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Goofy/Shoddy Home repairs
Old 07-18-2017, 11:16 AM   #1
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Goofy/Shoddy Home repairs

Because we have a lot of DIYers on this list, I thought this topic might appeal. What are some examples of just downright weird, goofy, or almost implausibly shoddy home repairs that you've come across? I know that none of you would have perpetrated any of the examples, but you might have come across some. I'll lead off with 3.

1) We bought an old farmhouse with much of the original knob and tube wiring in a functional state. Apparently, one of the previous owners just ran extra circuits by peeling back the insulation and wrapping new wire around the (now exposed) old conductors. The job was completed with massive amounts of electrical tape.

2) During the inspection of our current home, we pointed out that there was a wire running up the outside of the house that wasn't rated for interior use. During the walk-through we noted (to our satisfaction) that the wire was no longer in place. Fixed, we thought. Fast forward a couple of years and I'm wondering why the attic exhaust fan isn't running when it gets hot. I go up in the attic and there is no current at the fan. Why? I trace the wiring and find it neatly cut at the end of the attic where it would have gone outside and down the wall.

3) And the best for last. Also in our current house. We wake up one frosty January morning and hear water running. Oh, oh. Turns out a pipe had burst. What pipe, you ask? When the house was re-sided, the previous owners had decided they did not need a house bib on the back patio (fair enough). So they capped at the wall (OK, but maybe not the best choice). They didn't turn off the cutoff valve that fed ONLY that pipe (really dumb!). And finally, they dry-walled over the cutoff valve so that you couldn't find it (you've got to be kidding me!) Surprisingly the damage was pretty minimal, but I was not a happy camper!
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:16 PM   #2
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Right before my son was born I noticed a wet spot on the wall in his closet. I pulled out some drywall and noticed a hole drilled into a PVC pipe. Whenever we used the water in the bathroom next to his room water would splash through the hole and onto the wall. The people that lived in the house before us had some type of TV addiction with cables in every room and running in a few directions outside of the house. One of the paths they chose for cables was running through this closet a few inches away from where the hole was in the pipe. They must have drilled the pipe by accident and decided to patch the hole in the wall but leave the pipe with a hole in it. A plumber fixed the pipe and another company checked for mold. I got to patch the wall.


We also have holes in walls that were repaired with solid outlet covers and painted over instead of being patched with drywall. I'm working on replacing them with drywall but they are in rooms we don't see very often so it's no big deal for now.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:17 PM   #3
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1) Not technically a repair, but whoever did the original brickwork on our house purchased an angle iron (aka lintel) that was 12 inches shorter than necessary for the span of the windows it bridged. Rather than fixing or replacing it, they stepped the brick out to it--and then placed a vertical 2x4 between the window frames....

2) The same rocket scientists likely were involved in constructing the deck. When I had a structural engineer out for other matters, he joked that he should take a picture to demonstrate that the textbooks were all incorrect, given that it was still standing (barely).

3) Same house. The drainpipe from the second floor bathrooms apparently leaked for a while. "Repair" was to put a suspended ceiling in the kitchen, then place aluminum turkey roasting pan on top of the suspended ceiling to catch the drips.

Luckily, we bought it with the intent of gutting and, after I filled 7 30-cu-yard containers, everything rebuilt fine.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:54 PM   #4
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My mother in law buys a brand new house. It was not a development, just a builder who bought some property and built 1 house in between 2 others. She sees water in her attached garage. Cant figured out where its coming from. Every few days she sees water. Seems the drain to one of her showers, was not connected to the waste pipe.It just ended in the ceiling at the top of the garage and the water just fell onto the floor. She calls the builder. He tells her, well thats your fault, that was supposed to be your laundry room. She says to him , so the washer was supposed to empty into the garage? He came over and repaired it.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:56 PM   #5
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The previous owner of a house I bought decided to insulate the wall outlets on outside walls. Instead of buying the cheap rubbery gaskets to place inside the outlets he simply stuffed Kleenex in the gaps between the outlet and the wall. One spark and ......... Well, you can imagine.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:23 PM   #6
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We brought a place that had a partially finished basement. One wall was a little off plumb.

Not as bad as the cement wall it covered. It had moved in over 12"! Unfortunately the prior owners had managed to sell all their property in the state! Fortunately I found a basement guy who needed indoor work in the winter. Only 12K later it was plumb and didn't leak!
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:41 PM   #7
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In my first house, someone had wired lights in the crawl space with that flat, two conductor wire used for roof top antennae. The wire was drooped down on the bulb and had melted the insulation off, leaving bare wires.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:43 PM   #8
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When remodeling the bathrooms after purchase, it turns out that the exhaust fan from one bathroom was directly connected to the exhaust fan of the other bathroom.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:45 PM   #9
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Original builder/owner of our house, as part of the original construction, built an elevated attached deck. This was supported not by footings, but by 4x4 posts resting on 16" square patio blocks laying on the ground surface. No footings at all which are required and need to 42" deep. I hand dug and poured footings. I had to raise the sunken end about 10 inches to get to level.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:54 PM   #10
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Our upstairs shower service line burst behind the wall. Lots of water damage there and in the 1/2 bath below. Came to learn that the water lines were a product called Pex from the late 90's (house built in 1999). Pex can fail for a variety of reasons. The plumber that did the actual line repair used about a foot of an eight foot piece. When he was done, he handed me the remaining seven foot section, saying, "Someday, you'll need this again."

The original manufacturer was involved in some class action law suits, eventually acquired for pennies on the dollar, leaving second owners and others holding the proverbial bag. The (revised) product is still being used today because it is cheap to install, but has a continuing legacy of joint failures, chemical leaching, UV failures, etc.

Always glad to reside in a ticking time bomb. And yes, the seven foot piece is stored in the garage for the next "indoor rainy day."
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiliPepr View Post
When remodeling the bathrooms after purchase, it turns out that the exhaust fan from one bathroom was directly connected to the exhaust fan of the other bathroom.
And nothing venting outside? Then that's one that definitely belongs on this list! I have encountered several cases where two fans joined a common exhaust duct to the outside. This is NOT a good setup either, but still much better than what YOU are describing
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
In my first house, someone had wired lights in the crawl space with that flat, two conductor wire used for roof top antennae. The wire was drooped down on the bulb and had melted the insulation off, leaving bare wires.
Wow, be glad you lived to tell the story!
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Red Badger View Post
Our upstairs shower service line burst behind the wall. Lots of water damage there and in the 1/2 bath below. Came to learn that the water lines were a product called Pex from the late 90's (house built in 1999). Pex can fail for a variety of reasons. The plumber that did the actual line repair used about a foot of an eight foot piece. When he was done, he handed me the remaining seven foot section, saying, "Someday, you'll need this again."

The original manufacturer was involved in some class action law suits, eventually acquired for pennies on the dollar, leaving second owners and others holding the proverbial bag. The (revised) product is still being used today because it is cheap to install, but has a continuing legacy of joint failures, chemical leaching, UV failures, etc.

Always glad to reside in a ticking time bomb. And yes, the seven foot piece is stored in the garage for the next "indoor rainy day."
Sounds like you're referring to PB pipe, not PEX?

Of course, there are different grades of PEX...
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:11 PM   #14
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I don't have anything nearly as creative as the ones above, but I just replaced a water heater at one of my rental properties. Very straightforward situation - shark bites are your friend!. Two days later, tenant calls and reports a hissing sound in the wall between the kitchen and the utility room (where the water heater is located). I check it out and it sure does sound like a water leak... I open the wall, and, sure enough, there is water spraying from the copper pipe right above where it enters the concrete slab. As it turns out, the folks who installed the baseboard had managed to hit and puncture the water pipe when they nailed the shoe molding to the baseboard. The nail plugged the hole just fine at that time. Over time (2+ years later!), and in the presence of water, the copper caused the iron nail to slowly dissolve to the point where my handling the copper pipe 6 feet above, must have shaken it loose and generated the leak. According to the plumber (called in to solder the pipe) this is actually very common. And, I have the proof for it in the form of a rusted off nail in the corresponding section of the removed baseboard. There is building code that requires pipes and wires to be shielded with a steel plate in such locations, but hey, this is inside the wall - who checks for codes, right? Yep, I DID put in a shield before patching up the wall and repairing the baseboard, so that 2 foot section is now up to code...
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:16 PM   #15
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Not a house I lived in, but DW's nephew and his wife were renting a house near Baltimore, MD about 14 years ago. It was an older house, built perhaps in the late 1930's, it did have a concrete floor but it was very uneven. I worked on residential heating & A/C systems for a few years but I have never seen a furnace installation like this one. Someone had simply put the furnace on the floor and vented the plenum directly into the space between the floor joists and then nailed sheet metal to the bottom of the joists to direct the heated air to holes cut into the floor above. I thought it a miracle the place hadn't burned down years ago. What a firetrap!

I wanted to call the fire marshal on the spot but they asked me not to because they could barely afford the rent as it was, and they'd have to move again. So I told him to make sure the smoke alarms worked and to have a rope ladder near the window of the 2nd floor bedroom where they stayed. I think we may have bought the rope ladder and sent it to them but can't remember.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:42 PM   #16
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A friend wanted to add a third telephone, but his indoor telco wire had only four conductors. Rather than string another wire, he had three phones all sharing the fourth conductor as a common ground. He said it worked as long as one ignored the crosstalk.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:44 PM   #17
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I bought a nice, solid little postwar Cape Cod in NJ from a couple who were relocating; he had a Ph.D. in pharmacology but also did work around the house. I hope he was a better pharmacologist.

When they painted a room they just painted over the electrical outlets.

The natural gas line leading from the house to the grill had an ending on it meant for a propane line, which he somehow rigged so it would work with natural gas. (I'm not clear on the details but DH was surprised it worked.)

The whole time I lived there I never bothered with the shower in the master bedroom because it leaked into the basement ceiling below. Before I moved I had the 1960s pink tile torn out and a more pleasing neutral tile put in. Turned out there was no drain pan under the shower floor. The drain pan cost about $10. Ripping out and replacing the tiling cost me a few thousand.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:19 PM   #18
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We looked at an open house that was FSBO and the owners showed us around. I noticed the kitchen appliances had terrible, thick paint jobs full of obvious brush strokes. I started to say something but the owner interrupted me and told me, beaming with pride, "Oh yes! You can buy appliance paint at Home Depot. My husband paints them once a year!" In the basement of the same house she demonstrated how easy it was to empty the bucket under the sink once it got full. Pass!
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:22 PM   #19
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When they painted a room they just painted over the electrical outlets.
I owned a house with nearly every outlet painted over, many to the point where you couldn't insert a plug. Is it really so hard to remove the cover when painting?
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:28 PM   #20
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I owned a house with nearly every outlet painted over, many to the point where you couldn't insert a plug. Is it really so hard to remove the cover when painting?
Your supposed to remove the covers?. I remember seeing surface wires with about 10 coats of paint running up the walls to overhead fixtures.
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