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Thread: Home Improvement Thread (Not The TV Show)

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    Home Improvement Thread (Not The TV Show)

    Lots of us own or are looking to own homes, and with owning a home comes fixing shit. Figured I would start a thread on projects and issues with things in your homes.

    When I moved into my house we changed the toilet, we had to change all the cast iron pipes to PVC piping so we figured might as well change the toilet while we were at it. We bought a Kohler toilet from Home Depot, and once again the stupid flush valve inside broke. It's this big plastic tube that is open on top with a plastic piece connected in the middle with the water hose attached. When it flushes, the plastic tube lifts, but the problem is that when it lifts, it's also pushing up on the hose which now broke the plastic piece in the center off. It's made so cheaply, and the worst part is that it is impossible to find the replacement piece. We have now gone through 2 of them, the first one broke last year and now last night it broke again. We went to like 5 plumbing stores because no one had it in stock. Home Depot, which sells Kohler toilets, doesn't sell replacement parts. So now, we might have to buy it from Kohler itself if he one store that is supposed to carry their parts near me doesn't have it. I may call in my plumber to see if he can replace the entire inside of the tank for me, but I don't know if it can be done because of how the set up is in the tank. I will never by a Kohler toilet again after dealing with this.

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    We had our bathroom renovated this past summer. The contractor used all Kohler products, he said that the Kohler products at Home Depot are just made for Home Depot and are inferior, compared to the Kohler products that you may find on the Kohler website, or at a plumbing store.

    Now im looking for a contractor to renovate my basement. Any recommendations of contractors in Queens?

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    I heard that too, unfortunately after the fact though. What are you looking to do with your basement? We renovated out basement about 3 years ago. We were looking to make it into an area where we could watch TV and give my so another area to play in. We looked at a couple of different people, and we needed a lot of work done. My basement when we bought the house was always cold and humid in the summer. It also had paneling for the walls and the were peeling, it had no heat. We looked at one contracted that was going to use sheetrock, but the problem with sheetrock against the outside walls is that you still get the moisture on it which can cause black mold. We looked at Allure and they have what is called an Owens Corning system where the exterior walls are this soft material and the pieces just snap into place, and we used sheetrock for the interior walls. The put in electric baseboard heaters and high hat lighting, and it came out great. Hey have a carpeting that is good for basement floors, and it keeps it warm down there yo the point where in 3 years, we haven't had to turn the heat on once. The only thing that sucks is that they can be expensive because they are the only ones that have the contract to sell it here in the Long Island/NYC area, but to me, it's really worth it. We love it and they did an excellent job.

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    I want the basement as a place to hangout and a play room for my daughter. We dont let her play in the living room b/c we have a dog that sheds so much. So she plays upstairs in the hallway and in 2 bedrooms. The basement needs to be totally redone, around the pipes and the floors have asbestos so that needs to be cleaned out. We have wood paneling on the walls, so that needs to be ripped out, could use a new staircase, new lighting, new windows, we have a washer/dryer in an old bedroom in the basement so we would like to redo the room and make it a washer room, and the biggest thing we want is a bathroom and hopefully get a shower installed if we can find someone to do it. Im having one company come on Friday to check out the situation and give an estimate. Im gonna wait to get a few more estimates then I will call the contractor that we used for the bathroom this summer. I heard that Allure is very expensive so they'll probably be out of my price range.

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    Allure is expensive, but you can work with them on ways to cut back costs. They were going to rip out the ceiling, but to save money, we just have them do patch work on it and you can't tell that it's an old ceiling. For what they offer, they were worth the price. We split my basement to where we have the finished section, and the back rooms where I have a work/storage area and a washer/dryer room. We have the boiler and hot water heater back there as well. We wanted a bathroom down there, but would have lost too much room. It's mainly a hangout area where we can watch TV and my son can play. We also built a pantry closet down there as well. They also might not be as expensive as you think, they were more than the other contractors, but the materials they use are totally different and we think better. We can hang things on the wall and move them and because its a soft wall, it doesn't leave holes in the wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Heaven View Post
    We had our bathroom renovated this past summer. The contractor used all Kohler products, he said that the Kohler products at Home Depot are just made for Home Depot and are inferior, compared to the Kohler products that you may find on the Kohler website, or at a plumbing store.

    Now im looking for a contractor to renovate my basement. Any recommendations of contractors in Queens?
    Its the same thing with their Anderson Doors and windows. The ones you buy at Home Depot are of less quality than the ones you buy direct from Anderson or from a smaller window/door specialty store.

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    My wife and I bought a tiny bungalow/ranch style home about 8 years ago and we regret it every day. It has 2 beds, 1 tiny bath, a living room, den, kitchen, and closet laundry, and no basement. We were close to just stopping to pay the mortgage, foreclose and sock money away but we finally did get a loan approved in August.
    Once we had our kids the place got super small so it was move out or add on. With the house being "under water" market value wise we decided to add on. Wasn't crazy about going up because my house sits on block piers and not a conventional foundation, so we decided with our large back yard to go out. It cost us almost 95,000 dollars but we blew out our back area, put in a foudation with a basement but its going to just be for storage, on top of it we added 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a much larger laundry closet, and walk in closet. Project should be done by the end of Feb. They are right now hanging doors and finishing up little loose end areas. They are breaking through to our existing house next week (current bathroom will be the hall that leads to new addition).
    VERRRYY stressful to say the least. We barely got approved for the loan, contractor took his time after he put in the foundation, not to mention Hurricane Sandy slowed progress. Finally these last few weeks its been going good, and I've been painting each room every night and putting in fixtures. I'll post some pics once its completed.
    Last edited by I am Scags; 01-27-2013 at 07:01 PM.

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    I am in serious need of organization and space. In the next year or two, I want to fence my yard, rebuild my closets, refinish my half bath, and start on my basement. With my twins coming in less than 2 months, it seems like my house has just exploded with stuff, and I need to find places for everyyyyyy thing. Not so easy in a house that has about 1200 feet of finished living space.

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    I wants to add on and build an extension on my house. We had three people come in and had a really good deal, would have made things tight money wise but we were really thinking about doing it, until we checked into how much our taxes would cost. My taxes were going to double, and that killed the deal for us for now. Hopefully if I can get a raise soon we can revisit this idea in the next couple of years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    I wants to add on and build an extension on my house. We had three people come in and had a really good deal, would have made things tight money wise but we were really thinking about doing it, until we checked into how much our taxes would cost. My taxes were going to double, and that killed the deal for us for now. Hopefully if I can get a raise soon we can revisit this idea in the next couple of years.
    Yea, money is tight here too, and unfortuantely, there is already an addition to the back of our house that was added when my grandparents lived here. The problem is, it is a 25 by 12 family room designed to entertain, and not to live in. It was also built in the center of the back of our house to make the house a T instead of a rectangle, so building further off the back isn't an option because of drainage. Any expansion that we would need to be down, in our basement, which was just water proofed, but stll makes me nervous.

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    Here was our big home renovation project from the end of summer.

    Brand new roof/vinyl siding/windows on the house. Sooooooo.....happy with the result, the company we went through gave us interest free 15 month payback on half the balance of the project. Such a great thing for us that we didn't have to go through a bank, or put down an obscene amount of money up front.



    We just had our house apprasied for a refi of our mortgage and our appraiser said the improvements we made inside/out have helped hold our home value steady while most homes in the neighborhood have fallen off $20,000-$40,000 since we bought in 06'

    Sort of a bummer that the $$$ we put into the house hasn't taken it's value up much, but atleast we were able to have enough equity in the home to refi to an expectionally low rate (nearly 3% lower than what our current mortgage is)
    Last edited by Parsley; 01-27-2013 at 09:19 PM.

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    That looks great Pars, I like that awning you have, it's nice and big. We just put up an awning last summer. This was the first summer we didnt do anything big this summer. I know how you feel about fixing up your home and it not really increasing your value. Since we have moved in, we have put down new floors in all but 1 room, our spare room/office, we have all new windows, a new driveway and made it wider, we renovated the basement, ripped out all of the over grown things around the house and put in an awning and patio, and our house is still worth a little less than what we paid of is just at what we paid for it. It gets so frustrating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parsley View Post
    Here was our big home renovation project from the end of summer.

    Brand new roof/vinyl siding/windows on the house. Sooooooo.....happy with the result, the company we went through gave us interest free 15 month payback on half the balance of the project. Such a great thing for us that we didn't have to go through a bank, or put down an obscene amount of money up front.



    We just had our house apprasied for a refi of our mortgage and our appraiser said the improvements we made inside/out have helped hold our home value steady while most homes in the neighborhood have fallen off $20,000-$40,000 since we bought in 06'

    Sort of a bummer that the $$$ we put into the house hasn't taken it's value up much, but atleast we were able to have enough equity in the home to refi to an expectionally low rate (nearly 3% lower than what our current mortgage is)
    your improvements will pay dividend in the near future.houses took a dive after 1987 only to come back strong in the 90's,so some people were in the same boat back then.
    Last edited by lefty9; 01-27-2013 at 09:46 PM.

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    Yea looks really good Parsley. That huge overhang must be great for having parties and cook outs!

    You and I and hundreds of thousands of others are in the same boat. We bought our house at top dollar in 2005 and its price fell at least 40gs
    We're hoping with this addition to raise the value to hopefully 30g more than we paid (who knows though) and getting out in about 20 years, and going to Florida.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYR2711 View Post
    That looks great Pars, I like that awning you have, it's nice and big. We just put up an awning last summer. This was the first summer we didnt do anything big this summer. I know how you feel about fixing up your home and it not really increasing your value. Since we have moved in, we have put down new floors in all but 1 room, our spare room/office, we have all new windows, a new driveway and made it wider, we renovated the basement, ripped out all of the over grown things around the house and put in an awning and patio, and our house is still worth a little less than what we paid of is just at what we paid for it. It gets so frustrating.
    Thanks man!

    Yeah, without that awesome back patio/porch, I'm not sure we would have been "sold" on the house. But, it was there and with huge potential for a great outdoor area. It's roughly 300 sq ft. I put down these awesome 18x18 rubber tiles over a cracked patio that was there, it looks 100x better. The stuff was expensive, but well worth it.

    The depreciation of homes in general is a bummer. Doesn't help we bought just after the peak of the housing value boom. Had we waited another year, we could have bought the home for easily $10,000 less. F ME.

    Here is a picture of the patio when I was putting the tile down. You can see the old patio on the one edge. Nice thing too is that with it covered the rubber tiles pretty much never get rain/snow on them.





    Yeah Scags, I've passed out for a nap many a time on the couch
    Last edited by Parsley; 01-27-2013 at 09:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I am Scags View Post
    Yea looks really good Parsley. That huge overhang must be great for having parties and cook outs!

    You and I and hundreds of thousands of others are in the same boat. We bought our house at top dollar in 2005 and its price fell at least 40gs
    We're hoping with this addition to raise the value to hopefully 30g more than we paid (who knows though) and getting out in about 20 years, and going to Florida.

    Yup.....Had we not put the $$$ into the house like we have our home would easily be 30K less than we bought it for. Instead, that money has helped keep our home stable. When we bought in early 06' we figured by this time (13') the home value would had have risen 25-50K and we'd be ready for an extension on the home. Instead, we have just enough equity to refi at 75% LTV. With 2 kids now, this split level home is fine til' the girls are closing in on their pre-teen years so we have time to enjoy it now and reaccess the situation in 5-7 years.

    I'd expect we'll look for a bigger home with an extra bedroom and bathroom. Sure we could have major renovations done on this home, but I'd almost want something completely different......easier said than done though seeing how we'd have to sell this home and find a new one AND move all the shit out from one house to another.

    Ugh...I don't even want to think about it right now. Get back to me on that in 2020

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    BTW I meant in two or three years going to florida, not 20..lol

    Shit in 20 years south Florida may not even be there.

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    I like those tiles, I didnt know they made fiber tiles like that. I bought my house in 2007, and right after we bought, prices dropped like crazy, and worst of all so did ours. I just hate putting so much money into it and the value is still as low as it is right now. Homes here on the south shore in Suffolk are still down as everyone is slow starting to go back up. We wanted to dormer the house before we had another kid, but that's not gonna happen now until the housing prices go back up. We want to start trying for our second kid this summer. We have a small room we can use, so it's not a major issue right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parsley View Post
    Yup.....Had we not put the $$$ into the house like we have our home would easily be 30K less than we bought it for. Instead, that money has helped keep our home stable. When we bought in early 06' we figured by this time (13') the home value would had have risen 25-50K and we'd be ready for an extension on the home. Instead, we have just enough equity to refi at 75% LTV. With 2 kids now, this split level home is fine til' the girls are closing in on their pre-teen years so we have time to enjoy it now and reaccess the situation in 5-7 years.

    I'd expect we'll look for a bigger home with an extra bedroom and bathroom. Sure we could have major renovations done on this home, but I'd almost want something completely different......easier said than done though seeing how we'd have to sell this home and find a new one AND move all the shit out from one house to another.

    Ugh...I don't even want to think about it right now. Get back to me on that in 2020
    This is what we did. We did a refi about 3 years ago and we can now actually see the mortgage going down now, it's nice. We did the work we had to to get the refi, and we have done more since. One of the reasons we bought the house we did was because to add on is easy because there is a huge staircase already going into the attic, we just didnt expect the prices of the extension and the taxes to be as expensive as they are. I figure in a couple of years we can do the extension, hopefully both my wife and I will be making more money and we can afford it.

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    Here is a little of our addition which started in September: Still about a month to go until completed. Can't wait for the deck to finally go up. Sorry, hopefully a mod can resize them..










    Last edited by I am Scags; 01-27-2013 at 10:26 PM.

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