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The Home Ownership Thread - Page 6

post #76 of 2461
^^ true. One of the hard truths about home ownership is that things wear out. That 30-year roof might last 15. Water heater might last 6-9 years. Siding can go a while but paint...not so much. AC units wear down, coils need to be cleaned, pool pumps go sideways, etc. etc. And more Etc. And, that's assuming your builder did everything right - I have friends in tract homes who tried to get custom products put in and regretted it terribly. We ordered our first home with two AC units, it was ducted for one. We ripped out the sheetrock and told them to re-do everything - correctly this time.
post #77 of 2461
Yup, you can only defer maintenance for so long and it's usually cheaper just not to defer it. Homes do indeed require some upkeep and that costs $$.
post #78 of 2461
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

it's usually cheaper just not to defer it. .

Very, very true
post #79 of 2461
siding project, first weekend.

Saturday, we decided to replace the siding and make that our summer project. We ordered the siding Saturday morning (Monday delivery) and then found that Hardie siding requires a nail gun. Only a few nail guns are supposedly up to the task. I found one on CL and bought it just to later realize it was missing the safety assembly (required, and $50, and available at only one place in all of Houston which wasn’t open anyway). So we ended up getting a second gun on Monday morning, plus a case of 42,380,000 nails. Yay.

Hardie also requires a special sawblade (perhaps), so I picked up new sawblades for the circ saw and jig saw, and on Monday as I set to replacing the old saw blade I found it had stuck to the saw arbor. As I tried to pry the blade off my hand slipped and I shredded my little finger on the teeth. Oh, joy. Eventually I worked the blade off, just to find that the guard had bent to the point of rubbing against the blade. So I later picked up a new saw as well.

Saturday evening I re-framed the casement window in momo’s room. Not fun but at least it’s done. Lost a few screws along the way and I’m concerned about one of the pivot screws – which seems to be an issue in other windows as well. Hmmph.

Sunday we tear down the siding, gutters, soffit decking, and fascia boards. We start on the short wall which has the worst wear and rot. The biggest issue is taking the boards off in one piece. In some cases, they crumble. There are a few board-ends tucked away under some bricks that have thus far been stubborn. Eventually we get that wall done and start on the long wall. To our surprise the boards here are considerably more robust and very well-fastened. One of our neighbors comes over and chuckles that the first owner of the house was a homebuilder. This explains a lot. For a while I thought that the builder was getting paid by the nail!

Eventually we get into a rhythm and things are going well until one of the boards comes down on a spigot and breaks the pipe. Water everywhere. 5 p.m. Sunday before Memorial Day. We cut the water to the house and I start thinking how to fix. Everyone at the Home Depot shakes their heads and says I have to sweat the pipe out, which means a torch.

Long story short, the torch doesn’t work, so I ended up filing out the pipe until I can hammer a new pipe in there and hope it holds. That gets the water back on around 9 p.m. and we call it a day.

Monday, we get a plumber out there and learn that if there’s any water in the pipes the solder won’t melt. Water is a heat sink (I knew that. Kind of). Pipe is - $200 later - repaired. Materials get delivered. We start on the bottom row and realize that the foundation isn’t really flat which is why the board is hitting concrete rather than laying flat to the wall. Oy geez. Rip the board out, set new board on sticks, fasten again. Wife’s about to use the nail gun, pulls the trigger and *POOF* the air hose loses a fitting. Really? Good Lord. Back to the HD for a new air hose and more quick-connect fittings (because Thomas didn’t discern between Industrial and Automotive air fittings, the differences are subtle). More tools find their way into the cart.

We start putting the boards up. Our son, who yesterday wielded the wrecking bar with immense relish, is now tired, whiny, and ‘down in his back’, just like his grandma. So much for football this season. We realize that the boards look so much better if you line up the seams on the ledger boards. Good thing we figured that out quickly. This means a lot more board cutting, at which point Thomas discovers the saw issue. Thomas goes medieval on the saw and finds a replacement.

The boards go up the side until we reach the top, and it’s time to install the soffit decking. This, too, is hardie product but it’s trickier since we have to hold it overhead and fasten. We ended up putting three sheets up and realize it looks like shit. I mean, really poorly cut and fit, because Someone used the old decking to set the size for the new. Bad move, there. At this point, Mrs. Thomas melts down, and Thomas follows suit, and at 6:00 we call it a day (i.e., it’s fuck this shit o’clock) and start cleaning up the site.

Tuesday morning could not come quickly enough. Thank heaven for a desk job.
post #80 of 2461
I had a handyman come to my place about two weeks ago to fix a smoke alarm. A problem beyond my skill-set. Good guy, fixed it and then sat me down to pitch me on more services while I wrote him a check. I expected that, but what I really appreciated was him also giving me suggestions for preventative maintenance around my house. (He had been a maintenance guy in the Army in Germany for 14 years) He suggested frequently replacing the intake filter on your AC. Filters are only a few dollars each. He suggests changing them 3-4 times a year. It causes less stress on the motors and bearings and helps to assure a long life of your AC/Heater. He also suggested draining your water heater to rid it of sentiment. Apparently that will make the WH more efficient, using less energy and lasting longer. He had more but I think you get the idea.

A lot of these things are really pretty easy if you simply identify them and just get to them a few times a year. Plus, these things never go wrong at a good time, do they.smile.gif
post #81 of 2461
Thread Starter 
Jesus, Thomas. I know this all was a tremendous pain in the ass, but I have to say I'm impressed as fuckall you got two walls worth of siding done in a weekend. I wouldn't even touch that shit with a 100 foot pole.

My major "handy" accomplishment for the weekend was hanging a clothes hanger bar in the basement, and all that took was two pieces of wood and a drill. And even that took me an hour or so. And I didn't clean up.
post #82 of 2461

Houses should come with an owner's manual. Mine didn't.

 

I created one for the guy who bought my last one - about a 5" thick binder with every actual manual for every appliance in the house, schematics on the wiring and plumbing, how to maintain a steam boiler, what to do in a plumbing emergency, etc. Even plans for the garden and a watering guide. I then had him and his wife over and took him through the whole thing and showed him what I planned to add next.  Even left him the tools necessary to run the place. He sold it within a year.

 

I sometimes found it more expensive to buy the tools needed and spend the time researching the project than just hiring the right guy in the first place. Pick your battles well.

 

lefty  

post #83 of 2461
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post


I sometimes found it more expensive to buy the tools needed and spend the time researching the project than just hiring the right guy in the first place. Pick your battles well.

lefty  

Very wise advice
post #84 of 2461
Sounds like you had fun, Thomas. Why do you need a nailgun to install siding? Obviously it makes it easier, but I don't see how it's necessary. I also find it really questionable that they told you you needed a special nail gun to do it. All you really need are hot-dipped, galvanized nails.

For tools you should never buy a used tool if you're not familiar with new ones--I guess that's obvious now. If you can, order online ahead of time (Amazon is actually good for tools, in my experience) or just go to harbor freight (but google the specific tool you plan to get ahead of time to see what people online say about it and find coupons if they exist). Home Depot / Lowes are great for household loss leaders but an awful place to buy tools.
post #85 of 2461
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

Jesus, Thomas. I know this all was a tremendous pain in the ass, but I have to say I'm impressed as fuckall you got two walls worth of siding done in a weekend. I wouldn't even touch that shit with a 100 foot pole.
My major "handy" accomplishment for the weekend was hanging a clothes hanger bar in the basement, and all that took was two pieces of wood and a drill. And even that took me an hour or so. And I didn't clean up.

Like a lot of repetitive tasks, it's not bad once you get all the odd details squared away. The actual task of sawing and nailing wasn't bad by any stretch - it was the periphery that made it agonizing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

(...) I sometimes found it more expensive to buy the tools needed and spend the time researching the project than just hiring the right guy in the first place. Pick your battles well.

lefty  

Truth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

Sounds like you had fun, Thomas. Why do you need a nailgun to install siding? Obviously it makes it easier, but I don't see how it's necessary. I also find it really questionable that they told you you needed a special nail gun to do it. All you really need are hot-dipped, galvanized nails.
For tools you should never buy a used tool if you're not familiar with new ones--I guess that's obvious now. If you can, order online ahead of time (Amazon is actually good for tools, in my experience) or just go to harbor freight (but google the specific tool you plan to get ahead of time to see what people online say about it and find coupons if they exist). Home Depot / Lowes are great for household loss leaders but an awful place to buy tools.

Well, of course hindsight is 20/20 re: used tools, but a lot of people don't really wear them out, particularly when we're talking well-rated current-model tools (Hitachi NV 65Ah). Parts are available (although not as readily as I'd have liked), the o-ring rebuild kit is on Amazon and can be had overnight, so unless someone really bashes a tool, it can be made serviceable. The owner's manual, parts diagram, and service manual are all on the interwebz. A lot of the hassle, though, can be traced back to our snap decision to get started on Saturday. Originally we were going to refit the boat, but we decided the siding took priority - and we had 3 days free. (HA!)

As for why the nail gun - that was what we heard over and over again from different sources (including non-retail) - only a few specialty guns would handle the fiber/cement boards. I don't really know why (although a thin nail shank might play a role here, just thinking out loud) and I didn't take a board home to test that theory - although I could bang away at a scrap piece and report back. But one more consideration is this: I could only count on me and the Mrs for this job. She's no good with a hammer, and I knew I'd be hoisting the boards into place and holding them steady. Do I really want to hold the boards for another few minutes each while she taps away, or misses the nail and possibly breaks the board? Not really. Bonus, though: the compressor will handle two tools - although I might have to carry two different makes of nail.
post #86 of 2461
Did you get a set of instructions with the planks? I googled them up here: http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner/products_siding_hardieplankLapSiding.py

Says you can hammer them in if you want. Gives the fasteners and nailing requirements. Might be a good read if you haven't seen it yet. Makers of stuff like flooring, shingles, siding, etc., all seem to publish stuff like that. Always look for them.

Anyway I wouldn't sweat the siding nailer. Obviously they exist for a reason. Maybe your house will be the one with the siding still attached after the next hurricane.
post #87 of 2461
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy View Post

Very wise advice

 

Sometimes it works against me. Wanted to change a shower valve stem but couldn't budge it. Called a plumber and he looked at it, took a pipe wrench and smashed it as hard as he could. The valve had calcified so he broke the caked mineral and pulled it out. $90.

 

lefty 

post #88 of 2461
Thanks for posting that link. You are correct that they can be hand-attached but they also say
Quote:
James Hardie products can be hand nailed or fastened with a pneumatic tool.
Pneumatic fastening is highly recommended.

Funny enough I took a piece of siding scrap out of the trash and tried it with my go-to hammer. Not as bad as I'd originally thought, with a crisp stroke I got an 8d nail through, no problem (though a nail from the gun folded). That said, still not sure I can talk the Mrs. into holding the boards up while I fumble around the tool pouches for nails. In this case, peace and harmony* costs about $160.



* HA! can I really call it "peace and harmony" after this past weekend? Doubtful.
post #89 of 2461
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty View Post

Sometimes it works against me. Wanted to change a shower valve stem but couldn't budge it. Called a plumber and he looked at it, took a pipe wrench and smashed it as hard as he could. The valve had calcified so he broke the caked mineral and pulled it out. $90.

lefty 

I'll gladly pay the $90, and more if necessary.

Thomas, your masochism is epic! icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
post #90 of 2461
Quote:
Originally Posted by eg1 View Post

(..0)
Thomas, your masochism is epic! icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

yes, well, you were already well aware of this when we played I lost all those games of chess a while back.
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