Matt Truiano

Is it just me or is everyones house all annoying to work in

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I have yet had a project go smoothly at my house whenever it comes to installation or repair. The most recent complaint i had was todays project of rebuilding the doors to my shed. all these years i've been living at this house, i always looked at the way the doors were constructed and asked "why isn't there a bottom piece to the frame of this door". But i just assumed it fell off at some point since the doors were in pretty bad shape and rotting away. I took the doors down, measured each piece and made new replicas. I screwed the new doors back to the old hinges (which were still attached to the shed) and what do i learn...the doors don't close...WTF! well i figured out the reason why there wasn't a bottom to the doors was because the floor of the shed takes a heavy dip at the right side of the double doors. And since the hinge side sat about an inch lower than the latch side, the bottom of the door wouldn't clear the opening after 50% of the swing to shut the door. 

i can go on with stories of similar frustration around my house. i figured it would be fun to open up a discussion about frustrating installs or repairs at home...maybe it will make me feel better about my house being a lopsided and rigged place. 

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I always find that my mistakes are a whole lot easier to work around than those created by others. And I’m sure the next fellow will say the same about mine! 

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Every time I work on my house I expect problems and things to go wrong, that way if all goes well it makes me happy

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5 minutes ago, treeslayer said:

Every time I work on my house I expect problems and things to go wrong, that way if all goes well it makes me happy

You would think, that a woodworker would be good at working on a house. :ph34r: 

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8 hours ago, Spanky said:

You would think, that a woodworker would be good at working on a house. :ph34r: 

In my head, carpentry and woodworking are two different skill sets with different challenges. Sure there's overlap but in the house it seems like there's so many things beyond your control that you just have to work around or work in spite of.

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I don't know if it's just the right age or what the problem is but it seems like everything is falling apart at my house right now. I replaced a few sprinkler heads and the kitchen faucet. I have casement window cranks that need attention. A bunch of the window frames need painting and attention. The list of things i need to do just keeps growing....

but everything goes smoothly. Now my old house was a different story.

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I recall Rodney Dangerfield saying as he was leaving for work- My wife said to call her if something went right. I asked a contractor if he did remodeling. He said no as he didn't like correcting other people's mistakes.

Compared to me, Murphy was an optimist.

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16 hours ago, K Cooper said:

I always find that my mistakes are a whole lot easier to work around than those created by others. And I’m sure the next fellow will say the same about mine! 

You sir, are a very wise man. I wholeheartedly agree with you.You sir, are a very wise man. I wholeheartedly agree with you.

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It was not a mistake that took advantage of you, but an assumption.  You know what they say about assumptions.  Never assume anything is plumb, level, square, straight, or in plane, when working on even a new house.  

I work on really old houses for a living now.  Some have been close to being a complete loss.   When I find any part that fits anything on that list, it's really unusual.

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Last year I was redoing the siding on the back of my house.  Doing a relatively high level energy efficiency job.  Replacing all of the fiberglass insulation with ROXUL, using polywall liquid applied flashing to seal the mudsill to the slab (and waterproof the mudsill with isn't treated) then a layer of zip r-sheathing.  That's when the trouble started.  as we were adding sheets of the sheathing, we noticed the slab was slopping.  All told, we found the slab was out of level by Over 1 1/2" over 32 feet.  This required that every sheet of Zip had to be individually cut on a angle (thank god for my Festool track saw).  Once this was done and the new Pella windows installed it was time to try to make the hardi level.  After a lot of futzing, we finally got the first row done. On one end of the house, 1/4" overlap of the sheathing, on the other, almost 2".   I have found that absolutely nothing on this house was built using a plumb bob level or square.  Every project is an adventure.  I'm not sure if a woodworker should be doing rough carpentry, as I cut my sheathing with a track saw or table saw.  Maybe I'm too picky, but the results, while likely too slow, are pretty nice (and who doesn't love tongue and groove Sapele soffit outside my exterior doors.  

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Most of you just don’t do it enough. When your full time job is dealing with all the lumps and bumps, you plan for it. Planning for it means less surprise and greater efficiency. Even in new construction, “nothing” is plumb...”nothing” is square. The eaves are full of bird poop. 

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2 hours ago, Tpt life said:

Even in new construction, “nothing” is plumb...”nothing” is square. The eaves are full of bird poop. 

So true!

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We have a pony wall which is a railing along the upstairs staircase.   It's visibly crooked.   If you hold up a 4' level from the base it's off more than an inch from the top to the bottom.

When our kids were little I put a child gate up at the top that was permantly mounted.   I had to shim the top bracket with a 2x4. :-)

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I've had multiple neighbors come over to see how I had to mount our baby gates. The one nice thing about our townhouse being 45 years old is I can blame it on the previous owners. The drywall work looks awful so as long as mine is slightly better, it's fine. Some of our doors are so out of square there's no way I'll replace them myself.

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I use 1/8" door skin for patterns. Cheap 3 ply. Glue cross pieces with hot glue. To match the pattern to the wall, a block plane and some rasps come in handy. If it looks problematic I will add scribes. And bevel the scribes leaving the face makes quicker and better work. A crazy one was the floor had a big bow. I barely had enough toe kick to scribe it to the floor.

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23 hours ago, Tpt life said:

Most of you just don’t do it enough. When your full time job is dealing with all the lumps and bumps, you plan for it. Planning for it means less surprise and greater efficiency. Even in new construction, “nothing” is plumb...”nothing” is square. The eaves are full of bird poop.  

I sold custom and factory built cabinetry and lighting. I have been in untold new construction. I have never seen a carpenter's square on any job site! I saw a high end house, $300+, that had a glaring screw-up. The closet wall met an outside wall. From the top of the door trim to the bottom was a difference of at least three inches at the outside wall. I realize that houses will settle- had one is Louisiana. Straightened up every time it rained!

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We're actually giving some thought to going with a factory built house next time around.  Nature will have its way with any structure, but at least everything would have started out plumb and level.  :)

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id like to add another. my kitchen cabinets are pretty much just shelves on the walls with a face frame and doors in front  of them. the day i decided to make a pull out tray for a small "cabinet" under the wall oven was the day i started putting money aside for a new kitchen. not only could i not find anything close to a 90 degree angle, but level surfaces didn't exist either. a piece of edge banded ply and a set of drawer runners wound up taking me all night to get it to function and look half way straight to the naked eye. 

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Had this not been so irritating at the time, I would laugh. This house has cedar clapboard siding that is nailed over 1" foam board sheathing. A short time after buying the house, I found a couple of clapboards that were loose. Not a problem a couple of nails won't fix. Right? Nooo! In the process of fixing the "loose" ones, I found that all were loose. With few exceptions, the nails holding the clapboards on were only driven into the foam board. Those that did find a stud were too short and penetrated only about 1/4". I spent two-three days re-nailing all of the clapboards with longer nails.

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A friend of mine's dad is a retired electrician.  He buys new homes and walks through them as they're being built.  Makes notes on obvious discrepancies that he can verify against the contract/plans.  Then he sues the building company upon walk-through/completion.  If it's not using correct (or upgraded) materials or using building shortcuts it's something else.  He enjoys it and makes a lot of money doing it.     

 

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