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JMG

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JMG    648

A bit over three years ago, I bought a decrepit old house in need of general upgrades and repairs. Like any building that has been neglected for long periods of time, there is always hidden damage that just doesn't show up, or register when doing the pre-purchase inspection. In my journey to begin the repairs to the house I found some structural issues complicated by improper mechanical installations that eventually led to the following picture...

 

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Over the years, this tool has saved me on many occasions. I have used it to install 110 pound I-beams in my old shop in Florida, and recently used it to remove a non-structural beam over a door opening of what used to be the coal bin in this house. Beats the heck out of having to call someone over to help.

 

The beam itself needed to be removed so that I could re-rout the return air duct and will be used to repair the following abortion on the adjacent structural support wall.

 

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This seems to have been originally created by whomever installed the original coal fired furnace duct work. This was further aggravated by the "professional crew" that installed the most recent furnace and ducting, by covering it all up. The area over head in the house is the access hall to the back side of the house. Anyways, waste not, want not.

 

This is just one of many adjustments to make on this long journey I bought myself into. The house has good bones, just needed someone to catch up on all the neglect.

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JMG    648

It's produced by Telpro Inc. and has 150lb capacity. As it sits, it can reach over ten foot ceilings, and there are extensions that can be added to achieve much higher ones. I will have to ask my brother how high, as he bought one of the extensions for his. I have never needed an extension myself.

 

This was the first tool that my brothers wife stated, "OK, you can go buy one of these" after he had borrowed mine to do some work on one of his old houses. She was a bit tired of being the third hand when he installed sheetrock, for many reasons.

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JMG    648

Funny how tools seem to gravitate to any flat surface within reach when working on the house.

 

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JMG    648

Most assuredly there DR99... ;)

 

Fast became my favorite shortly after receiving it.

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KnarlyCarl    5,000
On 11/4/2016 at 2:42 PM, JMG said:

Funny how tools seem to gravitate to any flat surface within reach when working on the house.

 

IMG_0216.JPG

Yes, I pull my centipede out and it's full before I know it!

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JMG    648

The back story about what started me on this particular series of repairs started one day when I noticed that my basement stairs had started to collapse on one side at the top...

 

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When I tried to inspect the reason behind this problem I encountered the previously mentioned professional duct installation...

 

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If you look real close, you can see the heat pipes being supported by tying a strap to a lone electrical wire that had been stretched out around the air return. In order to even see the problem from this side I had to drop all of this mess which started with a spaghetti cluster around the other side of the stairs on the furnace...

 

IMG_0103.JPG

 

I don't know about you but this looks nothing like any furnace air return I have ever seen before. Have to continue this in another post as I have run into a problem uploading images.

 

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JMG    648

Anyways, when I dropped the duct out of the way, which I have decided that was the worst installation I have ever run into in more than thirty years in construction, I found this...

 

IMG_0136.JPG

 

It seems that the main support tie in for the head of the stairs happened to be in the way, so the furnace installer just cut it away. They were even proud enough of their work that they left a sticker with company name and address on it so I would know who to blame....

 

As the stairs themselves are of dubious construction and will need to be replaced, I fabricated a temporary solution to hold them until after I correct the HVAC issues.

 

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This was simply to use three lag screws to attach the cross support to the header. The new stair assembly will be supported by doug fir 4x down to the cement floor. The process of jacking up the stairs also caused another issue to appear on the outer rim joist that I am currently working through so that I can continue with some of the other structural issues that were on the list from the beginning of this journey. It's all like a series of dominoes tied into a huge jigsaw puzzle...

 

 

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KnarlyCarl    5,000

Ugh yeah one of those repairs that lead to another repair which goes on almost endlessly....

Where's that one video where the guy goes to buy a lightbulb and ends up pulling the engine out of the car lol

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JMG    648

Yeah, these repairs all string from one of the first projects on the other side of the house. Found water damage in the back bedroom. Followed it downstairs where I had to remove the ceiling. Found different water damage under the bath but tied to the same joists damaged at the outside wall. Damage from the bath continued to the joists on the other side of the center support wall and need to get the furnace out of the way to ease the addition of new joists, which relates to the current issue, along with window replacement allowing the addition of reinforcement to support the outer end of the joists. Then we get to go back upstairs to work on the water damage after all the sub-structure work. Dominoes and jigsaw puzzle...

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JMG    648

In order to work my way back towards the start of this house project, I need to move some existing wiring, most of which needs a complete update and replacement. Ninety percent of the house was on one single circuit and this included the basement lighting as well as the furnace. Last week I ran some of the new can lights, and a good part of today was spent running a circuit to a new service disconnect for the new furnace location, along with a temporary feed to its current spot.

 

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One day last week was also spent moving the main gas feed to clear a jumble of unnecessary fittings as well as to allow some access for new joists. Part of another day was spent adding a ground rod and wire to remove the older connection that had been grounded to the water pipes, which at some point had been tied into a new plastic main feed... (not that grounding electricity to water pipes was a good idea in the first place).

 

After getting the furnace set up on its own circuit, I backtracked the old wire to see if by chance it could be easily disconnected...

 

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I think that I will leave this for another day.

 

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JMG    648

One could wish for it to be like a new house.@Jronman  But fifty years of neglect is a tough obstacle to clear completely, and I will be happy if it is a comfortable living space when all projects are complete.

 

As you work on an old house, and attempt to correct issues created by others, the house starts to tell you its story. Working in the crawl space yesterday, I found that the house was originally covered in a red cedar lap siding. At some point someone decided to whitewash this, and then later the house was wrapped in a layer of tar paper and re-covered with the old cement board shingle type siding. I don't even want to think about whether or not that it was the asbestos laced material. After the addition with the crawl space was added on the back end, the house was covered over again with aluminum siding, which is how it sits today. So, the main section of this house has three layers of siding on it. Sort of like the old shingle roof on the garage that has four layers on it.

 

I am glad that the materials that have been covered up are not prone to dry rot, and will only have to make surface repairs to the current flavor. Unlike the garage which is a separate structure and is going to require quite a bit a exterior work to correct some of its issues, where the materials covered up have rotted away, leaving minimal adhesion of the siding in places.

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KnarlyCarl    5,000
40 minutes ago, JMG said:

One could wish for it to be like a new house.@Jronman  But fifty years of neglect is a tough obstacle to clear completely, and I will be happy if it is a comfortable living space when all projects are complete.

 

As you work on an old house, and attempt to correct issues created by others, the house starts to tell you its story. Working in the crawl space yesterday, I found that the house was originally covered in a red cedar lap siding. At some point someone decided to whitewash this, and then later the house was wrapped in a layer of tar paper and re-covered with the old cement board shingle type siding. I don't even want to think about whether or not that it was the asbestos laced material. After the addition with the crawl space was added on the back end, the house was covered over again with aluminum siding, which is how it sits today. So, the main section of this house has three layers of siding on it. Sort of like the old shingle roof on the garage that has four layers on it.

 

I am glad that the materials that have been covered up are not prone to dry rot, and will only have to make surface repairs to the current flavor. Unlike the garage which is a separate structure and is going to require quite a bit a exterior work to correct some of its issues, where the materials covered up have rotted away, leaving minimal adhesion of the siding in places.

Sounds about right, fortunately, I think the previous owners at my house had already removed all the old siding, I can only see in small sections where it used to be ship lap wood siding, with multiple layers of pains it appears, hard to tell for sure, as one part used to be a porch and it was converted into living space. The underside of the porch was actually cement floor and with a basement underneath, joining into the main part of the basement. So they supported a layer of cement, instead of just pouring on fill. 

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JMG    648

Today's weapon of choice;

 

IMG_0247[1].JPG

One Ramset D60.

 

I purchased this tool back in 1984 (approx.), and while it does not see much use these days, it is still an indispensable item in my arsenal. Labels fell off of it a couple of years ago, but it is still going strong after all these years. I don't normally use this type of tool to attach lumber to cinder block, unless in an extreme hurry, or as in this case needing to drive one fastener to hold the board in place so that I can drill holes for the hammer tacks I will be using.

 

When I was jacking up the stairs, with the intention of placing supports under the joists in a effort to level out the floors above, I found that the outer ends of the short joists under the exterior door were pushing up at the same rate, wedging the bottom edge of the door itself when trying to open it. In order to mitigate this problem, I am in the process of installing a two by eight on the block wall under a two by four installed under the floor joists. This will allow me to screw down through the two by four, tying down the joists and reinforcing the outer rim in general. The two by eight was chosen for the vertical member to tie in the top two layers of block, lowering the overall stress on the top edge of the wall when I start jacking the joists around.

 

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Board prepped and relieved with a cordless planer to allow clearance of deviations in the mortar joint, as well as the steel angle used to reinforce the window opening.

 

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Notice the compression mark in the 2x from trying to pre-stress the opening before screwing the angle iron in place.

 

This is the first window that I changed out, and the addition of just one flat two by six at the top of the window was not enough to cure the problem of deflection in that short span. This one also highlighted a couple of other small issues with the windows themselves that will be addressed on the rest before installing them. The future openings will also have angle iron relieved into and attached to the inner as well as outer edges of the top plate for reinforcement. One of the other openings may require an additional piece like this one due to the number of joists located over its location.

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KnarlyCarl    5,000

I'm no engineer but it looks like you're thinking this through carefully and doing what works in your situation. Plus it's night and day better than how you found it

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JMG    648
4 hours ago, KnarlyCarl said:

I'm no engineer but it looks like you're thinking this through carefully and doing what works in your situation. Plus it's night and day better than how you found it

Both of my grandfathers were engineers. Maybe some of it rubbed off on me... Their area of expertise was in waterworks engineering, and I was told once that they had worked on the Manhattan Project at some point, but no one ever offered any details about it.

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JMG    648

A couple of days ago I started a small project that was supposed to take two or three hours to complete. Two days later, the new heat duct in the bathroom is finally attached in its new location.

 

IMG_0260[1].JPG

Haven't used that rigging ax in years. I also decided to keep the new Makita impact because that auto function setting is awesome.

 

Right from the git go, I discovered that I did not have a three inch hole saw in my kit (just about every other size, but not the one I needed... typical). So, off to the local box store to pick up a carbide tipped tool. Lowes was the only store in the area that showed any stock for carbide hole saws and I picked up the Spyder brand they had. Honestly, I am not impressed with its performance. Maybe I am used to Relton's quality, but the Spyder just did not seem aggressive enough and took much longer to cut a hole in the 2x than I expected it to. I started on a low rpm setting, but quickly found that it worked better at higher speed, which also made the kick backs, when it bound in the cut, a bit harder to handle.

 

After punching the hole for the vertical duct, I dropped the old register feed pipe, which turned out to be held in place by a single piece of hanger wire (no screws or other fasteners to be found.. well, maybe a little duct tape). Gotta love those professional work ethics I keep encountering here. At this point, I realized that I also needed to re-route some water pipes and move the temporary in line water heater before installing the flex duct. I started this because I needed the old heat pipe out of the way so that I could repair the floor joists.

 

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From this...

To this...

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And what was left here was still in the way of the repairs.

 

A couple of weeks back when I got the Testo, I drew down the AC compressor and disconnected the lines and power, then moved the compressor itself into the garage for the winter. The plan is for all of the mechanical to run between the joists,where possible when finished, instead of the spaghetti mess that has been the rule currently found. Also the compressor will be elevated out of the dirt when reinstalled.

 

So the water pipes and heater have been moved (one more trip to the store for some fittings, etc.). The flex duct is installed and one more pipe is left to remove and I will have clearance for the jacks and access to the water damaged joists. So much for the three hour tour...

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KnarlyCarl    5,000

Typical domino effect on a house like that! Nice work!

 

I was wondering about the Spyder brand of hole saws. Talked to a remodel contractor we plumbing work for, and he said he likes the Spyder, but i'm wondering if there are better ones out there like the Milwaukee or dewalt new ones

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JMG    648

I ended up getting a bit side tracked this week and started working on a different part of the jigsaw puzzle...

 

IMG_0276[1].JPG

Basically it was finishing sections of the concrete floor in areas where the equipment is being moved to, or going to be covered by build outs for appliances. Oi vay, that epoxy finish stinks...

 

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Jacks are in place on both sides of the wall so that the damaged top plate on the center wall can be removed.

 

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For safety purposes, all jack posts have steel plates attached to the base.

 

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Cross member is attached with hurricane ties. When I get to the outer wall, I will probably tie a longer cross beam into the joists before attaching the posts, as I need to push five joists at the same time in that location. That's much further down the list though.

 

Prior to this current distraction, and after also, I was pulling old wires out of the way and then dropping most of what was left of the old ceiling, along with moving the storage shelving and equipment around to be able to do so... During this I found one of those all too common issues that I dread having to find in an old house. Uncapped live wires. This instance was not as bad as my brother and I have found in past projects, but still annoying all the same. This time, I found an old doorbell transformer still hooked into the primary circuit with the low voltage wires still attached, cut, and laying in the dust on the sheet rock ceiling panel. When I first moved into the house, I had removed the transformer for the door bell that was currently in use (I detest electric door bells), so this find was a bit unexpected. By the time I finish working on this house, there will be NO other issues like this for anyone else to find...

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JMG    648

The last couple of days have been dedicated in part to finally curing the problem of sewer gas in the basement. When I first moved in I assumed that it was due to the old washer drain not having a trap on it and capped that off. After that it was getting the wax ring replaced on the toilet (the cause of all the damage over the center wall). While both of those issues contributed to the gas problem, they were not the worst offender. The last spot to work on was the floor drain, but the steel cover was wedged tight into the concrete, and I left it for quite awhile.

 

Couple of days ago I finally went to work on it and it took a bit over a half hour to work the cover up out of the drain hole to find this...

 

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Seems the trap plugged up and it was easier to just remove the clean out plug and throw it away than to pull the backwater device and snake the trap. Yeah, can't fix stupid... just clean up behind it.

 

Have to give them props though. It did look like they made an attempt at removing the device as one tab on it was slightly bent. Thank god for SDS hammers...

 

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I used an old drum type key chucked in the regular drill to finish spinning it out after breaking it loose. The last person to install it failed to use any compound, and it was seized solid. Took close to a minute of hammering with the SDS to get it to break free.

 

After getting the float clear, I ran a rod down into the trap and found mostly sludge. I then chased down my short snake, but could not get the bitch to turn the corner in the trap... grrrr. I ended up down at Lowes putting together something else to make the attempt.

 

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Worked so much better that trying to force the snake into a short sharp bend.

 

Cover has been ground and finished. Now all I have to do is drill out and chase the threads on the retaining screw points and order a new backwater device. None of the local stores that are open on the weekend carry items like this anymore... They would be happy to order something though. :angry: Overall I spent as much time scrounging up parts and tools as I did actually working on the drain itself.

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JMG    648

Spent some time pulling out the rest of the sheet rock on the ceiling and cleaning up any nails and other debris left over from past adjustments to the basement. I then moved several of the storage shelf units for the third or fourth time...

 

IMG_0309[1].JPG

I have six of these shelf units, all purchased from Costco over a period of a few years. Price on them has always been around $150 each. They have been invaluable as temporary/permanent storage. I prefer the original units powder coat finish over the current matte black flavor they sell. Easier to clean off. Moving this time was to clear space to knock a hole in the floor to install a backwater valve closest to the outside wall...

 

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At least the drain line was easy to locate. B)

 

Eventually I will have to empty this area too. Still have some minor water intrusion to fix on the window wall and need to sand down the old finish on the floors before applying the epoxy coat. Structural issues and mechanical first though. This room is slated to be my general workshop space, specifically this area pictured. The first picture will be the general storage area once the mechanical issues are all fixed, so those shelf units are close to their final home.

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JMG    648

IMG_0327[1].JPG

Drive pin anchors... I always used to call them hammer tacks.

 

I prefer to use these when I need good lateral shear strength. A little bit less fussy than tap-cons when it comes to hole size... A 1/4" hole into both materials and no worries about stripping anything out.

 

IMG_0328[1].JPG

 

I was in a real hurry one time to beat the weather when replacing the lumber on my trailer deck and used these anchors. They held up for over ten years of hard use with less than a ten percent failure rate anchored in the 1/4" steel trailer frame. Just had to seat them fully before driving the wedge in. Most of the failures were due to someone dragging scrap steel and whatnot across them later in their life.

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