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House Projects and Home DIY


Alder
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I bought my first house last year after renting 6 different apartments since 2011. We got a 1960s brick ranch house in our hometown. It's been a huge learning experience - mainly a list of never-ending projects, but still lots of fun. I have a list of several hundred tasks I want to do, big and small, and it's started to kind of become my life.

We got a few big things out of the way, contracted, like a new roof and HVAC, but everything else I've been trying to do myself. Just cleaning the place out and taking stuff to the dump has been a big chore, but I also replaced the toilet, installed GFCI outlets, installed a bathroom fan, wired in a new chandelier, and ran ethernet to the bedrooms.

By far the biggest project on my plate is the basement. It's 1200 sqft split down the middle; half was finished when the house was built. A basement finished in the 60s though might as well be unfinished. I've got wood paneling on the walls and asbestos floor tiles, the works. But nothing appears to have had water damage, so I feel comfortable enough refinishing it, even if it's not a perfect solution and I end up having to replace something in 5 or 10 years.

After much deliberation I ended up removing the floor tiles myself, since I was able to get them off without any cracking. The ceiling tiles also came down, along with the wood paneling. I threw a furnace out and tore down the stone wall facade with a hammer and chisel. The insulation and framed exterior walls are coming next. I tried removing the mastic tile adhesive on the floor with some expensive solvent, but it only partially worked and left me with a giant mess. Ultimately I'd like to get someone in to help me pour some self-leveling concrete and add a subfloor, then put in new windows before re-framing and hanging drywall. I'd like to eventually make this a game room so once I'm further along, I'll make a new thread to show my progress.

Anyone else in a similar situation or have any funny/tragic project stories? All I can say is, part of me can't wait to make more progress, but another part of me just wants it all to be over with. It's definitely a trade-off 馃槢

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I think it's awesome that you're doing so much on your own. I enjoy doing projects around the house, but I struggle to find the time and energy to get them done. The basement in my previous house was unfinished (although it was framed out) when I bought it, but I just hired a contractor to take care of everything. For me, it was worth it, but I think it would be really cool to finish a basement on your own.

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On 9/19/2021 at 12:56 PM, DoctorEncore said:

I think it's awesome that you're doing so much on your own. I enjoy doing projects around the house, but I struggle to find the time and energy to get them done. The basement in my previous house was unfinished (although it was framed out) when I bought it, but I just hired a contractor to take care of everything. For me, it was worth it, but I think it would be really cool to finish a basement on your own.

In my situation, I just have a big rectangular room (12.5 ft by 50 ft), plus a bit of space near the stairs and a closet, so there's not much interior framing I have planned.. none, really. Unfortunately working with a 7 ft ceiling, but I'm short so it's fine for me :p. We looked at houses with nicer basements before buying this one, but they all had prior issues with water.

My current predicament is this floor.. that mastic remover was really not worth it, and I've been venting the fumes out the window for days now. Just need to get to a clean slate so I can (hopefully) pour a new one.

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When my wife and I bought our house in 2012 we had a dumpster delivered the same day as closing.聽 We tore out everything on the main level that first week and spent the next several months replacing everything.聽 Over the years we've done several other projects including a lot of outside landscaping and yard work since the outside was just about as bad as the inside when we bought it.聽聽

The basement was completely unfinished when we bought it and I've left it that way since all of the other projects were a priority.聽 Now that we are past all of those other projects, I've been slowly finishing the basement a section at a time.聽 I'm hoping to have the half that will include the game room done by the end of this year.聽 I'm looking forward to having my game room back since I had to pack most of it up when I started the basement project.聽聽

We didn't have any asbestos in our house when we bought it, but I know what it's like to deal with those floor tiles.聽 Luckily our house is just barley new enough to not have to worry about things like asbestos or lead paint.聽聽

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Well we've had about two straight days of rain on the east coast. No water on the basement floor, but now that I have the walls peeled back I can see one of the cinder blocks is saturated near the floor. I've heard mixed things about Drylok but I plan to give the walls a coat (at least in that corner) and cross my fingers. My dehumidifier said it was 73% humid before turning it on this morning. I wonder if most of that is coming through the floor? We also want to get a few rain barrels since a few of our downspouts are going into mystery pipes in the ground that appear to end somewhere under the front yard.

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Really hoping this floor situation gets better. Lesson learned, leave mastic alone, it's NOT worth the trouble removing. I used some oil based stuff to remove it. It only partially worked and left me with a massive sticky oily mess. I cleaned the floor once with a degreaser but I can still smell it down there. I bought two other degreasers and a wire broom to try to clean it some more, but my plan is to dry it out as much as possible and just seal it with a paint or primer. The only product I can find that advertises it works in this situation costs $180 a gallon, so let's hope it works..

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10 hours ago, Alder said:

Really hoping this floor situation gets better. Lesson learned, leave mastic alone, it's NOT worth the trouble removing. I used some oil based stuff to remove it. It only partially worked and left me with a massive sticky oily mess. I cleaned the floor once with a degreaser but I can still smell it down there. I bought two other degreasers and a wire broom to try to clean it some more, but my plan is to dry it out as much as possible and just seal it with a paint or primer. The only product I can find that advertises it works in this situation costs $180 a gallon, so let's hope it works..

Bummer man. When they had to remove my composite basement floor after it flooded, they had a machine that kind of scraped everything off the floor. Not sure if that would help at this point since the floor is already pulled up, but might be worth looking into.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess this kind of goes along the lines of DIY. I replaced the brake pads and rotors on my car over the last two days. Shop quoted me $700+ to do the job. It was $250 in parts and maybe another $200 in tools I needed but didn鈥檛 have. I spent 3 hours last night and another I dunno 2.5 this morning on it (front last night, rear today). It was interesting, fun, and super frustrating all at the same time. A good learning experience and I got some neat tools out of it but I鈥檇 probably leave it to the pros next time lol

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37 minutes ago, a3quit4s said:

I guess this kind of goes along the lines of DIY. I replaced the brake pads and rotors on my car over the last two days. Shop quoted me $700+ to do the job. It was $250 in parts and maybe another $200 in tools I needed but didn鈥檛 have. I spent 3 hours last night and another I dunno 2.5 this morning on it (front last night, rear today). It was interesting, fun, and super frustrating all at the same time. A good learning experience and I got some neat tools out of it but I鈥檇 probably leave it to the pros next time lol

Did you replace the rotors or just turn them?聽 Did you make sure to add brake grease to the appropriate contact areas?聽聽

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30 minutes ago, TDIRunner said:

Did you replace the rotors or just turn them?聽 Did you make sure to add brake grease to the appropriate contact areas?聽聽

Replaced the rotors. I remembered all the spots except the back of the pads on front pass and rear driver. The back of the pads are out for debate on applying lube though so I didn鈥檛 think much of it. My kit came with new rubber gaskets for the caliper pins to I was forced to remember to take the pins out, clean and re lube. And of course the ears of all the pads and around the piston inside the calipers聽

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7 minutes ago, a3quit4s said:

Replaced the rotors. I remembered all the spots except the back of the pads on front pass and rear driver. The back of the pads are out for debate on applying lube though so I didn鈥檛 think much of it. My kit came with new rubber gaskets for the caliper pins to I was forced to remember to take the pins out, clean and re lube. And of course the ears of all the pads and around the piston inside the calipers聽

I haven't turned a set of rotors in over 10 years.聽 These days they tend to make them so thin, by the time they have 60k miles on them, they need replacement anyway.聽 O'Reilly's used to offer lifetime rotors and pads and I have those on two out of my three vehicles (the third one still has original pads and rotors).聽 O'Reilly's is good about honoring that lifetime warranty.聽 I've used it to twice.聽 Unfortunately, from what I've seen, they don't seem to sell them anymore.聽 Since the warranties are non-transferrable, I assume that they hoped most people sell the vehicle before using the warranty.聽 But now that people are keeping vehicles longer, I guess more and more people were using the warranty on a part that by design cannot last forever, and they had to drop it.聽聽

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10 minutes ago, Andy_Bogomil said:

Haha it's all a learning process - more drive in things I'm interested in. YouTube tutorials help too 馃槢

+1 for watching videos when attempting any DIY and not just one, many. I picked up a lot of little things from watching videos for house DIY and car DIY. My wife thinks I鈥檓 crazy cause I had been watching brake and rotor repair videos for 2 days straight but it really paid off.聽

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I watch a ton of videos for DIY stuff.聽 It's also a good idea to use several video sources as you will occasionally find bad information (it is the internet after all).聽 聽 I also tend to buy service manuals for any car, truck or motorcycle I own.聽 It's nice to have the reference material, especially torque ratings, which are often left out of YouTube DIY videos.聽聽

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3 hours ago, a3quit4s said:

I guess this kind of goes along the lines of DIY. I replaced the brake pads and rotors on my car over the last two days. Shop quoted me $700+ to do the job. It was $250 in parts and maybe another $200 in tools I needed but didn鈥檛 have. I spent 3 hours last night and another I dunno 2.5 this morning on it (front last night, rear today). It was interesting, fun, and super frustrating all at the same time. A good learning experience and I got some neat tools out of it but I鈥檇 probably leave it to the pros next time lol

You should definitely do it yourself again, you'll go so much quicker next time. The first time I did mine I was the exact same, took basically all day. From a time is money perspective I guess it makes sense to take it to a mechanic but once you do it once you'll do it so much quicker and learnt a new skill :)

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