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Gen. Chat “Home Improvement/DIY” by domminess

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domminess 5 years ago on 07/13/14
Equipped: Box of Crayons named "I FREAKING LOVE COLORING"
For home owners/apartment renters with lax standards, the things you'd like to do to your home! Advice is also welcome!

I am about to completely overhaul my office and bedroom. They're both painted this light gray color, which isn't awful, but neither are really me. My living room came this awesome red, so I want color upstairs too!

MY bedroom is going to be painted lavender with an all over stencil on one wall in a really light silver. My office is going to be a bright vivid yellow with a chevron wall. All my furniture is black, so it'll make the bedroom not nauseatingly girly and I don't have to completely refit my office.

I've been scouring Pinterest for ideas, and if you don't have one, home stuff is a really excellent reason to start!

Also last week I had a bad outlet, and my friend Kat showed me how to replace one! Now I'll save money on repairs!

Post about your home!
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Laurette 5 years ago on 07/13/14
Equipped: Triforce named "DANANANA NA NA NANANA"
Even in stricter apartments, you can still do cool shit!

I plan on cutting up old t-shirts for yarn to crochet Jackson a dog bed so that he can stop using the stolen kitchen towel he's been laying on.

To get around rules about minimal nail holes, I was thinking about doing one of those photo string things, where you use clothes pins and such, except instead of pictures I'm gonna use it to hang up things like mail that needs looking at, and adds/coupons I want to go through/keep. Either that or I'll just invest in some paracord or cheap cotton rope and crochet a basket for mail.

I've been thinking about getting some cheap washi tape to make a mural, but I'd have to do a test patch in an inconspicuous place to make sure it doesn't hurt the walls.

I also have a room divider screen that I haven't decided if I'm going to use it on the balcony, or cover it with fabric and put it inside somewhere. I don't think I have room inside so I might stabilize it and use it for planters outside.
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MamaSkull 5 years ago on 07/14/14
Equipped: All-New, Portable, Take-Anywhere Llama named "Jub Jub"
We're having my home tested for mold on Weds, and I ordered a radon test kit. Something has gotta give, my middle son has been having congestion and we are all starting to have some kind of symptoms. It's driving me nuts!

Once we get all of those problems worked out (if there are any), we can maybe think about decorating.

Does anyone have any experience with mold remediation? or radon remediation?
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John Booty 5 years ago on 07/14/14
Equipped: Sparkledonkey's Gallbladder
Do you know what the humidity level is in your basement? We were told by the home inspector that 60% humidity is what you want to keep it under, in order to keep mold under control.

You can get cheap hygrometers to measure humidity on Amazon or wherever, but I think unless you get a really expensive one it's not going to be super accurate so just take it as a ballpark reading.

We've been running a dehumidifier in our basement pretty much 24/7 to keep it under 60%. Humidifiers are kind of pricy (and burn electricity) since they're basically air conditioners. On the other hand, it doesn't take too many doctor visits and prescriptions to add up to $200 (what we paid) so we figured it would pay for itself over a few years.

We got a Danby that Consumer Reports liked.
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fukkake 5 years ago on 07/14/14
Equipped: Cockblast of Vengence named "Crotchfire!"
When we bought the house the guy said that there was water that comes in every once in a while when a good storm comes around. I thought OK, a puddle here or there isn't so bad!...It is like a whole basement floor puddle. So, I am pretty sure an investment into a Sump Pump will be a huge project for us this year.

In saying that, the humidifier helps a TON. There definitely is a HUGE difference and I am sure that investment is going to pay off BIG time for us.

----------------

Right now I am totally into DIY projects. I am slowly redoing our downstairs bathroom by added aged wood trim, textured wallpaper, and eventually putting down a new floor.

I also want to build my own kitchen table. I want an aged farmhouse style table and I just haven't seen anything tiny enough that isn't a million bucks.
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MamaSkull 5 years ago on 07/15/14
Equipped: All-New, Portable, Take-Anywhere Llama named "Jub Jub"
We do have a dehumidifier. There are several problems with this:

- no other climate control in our basement and it gets HOT (no duct work for AC down there). So if you know dehumidifiers, you know that they make it EXTRA hot. We have a small window AC in our small basement window and do sometimes run it down there in conjunction with the dehumidifier, but we need to "let it rest" since it's really not the right size for the space. We had to take what we could get in that arena since a small one is the only type that would fit in the tiny window.

- It doesn't seem to "de-humidify" the entire basement (full size of the house). My laundry room door is CONSTANTLY sticking in the summer.

- We have had sewage leaks (ew, right?) and we believe we dried it out properly, but we worry that there is some yuck remaining from this. No carpet down there any more due to said sewage leaks.

The funny thing is that we don't get water on the regular. Only when the gutters are clogged (oops, we forgot to clean them before last storms) or when we have a sewage leak (which I hope will not be happening again any time soon!).

I did NOT know one should/could measure the humidity level in the basement, so thank you for that tip. I'll look into it.

On another note, I LOVE Farmhouse tables. That is a super ambitious project, and I'd love to see photos if you do it!

We're trying to finish re-finishing our deck, but work is kind of at a halt, unfortunately.

For those that rent, I saw this article the other day and thought it worth mention. My mom has noisy neighbors and it's relevant to the interests of others that do as well:
http://lifehacker.com/...friendly-noise-killers-1604637770
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Laurette 5 years ago on 07/16/14
Equipped: Triforce named "DANANANA NA NA NANANA"
oh my god. i might use these to frame some prints. We don't really have noise in the apartment but I still think they look awesome.
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John Booty 5 years ago on 07/16/14
Equipped: Sparkledonkey's Gallbladder
Mama said:
It doesn't seem to "de-humidify" the entire basement (full size of the house).

Do you have a fan down there? It helps immensely if you have a fan to circulate air around the basement. Box fans don't move much air, I'm thinking more like a $40/$50 "air circulator" floor fan kind of thing.
Mama said:
no other climate control in our basement and it gets HOT (no duct work for AC down there) ...We have a small window AC in our small basement window

I believe you but this seems really strange! I'm guessing you keep the basement door closed? We keep ours open and the heat from the dehumidifier wafts right out, and cool dry air from the central A/C drifts down into the basement.

If you keep the basement door is closed because of pet or kid issues maybe you could use a gate on that doorway instead.

If your hot water heater is in the basement, that thing probably also puts out some heat since it is basically just a giant tank of hot water being heated 24/7. You could reduce the hot water temp dial on the tank and/or wrap it in a sleeve.

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Kirei the Klown 5 years ago on 07/16/14
Equipped: Chicken & Waffles named "My baby daddy love him some Roscoes!"
I'm currently considering our options for upstairs attic/kneewall attic ventilation. The attic vent fan that is currently installed does not seem to work (we didn't really take note until hot weather rolled in) and we don't know where the wiring or controls (if there are any) are located. Also, I could be wrong, but our soffits may not even be vented - kind of necessary with a vent fan, unless you want it to struggle and/or suck air out of the living space! Fortunately the kneewall space seems quite dry

Also, there doesn't seem to be any insulating in the true attic (above upstairs ceiling at apex of roof) or on the slanty parts of the "master" bedroom walls. So all the heat from the afternoon sun makes the upstairs an oven - thank goodness for A/C. My current plan is to slide rigid radiant barrier sheets inside the slanty wall bits along with polystyrene baffles to get a little better insulation. I REALLY want to cut up into the true attic, though, and suss out what's up with the fan and also slap down some insulation against that ceiling. Best believe when the roof gets redone (a few years down the line, fingers crossed) we're going to get a lighter shingle to attract less heat. Criminy.

In more fun news, we're also looking at adding storage to the master bed (recessed shelving into kneewall space), and getting estimates to remodel our shitty bathroom into something more functional and aesthetically pleasing.
PS: ugh, submitted too fast while editing - fortunately the kneewall spaces are quite dry and there are no signs of mold or anything else commonly associated with poor ventilation and condensation issues. So, lucked out there, I suppose!
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John Booty 5 years ago on 07/17/14
Equipped: Sparkledonkey's Gallbladder
You know so much more about that stuff than me. I don't even know what half of those words meant!
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jennyfur 5 years ago on 07/17/14
Equipped: John Booty Plushy named "Sex toy property of "Ralph's Mom""
I just finished my latest project in May. This is "mom's room" (she corrects me when I call it the guest bedroom, even though she lives like 200 mi away and only visits a few times a year).

Fixed a broken slat in futon frame with metal brace, replaced torn ugly 90s print futon cover with new solid color cover, painted accent wall, bought and assembled new bookshelf, and added various decor (art on wall, vases and other items on shelving, stuff that can't be seen in the photo on the opposite wall TV stand. Would like to get some throw pillows).

Mom is visiting tomorrow and apparently she's bringing a table or something for the room?

I did a ton of DIY projects around the house the first 6 months I was here (I'll have been here a year and a half come August) some of which were necessary just to make the place livable. I also had work done outside that required professionals. Got a cement wall and chainlink fence taken out, 2 trees removed, half my yard turned into a permeable paver driveway, an aluminum fence put in, a bamboo fence put in, a concrete base poured and a new shed installed, and landscaping done. I did the raised beds and irrigation system for the garden myself. I plan to expand that next year. Only other DIY I plan to do is possibly home automation (yay learning how to wire electric switches), anything else requires pros... such as getting AC installed finally. That one keeps getting put off due to the high cost though.

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Moderator Kirei the Klown Says:

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jennyfur 5 years ago on 07/18/14
Equipped: John Booty Plushy named "Sex toy property of "Ralph's Mom""
Oh and my power drill and level became the best purchases I ever made haha.
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Kirei the Klown 5 years ago on 07/18/14
Equipped: Chicken & Waffles named "My baby daddy love him some Roscoes!"
jennyfur said:
I just finished my latest project in May. This is "mom's room" (she corrects me when I call it the guest bedroom, even though she lives like 200 mi away and only visits a few times a year).

Fixed a broken slat in futon frame with metal brace, ...


Damn girl! That's alot of awesome work. Well done. Mom's room looks really nice, too!

jennyfur said:
Oh and my power drill and level became the best purchases I ever made haha.


I hear that. I bought myself/the house an early Christmas gift this past year in the form of a Ryobi cordless tool kit (drill, reciprocating saw, circular saw, flashlight, with 2 rechargeable battery packs) and it's about the best thing ever. We had a corded drill, but the new cordless is soooo good - and convenient.

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John Booty 5 years ago on 07/18/14
Equipped: Sparkledonkey's Gallbladder
Laurette said:
I plan on cutting up old t-shirts for yarn to crochet Jackson a dog bed so that he can stop using the stolen kitchen towel he's been laying on.


85% chance he just wants to keep on using the towel, haha.
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Laurette 5 years ago on 07/18/14
Equipped: Triforce named "DANANANA NA NA NANANA"
That is very true, but he tends to lay on anything and everything, so I'm sure if I just pick up the towel he'll use the bed
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domminess 5 years ago on 07/18/14
Equipped: Box of Crayons named "I FREAKING LOVE COLORING"
jennyfur said:
I just finished my latest project in May. This is "mom's room" (she corrects me when I call it the guest bedroom, even though she lives like 200 mi away and only visits a few times a year).

Fixed a broken slat in futon frame with metal brace, ...


Mom's room looks amazing! Well done!
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Kumba 5 years ago on 07/20/14
Equipped: Most Amazing Thing Ever!!!! named "Silmarils, gems of treelight"
fukkake said:
When we bought the house the guy said that there was water that comes in every once in a while when a good storm comes around. I thought OK, a puddle here or there isn't so bad!...It is like a whole basement floor puddle. So, I am pretty sure an investment into a Sump Pump will be a huge project for us this year.


I'd get that looked into ASAP. If water is penetrating your house's foundation, then that means you not only lack a sump pump (or have one that isn't working), but your drainage tile system is not working. That water seeping in is going to slowly erode the home's foundation and weaken it, especially the cinder block. It also keeps the sounding soil moist and can allow the foundation to shift or sink easier, which will cause damage to the structure and/or interior (cracking in the walls, offsets like doors not closing properly any more).

My little rambler sits atop a clay substrate in my county, and for some reason, this house, built in 2002, was built w/o a sump pump, and the black drainage tile was literally sitting on the surface of the gravel in the crawlspace, which is completely wrong. I didn't fully understand it at the time, but over the 8 years before I bought the house in 2009, that allowed the back corner, where my bedroom is at, to sink about ¼th to ½ an inch into the ground, which cracked two cinder blocks in half at one point.

Cost me about $5k to get that corner of the house raised back up and the cracks repaired, then $4,200 a few months later to have a proper sump pump and drainage tile system added.

TBH, the instant the previous owner told you a little water gets in, I'd have passed on the house and looked elsewhere. The fact that you have to run a humidifier means you have some potentially major problems either lurking or which may manifest the longer you way. I hate to sound like an alarmist on this, but watch the Mike Holmes-series of shows on DIY Network, as well as those that star Bryan Baumler (Disater DIY, Leave it to Bryan, House of Bryan, etc). Both Canadian stars, but Canadian building and electrical code is extremely similar enough to US codes (and arguably better/stricter in some spots) that you'll learn a lot.

In the meantime, though, some cheap fixes you can do is outside, make sure that the yard is graded away from the house. Wait for a good rain storm, then do a walkaround outside and see if water is puddling up anywhere near the home (within 3-5ft), and target those areas first for regrading. Next, buy downspout extenders and make sure to direct the water a good 6ft or more away from the home's foundation.

A home is the single largest investment anyone will ever make in their life, except for children. $5k+ to fix water problems may seem like a lot initially, but over the length if time you'll spend in a home, it's a really small amount. You want to nail those problems before they go from four figures to five figures.
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Kumba 5 years ago on 07/20/14
Equipped: Most Amazing Thing Ever!!!! named "Silmarils, gems of treelight"
For those tackling wiring, some quick tips:

- Most US and Canadian homes require a minimum of 15A branch circuits. 20A for bathrooms and kitchen counter top sockets. Kitchen sockets should be on a minimum of two branch circuits (that is, two breakers or fuses). US kitchen sockets can be 15A sockets on 20A circuits, but Canadian code requires 20A sockets on 20A circuits.

- Refrigerators, garbage disposals, dishwashers, microwaves, washing machines and sump pumps should be on dedicated circuits, usually 20A.

- 14-gauge wire for 15A circuits, 12-gauge for 20A circuits. It's okay to put 15A sockets/switches on 12-gauge wiring, but do NOT do the opposite, 20A sockets/switches on 14-gauge wiring. Hello fire hazard. And code violation. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire. Thicker wire doesn't heat up as much under higher electrical loads (less resistance).

- Any socket within 6ft of water must have a ground fault interrupter (GFCI). These protect you by opening the circuit with a short to ground happens (e.g., water splashing from the sink onto the socket). Additionally, all outdoor sockets must be covered by weather-proof covers and be protected by GFCI (either directly, or by a GFCI breaker in the panel).

- Buy a multimeter. They're cheap, and will be extremely helpful in diagnosing some wiring curiosities, especially if you have an older home.

- Most new homes should be all copper wiring. But some older homes use aluminum wiring. NEVER MIX ALUMINUM AND COPPER WIRING! The thermal properties of each are different, and even though you think that wire cap is on there all nice and snug, over time, as the copper and aluminum heat up, they'll start to separate a little. And this creates arc hazards, which can lead to nastier things like setting stuff on fire. If you have to mix aluminum with copper wiring, there are special couplers available at electrical stores precisely for this task (but better to call an electrician at that point).

- If you have small kids, consider investing in tamper-resistant outlets. These will be required by code soon anyways. Speaking as someone who stuck pointy, electrically-conductive things into Spanish 220V outlets as a kid, I speak from experience on the insatiable curiosity that young kids have.

- If you have knob-and-tube wiring, meaning your house is really old, call an electrician ASAP*. You'll have a good idea if it's K&T if you see cardboard or cotton-sheathed wires running in random directions in the walls, and use ceramic or plastic inserts to traverse through holes drilled into wood, and if there is only one conductor in the cable. Modern "Romex" has a minimum of three conductors, sometimes four, in a single outer sheath.

- Don't overload your circuits. Seriously. Do not be the next Clark Griswald.


And most important of all:

*- When in doubt, call an electrician. Electricity is utterly immoral and has no sense of ethics nor concern for you or anyone else in your house. It simply wants to get to ground, regardless if that means traveling through you or those you love and care about.
PS: Stupid boldface.
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Kumba 5 years ago on 07/20/14
Equipped: Most Amazing Thing Ever!!!! named "Silmarils, gems of treelight"
PS, this is Mike Holmes. He's the Canadian equivalent of Superman, except instead of jumping over buildings, he fixes them. DIY and HGTV runs his shows a lot, especially Tuesdays on DIY. He's not a big advocate of DIY stuff, but his approach is that, if you are going to DIY, then be smart about it and don't hesitate to call in the experts if you're not really, really sure about something.

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John Booty 5 years ago on 07/21/14
Equipped: Sparkledonkey's Gallbladder
Kumba said:

I'd get that looked into ASAP. If water is penetrating your house's foundation,


That's good advice. Our house is on slight grade; the moisture issue is mostly just because the previous owners didn't have the downspouts directed away from the foundation at all. We're fixing that in the next couple of weeks and we think that's going to take care of things - if not, sump pump time.

The house is 90 years old so it's mostly a known quantity at this point.

TBH, the instant the previous owner told you a little water gets in


This is literally every home in some states, like NJ.

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