We just bought a new house that was custom-built in the 50s and has some unusual features. Many of the walls have metal baseboards. They're 5.25 inches tall, and you can remove them by unscrewing them, revealing a metal panel the same size as the baseboard, which also comes off, showing the inside of the wall. What is the purpose of these baseboards? Pics inside! [more inside]
Buying our first home, I'm would like to go with a buyer agent and have our first meeting set with one Saturday. I'm turning to the hive mind for your tip, tricks, questions, and other things you wish you would have done or found helpful during meeting with your realtor. [more inside]
My mother is moving out of her house and wants to sell it with as little fuss as possible. She doesn't want to make any improvements, hire a realtor, have 'open houses,' or have any protracted negotiations. Her plan is to just take the best offer of a "fast cash buyout" home-buying company. That sounds like inviting a ripoff to me, but we both know very little about selling houses and don't know of any alternatives. [more inside]
We're building a small house on a small budget. We want to dig a small cellar (maybe 6'x6') into the ground below the crawl space entrance and support its walls with a wood framework. Is this feasible? Or will the house cave in if we do this? You are not our architect, you are not our structural engineer. [more inside]
We're realizing that the only way our little family of three is going to ever own a place is if we buy something tiny - 900 square feet or less. I need some inspiration for a livable design though. [more inside]
I live in a fire-prone area in Australia. Help me think through a fire plan, given various constraints. [more inside]
How can I learn more about rat mites, that isn't just word of mouth? [more inside]
Help me figure out whether I should be heating my small house with the gas furnace or an electric space heater... [more inside]
If I wanted to buy a house or condo in a distant state as an investment, and I had an opportunity to buy a place outright, with tenants and leases already in place, should I? How about outright but sans tenants? More info within. [more inside]
This is a 'tap the judgment power of the hivemind' question. About a year ago I bought an old house (1920s) in a 'gentrifying' neighborhood in Saskatoon. On July 1st I discovered that the basement rug and drywall were soaked: I had the basement finish ripped out down to the studs and discovered several large cracks in the foundation. I need to repair this if I want to stay, but I can't decide if it's worth it, or if I should just move. Based on what's within, what do you think? [more inside]
How do you suggest I approach fixing this drainage issue at the side of our garage? [more inside]
I've been watching build up of moop from ants dining on my carport for a few years now. What can I do to remove these critters as they've seemed impervious to my attempt to remove them so far. [more inside]
So, our neighborhood has never been the awesomest in terms of violent crime and drug stuff (in Toronto, btw), and some sudden recent changes are about to make it even less awesome. We have little kids. We bought this house ten years ago as a "starter home we'll sell in two years" and just... never left. Now we'd like to leave. But where do we go? [more inside]
I have to move soon, and I've found a place that's available starting this Saturday. My question is this: how much time should I budget for packing/moving? I have a small amount of furniture as well as the usual clothes and other belongings. I've packed about half of my stuff, and will pack the rest on Friday and Saturday, with the intention of moving on Sunday. Is this feasible? [more inside]
I want to get rid of a houseful of stuff, but I don't have the time or energy to sell it on Craigslist or hold a garage sale. Are there services that will pick up & sell things for me? Location: Seattle. [more inside]
Mrs. Penguin and I just bought a house, but we discovered today that the circuit breaker box is labeled in a mixture of English and Chinese. We will eventually just turn them off one at a time to figure out which is which, but in the meantime can y'all translate them for me? [more inside]
Yay--we bought a house! The house has what seems like miles and miles of coaxial cable in every room. I'm trying to figure out if we actually need it or not. [more inside]
I've got a BIG MOTH in my house. It flew in via a space between my screen and window in my kitchen. It flew into my house somewhere--I can't find him now. ANY Ideas on luring it back through the hole? [more inside]
I need a new doormat to go inside my front door. Recommendations? [more inside]
I have a deeply nostalgic love for my grandparents' former home, a generic but beloved split level they lived in from the 1950s to mid 2000s. As an artist and crafter with an obsessive love for details, I have long noodled with the idea of making an incredibly accurate recreation of the house in miniature... but I struggle with where to start. Architectural models, dollhouses? What is the best route forward? [more inside]
There's a mysterious metallic smell in a bedroom in my house. What is it and how do I get rid of it? [more inside]
I recently purchased a house. The deed was recorded back then and the initial flurry of "you should buy our security system, new homeowner!" junk mail has stopped. After a few weeks of quiet in my mailbox, I'm now receiving individual letters asking to buy my house. None of them has quoted a price, nor do I really want to sell. I usually just e-mail the address on the letter saying "make me an offer and maybe." Should I do anything else? [more inside]
My wife and I have been working and saving over the last 4-5 years. We've managed to pay off all of our debts and have gotten ahead. It feels great to be debt free, but we want to buy a house. We found a bank foreclosure that's been sitting vacant for 6 years as it slowly worked through the courts. We have just enough to buy it outright, but that will leave us almost broke. Should we buy it? [more inside]
I've been wondering about this for a long time- how prevalent are basements and attics in houses in North America? It seems like I'm always hearing about people doing projects in their basements (or dwelling in them!)- or having all sorts of treasures stashed away up in their attics. [more inside]
So I have been working on my house and making it energy efficient. It is now time to replace the basement windows in my split level. One double wide window needs to be replaced with one that opens to meet code, but the other three single wide windows do not. Would I be better installing glass blocks in those three, not vented, or installing either a picture, slider, or another type of insulated vinyl replacement window? If I should do a replacement window, which type should I use? [more inside]
What can I do to make my home "dog-proof" for the new 18-month-old dog I'm getting from a shelter? And what can I do to ease the trauma for him of moving to a completely new home? [more inside]
We bought a house, yay. It’s a small 1910’s bungalow with gas appliances and everything basically works. The foundation’s been replaced in the not-too-distant past and it’s ready for an earthquake. I've never been anything but a renter, so what kinds of regular maintenance should I be thinking about to minimize the risk of catastrophic emergency repairs? Plumbing, gas, heating, electrical, sewers: what’s a good schedule, and what kinds of things do I ask for to make clear that there’s nothing particularly wrong but I’d like to keep it that way? I looked at this old question, but most of the interesting-sounding links are dead.
At a recent meetup, we played a cool game called Betrayal At House On The Hill. It reminded me a lot of a similar board game we used to have when I was a kid, but I cannot remember the name of it. [more inside]
Where can I find historical data on US congressional press releases? [more inside]
I'll admit to being massively confused by the hype vs. non-hype of the water filtration industry. For those of you who have gone through this, which WHOLE HOUSE water filtration system did you decide on and why? I can't seem to find adequate customer reviews that I feel are objective and believable. The only decision I have made is that I do not want a reverse osmosis system. My entire house is under construction and everything is easily accessible, so this is the perfect time to get this handled. If it matters, the home is in Los Angeles, Hollywood Hills specifically.
Is it possible my moldy unit pushing my already run-down self over the edge? How much mold is too much? For how long? [more inside]
I'm trying to rebuild a mix tape made for me by a London friend around 1989-1990. One track I'm having trouble finding started out with "Are you sitting comfortably? [Good.] Then I'll begin," which is a sample from the BBC's "Listen with Mother" radio series (click on the second old time radio for a clip, starts at the :16sec mark). After that it had a very deep man's voice saying "Welcome," over and over again while the music ramped up behind it. I always thought the man sounded like Worf, from ST: TNG. Any leads?
Seeking advice on how to prepare for making an offer on a house that's not on the market. That our friends rent. [more inside]
I'm house-sitting. A moment ago, the lights in my kitchen dimmed, and then went out. The stove was on while this happened. The A/C has also stopped blowing cold air, although it was making a weird buzzing noise before I manually shut the blower off via the thermostat. Lights and the fan in the living room are working, but everything is dead in the kitchen except the stove. Upstairs A/C and lights are dead as well. [more inside]
I'm looking to develop a good maintenance schedule for my new old home. It was built in 1930, radiator heat, newish boiler and water heater. Beyond the standard cleaning, what kinds of monthly, yearly, semi-yearly things should I be doing to make sure it doesn't fall apart?
Just moved into a rental house. House built circa 1920. Medicine cabinet interior was completely lined with nasty old contact paper. I pulled off most of the paper. Now I'm worried about three things: 1. The paint underneath the paper is flaking. Is there danger of lead poisoning? 2. Black mold in the corner crevices under the paper. What's the best chemical for removal? Bleach solution? 3. What's the easiest cheapest way to get new shelves that will fit? PHOTOS. Any advice or encouragement is appreciated. How do I make this cabinet clean and functional?
I don't like fixing old houses. Unfortunately there is much to do in this old house. The kitchen is a contact paper festival. The rental market is tight here, so landlords don't have to care.
Buying-Our-First-House-Filter: Planning Edition. I've already read some of the other great AskMe threads about first homes and renovations and all of that, but one thing I haven't really seen (here or on the oft-recommended DIY blogs) is a solid recommendation or list of reviews of planning software related to home reno/landscaping. [more inside]
We're looking at adding to our crappy 1980s colonial a room off the kitchen where the sliders are. We have a large deck back there and could keep part of the deck while adding a 3 season (or patio room) off the back. Our house faces east with the rear of the house getting the sun in the afternoon - but only for a little bit since we have a hill directly behind the deck. I'm wondering what others have done? We are torn between making it a 4 season room simply to be able to use in the winter. However I like the openess of a 3 season room and really want to avoid in our area having the 4 season room count against us in property assessment. [more inside]
If I leave my current job, and I putting my ability to close on a house in danger? [more inside]
I'm scheduled to leave for a much-needed vacation in about two hours, and my dishwasher just died in a hot & smelly way -- is it about to catch fire after I drive away? Sorry - I'm paranoid and in a rush and I need you people to help me think. [more inside]
I read online that the director did a lot of research and consulted with military experts on how an actual terrorist siege on the white house could work. Of course, he also said that white house security experts have already planned for such an attack. I'm curious what would have been done differently in real life by the white house and DC security?
I keep finding this bug in my house. It's about the size of two or three poppyseeds, almost like a large poppyseed. It's dark brown or black with a chevron pattern on its back in a gray or beige color (from farther away the pattern just looks like stripes). Sometimes I find these bugs alive, sometimes not. They don't move fast at all. They love boxes, my bed, and the bathroom. (Perhaps related to the boxes is that I also often find striped beige carcasses in the boxes that are slightly bigger than this bug, which could be related to this bug, or not...) What is this bug? My many google searches have led to nothing...
The home my wife and I are possibly about to purchase was built in 1900 and we have a few questions about aged systems and family safety. Lead water pipes and asbestos tape, oh my! [more inside]
Our Dad passed away last year, leaving his house to my siblings and me. Dad's defacto partner is interested in buying the house (she has no financial stake in it currently), so we need to get it valued. The house is in a town approximately 7 hours drive from where the nearest siblings (myself and my sister) live. There are are a couple of registered valuers in the area, so that's not a problem, but my question is: is there any particular need for us to be there when they come through? [more inside]
I bought a bat house and I am planning to put it up in my Manhattan garden. But now I'm hearing that there aren't any bats in NYC because of a disease? and that it's a stupid idea anyway because where would the bats be coming from? [more inside]
I am trying to purchase a foreclosed house with a homepath loan, but I do not qualify for a homepath loan despite excellent credit. Apparently a conventional loan will not work for the current condition of the home. Can you help me sort out my options in Virginia? [more inside]
We like a range of music: house, soul, funk, techno, some of the recent top40, nuwaveglitchhopstep, daytime disco(?). Emphasis on the beat and getting down. The other patrons, similarly, should have a pro-dancing agenda and friendly vibe. [more inside]
I am seeking the name of a film, set in post-apocalyptic Sydney (Australia). I could have sworn it had Cassandra Harris in it, but IMDB disagrees. It was filmed and was set in in the early- to mid-80s, and had a bunch of people running around trying to escape the nuclear fallout that hit the Opera House and ended up in the northern beaches. The film wasn't necessarily good, but it resonated. Can you name the film? Thanks!
I've noticed something kind of unusual in many of the residential houses in San Francisco. Often times there's a primary residence facing the street (for example a three-story Victorian) and then a second, more modern building in the back yard (like a one- or two-story cottage). There's a second street number and usually a little gate to access the back building. It seems like a different family occupies the back unit than the front unit (and the front unit is sometimes further subdivided into what I assume are condos). A bunch of naive questions: [more inside]
Is there some kind of class, part-time apprenticeship, or in-home tutor I can use to get hands-on handyman training near Livonia, MI? [more inside]