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Help! Home Improvement ideas, help needed!


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#1 Misha

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 11:28 PM

Hey Everyone,

We are still staying with my parents (Huntington, Long Island) and as most of you know, my Dad has stage 4 lung cancer, So, he is quite weak and can't really do any major projects. Howie and I are willing but don't have all the skills. So, I've come to boardieland for help/advice!

My parents' house is falling apart. We have 3 very MAJOR problems. First and most importantly, there are major problems with the bathroom plumbing. The water from the upstars leaks to the downstairs and slowly but surely the ceiling is falling apart. There is mold everywhere. I really worry aobut my father breathing this crap in and it scares me. Parts of the ceiling have actually landed in the toilet! I'm waiting for te upstarstairs bathroom to collapse onto the downstairs bathroom. Water also leaks into the basement. It's really scary and a disaster waiting to happen.

2: Our driveway--it's death trap. It's made out of cement that is at least 30 years old is cracked all over the place. It's horrible for the cars and I worry about my parents tripping on the driveway.

3) The outside starcase--it's made of wood and is falling apart and needs to be replaced.

We have applied ar the CDC (Comminuty development Center) and got turned down because what we needs costs more than they can help wthl.

I'm feel desperate and was wondering is anyone knew of any govermnent funded programs we can apply to to get these repairs done at an affordable price. Or, I was wondering if there were any boardies that do this type of work. You would be paid a fair price,

I was also wondering if anyone had any ideas on how we may do some of these repairs on our own.

I can post some pictures to give everyone a better idea of these problems.

Thank you so much!
Love,
Mary

#2 Eco

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:49 AM

Just some random thoughts....

1. Move..... mold and such are horrible for lungs and living around it is dangerous. If your father is at the point where relocating him is not an option and the repair work will not disrupt his life maybe take out a loan and get it done.

2. Angieslist.com.....read reviews and prices from other consumers that used service providers.

3. Driveway= rent a electric jackhammer, chip it up and sell the pieces as original pieces of the Berlin wall at fests.... You can chip it up and replace with gravel as a cheapo fix or go with asphalt that might be better if resell is in sight. Actually along those lines, what are the 1-5-10-30 year plans for the home? If it's a long term thingy don't go the duct tape route...things like your staircase need to be done by code or they will haunt you when you resell.


Good luck and sorry to hear about your father.

#3 Misha

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:49 PM

Thank you so much Eco! I think the driveway sounds the most do-able. Another boardie was kind enough to offer to come over and lend a hand. What an amazing community this is!

Anyway, really appreciate your input and suggestions. It makes it feel less daunting!
Thanks,
Mary

#4 MeOmYo

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 01:57 PM

is the water coming through the roof or from piping inside the house?

Edit: got it, coming from upstairs bathroom to downstairs bathroom.

could be a couple things.

may just be from the wax ring between the toilet and outlet pipe, drainage pipes from shower/sink or it could be from the supply water pipes to the toilet, shower or sink.

personally, I would put on a dust mask and tyvek suit or something, go in bathroom, shut door, towel bottom of door to try and seal as much shit in as possible and tear the ceiling (sheetrock or lath & plaster) out of the downstairs bathroom, bag it in heavy duty garbage bags. after the dust settles, bleach and water the whole bathroom.

then try to determine where the leak is coming from.

you can use a Kilz type paint on the floor joists and whatever wood is up there to seal in any mold that has grown in it. If it's really rotter, it may need to be replaced.

some will say you need a professional to deal with mold, maybe so, maybe not

those are some big projects

#5 Geminimoon

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:02 PM

If you go to the local home depot or Lowes they have do it yourself workshops and might be able to help you with ideas......

I would also ask Seany.....

#6 Misha

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:10 PM

is the water coming through the roof or from piping inside the house?


It's coming from the upstairs bathroom and leaking through the wall (hence the mildew, etc) into the downstairs bathroom.

If you go to the local home depot or Lowes they have do it yourself workshops and might be able to help you with ideas...... I would also ask Seany.....


Thanks! I've been checking Home Depot for workshops. I know that most of the times most of the cost of something (understandably) is the labor and I would to learn how to do it myself!

#7 MeOmYo

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:13 PM

do you use the upstairs bathroom?

#8 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:17 PM

do you use the upstairs bathroom?


My first thought too. Shut off all the water in bathroom upstairs. If it is a drain, rather than a feed line, you will see a "dry-up" of the moisture. From there, you can assess the damage, quarantine the leak(s) and repair them individually. A feed line will just keep shooting water and no dry-up will occur. This is a serious problem that could completely undermine structural integrity and should be dealt with asap.

#9 Eddie Z

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:26 PM

Pictures would be very helpful here. Especially the bathroom. We'd like to see the extent of the problem(s).

When it comes to water leaks, best bet is to just find and expose the problem. Consider sheetrock to be expendable like wrapping paper. Take it all away, and see what's going on. Gotta come off anyway. Any sheetrock that got wet, or is moldy needs to go..
Find and repair the leak is step one. (Plumbing Rough). probably something very simple too. Attack any structural issues cause by the water is step two. (framing/joists). Cosmetic repairs is step 3 (drywall/paint/tile/flooring)..

Who knows, maybe if it's simple enough, we can talk you through it.

#10 MeOmYo

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:51 PM

yes, a picture would help.

I retract my statement of tearing down walls/ceiling until a picture is shown :lol:

#11 Eddie Z

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

I don't know what the money situation is, but a simple somewhat inexpensive solution to steps that i investigated once for my own house is "precast concrete steps". they come in all shapes and sizes, and are customizeable. (made with modular forms).

you'd clear away the old wood steps, and make a "pad" for the precast steps, making sure it's the right height. The truck comes, lifts it into place, and done... the complexity here would be getting the pad made. That can be as simple as a rectangle with 4" of QP (quarry process stone), or something a little more complex (a poured concrete pad)... Contact your local cement/quarry places, and they'll guide you.

I ended up building my own though. I took a $120 masonry class at the local Vo-tech, which provided all the confidence I needed.

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#12 Misha

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:28 PM

Thanks for the help everyone! I'm trying to post some pictures right now but I'm having some trouble doing it. I will hopefully get them up by tonight!

#13 Misha

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:46 PM

OK, I'm trying to download from photobucket and keep get a message that says "You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community."

#14 Mama Kel

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:49 PM

does the upstairs shower/bath have one of those solid piece surrounds instead of tile? I had that & water was getting behind it, leaking down the wall & ruining the ceiling in the room below. If it's that & on the same side, you could rip that out, clean the mold, replace it & caulk the crap out of it

#15 TEO

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:53 PM

some will say you need a professional to deal with mold, maybe so, maybe not


I was quizzing an abatement professional regarding mold a couple months ago and although it could not be official seems you can take care most with bleach (wear appropriate mask and ventilate.)

#16 Eco

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:04 AM

Yes, bleach and the APPROPRIATE mask. Pretty sure the pink colored ones (canisters not those homeowner thingies for painting) are the correct one. I use the pink colored ones for doing lead safe work and pretty sure they are the highest rated ones....hard to breath in though. Mold will start to grow in the filters after a while so spend the money and change them once a day or so. Also, be aware of any hand contact to your mouth/nose/face.....keep a bucket of bleach and water around to wash off your hands before you take off your mask and gloves and then again before you put them on.

The EPA has good content on their site or if you are coming to SC I can spare some time.

#17 Occifer Boland

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:40 AM

I am with advice of MeOmYo....in regards to bathroom leaking ... I had similar issue a few months ago... Replaced wax ring that whole toilet meets the pipe with... And the leak was cleared up

#18 nancykind

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:21 AM

when i use photobucket and mouse over the picture, the different links that can be used for the pic show up underneath - html was one and something like 'image link' was another. click on the image link code then paste that into your post. :) hi Misha :) :heart:

#19 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:02 PM

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#20 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:04 PM

The above pic and below are the downstairs bathromm (water leaking from upstairs sink/toilet):

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#21 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:05 PM

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#22 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:07 PM

Outside stairs/foundation:
Posted ImagePosted Image

#23 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:08 PM

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#24 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:10 PM

Can you determine if the leaks from above are coming from the drain lines or the feed lines? By the looks of things, that is a drain line. I imagine the floor around the toilet upstairs is pretty mushy? You may need to pull up everything right to the stud work and re-do the flooring. After that i would replace all drain seals (are the drains lead pipe or PVC?) from the toilet, including the wax ring mentioned above.

#25 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:10 PM

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#26 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:12 PM

So, as you can see, it's very embarrassing to post these horrible pictures. But, I really think you guys can be very helpful with ideas, etc. I just get freaked out living here because of Jude having to live in these conditions and my Dad's illness. Thanks!

#27 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:13 PM

Wait, so the upstairs bathroom ceiling is also deteriorating? That might be all from a roof leak and just so happens to be making its way in behind the waterworks in the upstairs bathroom.

On a short glance, I will say you need some pros. That's a lot of work.

The driveway, while in bad shape, is not nearly as bad as the bathroom scenario. IMHO, the drive and deck/stairs can wait. On a quick fix of the stairs, you could get skateboard deck tape to put on the stairs so they have traction. The focus should be on the bathrooms and potential roof leaks.

#28 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:13 PM

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Wait....what?

#29 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:21 PM

I agree TASB--the plumbing issue is the priority. There HAD been a roof leak but Howie fixed a couple of weeks ago and so far so good. Yes, there is a rigged tube upstairs that goes from the sink to the toilet tank to fill the tank each time it gets flushed (crazy but true!). I'm really scared that so much has rotted that the upstairs toilet is going to collapse into the downstairs bathroom (funny as a cartoon but not so funny if it happens in real life!!).

#30 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:22 PM

PS_ The time stamp of 2007 is wrong--this pics were taken a few weeks ago.

#31 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:23 PM

I am with advice of MeOmYo....in regards to bathroom leaking ... I had similar issue a few months ago... Replaced wax ring that whole toilet meets the pipe with... And the leak was cleared up


Is that hard to do?

#32 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:25 PM

Is the upstairs toilet being filled from the sink because the feed line is turned off due to leaks? I'm trying to just determine where exactly the start of the leaking is. That should be step 1 in order to figure out what to fix.

#33 TakeAStepBack

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:29 PM

Is that hard to do?


No, it's really easy. But it will be all for not if the leaks aren't originalting from the toilet wax ring or if the floor is so deteriorated that the above plumbing is in danger of coming through the floor. Which is why i would start with determining where your leaks are coming from and get them stopped first adn foremost. Then you can move on to figuring out how much of the aesthetic (flooring, drywall) needs to be removed and replaced.

Those leaks have to come first. Can you shut off all water to the upstairs bathroom while leaving the lower bath fed? That's what i would do. And from there essentially shut it down of use until the leaks are found.

#34 Misha

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:18 PM

I'm going to have to do some investigating in order to give some accurate answers. Thank you so much for taking the time to try to help figure out what is going on!

#35 Eddie Z

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:49 PM

The driveway and stairs can wait. #1 priority is dealing with the bathrooms.

That's a shitheaping mess. I'm not going to candy coat this. Letting that go on for so long was...not smart!. This should have been resolved at the very first sign of staining. A leak that may have only taken a $2 gasket to resolve, or may have cost a $200 plumber visit has been allowed to mutate into a $15K-$20K renovation.

From seeing the few pics you were able to share, and acknowledging your lack of skills, you're in far over your head with this. I realize that you may not have the financial resources to properly attack this...but you really need to hire a professional licensed contractor. He'd shut the water main off, he'd resolve the leak, he'd have a dumpster delivered, he'd immediately take both bathrooms completely down to the studs, and deal with all "rough" issues (framing, plumbing, structural and potentially electrical issues, all of which are probable). And he'd do this with all proper permitting and township inspections, which helps insure correctness. It's time, and it has to be done. Don't wait.

#36 Misha

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 02:41 PM

I know it was wrong to let it go for so long but it is what it is now and I just want to resolve the problems. I agree with everyone that as far as the plumbing situation, we will have to get a pro in. it's just a challenge because so many people I know have been ripped off.

#37 Dr. Lostreality

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:11 PM

wait so the bathroom upstairs doesn't fill up with water on it's own, you have to fill it up with water from the sink? Is that because the toilet is broken, or was it never hooked up correctly in the first place? Like, at what point did that crazy sink contraption get macguyvered in there? What is happening to the water that is supposed to be refilling the toilet? Could that be related to your problem?

I'm no contractor, and have only done a few small home repairs at this point, and I can't tell you how to deal with that crazy dripping problem, but it seems to me that replacing (or just removing) that toilet would be step 1...

Is there another bathroom in the house besides these 2 that can be used while repairs are happening in these places?

Oh also, we had a leaking shower for like a year after we got here and when we finally got it repaired it turned out it was just this rubber o ring thing that had basically deteriorated over time. It was an easy fix but you just had to know what you were doing. I would ask around to find a plumber that can at least give you a consultation and tell you what is wrong and they can quote you a price on how to fix it, but once you find out what is wrong it might turn out you can fix it yourself too. Our plumber charged us $30 to come out and look at it, and then more to actually fix it, but even he was like "if you think you can handle it on your own, this is the piece you need to fix it" (we decided it was too advanced for us to do without fucking up our plumbing system in the end, and had him do it).

#38 MeOmYo

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:26 PM

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Is the spot in the ceiling in this pic directly below the upstairs toilet?

Was the roof leak in the same area of the house as the bathrooms? After the roof leak was repaired, are the bathrooms still damp?

#39 MeOmYo

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:57 PM

Also, I'd like to add that if you are not that handy with this type of stuff, this is a HUGE undertaking. You've got some major issues that may be better left to a professional. With that said, a continued discussion will only help you in the long run and may prevent you from being taken advantage of if you choose to hire the work out.

If you are pretty handy with this type of stuff, it is a big job and will take a lot of time, but can be done.

First order of business IMO is to identify where the leak is/was coming from.