles the remains of someones lunch. They also wired the house in AL wire. Can you say fire hasard. New does not mean there are not stories hidden there.
01-26-2003, 12:26 PM
My wife and I like to go to open houses to get design ideas. We have seen so many things in new houses that make us wonder what the builder was thinking. We have seen 400k houses (that's a lot of money in Mississippi) where you could see the first floor toilet from the second floor bathroom! I like the new subdevelopment here where they are building foundations on unworked dirt. In this part of the country they have a thing called "Yazoo clay." This clay will cause a house to crack all over the place if there is not a substantial amount of fill dirt brought in. These are all 125,000 dollar houses.
My parents had a new house in the 60's that was a two story. When you flushed the upstairs bathroom, the light fixture in the dining room filled up with water.
01-27-2003, 01:03 AM
My first home was a new tract home in Phoenix. After we're in the home for a few weeks, we notice a white substance appearing between the cracks of the vinyl tile in the family room. About a month later, the builder figures it out. The shower in the master bath is leaking. The tile guys point towards the plumber who actually tried to blame the electrician. (Romex staples put a hole in the pipesÖ)
Then it was chisel out the tile in the shower. (These guys werenít the cleanest people in the world.) We finally discovered that the bolts that hold the shower pan to the drain were never tightened. There was water seeping between the shower pan and the slab floor. That house was wired using Al wire. Iím glad I donít own it now.
The next house, Delaware, Ohio had a sump pump that ran, like clockwork, every 45 minutes. This was also a brand new home. There would be no rain for a week or two, but still every 45 minutes the pump would cycle. After many months, the plumber changed the outlet of the sump pump to the sanitary sewer. (Against code butÖ) The pump cycled a half dozen times after that and stopped. It seems that the pump was pumping the water out on to the lawn next to the house. The water would percolate back down through the soil and find its way back to the sump hole again. The cycle would take 45 minutes. That had to be the best ever filtered ground water.
A house in Washington County, PA was built by Ryan homes. I canít say anything positive about the builder and Iíll let it go at that.
Iím in a California cracker box now that was built about 1963-1964. This is a textbook house. Everything is a textbook example of how NOT to do things.
01-27-2003, 06:28 AM
I recently took a job on to install a recessed bathroom cabinet,the job was going very smoothly,I found the studs which were spaced perfectly,I marked the drywall for the cut-out,I proceeded to cut the opening with my cut-out tool,just as I finished the cut and took the cut drywall out,I bent over to put the drywall cut-out on the floor,then all heck broke loose,something furry came flying out of the hole,it landed on my back,scratching and screaming,I jumped and shook to get it off my back,and in the process banged my head on the sink,very hard.The horror of it all was that I must have a really hard head,because the sink now had a hairline crack in it.Well it turned out that the homeowner was very happy,as she finally found her cat which was missing for three days,but I was not so happy,I had one heck of a headache and had to replace the sink at my expense.I'm not sure about that cats nine lives,but I think I lost about 5 of mine that day.
Was the house warrantied from the builder? I didn't think AL wire even met code anymore.
01-27-2003, 11:31 AM
A year ago I bought a house that was built around 1905. There were three rooms added on in the '70s and a remodel about 8 years ago. After I moved in I added a dishwasher and disposal. When I went into the walls to run the power I found that every piece of drywall in the old part of the house was nailed right over the old beadboard walls. This works nice for sound dampening and hanging heavy pictures, but it has its downside. Every receptacle box in the house was left flush with the beadboard. Each receptacle is tightened to its box just enough to get it flush with the drywall and the receptacle covers are what hold them in place. Every time I plug something in it feels like I could push the plug into the wall and lose it forever. When I remove a plug I have to hold the receptacle to the wall to keep from breaking the cover.
Another problem is the doorway to my bedroom. When my bedroom was added on the transition was made with very little thought. The new floor system was installed about 3/4" lower than the old one so there is a "ramp" to my bedroom. This ramp was made with a piece of sheetmetal or similar material under the carpet because every time I step on it I hear a metallic creak. That problem will be solved when the new carpet goes in this spring.
01-27-2003, 02:38 PM
"This works nice for sound dampening and hanging heavy pictures, but it has its downside. Every receptacle box in the house was left flush with the beadboard. Each receptacle is tightened to its box just enough to get it flush with the drywall and the receptacle covers are what hold them in place. Every time I plug something in it feels like I could push the plug into the wall and lose it forever. When I remove a plug I have to hold the receptacle to the wall to keep from breaking the cover"
There is an easy solution for this one. You can get extensions for the gang boxes. They are screwed to the existing box and have tab's that fit over the drywall. They provide a metal rim that isolates the wire, plug from the drywall. It uses longer screws than come witht he plugs and solve all the above problems. I don't know if the box stores have them but an electrical supplier should be able to get them to you.
01-27-2003, 04:06 PM
You just broke my heart, Lou! I was sitting around thinking about a way to fix the problem and came up with that very idea. I have never seen anything like it in any store, electrical supplier or otherwise, so I thought I came up with a great idea. Oh well, I guess that I can just go to my electrical supplier an order some instead of cutting 1/2" off the face of some boxes.
01-28-2003, 12:45 PM
...bought our 30 year old house 5 years ago, and love it. My wife (last year) told me that the upstairs bathroom was getting an odor. I thought she was smelling me. WRONG!! The little pretty carpet piece that women need in front of the toilet stayed wet. I thought it was the toilet "sweating"... WRONG!! Lucilly, I called a plumber on another unrelated issue, and had him look at this while I had him out on this call.
He pulled the toilet, and was shocked when he saw that the toilet flange was broken UPON INITIAL INSTALLATION!!!! The builder (I know the fellow) broke the flange and kept working. Rather than fixing the real problem, he used 2 wax rings. My plumber fixed it properly, and charged me accordingly. Ouch.
I ran into the builder a couple of weeks after that, and he had the nerve to ask how the house was working out.
I replied "Great, except for a little plumbing issue".
His reply was simply "Upstairs bathroom?"...
01-29-2003, 07:27 PM
Iíve got you ALL beat with this one!!! My friends father bought this place built on 9.75 acres in the Santa Rosa area. The property is zoned ďAgriculturalĒ so youíre only allowed 1 home per 5 acres. Now to describe the home.....well...imagine if you will, a WHOLE FIELD of ROCKS. Now, takes these rocks, and CEMENT them ALL together with LOTS of concrete AND, run all the pipes, wires and plumbing in between the gaps in the rocks. Ok, now take a WHOLE CRAP load of cement, and SMEAR it on all the rocks inside the house to cover all the rock faces up. Oh, and if ya got a gap in some of the rocks, NO PROBLEM, just stuff in a few sheets of newspaper to plug them up, then CEMENT over the paper!!!!!!!
It was my PLEASURE??? to have to help my friends father replace a water line, after it broke in the bathroom wall. I couldnít get into the wall because of all the cement, and the rocks cemented around the pipe didnít help either. What I had to end up doing was, running a line on the OUTSIDE of the home from the water heater, then bring it up the wall by the window, and bore a hole through the wood window frame (windows cemented in place) to run the pipe through. When you combine this with the fact that the home has NO HEAT, and that the septic leaching field is leaking into the well, (well is only 25í deep) this has to be the WORST horror story of all time.
Oh, and donít get me started on the electrical system!!! Hell, even the outlets are cemented into the walls....NO PLUG BOXES, just the plugs with wires attached surround by good old concrete. My friends father passed away recently so, his sonís now have the task of TRYING to find SOME Way to bring this thing up to code.........GOOD LUCK!! My advice to them was, a D9 and plenty of dump trucks!! Oh, and few sticks of dynamite wouldnít hurt either.
So, can ANYONE top this???? If you can, GOD help ya!!!<LOL>
01-29-2003, 10:27 PM
You win big time. That is a california city and the construction method will be a death trap with a big quake. Un reinforced masonary walls in this state will not meet code without major steel reinforcement.
Your idea of a couple of D9's, or D8's is the right one. It would be a good house in Kansas. The wind they have out there would have a hard time moving that one.
01-30-2003, 09:59 AM
However, in a way your friend is going to win in the end, as 9.75 acres in Santa Rosa ain't bad to own.
Not that it compares, but I have a new sort-of horror story:
I've been examining possibilities to expand my shop (some added storage and a new DC closet). As mentioned above, my old house is long on shortcomings...an addition was built over an existing porch and was poorly done. The only reason that I bought the house considering this problem was that they actually did the structural part of the addition properly...it's the details that are all screwed up (such as laying subflooring over the old porch...argh, the slope!).
Anyway, this weekend I was exploring under the addition (the kitchen part) looking into some of the wiring. When I last examined this, it appeared to have been all done up to code. However, I just saw for the first time that there is a set of rogue outlets in the storage area (tucked into the joists of the deck, which is not weatherproof) that are built barely up to indoor requirements. These things get soaked at times when the storms blow in. I covered them for the time being. But I cannot disconnect them at the breaker box due to them being on the kitchen outlet circuit (wife's gotta have coffee). I'm pretty pissed as I just had to rearrange my weekend to disconnect these guys. No way am I living in a house with essentially bare outlets in a situation like this.
So the punch line: the point of all these outlets in the storage area (which is not tall enough for an average person to stand up in) was to grow marijuana under artificial light. Let's just say that the previous owner did not do a great job of covering their tracks.
01-30-2003, 10:42 AM
The property being zoned the way it is won't bring much on the market. If they however, change the zoning down the road, then it will fetch a pretty penny. Let's say the difference in price now is, Agra= $300,000.00 Multiple Dewelling= 2-7 million
The problem lies in the fact that, several of the neighbors are on city council seats, and they OWN HUGE parcels of land in the area. They DON'T want the land rezoned because, they like the rual feel of it as it is. So, for the time being, my friends will just have to bite the bullet on the morgage or try and think of a way to fix what they have, so that they can rent it out.
Tell them to rent it out as horse pasture. You don't even have to feed or water the horses (though water at site is a must). All you need is to fence the acreage (or a portion of it) and you can get a couple hundred per hourse. The house isn't an issue at that point.
01-30-2003, 03:05 PM
They have 10 cows on the land now but, plan on selling them off as soon as they fatten up a bit more. The land is fenced already and they have several out-buildings on the property as well.
I know they have had some offers to rent storage on the lot but, they have to be careful about not pissing off any of the neighbors, with a bunch MORE CRAP on the property. I truly think if they had the well dug down another 100', that they could probably clear up the water issue. Ah well, it's in their hands now. I'm just glad I don't have to work on the place any longer, what a nightmare. ;)
Ps. What did I win for having the WORST horror story??? A new 12" bench top planer perhaps??<LOL>
01-30-2003, 06:40 PM
Around here the tradespeople are very mature. They are known to do things that only adults would do. Like, the plumber gets mad at the electrician, and urinates on his tools, so the electrician defecates in the sump pit. Others have been known to do the same in the heating ducts, some have cut small holes in pipes to cause leaks, you name it.
You never know what you get unless you watch it go up yourself.
01-30-2003, 11:33 PM
Gee... after reading thru this thread, I don't feel so bad about my place anymore ;)
Lessee... Purchased it about 1.5yrs ago upon moving to the area. All things considered, it's still a good piece of property for the money. But the devil's in the details, as they say...
The original part of the house, circa sometime in the 30's-40's (no records that far back in the county), sits on top of a foundation where the cement walls are set on top of big honkin' rocks (some approaching Volkswagon size). All the old original plumbing and wiring runs thru the dirt/rock crawlspace under here, w/ the floor joists reinforced w/ skinny tamarack logs w/ the bark still on. Water heater was at least 20yrs old (we found this out 6 months after we moved in, when we had to replace it). When the previous previous owners had added the extension to the house w/ daylight basement to expand the house to about 3000 sf, all the new wiring was tied, literally, to the old in a big junction box. Just wire-nutted together. about 20-30 12-2 romex in, and nutted off w/ 20-30 12-2 old black fiber insulation out. Plus, when they ran the wires from the new service panel to the junction box, they went thru the 2x6's that formed the dividing wall btwn the daylight basement and the old crawlspace, so they look like they've been attacked by a termite. Can we say 'No structural integrity left'?
There had been a misunderstanding about the hot tub on the wraparound deck. Ended up the sellers took it w/ them. Wife and I were standing out there admiring the view, and the dog ran around the corner. And the deck wiggled. Literally! Started investigating what it would take to beef it up vs. build a new one, and it would be shorter to make a list of what they did right, vs what they did wrong. It's braced currently pending a complete demolition and rebuild next year.
The water heater I mentioned? The thing started weeping above the contactor, so it shorted out and tripped the breaker. Took a couple days to arrange for a replacement (I'd never done a H20 heater before, and on something big like that, I like to watch someone that knows what they are doing first ;p ) So by the time we got the thing in, we had been w/o hot water for about 2.5 days, and w/o water at all for a couple hours. As it was filling up, we let the kids use the toilet upstairs, and wash their hands in the sink. Abrashazaam, the pump goes air-bound about 10 minutes later. The plumber and I look at each other like 'no way'. We fiddle fart around w/ trying to prime it, to no avail, try some other stuff, and notice that after we'd left it for about 30 minutes, it had ran for about 5 minutes before going air bound. We took a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess) and determined that the well must be sucked dry, and water had seeped in a little bit. Left it overnight, and it was fine. Unless of course a toilet has a valve cocked, which causes it to run, resulting in no water the next morning, and a search for what caused it *this* time.
Oh, the toilets? In one of the bathrooms, when they replaced the flooring w/ tile, rather than lengthen the pipe a little so the shutoff valve would clear the floor, they literally grouted the valve into the floor, complete w/ tile cutout around it.
Apparently someone couldn't figure out what boxes to use, or how to mount them, so about half the light fixtures etc. protrude a little over a 1/2" from the ceiling. Similarly, when the basement was finished, rather than fir out the walls, they just ran the drywall down to the cement foundation, which steps down following the contour of the hillside. So the outlets in the walls stair-step in height down the sides of the basement.
Outside, the fence was held up w/ about everything and anything. Appropriate, since it had been used to keep about everything in, from kids, to the horses (hence the electric hot-wire strung across the top of the fence), to the dogs (therefore the wire strung along the bottom. The second well (actually, the original) has a submersible pump in it. Rather than put a well house out there, they have the pump contactor next to the service panel. The piping is such that the pump burns up if you dead-head it, so you have to turn the water on and off, using the breaker in the main service panel. As far as wiring *to* the pump, they just got some extra 12-2 romex (its a 220v motor, see a problem yet?), not direct-bury, and just taped an extra 12guage stranded wire to it about every foot, and buried it in the rocky dirt (for example as to how rocky the soil is: a cubic yard out of our ground would yield about 100lbs of dirt, and the rest is rocks).
At the barn, we couldn't figure out why the face of the barn, made from T1-11 didn't match up w/ the pitch of the roof. Found out that they had actually had the original roof collapse under snow load, and had put a new roof on w/ a steeper pitch, but never bothered to make the walls actually match. The electric fence charger was in the barn, and they ran the hot wire up and over thru the top of the barn/shop, out across the round corral, and down to the electric fence. Once again, our good friend, 12ga stranded wire, rated for about 600v max, trying to carry about 9000v. Hmmm... methinks that might be why the insulation was cracking off of it? Lucky it didn't start the flippin' barn on fire!
Aaiiieee, the things you miss when you buy your first home! The sad thing is, it passed both an independent inspector, and the VA inspector. The VA inspectors gripe from the first trip was to 'fix bubbling, cracking, chipping, and peeling paint on fence and side of house'. We pointed out that a) the boards on the house were stained, not painted, therefore no bubbling, chipping, cracking, peeling, etc. 'Oh. Okay, just fix the fence and I'll look at it when I come back out.' he says. Then we point out b) that the boards on the fence have never, ever, every, had any kind of finish on them. They were plain weathered cedar. 'Oh. Okay, don't worry about it then. I'll check them off when I come back out.' Why, we ask? If that's all you wanted, and they aren't a problem, just do the paper work. Noooo... gotta get mo money for a return inspection. So what if he never actually found any of the *important* stuff, on either visit.
Know what else? The previous owners (for 14 yrs) was a licensed contractor. Foreman at that.
Is this normal in buying a used house? Please tell me otherwise!