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Home Improvements

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
7,155
Points
40
I talked to the concrete guy at the fire department Friday evening. He said I shouldn't need rebar in a patio and don't really need footers, just dig a little deeper where I want the brick knee walls. That doesn't exactly sound right to me, but I'm no concrete expert.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,021
Points
52
I would say a 4" patio pour doesn't need rebar mesh, but it doesn't hurt. A foundation wall, anything more than 1' probably should have rebar, but I'm not an expert either.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
7,155
Points
40
I have reversed course on my poured concrete patio. I think I'll do it in brick pavers instead. It'll be easier to do myself and repairs won't be as difficult. I think the poured concrete patios are sort of out of style anyway.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Moderator
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14,020
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58
I have reversed course on my poured concrete patio. I think I'll do it in brick pavers instead. It'll be easier to do myself and repairs won't be as difficult. I think the poured concrete patios are sort of out of style anyway.
True, but, depending on area/size, that's a lot of (hard) work and time...especially for one person.

You'd be surprised at how nice a poured concrete patio can be.
 

Bubba

Cyburbian
Messages
5,446
Points
38
When we bought our current house close to three years ago, we did not ask for much from the seller in the offer and contract, even after the inspection report (the house was in fantastic shape). There were a couple of items we asked for clarification on, but pretty much what we requested beyond standard items were leave the refrigerator, remove the trampoline from the backyard, and remove the basketball goal and its pole that is next to the garage. The first two items were quickly agreed to (including them surprising us with the bonus of leaving the beer fridge in the basement as well), but the reaction to the ask about the basketball goal was hysterical laughter. It was set in concrete in the ground, so...okay, fine, whatever - leave it. We want the house.

Flash forward to this past weekend. My FIL has been itching to break out his power tools and attack the goal and pole ever since he saw it. He got his chance on Mothers' Day.

Lowering the goal from 10 feet to 7 1/2 feet to get the hoop and backboard off - very easy.
Removing hoop and backboard - fairly easy - also gave me an excuse to break out some of my late father's tools for the first time.
Getting the screws out of the upper two section of the metal pole - very easy.

Then we figured out the sections were not going to pull apart. Okay, we'll cut it off at ground level. Break out the industrial strength reciprocating saw!

Make a few cuts at ground level - hit concrete inside the pole. After some trial-and-error, we figured out where the concrete stopped and the pole was completely hollow (a little below two feet above ground). I took over the saw work at that point, and cleanly broke through one side of the pole in short order. And, apparently the cap on the pole had lost its seal at some point and tilted, because there was water inside the pole.

Muddy, rusty water, that is. It looked like I'd struck oil. By the time the nerve impulses from my brain made it down to my hands, it had sprayed up far enough to reach the back of the hat I was wearing. And, no, there is no video of the incident, so don't ask. After the laughter died down, we finished sectioning off the pole and cleaned up the job site.

My FIL is coming back over at some point with some concrete-rated saw blades to finish the job. I will break out my steel-toe boots for that effort. And, there will be no video of that work either.
 
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Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,270
Points
54
When I went to get ice cream out of the freezer last night about 10:00 pm, it was all melted. Upon further investigation, several others items were thawed or beginning to thaw. We had been planning a freezer cleanout this weekend, but not at 10:00pm on a Tuesday night.

Transitioned everything that was still frozen to the freezer in the beer fridge in the garage. Had to throw away several items, but saved a couple pounds of chicken & some pork chops & put them in the fridge - those will be cooked tonight.

Put a cup of ice, left some frozen fruit and some other still frozen items in there & checked them this morning - still frozen. This has lead to the theory that when food was taken out of the freezer at dinner time (6:30 pm), the door wasn't closed all the way. I'll have The Girl check on it later today too. I'm hoping that's it because I didn't want to go spend my tRump stimulus check on a new fridge this week.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,046
Points
33
Hubby wants to get a small garage freezer. Not a big deep freeze - just a smaller sized one. Like a dorm fridge size, but all freezer.

I think the impetus for this was me taking everything out of the freezer, writing it down, and reorganizing it when I put it back. Now I have a running list on the freezer door of what's in there, what I've used, and therefore an idea of what goes on the shopping list. And I can find it when I'm ready to cook.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,270
Points
54
Now I have a running list on the freezer door of what's in there, what I've used, and therefore an idea of what goes on the shopping list. And I can find it when I'm ready to cook.


We need to do that.

We didn't find anything too bad, as Mrs. P likes to throw out suspicious looking items. Did find a freezer-burnt bag of fried rice - don't even know how that wound up in the freezer though.
 

TOFB

Cyburbian
Messages
2,552
Points
32
We have a 1992 model refrigerator we got with a house we bought in 2004, moved it to the garage, moved from that house to our current house in 2006 and moved that old fridge to the basement. Here, the 2001 model fridge that came with the house died in 2008, and the next one died in 2016.

The 1992 model still runs like a champ. And oh, it survived a pretty significant kitchen fire in 2002.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
7,155
Points
40
The 1992 model still runs like a champ. And oh, it survived a pretty significant kitchen fire in 2002.

My basement fridge may be that old. I'm not quite sure. It's a beast though. It used to be primarily a beer fridge, but a year or two ago I happened in to a large supply of La Croix water, so it's dedicated for that purpose now. The freezer is completely full of stuff from the girlfriend now.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,270
Points
54
When I went to get ice cream out of the freezer last night about 10:00 pm, it was all melted. Upon further investigation, several others items were thawed or beginning to thaw. We had been planning a freezer cleanout this weekend, but not at 10:00pm on a Tuesday night.

Transitioned everything that was still frozen to the freezer in the beer fridge in the garage. Had to throw away several items, but saved a couple pounds of chicken & some pork chops & put them in the fridge - those will be cooked tonight.

Put a cup of ice, left some frozen fruit and some other still frozen items in there & checked them this morning - still frozen. This has lead to the theory that when food was taken out of the freezer at dinner time (6:30 pm), the door wasn't closed all the way. I'll have The Girl check on it later today too. I'm hoping that's it because I didn't want to go spend my tRump stimulus check on a new fridge this week.


Knock on wood, everything seems to be okay. Everything that was put back in that freezer overnight has remained frozen. Guess the door didn't close all the way. Now I have to venture to the grocery store & buy ice cream.
 

Veloise

Cyburbian
Messages
5,824
Points
33
My basement fridge may be that old. I'm not quite sure. It's a beast though. It used to be primarily a beer fridge, but a year or two ago I happened in to a large supply of La Croix water, so it's dedicated for that purpose now. The freezer is completely full of stuff from the girlfriend now.
whaaaa???
 

Linda_D

Cyburbian
Messages
1,748
Points
20
I have reversed course on my poured concrete patio. I think I'll do it in brick pavers instead. It'll be easier to do myself and repairs won't be as difficult. I think the poured concrete patios are sort of out of style anyway.

The problem with brick pavers is that eventually weeds grow up between the bricks ... and removing them is continual maintenance. I'm going to power wash mine one last time and then put down indoor outdoor carpeting over it for summer. If that doesn't work (like too many weeds pop up through/around the carpet), then I'm going to have the thing covered with concrete.
 

Linda_D

Cyburbian
Messages
1,748
Points
20
I have a detached 2 car garage that I hate. It has two narrow doors, and it has a short ceiling because a previous owner either had it built with a little storage loft above or added it later. I'm 5'3" and I can change the light bulbs in the garage door openers standing on only a little footstool, and when I open the Forester's hatch, it hits the garage door. The concrete slab has a major crack, and one side of the floor is really pitted.

I would like to demo this garage and build a new one but that's not only expensive, it makes no sense in the market I'm in. My only hope is that a tornado or derecho will collapse it because it's too a sturdy garage despite its short comings too be taken down by anything less IMHO. There also aren't any large trees nearby to fall on it. That means that I have to do maintenance, and it needs a new roof. My neighbor, who's a professional roofer, gave me two prices, with tear off ($2800) or without tear off ($1750). My dilemma is that my inclination to "do it right" says do the tear off of the old roof while my frugal self says it's just a garage -- and one that you hate anyways and keep hoping something bad will happen to it. It's sort of good homeowner/bad homeowner. Help me put my mind at ease with suggestions/advice etc.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,021
Points
52
The problem with brick pavers is that eventually weeds grow up between the bricks ... and removing them is continual maintenance. I'm going to power wash mine one last time and then put down indoor outdoor carpeting over it for summer. If that doesn't work (like too many weeds pop up through/around the carpet), then I'm going to have the thing covered with concrete.

You can spray it with a pre emergent. That usually keeps them down for a while.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,563
Points
39
I'll be tackling my floating shelves in the bathroom this weekend. I can do most stuff around the house but actual carpentry work other than a deck or something structural and not visible is not something I've done much of at all. But I'm excited to give it a shot. If it turns out alright I may post before and after pictures.

*not sure if I'm setting myself up for failure or if announcing it will provide an incentive. Guess we'll see . . .
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,001
Points
42
So I took some measurements around the kitchen. I think I could replace the 30-year-old base cabinets with IKEA for about $1500. I'm guessing the uppers would double that. Part of me wants to do it. Part of me is afraid what I'll find when I pull the old cabinets out. Of course maybe in doing so it would make it easier to do the repairs I know are needed. The wood under my dishwasher was kind of rotted from getting wet; I just slapped a piece of OSB over it for the time being when I did my floor a couple years ago.

If I'm smart, I just finish cleaning out some of the clutter in the family room first (I've been carrying around 40-year-old tax returns every time we moved; they've been to four different states). I also started a project to expand the laundry room door. It's currently a 30" door on basically a closet with a washer and dryer in it; getting stuff in and out of the washer is a tough reach. I'm looking at opening it up to 48" and putting bifold doors up.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,645
Points
47
So I took some measurements around the kitchen. I think I could replace the 30-year-old base cabinets with IKEA for about $1500. I'm guessing the uppers would double that. Part of me wants to do it. Part of me is afraid what I'll find when I pull the old cabinets out. Of course maybe in doing so it would make it easier to do the repairs I know are needed. The wood under my dishwasher was kind of rotted from getting wet; I just slapped a piece of OSB over it for the time being when I did my floor a couple years ago.

A friend of mine redid their kitchen cabinets (uppers and lowers) with Ikea. They looked at countertops from Ikea but the choices were limited and with the money they saved on the cabinets, they were able to get some higher end custom quartz countertops locally. My friend and another friend from his synagogue did most of the installation but they were having some problems getting things to line up properly with the uppers and had to call in a crew to do it. It turned out that some of the uppers weren't quite level so the crew had to do some deconstruction of the cabinets and re-fabricating to get them in right (he let the cabinets sit in his unattached garage for over a year so I think that may have had something to do with it and might have caused something to warp). My friend said it was still a good deal though and he's still happy with how they look and the total cost. I will agree that the kitchen looks awesome and everything closes very smoothly.

I've heard horror stories about Ikea cabinetry falling apart in just a couple of years but his stuff has been in for about 3 years now and everything still looks great. And if it's hingest and stuff like that that fails, that's a relatively easy fix that you can upgrade with parts from a big box home improvement store anyway. When my wife and I first started exploring new kitchens we looked at Ikea and liked what we saw, but we've got a couple of built in cabinets that we cannot easily or cost effectively replace with Ikea stuff if we want to it match the rest of our cabinets.
 

Bubba

Cyburbian
Messages
5,446
Points
38
We've been in our current house for close to three years without repainting any of the rooms. Apparently that's going to change. Yippee. :cursing:

If I'm smart, I just finish cleaning out some of the clutter in the family room first (I've been carrying around 40-year-old tax returns every time we moved; they've been to four different states).

Dude. I had to deal with the shredding and disposal of 50 years worth of my parents' tax returns after they passed. Do your children a favor and stop the hoarding.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,563
Points
39
Well I think all in all the floating shelves turned out alright but I'll let the experts here be the judge. The first pic is before I put the facing on so you can see how I framed it up. The walls are all one color, I'm not sure why they look like they aren't.

frame.jpg finished.jpg
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,021
Points
52
Looks good. Don't hit your head on the bottom shelf sitting down.

Mine are just angle brackets with a shelf across. Not really floating. I might have to try something like this.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,645
Points
47
One of the springs on one of our garage doors broke Friday evening. It was LOUD!!! when it happened. Loud enough that I could hear it from the backyard with my headphones in. When the spring broke it started swinging freely but thankfully it didn't hit my wife's vehicle. When it snapped my wife was inside the house and heard the noise and went to check it out before I got in there and she instinctively pressed the button to open the garage door but since one spring was broken, it started twisting things and then it broke the actual opener so we had to have that replaced today.

Once the guy took down the old opener, I found a plate attached to it with its warranty information. The old opener was installed in August 1981. I think we got our money's worth out of that one!
 

Big Owl

Cyburbian
Messages
2,693
Points
32
I have been wanting to run ethernet between my mesh wifi nodes for some time so that I can have Ethernet back-haul instead of wireless back-haul.. This past weekend I was given about 200 ft of Cat 5e cable so I have one less excuse. So now I have termination tool, ends, and a tester on order. I just need to determine where I am going to mount my network switch so I can plan my cable runs. If I could just get excited about spending quality time in my crawlspace, I would have this done already. Does any cyburbians have any tricks, tips, do's, or don'ts when it comes to a retro install of Ethernet cabling?
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,046
Points
33
Spent two weeks gathering estimates on doing landscape work, and we have a winner!

Work starts later this week. Work includes all of the following:

Pruning
Weeding
Dig Up and Haul-Away
Prep the beds
New plantings
Clean out large planting pots
Fixing one landscape/retaining wall
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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18,752
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69
I should have posted this in the home improvement thread:

Now that we're starting to put more $$$ into the place, we're starting to discover that our built-in-1989-Claude-Miquelle-designed-it-shouldn't-have-the-usual-old-house-quirks house does indeed have some oddball "features", aside from cluster subdivision weirdness. The kitchen can't accommodate a fridge larger than 33", which limits our choices for replacement. (Also, feature for feature, 33" fridges are more expensive than 36" fridges.) The range hood is custom wood, so we can't get an off-the-shelf replacement unit for the fan. We also found out the bathrooms have non-standard vent fan opening sizes. To replace the fans with low noise units, we'd need to cut out a standard 12 x 12 opening. For the upstairs bathrooms, this requires attic access. We don't have attic access, not even through the voids between the walls and gable roof, or the exterior gable vents.

Last month, we had our original 31-year old roof replaced, and the contractor did an excellent job. I asked our building inspectors what roofer they would recommend, they all said his name, and we went with him. This month, we're having the interior repainted, and drywall remudded where tape or nail holes are popping through. I repainted a few rooms and did a decent job, but I'm a klutz, and I don't trust myself in the foyer.

After that, it's flooring. We want to make it simple: vinyl plank downstairs, vinyl plank in the upstairs bathrooms, carpet in the family room and upstairs bedrooms, House Hunters ewwww-carpet be damned. We're not moving, and if we do move, it's not like our house would face competition from nice, new middle-market houses.
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,563
Points
39
OT a bit but related to Dan's flooring comments. I remember years ago talking to my mom and asking her why my grandmother's house had carpeting even though there were awesome wood floors underneath. She told me that EVERYBODY had wood floors and there was a time when if someone had carpet it was considered more upscale, because they had the money to do it. I always thought that was interesting.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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14,020
Points
58
OT a bit but related to Dan's flooring comments. I remember years ago talking to my mom and asking her why my grandmother's house had carpeting even though there were awesome wood floors underneath. She told me that EVERYBODY had wood floors and there was a time when if someone had carpet it was considered more upscale, because they had the money to do it. I always thought that was interesting.
My dad has, essentially, the same position with gas stoves.

He grew up lower-income blue collar inner city Buffalo in the 1950s and only 'poor' people had gas stoves/ovens. The people 'doing well' had electric stoves/ovens.

He also didn't have on demand hot water where he lived until he was about 10 (in 1953).
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,463
Points
40
OT a bit but related to Dan's flooring comments. I remember years ago talking to my mom and asking her why my grandmother's house had carpeting even though there were awesome wood floors underneath. She told me that EVERYBODY had wood floors and there was a time when if someone had carpet it was considered more upscale, because they had the money to do it. I always thought that was interesting.
Both sets of grandparents had carpeting throughout the house except for the kitchen, mud/snow room and bathroom. Some of that may have had to do with living in a cold climate.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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18,752
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69
OT a bit but related to Dan's flooring comments. I remember years ago talking to my mom and asking her why my grandmother's house had carpeting even though there were awesome wood floors underneath. She told me that EVERYBODY had wood floors and there was a time when if someone had carpet it was considered more upscale, because they had the money to do it. I always thought that was interesting.

Well, part of it is that our house was built in 1989, and there's probably not hardwood under the existing carpet or vinyl floor tiles. The other part of it - with carpet upstairs, it'll be a lot quieter when someone is walking around.

My "growing up lower middle class" thing: I absolutely, positively, do not want a new top freezer refrigerator.

We have a gas range, which is politically incorrect here at ground zero of anti-fracking activism.

When I look at Census housing stats from the 1940s and 1950s, it's amazing how many people in urban areas still didn't have indoor bathrooms or hot running water. Not just old-school tenements, but also pre-WWI lower middle class neighborhoods with single family houses and two-flats. I wonder how many redevelopment projects in older neighborhoods encounter old privy pits.

 

kjel

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12,523
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42
We've managed to do some things at the beach house this year. The bathroom was the BIG project. I think it turned out very nice. We also had 3 large black locust trees cut down on the side of the house as it was dropping limbs in every storm. We have 5 more trees in the back yard scheduled to be removed in November.

Before...(the only thing we had done was paint it)

IMG_1731.jpeg
 

kjel

Super Moderator
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And after...(repainted the same color)



 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,645
Points
47
I've finally decided to spend the money and buy an extra freezer that we can put in our garage. It's not as painful of a process as I thought it was and we'll probably have one picked out today or tomorrow and hopefully delivered in the next week or so.

My one thought/complaint though is that it's really easy to find standard size fridges with small freezers on top. But what I'd really love is an upright freezer in that size but with a small fridge on the top! That seems like it would be an idea thing for a garage or basement but does it even exist? Oh well. We really don't need the extra fridge space but I thought it would be nice to have access to unfrozen beverages in the garage!
 

kjel

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I've finally decided to spend the money and buy an extra freezer that we can put in our garage. It's not as painful of a process as I thought it was and we'll probably have one picked out today or tomorrow and hopefully delivered in the next week or so.

My one thought/complaint though is that it's really easy to find standard size fridges with small freezers on top. But what I'd really love is an upright freezer in that size but with a small fridge on the top! That seems like it would be an idea thing for a garage or basement but does it even exist? Oh well. We really don't need the extra fridge space but I thought it would be nice to have access to unfrozen beverages in the garage!
We're eliminating the cabinet over the top of the fridge because we need a larger one due to the beach house now being our full time house. Fridges have gotten increasingly taller over time and there's only one that will fit in the space height wise that is 36" wide...it costs nearly $4K. Cabinet removal cost $0, some leftover paint and patch, and trimming the crown piece off. Fridge we're eyeing is about $1800. The existing fridge will move to the garage once it's finished.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,645
Points
47
We're eliminating the cabinet over the top of the fridge because we need a larger one due to the beach house now being our full time house. Fridges have gotten increasingly taller over time and there's only one that will fit in the space height wise that is 36" wide...it costs nearly $4K. Cabinet removal cost $0, some leftover paint and patch, and trimming the crown piece off. Fridge we're eyeing is about $1800. The existing fridge will move to the garage once it's finished.

I've also noticed a wide range in prices for fridges and freezers, especially when looking at non-standard sizes. The freezers we're looking at are all under $1k (we don't need anything fancy or custom out there) but just looking at some of the options there were some crazy $8k+ freestanding column freezers from German or Swedish-sounding brands I'd never heard of.

Maybe I should still budget $8k but just spend $750 on the freezer and the balance on pizza rolls, ice cream, and frozen steaks to fill it with!
 

kjel

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I've also noticed a wide range in prices for fridges and freezers, especially when looking at non-standard sizes. The freezers we're looking at are all under $1k (we don't need anything fancy or custom out there) but just looking at some of the options there were some crazy $8k+ freestanding column freezers from German or Swedish-sounding brands I'd never heard of.

Maybe I should still budget $8k but just spend $750 on the freezer and the balance on pizza rolls, ice cream, and frozen steaks to fill it with!

It is ridiculous. My theory about appliances is the less bells and whistles they have, the longer they last.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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71
It is ridiculous. My theory about appliances is the less bells and whistles they have, the longer they last.
As a general principle I'd agree that the simpler a machine is the less that can go wrong with it.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,001
Points
42
It is ridiculous. My theory about appliances is the less bells and whistles they have, the longer they last.

Electronic control is generally more reliable and durable than mechanical control.

The problem is that mechanical control often has a graceful degradation before failure. So if you have a mechanically controlled washing machine, the rotary dial thingy will get "touchy" before it goes out altogether and when you replace it, it only costs something like $50. Electronic controls work great one day, then the next day they break and you can't do your laundry until a repairman comes. And the part is $300. On a $500 washing machine, you're not going to pay for that part and the labor to replace it, you'll just get a new washing machine. Now understand: The fundamentals of the machine are sound. It's merely a controls issue. But the economic equation of the electrical part drives you to just throw it out and get a new one.

Youtube helps this somewhat. You can look up appliance repairs, diagnose problems, identify parts, order them and install them yourself. But there's a risk involved there which, again, tips the consumer to just buying a new one.

If Maytag put out an all mechanically-controlled washing machine again, no one would buy it. It would be too old-fashioned. It would be like a car going back to points and rotors controlling the ignition spark.

So here we are.
 
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