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What are the some tells of home improvement amateurs?

Home improvement professionals and those with a critical eye for detail: what are the 'tells' of DIY home improvement? What separates amateur work from professional work? [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama on Apr 1, 2014 - 21 answers

 

Dealing with city government - getting a certificate of occupancy

Dealing with city government - getting a certificate of occupancy. I don't know where else to turn for strategies or information, so thanks for reading. I'll try to make this concise: [more inside]
posted by Blackcow167 on Mar 27, 2014 - 8 answers

VCR Ate My Copy of The Half-Assed Approach to Foundation Repair

The decades-old parging/plaster on our basement walls is scabby and peeling. The concrete itself is crumbly in places and there are a couple of cracks. It seems to me that the solution to my problem is to remove the old parging/plaster, fill the cracks with hydraulic cement, and patch the crumbly parts. But I'm less clear on the hows, whys, and whens. [more inside]
posted by Alvy Ampersand on Feb 9, 2014 - 6 answers

Show me more houses!

I love reading home renovation / decoration blogs. My feedly has gone a little stale, and I'd love new ideas. [more inside]
posted by good day merlock on Jan 16, 2014 - 15 answers

Tub is leaking water through the floor, and I'm very worried (Cleveland)

Living in the Cleveland, Ohio area. The area around my upstairs bathroom's bathtub has been leaking through the floor to the downstairs bathroom for some time now. I kept putting off getting it fixed, and when my son who is home visiting saw it grew extremely worried. He said that it is damaging the structural integrity of the house and could also be breeding "black mold" which is a health hazard. Is it really that bad? What kind of work would be necessary to fix this, and should a professional be called? (Picture inside) [more inside]
posted by BuddyBoo on Dec 31, 2013 - 6 answers

Specialist brick repairs in South London

My house, a standard Victorian terrace, has several spalled bricks. I'm looking for a reliable, preferably cheap, brickwork specialist in [South] London. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Dec 18, 2013 - 4 answers

Temporary bookshelf walls - outside of NYC?

Can I get a temporary bookshelf wall outside of NYC? [more inside]
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats on Nov 12, 2013 - 11 answers

How will 3rd floor renovations affect us?

If you've ever lived on the first floor and had renovations going on on the third floor/roof (adding dormers, installing plumbing for a bathroom, etc), please tell me your story! I'm trying to figure out if this will be a minor inconvenience (eg, only distant noise) or a major headache (feels like it's happening in my apartment). The building is a 2-family condo with three floors altogether. Thanks!
posted by cider on Nov 12, 2013 - 10 answers

Are 24"x12" wall tiles too big for a standard 5' bathtub surround?

We fell in love with some large travertine tiles but I'm worried that they may not be appropriate to the size of our bathroom. The large-sized wall tile examples I see online are all in big rooms with soaker tubs or oversized walk-in showers. I can't tell if this is because large tiles aren't suitable to "real world" bathroom sizes or if these floor-to-ceiling applications just showcase the tiles better. [more inside]
posted by bonobothegreat on Sep 14, 2013 - 12 answers

great neighborhood, dumpy house. best way to improve?

My husband and I just bought a house in a great neighborhood, and it has a wonderful interior. But the exterior looks like this, except with a completely flat roof (we live in Arizona). It is made of concrete block in the shape of Phoenix brick (a long thin kind of bricks popular around here). The concrete is painted white, with paint that is now peeling. We have talked about doing a roof-over with elevated pitch and spanish tiles, and/or about building a facade but have no ideas on what it might look like. Googling has failed me. Can anyone link us to houses that are made like ours: (a concrete shoebox) that have been renovated to have great or much-improved curb appeal? Or any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.
posted by powerbumpkin on Jul 27, 2013 - 19 answers

How to fix this flooded kitchen floor?

Bought this house about three years ago and then learned that the water pipes, under the concrete-terrazzo slab, had burst and flooded the place (no, incompetent inspector did not notice this). The previous owner had then laid down an inexpensive woodlike floor. That was carelessly done but looked okay overall, except that residual water had stained and darkened a few areas. I had the house re-piped and the floor seemed to have dried and healed leaving just those few dark spots. [more inside]
posted by fivesavagepalms on Jul 21, 2013 - 7 answers

Is re-siding an ugly house before selling it a good investment?

We're thinking of selling our house within the next 18-24 months, and the siding on it now is ugly-ass T1-11 that I put on myself about a decade ago when I was young and full of hubris. We're getting quotes in the $12-15K range to redo the whole two-story house in mid-quality vinyl. Is this an investment that will pay for itself in terms of resale value? [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Jul 11, 2013 - 18 answers

What flooring would you want in a Miami condo?

We have inherited a dated 2 bedroom condo in Sunny Isles, Florida that we intend to sell in the autumn. The market for permanent residents and snow birds is pretty strong, and we've decided not to do a gut reno, but do want to "neutralize" it somewhat with fresh paint and flooring. White paint is easy to decide, but how to replace the 10 year old blue carpet is puzzling us. As a Floridian, would you want / expect ceramic throughout a 2 bdrm condo or laminate "hardwood"? Why? Our realtor advises ceramic tile throughout, but as Ontarians, that seems weird for bedrooms. I have seen this question but our situation is really focused on immediate resale in an upper middle class community - universally attractive is more important than durability.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve on Jun 26, 2013 - 15 answers

Can you put siding over Formstone?

I'm looking to update the front of my 15' x 30' attached Baltimore row home. It currently features ugly formstone. I'd like to add a mason veneer siding on top of the existing formstone if possible. Can this physically be done? Thank You! Eric
posted by emeyer5269 on Jun 4, 2013 - 2 answers

Help me turn my rickety old garage into a usable workspace!

I'd like to turn my old (built around 1925) garage into a comfortable office/workspace, but because this is a rental I don't want to spend a lot of money. It's basically a 10x10 wood box with one very tiny window and a couple overhead flourescent lights. Biggest problems: It gets hot in the summer/cold in winter, and smells kinda weird. Your help urgently requested! [more inside]
posted by hamsterdam on Jun 3, 2013 - 11 answers

Design software for the homeowner?

I have a few household projects for which I'd like to mock-up some designs. Mostly pressingly a bathroom, and after that garage storage, landscape design, and other things. What is the best (free, or individual consumer-priced) software to get the job done? [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion on Jun 3, 2013 - 4 answers

Commercial Renovation - GoPro Time-lapse?

A friend is renovating a historic commercial building, and I would like to capture it via a few GoPros using time-lapse. There are issues. [more inside]
posted by atomicmedia on May 29, 2013 - 5 answers

Purchasing an old home: lead water and air duct questions inside.

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]
posted by Wrongshanks on May 9, 2013 - 14 answers

Architect versus contractor

We're planning a kitchen renovation for our century-old house this summer and have been working with an architect who has so far given us a kitchen layout and rough design. We're now getting quotes from general contractors. The GC we met with last night, who we've worked with before and trust, said further work by the architect will be a waste of money because the progress of the project will depend on how construction goes. Is he right? [more inside]
posted by chickenmagazine on Apr 24, 2013 - 11 answers

building renovation driving me nuts

My large (about 220 units) apartment building is currently undergoing MAJOR renovation-- we are talking cement cutting and jackhammering, 8am-5pm, five days a week. It is literally impossible to stay in the apartment. I have been home a few times when construction is going on, and I feel like I hear significantly less well. My "landlord" (management company and superintendant) are all really great people, and they have made an effort to give us notices, etc. The thing is that after the first project, they announced a "phase 2," and apparently there is a phase 3 in store. All told, they are planning for this to go on until June 2014 (just called and asked). I work from home with lots of books and stuff. For the past six months I have been working out of coffeeshops, libraries, parks. But it's still really hard. I can't take all of my books with me everywhere. When I am sick, I can't stay home and rest...because I get no rest. If I work really late (which I sometimes do because it's the only way to get some quiet time), I can't sleep in the next day. I am at my breaking point, and my lease goes on for another 6 months. What can I do? Is it reasonable to ask for a rent reduction? Can I ask them to move me to another unit (it's a big company with a lot of properties)? Is this reasonable enough of a reason to break my lease?
posted by atetrachordofthree on Apr 23, 2013 - 10 answers

Would you show me some great front porches?

I am looking for google street view links to neighbourhoods or streets that have nice front porches as design inspiration for an upcoming renovation. [more inside]
posted by davey_darling on Apr 20, 2013 - 9 answers

Reflooring part of a rental property (kitchen and living room).

My boyfriend owns a house in North Florida that needs to have the floors in the kitchen and living room redone. He rents out the house. He's looking for a good 'middle way': not expensive, but not so cheap that it will have to be replaced soon; nice, but not so nice that it it might get easily damaged by renters (nor ugly, which would lower rent value). N.B.: the price has to include installation since he won't be around to install it himself. Any suggestions for what types of flooring he should look at, especially given N. Florida's climate?
posted by flibbertigibbet on Apr 17, 2013 - 13 answers

Help me plan a kitchen renovation in Brooklyn.

I just bought a 1 bedroom co-op in Brooklyn. I want to gut the kitchen. I have 30k. Is this possible? Can you recommend an architect? Share your story? [more inside]
posted by (Over) Thinking on Apr 17, 2013 - 15 answers

What will fit into this oddly shaped bathroom space?

We're redoing a bathroom in a house we plan to sell. It's a very old house, so nothing is quite standard. Between the new sink cabinet and the stacked washer / dryer there is a space that's about 10 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 80 inches high. We'd like to make it functional in some way. It also should look nice. [more inside]
posted by heigh-hothederryo on Feb 10, 2013 - 14 answers

Proper Mounting Techniques

After years of renting, I can finally (finally!) mount my TV and speakers to the walls. Help me not screw this up. There is plaster and lath involved. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Feb 6, 2013 - 10 answers

Where's the tile? Like, now

Need to buy some subway tile in NYC... quickly. [more inside]
posted by zvs on Nov 5, 2012 - 12 answers

Drip Drip Drip

Am I stuck with shouldering this or can I still go after the contractor? Water leaks from the upstairs shower into the kitchen on the first floor. This, after the bathroom was completely gutted and new plumbing, fixtures and tile installed. Problem is, the renovation was completed just over five years ago. [more inside]
posted by terrier319 on Aug 31, 2012 - 9 answers

Is it possible for a normal middle class to have a well designed home like those in Dwell?

Is it possible for a normal middle class to have a well designed home like those in Dwell? [more inside]
posted by willy_dilly on Aug 27, 2012 - 15 answers

Save my home from the 1980s!

I recently moved to (West) London from overseas and have to do some reasonably major renovation work on a 2-bed flat. This will include re-doing the floors, removing the dreaded "woodchip" wallpaper and therefore possibly re-plastering, replacing or fixing Artex-ed ceilings and possibly some dated/inefficient windows, and re-doing a kitchen. I am not sure what type of professional to call to get an overall plan and estimates or where to look for such professionals. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 26, 2012 - 5 answers

help me take the best care of my new kitchen

I'm re-doing my kitchen, and it's almost done. Help me take care of it, to keep it looking awesome for a very long time. [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Aug 7, 2012 - 11 answers

The chisel isn't cutting it. No, seriously, it's not cutting at all.

How do I remove a small concrete shower pan lip without losing my sanity in the process? Special snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by muirne81 on Aug 1, 2012 - 6 answers

PEX tubing health risks?

Does anyone have information on using PEX tubing for residential use, particularly regarding long term health risks? [more inside]
posted by batou_ on Jul 25, 2012 - 9 answers

Help me beat the heat (in my attic)!

Calling all home improvement gurus and energy efficiency wizards--help me figure out how to better insulate my attic! I've read through a bunch of information on energystar.gov and other websites about insulating attics, but the more I read the more confused I get about how to do this, because I have the world's weirdest attic. HELP. [more inside]
posted by iminurmefi on Jul 3, 2012 - 12 answers

Needing wood of a certain size

I am fixing the flooring in our kitchen and pulled out some pieces of white oak. They are 5/8" x 2 1/4" tongue-and-groove. The pieces have stamped underneath: "MO. HDW. FLG. CO. BIRCH TREE. MO.N.O.F.M.A." [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 28, 2012 - 13 answers

They both seem right Which one is righter?

Sink first or tile first? [more inside]
posted by pdb on Jun 24, 2012 - 11 answers

New house!

We just bought a house... yay for us! How much would it cost to add a mud room? [more inside]
posted by torisaur on Jun 3, 2012 - 10 answers

Granite or Laminate Countertops

Laminate or granite for kitchen countertops? [more inside]
posted by Elsie on Jun 3, 2012 - 45 answers

1980's authenticity valuable?

We have a small 1982 tract home. It has all the original fixtures: brass doorknobs, little clear plastic knob faucets, brown ceiling fans with brass filigree. Is there any benefit to leaving it as is? [more inside]
posted by kristymcj on May 29, 2012 - 9 answers

ISO electrical expertise

I just bought a house (yay!) and I need some schoolin' by educated mefites about the relative importance of various electrical upgrades my inspector recommended. If you're an electrician, a handyman with electrical expertise, or just a homeowner that's been through this, I'd love some thoughts on what is worth spending $$$ to upgrade now, versus not that important. [more inside]
posted by iminurmefi on May 18, 2012 - 26 answers

Am I qualified to make these home renovations?

I just bought a small brick 1960s ranch house and I want to: 1) cover the outside of the cinder-block lower level with something like stucco, 2) get rid of the crappy grass in the yard and replace it with nice grass, and 3) replace the crappy vinyl siding with something like wood siding. Can a dummy like me pull this off? [more inside]
posted by critzer on May 1, 2012 - 14 answers

How do I decide if a property with structural issues is worth purchasing?

Property investment filter: How do I decide if a property with structural issues is worth purchasing? [more inside]
posted by gttommy on Apr 25, 2012 - 9 answers

But I don't *want* to move.

Am I ignoring the obvious because I don't want to move? [more inside]
posted by Salmonberry on Apr 13, 2012 - 12 answers

Bright and modern.

I'm renovating my office, which is currently a monument to 80 years of bad decor. Help me modernize and brighten. Overview. Many details within. [more inside]
posted by zvs on Mar 28, 2012 - 15 answers

it doesn't look like it'll kill us. i think.

When househunting, what are signs of quality renovation? What are signs of a shoddy renovation? [more inside]
posted by joyceanmachine on Feb 27, 2012 - 21 answers

Inconsiderate Landlord

Landlord telling me to leave apartment for 8 hours on Sunday....anything I can do? [more inside]
posted by Paquda on Feb 9, 2012 - 27 answers

Begone Peach Tiles

Recommend a bathroom renovation company or builder in Melbourne, Australia? [more inside]
posted by dave99 on Feb 6, 2012 - 1 answer

Need kitchen renovation ideas!

I'm looking for help with kitchen renovation ideas! [more inside]
posted by joshuamcginnis on Feb 3, 2012 - 21 answers

Asbestos questions: renovating 1972 home

Some questions about asbestos: We are buying a home outside of Birmingham, AL that was built in 1972. It appears that it hasn't been renovated inside since it was built, and we are planning on ripping up carpet, retiling the kitchen, removing wallpaper, and painting. [more inside]
posted by mondotwistedmojo on Jan 17, 2012 - 7 answers

Hidden Rooms and 'Dead' Spaces: help me find more pictures of this sort of thing!

I've recently become fascinated by (a) long-forgotten "hidden" rooms in houses and other buildings and (b) "dead space" in houses, e.g., large unfinished areas behind walls that are only perhaps discovered years later. Help me find more examples of this sort of thing -- preferably examples with pictures! [more inside]
posted by aecorwin on Jan 13, 2012 - 71 answers

Don't want my black clothes to turn orange...

Have you painted a closet a bright color? How did it turn out? [more inside]
posted by acidic on Jan 12, 2012 - 10 answers

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