Hi from DC! Anyone want free labor? :)

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by walked, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. Mar 20, 2014 #1

    walked

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    Just bought an old house (1925) in DC. It's got a lot of work and I'm fixin to learn.

    That said, I grew up without a handy family so learning is tough going.

    If anyone is in DC and wants free labor in exchange for a little help, let me know! I'll bust my *** in exchange for learning
     
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  2. Mar 20, 2014 #2

    nealtw

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    Welcome, and good luck with the internship.
     
  3. Mar 20, 2014 #3

    slownsteady

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    Is Jersey in commuter distance?? :D

    No worries, we'll give you advice/opinions anyway
     
  4. Mar 20, 2014 #4

    nealtw

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    fuggedaboutit
     
  5. Mar 20, 2014 #5

    bud16415

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    Hi and welcome to the forum. This is a great first post and I wish you lived closer I would take you up on your offer in a heartbeat.

    Thinking back to when I first started paying attention to self-sufficiency I was maybe 10, but it was always around me in those days and anyone would let you watch and if you hung around a bit they put you to work. We do live in a different time now and not for the better in this case. Each generation loses a little of the DIY spirit it seems.

    I hope someone reads your offer and takes you up on it. I have helped quite a few young people learn by doing and I tell them I will show you how and even let you use my tools but make them do the task. That’s how I was taught and I learned right or wrong and it’s the getting started part that’s the hardest and then you can read and refine things as you go.

    The first time I ventured down south for a vacation I had half the trunk full of tools and spare parts for the old car I had not even thinking if I broke down someone could be hired on the way to get me going. I didn’t need to fix anything but I ended up helping someone else at a rest stop that couldn’t believe I had tools and a universal radiator hose with me. I don’t do that anymore but I think that skill building process is still important.

    You might just ask around your new neighborhood first and then branch out and see who you might find. A well-equipped retired neighbor might be more than happy to teach in trade for some lawn mowing or something like that.

    Stick around here sounds like you will have some questions soon.
     
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  6. Mar 20, 2014 #6

    walked

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    Ha. Thanks all! I'm up in NJ pretty often, but doubt I could swing project time for those trips. Ah well!

    Either way; I'll be asking plenty of questions; just always nice to have some hands-on time with more experience than I.


    edit: Just saw Bud's post. Thanks for the comments. I know that I'll do best by investing time in myself and others to learn, rather than just contract everything out. It's a bit rough to approach totally green, doubly do because I dont want to ruin anything - but that's the nature of it.

    Career wise I've been entirely self-taught by investing time and effort and learning from those around me. Sadly it's not home/DIY related, but I'd really like to apply some of the same approaches to learning this stuff.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  7. Mar 20, 2014 #7

    Wuzzat?

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    Is your house in NW DC?
     
  8. Mar 20, 2014 #8

    walked

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    No, NE DC. Most of NW was too far out of budget for us :)
     
  9. Mar 20, 2014 #9

    woodchuck

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    We are leaving for DC tonight after a softball game. Arriving Sat. for a few days stay. Spring break here in Alabama. Keep asking for help on here and you'll be ok.
     
  10. Mar 20, 2014 #10

    walked

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    Cool! If you want a good sandwich be sure to stop at Taylor Gourmet; they are a local chain with the best subs around. If you need any other recommendations let me know; I've lived here forever!
     
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  11. Mar 20, 2014 #11

    nealtw

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    So we need to know about your house. New homeowners always want to paint and beautify but those of us with experience will drag you to the basement or the roof because if the bones need some work the rest can be a waist of time and money.
     
  12. Mar 20, 2014 #12

    walked

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    Sounds like my fiancee; she's right there with the whole pretty-ifying things and whatnot.

    However, I've been very focused on getting the most notable issues (found on the inspection, and noticed personally) resolved first. What I call "functional" fixes, e.g. things that I know will cause damage down the line.

    So far we've done gutters, had the sewer lines scoped with a camera, and while the basement isnt great, it was definitely retrofitted with a sump and drainage system by professionals at some point previous. Electric is new as of 2004 (looks like it was gutted as a result of a small fire) and all work was permitted and inspected by the city.

    On the water front, we're at a low point in the neighborhood, so I'm addressing that right now (the city has a water management program called "RiverSmart" that allows you to get remarkably marked down landscaping / dry wells / rain gardens via associated contractors), so we're actively pursuing that now then we'll re-review our situation on that front. No obvious water damage is present, just evidence that it's been an issue at one point or another.

    Let's see here.. lots of fixes past that that are mostly cosmetic. Two bathrooms and a kitchen that were totally redone by the previous owner in a way that's embarrassing at best, and ugly as hell at worst (but functional!). Old windows across the board.

    Eventually I'd like to get each window replaced, full-frame, but doing that room-by-room while not replacing the metal siding at the same time seems to be somewhere between "challenging" and "impossible". Perfect world would be to do a bathroom gut in the worse condition one, replace window full frame while NOT replacing siding, and doing that room by room. Then eventually doing a whole new siding job.

    Ahhh, so much. Nonetheless, function and protection from future damage has been to foremost concern. Cosmetic is annoying, but not much else. :)
     
  13. Mar 20, 2014 #13

    nealtw

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    Changing windows one by one and saving the siding can be done but I doubt it would be a good idea since you want to change the siding anyway. Window installation has changed a few times since your house was built. The reason they change proceedures is because the last one didn't work and we often find water has damaged the framing around and mostly below the window. This can be fixed from inside or outside usually. But if you are changing windows and siding anyway, that would be where I would attack it all at the same time, even easy to update insulation from the outside.
    What is the condition type and age of the roof?
     
  14. Mar 20, 2014 #14

    walked

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    Roof is relatively new (5-7 years estimated, possibly around the same time the electric was done) and in quite good condition (per my observations and the home inspection).

    If the windows and siding need to be done in tandem, so be it - that may be what I do. I just would like to get the windows done in each room as I attack it for other refinishing/etc. Not set on that approach and I'm slowly leaning away from one-by-one and just planning on doing windows + siding all at once in a year or two's time.
     
  15. Mar 20, 2014 #15

    nealtw

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    When we build new houses, there is a timing thing on what gets done first to last and when you are doing an older house the same time line should be followed and it sounds like some of that is already done. It goes something like waterproof and drain the foundation, frame the house install the roof, windows ext. doors, siding,rough plumbing, wiring, insulation, vapour barrier and then drywall.
    So, we think you have a dry basement and a good roof, good electrical and hopefully plumbing.
    The framing is the most important part of the house. So want to know if the floors are level or close to it, how bouncy they are, size of floor joists and ceiling joist, thickness of exterior walls. Any changes that have been made to the house like walls removed or changed. Type of roof structure, hand framed or engineered trusses (factory built) and then you want to look at the amount and type of insulation you have. Vapour barrier between insulation and drywall in the attic. All the time you are looking at this stuff, you are also looking for old water dammage and poke them with a screw driver to see that everything is still solid
    This is what I call getting to know your house, make notes, start a book and take pictures. When you sell the house this book done right can add big $ to the price.
     
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  16. Mar 20, 2014 #16

    walked

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    Wow, thanks a ton for that info. I have been following my instinct largely, but it's great to hear it's at least relatively in-line with reality.

    Waterproof/drain foundation: Done by previous owners, in the process of doing my due diligence to ensure no future issues.
    Frame the house: Obviously not known past the inspection showing no known issues
    Roof: Good shape far as I can tell across the board; like I said - newer roof and inspector said it's in rather good condition

    Windows and Exterior Doors: These are in much worse shape. Front door sags (on the list to fix) - probably needs a new frame job and may as well do a new door in the process. All the windows are drop in replacements of low quality or original and also need to be done.

    Floors level: They're every so slightly out of level on the second floor, but not significantly enough that its readily apparent. I wouldnt know how to investigate this further, however. The bottom floor seems more level, but also has a new floor (upstairs is original hardwood).

    Bouncy: Upstairs is original hardwood. Creaky, but not bouncy. The first bathroom we want to remodel does have some bounce and I think the tile/subfloor was improperly installed. Wont know until we gut. This is the only room with noticable give.

    Joists/thickness of exterior walls: Not sure! Would love to know how to go about learning this. (although exterior wall seems straightforward enough)

    Roof structure: No clue; I'll get up in the attic later to find out. Probably hand framed, but not certain.

    Insulation: Inadequate for sure. No doubt. It gets chilly in the cold.

    No water damage found yet; but I havent really gotten to the digging part of things, either.

    Again: Thank you so far for the thoughts and commentary.
     
  17. Mar 20, 2014 #17

    nealtw

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    Exterior wall thickness. Open door and measure distance between inside and outside trim. 4.5-5" = 2x4 wall , 6.5-7" = 2x6 wall
    The floor can be a little tricky. If you have a furnace room you can usually find a place to measure distance between ceiling and the floor upstairs. Or at the stair case you can usually do a little figuring to find the total thickness or if you have floor heat registers you can usually find a place to slip something beside it to measure the depth and maybe see what makes up the floor, subfloor thickness and such.
     
  18. Mar 20, 2014 #18

    nealtw

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  19. Mar 20, 2014 #19

    walked

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    Thanks Neal.

    Question: Eventually the siding is to be done; and it's a job I'd love to tackle with a friend and the father-in-law. However, it'd be definitely a multi-day (probably multi-weekend, given realities of life) job.

    Can you rip of siding on one side of the house, and replace them one by one? I'm only not certain how to handle the outside corner j-channel in this case; all the instructions I've found have assumed ALL siding is ripped off and the hosue is wrapped, and then youre installing a new corner j-channel first.

    The first section I'm thinking about doing is highlighted in yellow here, for reference. It's a small section, and covered so I can sink my teeth in with a little leeway to get it right over a couple days time.

    [​IMG]

    How would I approach this, or do I need to rip it all off?

    (Still researching, dont worry - I'm not going to rip my siding off tonight or anything :))

    This was very helpful! Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  20. Mar 20, 2014 #20

    oldognewtrick

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    :welcome: to House Repair Talk!
     

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