Sunday, October 2, 2016

Barn Door

Barn Door

When purchasing our home one of the things that I knew I had to do right away was cover the archway that led to the master bathroom. I for one am not a big fan of public showering. Public being three little girls who don't understand that if the door is closed don't come in. So I built a door out of plywood temporarily and put barn door hardware on it in order to give us a little privacy. I was going to just paint and distress the plywood.

I love my job. I am involved in business that goes in after the construction of homes and repairs the defects by the builders. It has so many plus's. One I haven't had any upset homeowners. They are so happy to see us come in and fix any of the water intrusion issues that they have been experiencing. the other thing is sometimes when we do repairs we replace a lot of materials. I have had some water damaged French doors that were damaged beyond repair but the fixed panel was decent with little damage. So I decided to separate this panel from the existing frame and refinish it as my barn door. The other benefit to these doors are that since they were an exterior door on a very high end home the one side that I put towards the bathroom is an aluminum clad. This makes it perfect for a bathroom because of its resistance to moisture. 

I used a spray can version of Chalk paint. I hadn't used it before but it seemed to work really well. Since the doors were existing and had a really pretty stain on them in the first place I was able to just sand it randomly and create that distressed look that exposed the underlying stain.

Now I did say that I am not a fan of public showering so the new issue was that as a French door it was glass and pretty see through. I went to my local hardware store and found a frosted film that applies like tint.It took me a few tries I came to realize that frosting the glass wasn't as easy as I first thought. If there is any dirt on the glass it will bubble and look like crap . I ended up leaning the door up against my bedroom wall so the water soap solution could drain. I turned out OK. It definitely looks better in the pics. After I applied the frosted glass, I  swapped over the hardware and hung the door on the rail.

 I picked up the hardware at another local hardware store. It was hiding in the back of the store in a corner but I felt it was reasonable at $150. however I now sources that are cheaper than that.

I plan on doing some pretty cool yet different things to master bedroom I will then finish the rest of my door in order to match my master plan.

It is definitely better looking that the plywood door I made. and I really like the frosted glass. It provides privacy yet it will still let light through during the day.   Thanks for visiting my page. If you have any questions please leave a comment or follow me on Facebook or Pinterest

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lighthouse Lane Mailbox

Lighthouse Lane Mailbox

 So I got this weird idea to redo my mailbox. They were pretty plain and since the neighbors mailbox is in front of our house as well they didn't match. I thought that I would change them slightly so that they were the same as well as maybe add a little bit of art if you will to the front of our home.

I started with  forming up the columns and setting pressure treated posts down about 2 feet.
Little Brookin Bear wanted to help so she is holding my posts kind of level. It wasn't really that important to keep the posts level since you wouldn't see them anyway when I was done.

I found this horse fence at Tractor Supply. I chose to use this because it was a thicker gauge which meant it would be rigid. I cut the fence into equal panels 14" x 14" . I was going to weld a frame but it turns out that stick welding when you have never done it, isn't that easy.

I sprayed my little baskets with a rustoleum hammered paint just so they were darker and so that you could see the grids. 

I installed my timber piece that I salvaged from another project. and mounted that in between the two posts. I then squared up and leveled my cages. I went and picked up some 3 plus stones from a local gravel pit and started to fill my cages.  

 I was working on this pretty late. I had taken down the old mailboxes and needed to get them up before the next day so that I didn't get in trouble. So I quickly mounted them in the dark. I will have to redo those when I get more time. 

  So that is where it is at so far. I need to get some post caps and I am making some address thingy's that will hang from the bottom. This inspired me to change the landscape of my park strip. so we will see what happens there but I still need to finish all my open projects for now.

Thanks for stopping by


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lighthouse Lane basement bedroom

Hailey's Bedroom

So I have had Hailey's room framed for some time. As well as the heat duct run and the rough electrical. I haven't really made much progress because of an issue I discovered from the original builder. When framing the home they ran a TJI along the edge of the green plate which left about a six inch void against the foundation to the rim board. The problem with this is that when they insulated they didn't have access to this void leaving a air pocket that would allow cold air in in the winter and warm air in in the summer. The other issue is the builder decided to run the water line to the toilet in this space. Luckily the basement is warm enough in the winter that we didn't have any frozen or broken pipes. But now that the basement is finished there isn't any warm air to keep it from freezing after I insulate the ceiling as well as sheetrock the room. 

I have been calling around and searching for an insulation company for a while now but haven't had any luck getting anyone to call me back, Which is weird since usually they come knock on your door every other month to try to sell you insulation for the rebates offered from the local gas company. 

I grabbed an ad from Lowes one day when I was picking up some stuff for another job. They were offering blow in insulation for a fairly good price with free rental of the blow in machine. I decided that for $10 it was worth doing myself. and it only took me maybe and hour. 

First I drilled some holes down the TJI to give my blower hose access, Then I started at one end and as I filled the insulation to that hole I covered up that hole and moved to the next. It didn't take long and I was able to go down the entire length of the basement. 

I am curious if this will have any effect on my heat bill in the future or the cooling bill for that matter. I ordered a sheetrock lift so I should be rocking here pretty soon. I know Hailey is excited to have her own room. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Blue Stain Pine.

Blue Stained Pine

So when giving the request to install Blue Stained Pine on the ceiling of a cabin that I am building for a friend. I thought it would be kind of dark and uninviting so I thought limiting it would be beneficial to the space. Turns out as I started researching the blue stained pine that I realized the beauty in this wood. Find out more about it Here I decided instead that  the more the better.

 In this project we framed in the stairs and some half walls and furred out all of the framing so it would plain with the Sheetrock. After the electricians showed up we hung the Sheetrock. It took us a little longer to get the sheetrock done due to the proximity of the cabin to my home. It took forever to dry so I could only get one coat a day. We still need to prime it and spot light it for defect. We will be finishing the entire ceiling soon as well as installing the hardwood floors and the cabinets.  We will be doing hardwood up the stairs as well.  I thought I would share the Blue pine that I did install on the ceiling above the kitchen area with help from my trusty side kick "The Englishman"

So with the cabinets coming up next week I wanted a place to be done so we could put the cabinets in and not have them be in the way.


 So its not the easiest tongue and groove I have installed. The hardest part was trying to find semi straight pieces. We sifted through the stores inventory and only took a third of what they had because of the twisted and super crowned boards. The other issues where finding some that didn't have broken edges tongues or grooves. When installing It was hard to get it to actually fit tight. Then my friend the Englishmen had this Idea of creating a a lever system we would get the ends tight then nail a block to the ceiling above the crown and just pull it tight. This made for much ease the rest of the process. Good thing we learned it now because I still have a lot of ceiling to go.

 Looks pretty awesome. I am going to research how to get the best finish. I really want to pull out the blue out that is in the wood because it really is gorgeous.

So the one thing that sucks about building a cabin for someone else is that its not mine. Now I want to find a lot and build myself a cabin. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sister in Laws New House.

Sister-in-laws New House


So unfortunately when it comes to building homes.Not to many people take pride in their work. It has become a game of building for as cheap as possible and selling for as much as possible. There is no construction defect law in Utah which leaves a lot of these scabby builders an out. The only law in Utah is that they have to warranty there work for a year after the completion of the home. 

Unfortunately with most construction defects they don't show up until years later. This means the builder is off the hook and the homeowner is left to pay for what ever damage is caused by the deficient work.  Usually that deficient work results in water intrusion. If left undiscovered it becomes a festering pile of organic growth and results in Dry rot. If the dry rot affects an structural member of the building the repairs can get very costly. 

I write a lot about this stuff lately for two reasons. One I see it every day. I repair homes daily that have had these issues. The sad part about that is that these homes are seriously decaying and they are not very old at all. Second is because my sister-in-law is building a home with a builder and after walking through the home with them and showing them potential problems they insist that if it was a problem that the building inspected would have called it at the four way. 

When we persist on the issues that are not remedied, we were told by the realtor representing the builder" well we warranty it for a year."  When we told the realtor representing the builder that the whole point of building a new home is that we want it to last and not have issues with it because we finance for 30 years that we don't want to have issues after that first year. he said "Well that's not my problem."  

What is wrong with these people when a simple fix or a simple piece of 15 cent flashing could prevent years of damage to just have an attitude of "Its not my problem." Why is that once you are in that contract for something that you are investing your world into that they have no compassion to help appease your worries. 

One of the items which I mentioned in a previous post was about non treated lumber being in contact with concrete. We produced the International building code and regulation to this realtor. He said he couldn't use that as reference because they go off of local codes from the city they are building. He also informed us that the city code superceeds any international building code. 
This is funny because the realtor who claims to have 20 years experience building homes has only experience in selling homes. The only way a city building code would superceed an international building code is if is more restrictive than the current code. at no time can a city decide that a national standard is over the top and delete from the book. 

So I guess if your going to blatantly lie to your clients you had better do your homework so you don't sound uneducated. Once you tell a lie thats all your known for. How can we trust you tell us anything other than lie during the rest of the construction of the home?

The reason for going with this builder was that it was the only builder with a home in her price range. Otherwise they would not have been her choice. We had heard that they were hard to deal with. So I guess you get what you pay for so.  

That being said when going into a new construction neighborhood. The realtor in those model homes do not represent you. Here I will capitalize that. THEY DO NOT REPRESENT YOU!!!! They represent the builder. This means their fiduciary duty is to the builder not you.  Most builders figure in a realtor fee in case you bring one to represent you. If you go unrepresented they make 3% more money on your home. Always find someone you trust that knows the product and can stand up for you. Some one who will represent your interests to the fullest. 

I think the most deceitful thing is that before you sign a contract they act like they are your best friend and that they will do anything for you, but the moment that you have a concern they just make excuses. 

One of their excuses, and this comes from the Project Superintendent, we have been building homes for over 40 years. My response " so your telling me that you have been building homes wrong for over 40 years."

 Please comment with questions or advice or similar experiences. I think it would be wise to raise awareness to shoddy building practices and start to stand up for the consumer. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Whats on my mind

 Whats on my mind?

So its been a while since I last posted anything. I have been so busy lately that by the time I get home I am just tired and don't want to do anything else. I have been doing a lot of rebuilding and fixing construction defects all over the city. There is no construction defect law in Utah which in some cases can alleviate responsibility on builders. This is unfortunate for home owners. They make an investment into a home with the expectation of building equity and progressing in life, but in many cases they end up having a home with water intrusion issues. This if left untreated or undiscovered can cause organic growth and cause structural members of the building to dry rot. This is not good.

My sister in law is building a home with a well known builder. They are to the 4-way inspection and just did a walk through. Although I was unavailable to attend I went the day before and made some notes. for my wife as they went through today. I love my wife, she can be very persistent when she wants something.  Some of the items I found when going through the home were.

Broken window flanges. This is the flange that the window company mounts the window to the wall. The problem is when there is a crack in the flange it allows water to enter into the house. Water will always follow the path of least resistance.

When flashing the window they did a reverse lap on the flashing. Now every window manufacturer have their own installation instructions. But they don't like their windows installed with cracked or missing flanges.

Non treated wood touching cement. At no point should any material that is not treated for moisture be touching any form of concrete. concrete doesn't fully harden for a long time. OSB sheathing is a sponge. It will pull moisture from the cement and  this will eventually turn into dry rot. Her is a link to the code which specifically explains what is required. International Building Code

These items may seem nit picky to some but to those who are buying the home and investing everything they have it is not. I see the effects of cutting corners on a daily basis as we are tearing apart walls and floors of homes were newly constructed in the past few years. It seems that most builders are in the "get in ,get out" mode. Just to make money.  Not to many people take pride in their work anymore.

If you are building a home or buying a home I would suggest having someone go with you that has knowledge about manufacture recommended installation practices as well as common sense of the building process. It could save you in the long run.

Feel free to comment or ask questions. I am happy to help any way I can.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My opinion on most home flippers

Flip Homes



 There has been a lot of excitement about getting into flipping homes. There is also a lot of people who love to buy a home because being flipped it has been updated with modern finishes and the sense of security that the home needs nothing because its all new.  I have a few thoughts about it.

A lot of people get into flipping homes that really don't know what they are doing when it comes to repair or construction of homes. It seems that the most common thought is that you buy a home that is a Short Sale, Foreclosure, or HUD ect. and that you are getting a great deal. This is not always true. The next misconception is that by just painting and putting carpet most homes don't need much work. Then put it back on the market for a higher price.The truth is, and especially with older homes. The surface isn't the only thing that needs to be updated. Most older homes have knob and pull wiring. Not cheap to fix. Homes older than 1978 commonly have lead paint.
 Unfortunately not everyone is a craftsman. I have seen many homes that the tile was set wrong. the cabinets are not square, or they added a wall in the basement to gain an extra bedroom and when they put up the sheet rock they had to notch around an electrical outlet because they didn't move it. Where as leaving it where it was was a fire hazard. Or they wanted to open up the kitchen to create an open concept,  so they remove a wall that is bearing the weight of the house. Rather than hiring an engineer to properly size a beam or whatever, they take it upon themselves to choose something that they think is sufficient Buying a home and fixing it isn't lucrative unless you have the personal know how. Paying someone to do it for you only makes the bottom line smaller unless you puff up the price of the home to make your money. This causes a false inflation.

  I have a friend I just met who had just purchased a home from a guy who had just completed a full remodel. Unfortunately, having the excitement of having a good as new house, brought the over sight of many deficiencies. In this full remodel none of the electrical was updated and the breaker panel is overloaded with all the new can lights and fancy updates. The sewer line had a belly in it and the basement has flooded weekly since they have moved in. The dishwasher was hooked up with out the metal insert that completes the compression fitting. The pressure regulator that de pressurizes the water from the city's 110 psi to below the 80 psi max that is common on most fixtures was washed out. There are many things that buyers should be aware before spending their hard earned money on one of these on one of these homes. 

 Being a real estate agent I get to go through a lot of homes with people. I have gone through many flipped houses and have most of the time advised against those homes. I would suggest taking someone with you who actually knows something about the building process as well as building codes. I would suggest that you ask for the information on the contractor who did the work on these homes and check to see if they are even licensed. If the seller did the repairs himself and isn't licensed I would stay away. Just because they're dad was a carpenter for 40 years doesn't mean that the seller has 40 years experience.

There are simple things to look for when going through a flipped house. 

Check for water staining in the basement or crawl spaces
Look at the outlets position and go to your local hardware store and get a      tester to check the breakers and GFCI's.

If they had to cut the wall around something just so its exposed like and outlet they didn't do it right. 

Check that the wet areas have a GFCI.

Make sure the water is on and check under the sinks and all plumbing that you can see. 

Just look at the finishes. If they aren't installed well or look crooked. Chances are they were installed incorrectly or installed by someone who doesn't know what they are doing. Especially new floor tile

If you love a house you can still by it but just make sure you check it carefully and anything that you are uncomfortable with ask for it to be fixed and put it in writing. 

There was a recent news story about how so many people are flipping houses now that it is inflating the market again. In 2008 many of the homes that sold were artificially inflated because of investors flooding the market by buying homes and reselling them over and over.  This is a similar situation except now its being done by house flippers. They buy a home dress up the surface then mark it up and sell it. They don't address the real issues with a property they just cover it up. It isn't always intentional it is more because the lack the knowledge to know if something is an issue.

Regardless of my opinion, Just do your homework when shopping for a home. Also make sure that the people that represent you actually have the knowledge necessary  to represent you to the fullest. 

Just to be clear there are people out there who are doing it right but you have to be prepared so that you can weed out the garbage from the real gems. 





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