Author Topic: Planning house projects - input welcome  (Read 1477 times)

Sibley

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Planning house projects - input welcome
« on: July 23, 2018, 08:25:29 AM »
Hello. I thought I'd throw this out to the collective minds and get your thoughts. I have multiple possible house projects, I had a plan, and now I'm considering redoing the plan due to annoyance.

Projects under consideration:
1.Encapsulate the crawl space (probably need permit)
    1a. Repipe crawl space (need permit)
    1b. Replace cement along side of house (need permit)
2. New carpet
    2a. Some redoing of vent covers and woodwork (DIY/some help)
    2b. Installation of tile by front door (DIY/some help)
    2c. Painting all woodwork (DIY)
3. Replace fence (need permit)
    3a. Need a survey.
4. Patching walls from electrical project (DIY/some help)
5. Redo half bath on first floor (DIY/some help)

Other current/planned projects not an issue: repainting the garage, grading various dirt, removing a metric ton of river rock, painting the exterior windows, painting interior everything.

Here's the situation.
- Last winter, my 1st floor was FREEZING, all due to the crawl space. It was bad. My elderly cat basically lived upstairs.
- Also last winter, I did a massive project to rewire my nearly 100 year old house. This left holes in the walls/ceilings from where they had to cut for access.
- My fence is 20-25 years old and is falling apart. It will not survive winter, in fact one of the gates didn't survive the thunder storm last week.
- I had to remove the carpet in the house because the previous owner's dog peed all over it and it stank. I left the carpet on the stairs (said elderly cat needs carpet to navigate stairs), but it also smells when it's hot and humid.
- My crawl space does occasionally get wet. It happens when it rains so fast and hard that the gutters are overwhelmed, and the sidewalk on along the house is tilted towards the house (thanks tree!), so it drains into the crawl.
- Old house = old plumbing. I've got a bunch of galvanized pipes, and they're basically end of life. They could go any time.
- First floor bathroom is stick on tile over 1/4 inch plywood that had stuff that should have gone into the toilet smeared behind the sink, which then melted into the floor. (Previous owners had boys, didn't supervise that well, and didn't clean that well). Also, the toilet is named stupid toilet, I've got a choice of it flushing without holding the handle for 30 seconds or the flapper leaking. Currently holding the handle. Plus, it requires regular plunging as we're pretty sure there's some toy or other stuck in it.

My original plan was to do basically everything on the list this year except the bathroom. Note: I've got money set aside to do everything, and some things on the list I will DIY anyway. That isn't a concern.

My problem is my neighbor. I screwed up on replacing the concrete, I didn't realize I needed a permit (I know, I know, I'm new to this). Anyway, long story short, my neighbor flipped her lid and is threatening me with legal action (lol, but I'm making sure to cover myself), but more concerning, she's married to a public official and the building dept is slow walking the permit. At this point, I don't actually care about that particular project that much - the work will get done.

But I'm getting annoyed. This neighbor is mentally ill, is not rational/reasonable (she called the police because I had my trees trimmed!), is escalating slowly, and CAN NOT BE ENGAGED. Don't even suggest it. I'm not comfortable approaching the husband either, cause he was threatening the concrete guy too.

So I'm considering postponing some of the projects until later, once things have hopefully calmed down a bit. Mostly because I don't want to deal with the crap.

The fence I'm going to do anyway, I know I need a permit for that, but it's in bad enough condition that I can't postpone it. I'll be hiring it out as I don't have the time for DIY, in process of getting quotes. I'll have the survey in early August.

The concrete I'm doing, it's already started.

I'm considering not doing the repipe or crawl encapsulation this year, but instead doing the carpet. Hopefully carpet would be enough to keep the floor from being so cold this winter. Then, I'll have data for next year to know if I want to bother with the encapsulation, or if the carpet was sufficient. If I do the carpet, then I need to get some tile installed by the front door and finish the woodwork, which involves a bit of rework on 2 return air vents and surrounding woodwork.

Do the repipe next year (assuming it doesn't become an emergency), and the bathroom at the same time. Probably throw in the kitchen piping so the whole first floor will be new, and pray the upstairs isn't galvanized (from what I've seen, it's either copper or old style cast iron).

Poke holes in the plan please :)

AMandM

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2018, 10:22:01 AM »
I totally support the principle of delaying projects on annoyance grounds. My only concern is whether the new carpet will get wet if the crawlspace gets wet.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2018, 10:43:39 AM »
If this were TheHusbandHalf's and my list, we'd start with the crawl space. I don't know where you are, but around here, the weather would be a factor.

We've tried to do things that would require us to go through another (meaning get dirty) first.
Things that might damage any part of the house would be considered first.

On your list, carpet would move to the bottom, too much of a chance it could get damaged while the other things on the list were being done.

The other list items, put them in between crawl space and carpet.

Sibley

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2018, 01:30:27 PM »
I totally support the principle of delaying projects on annoyance grounds. My only concern is whether the new carpet will get wet if the crawlspace gets wet.

That would only happen at catastrophic flooding levels. Insurance would kick in for massive home repairs, including possible foundation replacement.

Edit: I did actually have the crawl flood last winter. The whole region flooded (that's what happens when you melt 2 ft of snow with several inches of rain over 2-3 days). I got max of 6 inches of water, and with the crawl configuration, this was about 5 feet away from the first floor. Fixing the concrete should significantly help with this, since it's currently the main source of water intrusion.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 01:35:57 PM by Sibley »

Sibley

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2018, 01:33:01 PM »
If this were TheHusbandHalf's and my list, we'd start with the crawl space. I don't know where you are, but around here, the weather would be a factor.

We've tried to do things that would require us to go through another (meaning get dirty) first.
Things that might damage any part of the house would be considered first.

On your list, carpet would move to the bottom, too much of a chance it could get damaged while the other things on the list were being done.

The other list items, put them in between crawl space and carpet.

Luckily, it is possible to get into/out of the crawl space and largely avoid the carpet. The entrance is in the utility room, which is ground level and the kitchen is in between. I can (and have) changed/cleaned up in either room.

I'd be more concerned with the bathroom redo, but I would do my best to cover and seal the carpet. A lot of the other work (painting) would happen before carpet, and any incidental work near the carpet I can cover it.

Cranky

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 05:11:37 AM »
I always have it in the contract that the contractor pulls the permits. They usually have a good working relationship with that office.

Anyway, I'd get the crawlspace work lined up, as that is so weather dependent, and then work on the bathroom myself (since you're handy, I personally am not...)

sokoloff

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 06:26:46 AM »
Agree with letting the contractors pull the permits. Chicago is notorious for building permit shenanigans, so I wouldn't chalk all of it up to the neighbor/husband factor. It's a large protectionist racket, IMO.

I'd be inclined to address the toilet issue sooner than on your list. Pulling the toilet to have a look for a stuck toy will cost you a wax ring and a couple hours in all likelihood. If the closet flange is totally destroyed, it could be longer. That's only needed to address the plunger need. For the have to hold the handle to flush, that's all toilet tank internals, which should be <$20 and 30 minutes to set right. For something you use every day, that would be high on my list.

Stachetastic

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2018, 06:32:40 AM »
I would prioritize the crawlspace first (and toilet, since that seems like an easy fix). I would start painting the interior of the house and fix the holes in the walls while waiting on other larger projects, because painting is easy and inexpensive and helps me build momentum. 



Sibley

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2018, 07:50:07 AM »
I'm not actually in Chicago, I'm in small town Indiana (didn't care enough to update the profile). So glad I don't need to deal with the Chicago permit racket! In general, permits are not an issue. I will do my best to have the contractor pull permits, they're more likely to do it right if nothing else.

sokoloff - I have replaced all the guts of that toilet, twice. The second time, a friend who is a plumber helped me to make sure I did it right. He agreed the toilet is cursed. It's (mostly) working right now, I do not want to disturb the system until I'm ready to deal with whatever the complications might be. The pipe below the toilet is original cast iron (house built 1919), so likely quite fragile. Any disturbance could cause it to crack and blow up the project.

Walls will be fixed August 13th! I've just been waiting on my handyman friend to have availability that works with mine, and we have now scheduled. We're tag teaming the repairs, will reduce my cost quite a bit, but get much better results than if I did it alone. Basically, I'm competent to do the small to medium rough coats and very small area finish coats, but not the rest. We will divide and conquer!

Sibley

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Re: Planning house projects - input welcome
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 08:07:47 AM »
Decision:
I'm going to hold off on the final decision for crawl + repipe until after the fence is done, early September. That will tell me how bad the disturbance in the force is regarding the building department. Considering I'm kinda dependent on the mental health status of someone who's known to be unstable, this could go very badly. Or be just fine. (Still pending the permit for the concrete... day 7 of what's usually 3-4 days)

In the meantime, I'm painting the garage and doing a smallish grading project in the yard to allow for the fence to be done.

Inside - I'm painting woodwork in the downstairs, patching walls & painting at least the patches (I don't even have colors picked out for all the rooms yet, I'll just use random paint for now if necessary. I don't mind weird stuff for now.) Also going to do the tile by the front door and the vent/woodwork stuff. Once ready, I will get new carpet in the first floor (before winter). I should be warmer with carpet, even if I don't do the crawl yet.

Bathroom will get done in conjunction with the crawl repipe, and I'll get new in place for the bathroom and kitchen at the same time. Repipe will happen before crawl encapsulation. Timing TBD. I'll happily earn more interest on the money in the meantime.