Monday, December 12, 2005

Coming Undone

I am the fourth owner of my house in 7 years. Of those 7 years, I have owned the house for 3 yrs.

My house was lost in a foreclosure, purchased by a flipper and then purchased by a semi-flipper. Each one has left a bit of a legacy.

And every so often, one of those legacies irritates me enough to write a blog entry.

The last owner decided that she would recoup more money by finishing off the expansion space in the upstairs attic prior to selling the house. Good idea, gone bad. Unfortunately, her motivation to increase her return on investment seems to have led to sloppy work.

Insulation was added, only it was put in upside down. It is now black from airflow and needs to be replaced. Outlets were added, but workmanship was lousy. Some of the outlets don’t fit in the wall cavity and sit outside of the drywall. One of the outlets actually shot a bolt of electricity out of it one day when I unplugged a lamp. Cheap carpeting was used and it has now stretched out into gentle waves across the room. It needs to be removed and the fir floors below it redone. Colonial oak baseboard was added because it was stock even though the floors are maple & fir. It needs to be painted. Whoever worked on the drywall didn’t measure the drywall… angles are off and straight lines are not straight. Sand the mud? No way. Then to hide the flaws….they sponge painted it all. Nice trick.

Most of this stuff I can deal with. It’s on my “to do” list, and at some point I’ll get around to messing with it. In the scheme of things it’s not really a big deal.

There is one thing though that makes me crazy.

When they added drywall, they did not tape any of the seams or corners. They slapped on some joint compound and called it a day. So, I lay in bed and look at the never ending series of cracks and seams that appear overnight. I know from my energy audits how much warm air is lost to those cracks, so as they appear….I fix them. Eventually, I will probably have the drywall pulled out where it is crooked and then the whole mess skim coated by a pro. Until then, I patch.

I spent a few hours on Saturday doing it. It just seems such a waste of time when I have REAL old house restorations to be made (windows to restore, plaster to patch, storm windows to track down….) to be repairing half-assed work that is less then 5 yrs old. If you are going to do it, why not do it right?

There. I have said my peace. I feel better now.

I am not one to wish bad on others, but if there is house karma……I hope what goes around……comes around.


Tony Maro said...

I had an incident with my last house where the PO repaired a kitchen drain pipe in the wall with duct tape because the pipes weren't long enough to actually screw together...

12 years later the duct tape had dissolved and I was left pulling siding off my house and spraying anti-fungal / anti-bacterial cleanup everywhere because it had leaked in the wall for months (or longer) before I caught it.

So, I agree, I hope house karma exists.


StuccoHouse said...

Lol....I am sorry, but I had to laugh. What goes through someone's mind that tells them duct tape is an appropriate fix for plumbing?

I think there is a certain place in heaven for DIYs that know when something is just beyond their capabilities.

But hey, then what would I post about??

Craig & Ellen said...

Hmm, we have an end of pipe that goes nowhere. But instead of removing the pipe, the previous owners pinched the ends together and soldered them a little bit. And then hung a light bulb on a long cord over the whole thing.

It's quite the display. I should put up a picture one of these days.

derek said...

The previous owners drywall in our house is a joke too. Thankfully, he only did 2 rooms. He put the drywall on the wrong direction, so the edges are just hanging. I don't know if anything is taped, it's all cracked. The outlets were too low to put covers on, so he just filled up to the outlet with joint compound. I know he only had a 3" knife, and he sure didn't sand much either.

merideth said...

you know, this is exactly the issue we have with "flippers" and even "sell this house" approaches. trust me. i would wayy rather have the horrid stained sheet vinyl floors from 1975 than your new stick on tile nightmare to deal with. Dont paint and varnish the fireplace white to "brighten up" the room. And please, for the love of god, dont put down crap-ass carpet because the floor needs to be refinished in a couple of places. I'm with you. If you're gonna do it. do it right!

Aaron said...

My first house had an expansion area like yours that was finished off by mickey mouse contractorts, inc. The seams were so bad that blown in insulation was falling through. We ended up ripping everything out, rewiring, re-insulating, drywalling, and sanding the floors, and then it was nice. It took all summer, but it paid off in the end, and we made some good money on the place. (We did the work right, though) :)

One thing I like about houses with expansions like yours is that they sometimes have dormers that shelves and bookcases, and dresser drawers can fit into.

We just got dumped on with 6+ inches of snow up in Duluth...hope you didn't get buried with the wonderful white stuff

StuccoHouse said...

I will end up rewiring at least some of the outlets and probably redoing some of the drywall. Then will rip up the carpeting and refinish the floor (I have already refinished the exposed floor).

As much as aspects of it drive my crazy...andperiodically over the edge, I really do like having the upstairs finished. And once it is corrected, it will look nice.

There is a nice sized sunroom area created by a rather large dormer. The plan is to add a window seat and a wall of built-in bookshelves and replace the cheapo stairway rail with something solid... eventually. Maybe a bathroom. I looked high and low for pre-built knee wall drawers....and eventually ended up buying a line of dressers that fit into the knee wall nitch instead.

6" here too. As I type the plows are running up and down my street for the "snow emergency."

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