Author Topic: Home Improvement Projects  (Read 9733 times)

Offline Rob

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #45 on: April 2, 2009, 03:08 PM »
Don't you just love other people spending your money for you?

Rob, how standard are the windows in the building?  If the windows are a uniform size throughout wouldn't it make sense for the HOA to negotiate a volume based discount with the company that sells the windows they select, then you pay that price plus labor to get them installed?  That is unless they aren't all the same size, then the HOA loses some of its negotiating strength.

In fairness to the board, no one is forced to get new windows.  I just feel that my unit needs them.  I really do think they did a LOT of research to get us the best deal they could find.  The windows are a uniform size except for our top floor which is a foot shorter, the problem is that many many residents aren't buying because their windows are just fine as they are, so getting a bulk price is a little tricky.  I think he's going to end up replacing somewhere around 20% to 30% of the windows in the building, and we're getting the best price available based on that.

We're looking at new windows as well, Rob.  If the replacement windows meet Obama's efficiency standards, you'll be eligible for a tax credit next year of 30% of the cost of materials, up to $1500.  That's a credit, not a deduction... you get it ALL back.  You should confirm the approved windows meet that standard, or tell your HOA to change them.  It's going to take a really nice chunk out of our costs.

Is that tax credit on the books now?  As in, do I have to wait until something is passed or written into law before ordering to qualify or is it all set?  I emailed the contractor now to ask about double paining and whether or not they'd be fully air tight (my current ones aren't), so I'm waiting to hear back from him.  I'll make sure to ask specifically about the Obama tax credit efficiency standards.  Thanks for mentioning it.

They have similar things for condo's in downtown Pittsburgh, Chris, as some of the buildings are considered "historical landmarks", and so they outside must match certain requirements visually I guess...  Not sure of Rob's situation of course, but Pittsburgh's trying to preserve as many older buildings downtown while still making them into something new.

It's not an historical issue with our building, the problem is just that many residents aren't changing theirs out, so we can't replace the entire building's windows, so the window that we can buy has to match the existing ones, and that means custom built.  It sucks, but it is what it is, and I really do think that we're getting the best deal that they could find.

Offline Rob

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #46 on: April 2, 2009, 04:11 PM »
Sounds great, I get a tax break while doing something energy efficient, and I keep people working manufacturing and installing these new windows.

Hooray.

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #47 on: April 2, 2009, 04:29 PM »
Yeah, it's certainly a great perk.  We had problems even booking window places to come give us estimates, they're so busy now.  One place the earliest opening was April 21st, and this was when I called two weeks ago.  Good things happen with the government lowers taxes.
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Offline Keonobi

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #48 on: April 2, 2009, 05:05 PM »
I saw an ad on TV where they were advertising the exact thing BC mentioned.  So if there was some sort of effective date for that provision (the tax credit), we are past that date.
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Offline Rob

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #49 on: April 2, 2009, 11:28 PM »
Good news, my board president says they're energy star windows and should meet the requirements for the tax rebate.  I have to call the contractor to get the details and confirm, but it sounds like the tax credit applies.

In theory I'd have found out about this when I ordered, but thanks Bill for mentioning it.

Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #50 on: June 19, 2009, 11:24 PM »
I'm really inches away from completing the base of my desk/book case...  I can taste it!  ****** part is sanding it at this point, fitting things that I"m off a hair or so by...  Working with bad shoulders, from my back, trying to sand...

Got a little bit of cosmetic work to do so it's perfect, then build the removable interior shelf to the bookshelf, the keyboard tray...  After that the upper shelving, but that's a separate project actually. 

Then on to a vintage SW figure shelf built into the wall around an electrical outlet.  Quick way to use the space and replace a damaged wall.  :D
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Offline inadvertent imitation

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #51 on: June 20, 2009, 01:01 AM »
Hey, am I glad this thread came to the top. I just moved into a house I'm renting. I'll ask this here, since it seems like a good place- I need to put in some kind of shower in the upstairs bathroom, but there's no existing showerhead or pipe for a shower. It's just a tub with the faucet that's typical in rental properties. Is there any way to get around that without having to call a plumber or begging the landlord to do it?
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Offline stormie

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #52 on: June 26, 2009, 01:44 PM »
I'd say call a plumber, but that's just me. You may be able to get away with using a diverter assembly like those for the clawfoot tubs, but I'm not sure it would fit with the current tub. A handheld shower assembly might work also. If you run into a relatively knowledgeable person at the Home Depot, he/she may be able to help, too.


As for us, we've recently had a couple major upgrades to our home. First, our old (O'Keefe & Merritt) stove finally kicked the bucket when the oven door broke. It was unfixable, so we needed to upgrade. The problem was, our kitchen was using the old setup, with no vent hood, no electrical, and only a chimney pipe venting the oven through the wall up to the roof. There was also just an open vent on the ceiling above the stove that "vented" the stove to the roof. It was an awfully inefficient setup. But now that we needed a new range, we needed electrical for the ignition and a vent hood. We decided to go with a microwave/hood combo for more space, and we had the contractor patch the roof vent so that should save us a little in heating costs during the winter. Ah, the kitchen is finally in the 20th century.

The second upgrade was to the bathroom. It still had the original clawfoot tub with the whole stupid encircling shower curtain and eyesore faucet/shower assembly. The vanity was some aging and mildewing cheapo wood and formica heap and the flooring was peeling up at the edges. The medicine cabinet was the original '40s built-in with about 50 layers of dripping pain and a scratched up mirror. The toilet was surprisingly in good shape and as a bonus, wasn't low-flow. It was, however, Dapped to the floor, and you could tell by the anchor bolts, the Dap was what was holding it down. The whole bathroom was awful. So, we had the contractor replace the tub and shower with a standard tub with faux marble and brushed nickel fixtures. The vanity was replaced with a pedestal sink and matching fixtures. The medicine cabinet was replaced. The toilet anchoring was fixed, and the flooring replaced. And additional storage was placed above the toilet. Nothing fancy, but my gosh, what an improvement.

Next up, a new backyard fence and cement patio with landscaping.
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Offline Chris M

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #53 on: June 26, 2009, 02:26 PM »
Last week I finished putting together my custom room bookshelves.  They look great and are about half filled with books.  I had enough space to for my wife to have a scrapbooking space and I have been able to get my history stuff up on the walls.  I've got a newspaper from 1850 when TX joined the US.  It's the official announcement for that.  I've also got an old US map when the US stretched from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River.  I'm not sure of the age on it though.  Next I'm going to build a rack for over the closet for the Lee-Enfield 303 rifle from WWII that I have.

Outside this morning I got the yard mowed and such and some pruning done on my crepe myrtles and some overly large yoppan (sp) holleys.  I also got the rest of a concrete fountain out of the ground from the previous owner.  Pretty soon I'm going to get my sidewalk redone and the rock edging along the flower beds that I've been wanting to do forever.
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Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #54 on: June 28, 2009, 10:12 PM »
I've been working on our gardens lately as well.  We have three rather large gardens in our back yard, and one in the front.  Two of them have been in dire need of new mulch since we moved in, so that;s what we've been doing.  Luckily, it's almost complete....I'm guessing about 10-15 more bags of it from Lowes and we should be good to go.

We also had an estimate on getting the exterior of the house painted.   :o
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Offline Tracy

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2009, 06:38 PM »
We also had an estimate on getting the exterior of the house painted.   :o

Vinyl Siding baby! ;)
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Offline name

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #56 on: July 27, 2009, 12:16 PM »
Just stopping in...will be one of many visits.

We moved in last month to a 102 year old home in a historic neighborhood, complete with National Register of Historic Places plate by the door.  

2 stories, four beds, three fireplaces (two working with gas logs), two bath, living, dining, kitchen, office.

I will have many projects to update on, and will get a slate of Before pics up soon.  There is very little that HAS to be done, but plenty of little improvement projects in every room.

So far:

Fixed leak on roof that was dripping into bedroom.
Painted master bedroom
Painted nursery.
Just ordered a part to replace dripping inlet solenoid on dishwasher.

To Do:

Downstairs -
Add rails to wrap-around front porch
Living Room - Remove painted over wall paper in and paint walls.  Paint the plaster medalion on the ceiling that some dip**** painted pink.  Build book cases.  Mount the LCD above the fireplace, and conceal wires in wall.
Study - Remove painted over wall paper and paint.
Dining Room - Remove hideous floral wall paper, put up chair rail, and paint.
Kitchen - Build or buy new cabinet doors.  Install with new hardware.  Replace impossible to keep clean white glossy tile floor.  Replace countertops and sink.  Possibly add pressed tin tile ceiling.
Master bath - Remove ugly tile and dated cabinets.  Remove ugly shower doors.  Refinish or replace ugly bathtub.

Upstairs
Bedroom 1 - paint, build window seats and bookcases for daughter.
Bedroom 2 - paint
Bathroom - install shower and ceiling rail for curtain around the clawfoot tub.
Hallway - build window bench between bookcases for the kids shared foyer space.

Paint hallways and (shudder) stair well.  That one is not going to be pleasant with a 25 foot or so drop from ceiling to first floor....

Outside -

Remove part of asphalt driveway to free up some backyard play space.
Purchase and install radio fence for the damned dog.

Attic -

LONG TERM - 5 or so years - reinforce joists, install floor, install stairs, finish out space.  Can probably squeeze out three good sized rooms up there.


Hope to have all of those projects complete, except for the attic, by next spring.  Looks like a lot, but all are weekend projects, and under a few hundred bucks each except for the kitchen.  After the kitchen, the dining room will be most expensive becuase of the finish moldings and trim my wife wants.  
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 12:20 PM by name »
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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #57 on: July 27, 2009, 12:38 PM »
I've been putting new lighting in my house, replacing the original 1969 fixtures.  Put up the foyer and 1st floor restroom over the weekend.  I'm picking up one for the dining room and maybe hall tonight.
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Offline Matt_Fury

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #58 on: July 27, 2009, 02:53 PM »
That was one of the first things we did when we moved in.  We noticed that every house on the street has the same light fixtures so we changed ours, mainly to be different, also because we didn't like the polished brass finish on them.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: The Homeowners/Home Improvement thread
« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2009, 03:21 AM »
I started a project back to about last December when I started picking up materials, as I wanted to get a bookcase/desk built to the north wall of my small collection room.  I wanted it to act as a small home office space so I can work from home easier...  I have the ability to sit and watch the TV in the other room, work from the one side of the "desk" part, and then bookshelves for storage on the rest.  

THe project isn't done, just the first phase.  The second phase will be shelving that goes above the desk portion up the wall to the ceiling.  I am then hoping I can get MOST of my Hasbro collection (at least the figures) onto the said shelves...  It's a space saver, more or less.

Phase 3 is a shelving unit set into an interior wall between studs that will be my loose vintage Kenner collection shelves, which was actually started because I had a damaged wall and figured it was a neat way to make it...  It's turned into basically a chore though, but that's another project all together.

Anyway, the "Phase 1" part of my desk is done, and I'm trying to share some photos here just of its progress.  I think I might've been into woodworking in another life, I enjoy it a lot, but I'm incredibly slow, so I only finished this at the beginning of August about.  A long time, but it was a challenge due to working in 130-ish year old house, and so forth.

Here's some progress images as they came about:


I started out by studding the basic shape of the entire case.  It's sturdy and mounted to studs on the interior and exterior of the house.  It's strong enough to hold me standing on it, and I'm 5'10" and about 210, so I think that's pretty structurally sound. ;D

And yes that's the Clone plush helmet candy basket from Halloween last year at Target.  My girlfriend picked it up for me.  It's cute, I couldn't help but like it for some reason.  I like weird stuff like that, as far as my collecting habits go.


This is the desk portion.  I've started some "walling in" of the studs, and the desk top itself is installed.

If you see a lot of junk, basically the room's small so I'm trying to maximize space, and I'm also working around in the room most of my collection just gets dumped into, or is half-displayed in.  Also it's my computer room, so it's sadly been a cluster-f while I've done this work, as I had to use my PC the whole time around all the mess, and likewise I had to work on the desk with all the mess around me like my PC and things (I think I took my PC apart 100 times for different things).


This is the insert shelf for the bookshelf itself.  It's removable, as is a cover over the cold-air register vents.  I'm still working on a separate smaller removable shelf that will be for bound comic stories as I finish them off and want to keep them kind of for reference stuff.

OK, I'll edit in some more here as I get through uploading photos.


This is the desk portion with the keyboard tray attached...  I have the face-boards temporarily attached for fitting purposes, as this was a lot of "cut and fit" due to the age of the house.  Short of gutting this place, a lot of things aren't 100% square. :)  Bob Villa, eat your heart out.


Staining has begun...  I chose Red Mahogany from Minwax, with a semi-gloss finish.  The photo makes it look darker than it is, but it isn't a light stain.  The wood's a base "white wood".  Nothing special there, it was what was cheap.  Takes a lot of sanding to get it nice, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper, and it stained nicely.


It's coming along...  Luke says hi there, I guess.  


The insert shelf and bookshelf interior is done.  Things are shaping up.






And here's some "finished" photos.  Bear in mind that my camera seems to really wash the color out.  It makes it look uneven to me in the photos, but in person it's quite nice how the stain turned out.  I thought it might be too dark, but ultimately it surprised me...  I'll have to dust a hell of a lot though, haha.  Shows it a lot.  We all know collectors love dusting too, eh?   ;D

The next phase should begin here soon as I'm taking measurements and getting ready for doing the upper shelves.  I'm not positive how I am going to do those.  I was toying with "posts" as the legs of upper shelving, instead of doing just planks to form it.  I'm not sure.

While the desk itself is anchored to the wall, the upper shelves will all be removable (anchored, but easily taken down) for painting reasons.  They'll give me a lot of space though for display purposes.  I'm anxious to get started, but have other stuff at my gf's place I have to get done before winter.  
« Last Edit: September 18, 2009, 03:38 AM by Jesse James »
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