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corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Hi I'm corgski, freelance polaroid camera specialist, and I'm here with my fiancť the yeti, professional python wrangler, and recently, we bought a hou


I said, we bough


WE B



Oh god no what have we done?


(file photo, the shake has since been painted barf beige but that's ok since it all has to come off anyway!)

The house is a 2 1/2 story not-quite arts and crafts with three bedrooms, a finished attic, pocket doors!, radiators, and half a century of deferred maintenance.



We spent four months picking through our city's housing stock looking for a house to buy after we realized that two people and three cats in a studio apartment is a little much. Since my parents restored two houses before they got divorced and I have plenty of experience as a commercial electrician, we chose to settle on one that was in kinda awful condition but with original fixtures/floors/etc for cheap instead of getting one where we'd have to undo twenty years of WASP-y suburbanite taste, pay for a ton of custom millwork in the process, and still be stuck with forced air heat in a house that was never designed for it. This thread is going to be a log of our work on the house, and all the blood, sweat, and tears we endure as we realize just how much work goes into a restoration project... that we're also going to be living in starting next month, since that's when our lease is up. Wish us luck!

corgski fucked around with this message at 05:26 on Apr 7, 2020

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corgski
Feb 6, 2007



First up, let's get rid of this horrible laminate.



Apparently the PO had a dog and just let them pee all over since the entire first floor has spots of water damage like this that reek of dog piss.

No matter though, we have a prybar and no sense of self-preservation so let's get to it.



Oh hey! The floors underneath are actually in acceptable condition! We were expecting to have to rent a floor sander and refinish the floors right away, but that's actually a condition we can deal with.



While the yeti gets on with that, let's take a look at the fence.



Oh. Ohhh. Well that's not good.



Time to take my trusty hammer and



Guess it's not going back. Can't do anything about that until the city opens back up and we can get a permit to replace the fence so I guess it's time to check back in on how the yeti is getting on with the floors.



Oh drat! That's really a condition we can deal with. Halleujah! Now we only have to sand the upstairs floors, that's one whole third of the sanding work we can put off!

While I'm here let's look at the pocket doors.



Oh. Oh no. On second thought let's not.



Dinner. Take out enchiladas and empanadas (and flan) from a local tex-mex place.



Remember, banisters need PPE too.

my cat is norris
Mar 11, 2010

#onecallcat



Toilet Rascal

As a fellow Pennsylvania resident...you can FEEL the region in these pictures. Goddamn.

Definitely following this and really looking forward to more updates! Also please post cat pics thank you.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Yes. Yeeeessss. Excellent.

Pigsfeet on Rye
Oct 22, 2008

I'm meat on the hoof


Nap Ghost

Definitely want to see more. I also envy that porch on what looks like a four-square!

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



my cat is norris posted:

As a fellow Pennsylvania resident...you can FEEL the region in these pictures. Goddamn.

Definitely following this and really looking forward to more updates! Also please post cat pics thank you.

You really can, it's an extremely specific look. And just wait until we get into the basement.

Cat tax:



Jaded Burnout posted:

Yes. Yeeeessss. Excellent.

I am suddenly consumed by a feeling of dread.


Pigsfeet on Rye posted:

Definitely want to see more. I also envy that porch on what looks like a four-square!

Thanks! And yes, it's definitely a foursquare. It dates back to the late teens and is mostly constructed in the arts & crafts style, but has some odd details that match up more with the victorian foursquares that preceded it.

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



So, let's take a look at this mystery duct.



To quote that infamous song, "where did you come from, where did you go?"



Uhhhh.



UHHHHHH.

Time to start leaving post-its to myself while telling the internet that there's someone breaking into my house to gently caress with me. I have no clue how the previous owner didn't die living here, since they claim the water heater was put in in 2017. We had the plumber in and the consensus seems to be that they put it in for show after they moved out and used to have electric hot water. Speaking of, the other major plumbing issues we have to address are the drain stack, which is old cast iron with a curiously fresh spraypaint job (which doesn't hide the fact that the toilet pisses water down the outside) and the sewer, which is more tree root than terracotta. The seller wrote a check for the cost of the sewer replacement to the plumber at closing, (~$8k) but we're on the hook for the hot water and drains. (~$13k)

The radiator pipes are also all leaking but since those don't connect to the sewer we can replace those at our leisure without having a licensed contractor and county health department inspections. Plus, who needs heat during the summer! Or winter! We have fireplaces!

And yes, the first thing we did after closing on the house was turn off the gas to the house and vent the basement outside, because that hot water heater was still turned on.

We also went into the dining room and started ripping out that laminate. Sadly, it's not as pretty underneath as the living room was. So much for not having to sand the downstairs floors.



You can also see I've started going through with an outlet tester and taping over all the receptacles that have floating grounds or hot/neutral reversals. There's a lot. I'm not looking forward to seeing how much knob and tube is still in service in this house. And there's a curiously large object in the living room now - one of the many pieces of furniture the previous owner left behind, a homemade bar that has to weigh at least 100 lbs.



We tried to lift it by the top originally and it just ripped right off. The entire thing is wrapped in pleather except for that nasty shag carpet step. Future dumpster fodder for sure.



Basement tables are always helpful! Except one of them is about as structurally sound as a prop table from a WWE show. You get what you pay for I suppose.



More basement junk. The broken air conditioner is the only thing that pisses me off, since it costs money to dispose of those.



Free TV? Might pair well with the yeti's NES if it's not too horribly corroded inside from being left under a porch for several years.



Turns out we overpaid for a paper crane and got a house for free.

corgski fucked around with this message at 01:18 on Apr 8, 2020

Pigsfeet on Rye
Oct 22, 2008

I'm meat on the hoof


Nap Ghost

Is this similar to what you have? Pretty cool if so.
https://www.antiquehomestyle.com/pl...n-rochester.htm

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Pigsfeet on Rye posted:

Is this similar to what you have? Pretty cool if so.
https://www.antiquehomestyle.com/pl...n-rochester.htm

Nope! Here's a quick and dirty drawing of the ground floor layout. I still need to go over there with my measuring tools to work up full plans.

Kaiser Schnitzel
Mar 28, 2006

Schnitzel mit uns






You have great original woodwork! I love the railing across the top of the stairs on the porch, lol.

Looking forward to following along!

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




corgski posted:

I still need to go over there with my measuring tools to work up full plans.

#1 top home reno investment is a decent laser measure like this
https://www.amazon.com/Tacklife-Cla...n/dp/B01N9TPP4V

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Jaded Burnout posted:

#1 top home reno investment is a decent laser measure like this
https://www.amazon.com/Tacklife-Cla...n/dp/B01N9TPP4V

I have one! In fact I'm somewhat famous at work for having one because for some reason nobody else thinks they're useful until they have to measure 30' straight up. And it makes drawing up plans that much easier.


Kaiser Schnitzel posted:

You have great original woodwork! I love the railing across the top of the stairs on the porch, lol.

That's one of the things that attracted us to this house! Not only is it mostly still present, but it's mostly in good condition. The worst pieces are the baseboard trim, which (according to my father who has a full woodshop) is easy to reproduce.

And yeah fencing in the front porch was a questionable decision and one that we'll get around to undoing eventually. Half of that is a hidden gate, which works just as poorly as you'd expect.

In other news I spent a few bucks at the county records website to find the original subdivision plans for this neighborhood, dated 1911. Unfortunately I'm not coming up with any floorplans for any of the houses in this neighborhood, and googling the name of the company on the subdivision plans hasn't turned up anything either. Most of the houses in the neighborhood are variations on, I think, four basic plans - two distinctly different arts & crafts foursquares, a 1 1/2 story bungalow, and a colonial - but I can't actually find any reference to who the architect was or if they were catalog homes.

JEEVES420
Feb 16, 2005

The world is a mess... and I just need to rule it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18F3MFevtME

I had to evaluate one last year and what they don't tell you in their sales pitch is you have about 5 seconds to get to the end point or pause and start again. You also have to treat it "like your carrying a cup of hot coffee" or it doesn't measure right. I really couldn't find a practical use for it that a laser/tape measure and some basic math skills couldn't do faster.

edit: and I just realized this is not the tools thread talking about tape measures too many discussions on measuring devises going on.

JEEVES420 fucked around with this message at 18:11 on Apr 8, 2020

corgski
Feb 6, 2007





Slightly more accurate ground floor plans. I haven't drafted by hand in years and also don't have a straightedge unpacked, but luckily I had a computer motherboard and a small tracing light still on my desk! This is so the yeti can go over and start taking measurements while I'm sleeping or packing up our apartment.

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



And the final drawing. Still a bit off, but close enough for everything I'm doing. If this matches any catalog houses from the mid-late teens I'd love to know! Fireplaces are on the north wall of the dining room and west wall of the living room.



E: fixed some wonkiness with the dining room. And because I know people always love to see things in 3d:

corgski fucked around with this message at 23:10 on Apr 16, 2020

Brennanite
Feb 14, 2009


I will be following this with great interest because you are literally living my dream right now. Sadly, I am married to a man who would live in a house so new that he watched it being built before his eyes, so I must live vicariously through you.

the yeti
Mar 29, 2008

I FUCKING LOVE COCAINE



Short video walkthrough while I was cleaning up some this morning:

https://diode.zone/videos/watch/11a...cf-b728d0a6d203

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



No photos today because I left my camera at the house. I was over there taking care of electrical work that needs to happen before anyone actually sleeps in the house and I really want the personal phone number of the inspector who signed off on the panel install. Itís a clusterfuck.

It's a shiny new GE powermark gold that the seller had put in before closing along with a brand new 200A service from the pole, but absolutely none of the wiring inside the house was upgraded at all, nor was there any attempt to dress up the visible wiring to make it look like it was done to code. Knob and tube was tied into a standard 20A breaker with a 12/2 jumper and there's cloth-wrapped 14/2 from the 50s also going directly into 20A breakers. No AFCIs or GFCIs in the panel at all.

After tracing that out I moved on to replacing an arcing push button switch and discovered there was an attempt made at wiring up these old DPST switches as 3-way switches using the existing knob and tube. They had actually just wired the two switches in series and the second one switched between connecting hot and neutral to the light fixture. I replaced the switches with something less likely to burn the house down, and removed the neutral connection. Eventually I'm going to purchase reproduction push button switches, but in the meantime ugly and cheap contractor pack switches are fine and less likely to catch fire.

I also put together an order for enough 12/2 and 12/3 to replace all of the knob and tube and cloth wrapped NM I find. At some point I'll also buy the necessary AFCI/GFCI breakers to meet code, but first I need to make sense of the rest of this house's wiring.

corgski fucked around with this message at 08:26 on Apr 13, 2020

wooger
Apr 16, 2005

YOU RESENT?

corgski posted:

I was over there taking care of electrical work that needs to happen before anyone actually sleeps in the house and I really want the personal phone number of the inspector who signed off on the panel install. Itís a clusterfuck.

Is it not possible to get his name and then complain directly to the local inspection company / government department.

If itís clear the house has never been upgraded from 1950s electricity, should have repercussions I think.

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



It is, the sticker on the panel has the contact info of the agency that does the electrical inspections in this area so I can file a complaint once they're actually open again.

I wouldn't even care so much if properly sized breakers were used for the 14/2 NM and if the K&T were on a 15A DFCI. The latter's not code because knob and tube isn't permitted if you're making any changes to the branch circuit but it does at least protect against the most common failure modes and shows some attention to making sure the house doesn't burn down.

corgski fucked around with this message at 10:01 on Apr 13, 2020

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



So I asked around and it looks like the agency that does inspections for our town considers service replacements, up to and including new panels and breakers, to not be a modification to any branch circuit. So that explains the service install without any attempt to even hide the code violations in the rest of the wiring, but doesn't explain the improperly sized breakers. Honestly I think that's a good policy given how many houses around here have old federal pacific panels that need to be replaced, even if it does mean I have more of a headache to deal with.

Anyway, here's the old meter box waiting for me to rip it off the wall next to the new one. I'm really glad that got replaced before we closed.



In today's news, the plumbers got started a day early. I went over this evening to put batteries back in the keypad locks so the yeti doesn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to let them in again.



The carnage.



Goodbye murder heater. We're getting a power vented tankless to replace it. Y'know, like should have been installed to begin with.



More cast iron and some of the uglier supply plumbing. Apparently it just sorta crumbled into dust when they started handling it.



Yay water damage. Replacing the bathroom subfloor just moved higher up on our list of Things To Do.



The drain had been leaking for so long it rotted through the exterior wallboard. It probably would have been worse but for the fact that you can see daylight through the brick facade.

I also got really pissed at this cabinet that was just low enough for me to smack my head on it constantly, so I ripped it off the wall.



It seems happy in its new home in the basement of shame. Evil bastard.



I have claimed one of the kitchen drawers as my junk drawer. God help the yeti if he ever sticks his hand in here.



Cat tax:



E: here you can get a better view of how rotten the cast iron was and also the quality spraypaint job the seller used to try to hide the issue. No comment on the gas station bathroom textured plastic stuck to all the basement walls. It was installed by an overpriced waterproofing company the seller had hired and all it really serves to do is trap moisture against the block and prevent inspection. Removing it from the basement and getting a better idea of the state of the foundation behind it will be a future carnival of horrors episode.

corgski fucked around with this message at 10:09 on Apr 14, 2020

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Good morning something awful!

I was up with coronavirus anxiety most of the night so I funneled that energy into shoving our breaker panel into an excel-shaped hole, and I mostly succeeded.

The current layout is a mess and it's all going away, here's the new plan.



It provides one dedicated 20A for window ACs in each of the upstairs rooms, as well as a second 20A for the normal receptacles scattered around, the absolute bare minimum for the kitchen, and completely separate lighting circuits, including a dedicated circuit for basement lighting because I don't like getting stuck in the dark after a nuisance trip. It even leaves enough spaces open for me to run a subpanel to our backyard shed eventually.

E: whoops I duplicated the living room receptacle

corgski fucked around with this message at 05:19 on May 6, 2020

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



The bathtub was connected to the drain stack with a length of automotive radiator hose.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




Fun Shoe

corgski posted:

The bathtub was connected to the drain stack with a length of automotive radiator hose.

That doesn't seem like it code.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Liquid Communism posted:

That doesn't seem like it code.

Maybe the check faucet light came on

angryrobots
Mar 31, 2005



Oven Wrangler

corgski posted:

The bathtub was connected to the drain stack with a length of automotive radiator hose.

GDDS

Pershing
Feb 21, 2010

John "Black Jack" Pershing
Hard Fucking Core



corgski posted:

The bathtub was connected to the drain stack with a length of automotive radiator hose.

Your house is secretly a long-dormant Transformer. Put some Energon cubes in the oven and see what happens.

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Liquid Communism posted:

That doesn't seem like it code.

P2181

Oh wait you meant building code?

Pershing posted:

Your house is secretly a long-dormant Transformer. Put some Energon cubes in the oven and see what happens.

McMaster Carr sells those, right?

cheese eats mouse
Jul 6, 2007


Oh hey! I'm so on this thread.

You and the Yeti are going to do this house proud!

Mofette
Jan 9, 2004

Hey you! It's the sound, in your head goes round and round




I'm really excited to see what you do, and I'm REALLY excited to come visit and see plants in your sunroom!

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010



corgski posted:



Free TV? Might pair well with the yeti's NES if it's not too horribly corroded inside from being left under a porch for several years.

From this angle this looks a LOT like the TV my parents bought when I was born and kept using well into the LCD era... I don't think they got a new TV until I was in college. So, uh, if you feel like taking a picture from the front, I could confirm/deny that it's a pretty durable item (they never had to repair it in 18 years of use)

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Pham Nuwen posted:

From this angle this looks a LOT like the TV my parents bought when I was born and kept using well into the LCD era... I don't think they got a new TV until I was in college. So, uh, if you feel like taking a picture from the front, I could confirm/deny that it's a pretty durable item (they never had to repair it in 18 years of use)

I was just out there today and completely spaced on taking a picture of it. I'll do it next time!

The plumbing continues. This is the fun part because we're paying contractors to do it.



New sink drain is installed, with a cleanout below the trap



All new supply plumbing is im-pex-able



Tankless water heater is on the wall


Trash pile grows


PO installed a house trap but didn't get the sewer sleeved while it was open, so all that has to come out and be redone properly.


The rest of the sewer work, however, is in and covered


Another pex glamour shot


Cat tax. This one with the crunchy ear is "Ragamuffin" or Raggy for short. He'll nurse on your shirt if you let him.

Pigsfeet on Rye
Oct 22, 2008

I'm meat on the hoof


Nap Ghost

Save any copper plumbing or wiring, sell it at a recycling place.

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Pigsfeet on Rye posted:

Save any copper plumbing or wiring, sell it at a recycling place.

I've got a 40 gallon tub full of scrap in my storage unit that I've been hanging on to because the price for copper is poo poo right now.

tater_salad
Sep 15, 2007


those pex pictures have me all excited. I can't wait to start ripping out rats-nested plumbing from the PO and do it right. I need to toss a pic or 2 in the crappy construction thread of it but they ran a 15ish foot line of flexible copper to the laundry tub to supply the dishwasher. there's a supply line literally 4 ft away for the kitchen sink. I guess it was easier to just add another but it's stupid. It looks like a guy just took random poo poo off their truck to hook it up bacuase it looks like it's adapted 3x

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



tater_salad posted:

those pex pictures have me all excited. I can't wait to start ripping out rats-nested plumbing from the PO and do it right. I need to toss a pic or 2 in the crappy construction thread of it but they ran a 15ish foot line of flexible copper to the laundry tub to supply the dishwasher. there's a supply line literally 4 ft away for the kitchen sink. I guess it was easier to just add another but it's stupid. It looks like a guy just took random poo poo off their truck to hook it up bacuase it looks like it's adapted 3x

You absolutely should! The plumbing here was a nightmare and I don't fault the yeti one bit for deciding to just ask the plumbers to do it all since they were already going to be in fixing the drains.

Well, all of it except the radiator lines. Those we're still doing ourselves. Hopefully my father will be able to come out to help with that, I don't know poo poo about plumbing but he and my stepmom both do.

And speaking of rats nests, once I get into the electrical I'll have a real show for y'all - this place has had wiring redone or added at least four times since it was built. In addition to the knob and tube, there's ancient 2 conductor MC that was at the time supposed to be grounded through the shell, but of course isn't any longer, cloth-wrapped NM from the late 50s, and two different brands of newer NM. Some of that NM was also run through abandoned heating ducts (which yes means this house has both heating ducts and the apparently original radiators, I'm very confused.) and the laundry chute. Just ripping out the wall behind the stove revealed two boxes buried in the wall, one served by the aforementioned MC, and another served by the cloth-wrapped NM. As I go through doing the wiring, I plan on pulling entirely new cable and removing every buried junction I can find, which should be a show of its own.

Anyway, today the yeti was out there ripping out the carpet in his future office and he sent me these pictures.


Extremely vibrant carpet padding.


And out! We still have to grab a screwdriver to get the staples out before we sand the floor.


These floors were vaporwave before it was cool.


Goodbye carpet, you were never loved and won't be missed. Rest in the dog piss you were drenched in.

A peek under the carpet in the attic revealed floors in far better condition.


And a question for the thread - I posted over in the plumbing questions thread, but I have a lot of questions about best practices for re-plumbing these radiators.

corgski posted:

Not sure if this should go in plumbing or HVAC, but my house has big original cast iron radiators on a two pipe hot water system. The pipe is all ancient and corroded black iron, 1"+ for the trunk lines and the biggest radiators, 3/4" for the smaller ones. I want to rip it all out and replace it. What's the best way to go about doing this?

What I've gotten so far seems to be:
ē Use pex-al-pex specifically
ē Home run everything to a manifold by the boiler instead of mimicking the current two pipe layout
ē 1/2" PEX should be good up to 15,000 BTUs (which is honestly more heating than the largest room in the house needs based on the heat loss calculators I've found online.)

What I want to know:
ē Is the internet right in saying that 1/2" pex can replace significantly larger diameter iron pipes in hot water heating applications?
ē What pex-al-pex products are best for someone with relatively little plumbing experience? My googling turns up DIYers complaining about the color of the pipe but never relative ease of installation.
ē Will I need to make any modifications to the radiators beyond adding fittings to adapt them to the smaller pipe?

Any and all advice would be welcomed!

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




corgski posted:

Any and all advice would be welcomed!

I'm not an expert but I can tell you what I've done and had done.

Leaving the underfloor heating aside for the moment, all the hot and cold water in my house is run in 15mm OD pipe, either copper (around the boiler and under the screed floor) or "barrier" PEX (everywhere else). Barrier PEX is layered PEX -> oxygen barrier -> PEX and is pretty standard round here.

The builder used (and I continue to use) push-fit connections for supply lines, they're very easy to use, and you can connect PEX directly to copper with them if you want. The only tool I needed was a cheap adjustable pipe cutter. In the UK the leading brand is called JG Speedfit.

The underfloor heating uses 16mm OD PEX pipes, but I'm betting they're much the same construction. 15mm and 22mm pipes are the most commonly sold, from what I've seen.

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Not much of an update to be had today. The plumbing work continues, slightly delayed because sleeving the sewer from the basement failed so they have to excavate our front lawn to finish the job. Today the plumbers were off so the mason was able to come by to repoint and deal with the critical issues in the brick facade. We donít want to get hit by falling bricks before we can afford to have all the trouble spots stripped out and rebuilt.

The yeti also has an entire post about the state of the lawn and garden that heíll get around to posting sometime soon. I donít want to steal his thunder except to say we found more PO fuckery.

Oh and also we move on Friday. Hopefully the sewer connection is done by then. 🙃

corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Welp the electrical here is hosed. I made the mistake of plugging in my computer in the room thatís going to become my office and now the entire room reeks of ozone and I have two more breakers off until I can pull new cable. 🙃

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corgski
Feb 6, 2007



Well, weíre moved in. The plumbing is working perfectly. The electrical is anything but- we have only one working receptacle in each room right now after one of the POís DIYed wiring jobs nearly burnt the house down and I hacked out everything I couldnít easily trace.

That said, the first delivery for my next big project has arrived. I figure if Iím putting holes in all the walls for electrical and heat I may as well wire the house for data while Iím at it.

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