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Surprising Repair Solutions

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 02:44 pm
In my line, I follow predecessors, often going over their work, for whatever reasons. Mostly, it is just that, their repair work has gotten old. Sometimes I uncover some ridiculous situations. Sometimes some dangerous ones. What I found today had me laughing for about half an hour. But, it is serious. A person should never have gotten away with it.

Our upstairs apartments have plywood subfloors, covered with poured aggregate, which resembles concrete. This particular apartment had concrete replacing the aggregate, due to a fire, about 20 years ago. I rolled back the carpet, because the floor beneath it felt irregular and I found that a great hole in the concrete had been filled with dry concrete mix. Then, water had been poured over it to make it look as though it were properly mixed. But, it was about 5/8 of an inch lower than the floor level. So, a layer of four two foot long threaded rods had been laid across the mix to make the pad and carpet lay flat. It was a square spot, about two feet by two feet.

The resident had occupied the apartment for quite a few years without complaining, so I had had no cause to discover that spot. You would think that a man who has worked here for 18 years would have some knowledge of it, but I have none.

There was a tag on one of the threaded rods, for a local hardware store. That is the clue which suggests that the lead man that immediately preceded me was responsible, since he bought so many supplies there.

I have found many poor repairs this way, over the years, some of which I myself caused, due to the nature of the immediate situation of the time. You have to be there to understand.
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 02:52 pm
@edgarblythe,
Yeah. It's a small thing, but last summer the plastic water line to the evaporative cooler sprung a leak. I replaced the connector and it has been fine ever since. You gotta laugh at the last guy to work on it, though. It was leaking around a big wad of teflon tape. Now, teflon tape is a standard treatment for tapered pipe threads. This was a compression fitting, with straight threads. It's a wonder it didn't leak sooner.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 03:11 pm
@roger,
It's a wonder the tape worked at all. But, I saw teflon tape stop a compression leak to a Carrier air conditioner. I would not have even considered using it, but the new lead man tried it. We both were amazed.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 03:11 pm
my house, when it was originally built (2 bathrooms) neither toilet had been installed with wax rings so they both leaked. The original owners apparently never noticed. when I moved it I had to install wax rings after ten years without.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 03:27 pm
@dyslexia,
Amazing.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 03:33 pm
We have been stripping off the cedar siding on the chimneys, replacing it with concrete siding. For the very high chimneys, we hired contractors. Here is an odd fact: The chimneys have all had holes in the siding. Yet, there were no noticeable leaks. Last month, one of the chimneys contracted out leaked very badly when it rained. The carpenters had done a beautiful looking job, with no flaws to be seen. Yet, when I held a hose on the corner boards, about four feet higher than the shingles, the bucket in the living room received the water.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 03:35 pm
@edgarblythe,
Will think about it.. I know I've seen some stunning efforts.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 04:19 pm
For your viewing pleasure: There! I fixed it!

http://thereifixedit.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/129145364444662323.jpg

http://thereifixedit.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/129137445026116315.jpg

http://thereifixedit.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/129139135686431503.jpg
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 05:02 pm
When Mr. B and I bought this house we were quite puzzled over the "patio" in the master bedroom. Someone had poured about three inches of concrete over 1/3 of the floor space.

We jackhammered it out but continued to wonder why anyone would do such a thing.

Mo's teacher this year owned the house next door to this one and lived there for many years. She knew why there was a "patio".

Seems the lady of the house went out shopping with a fire burning in the master bedroom and a baby asleep in the next bedroom. The fire set fire to the floor and burned up a bit of the house. The baby was fine. The husband was pissed. He had the concrete poured to make sure his wife never made that mistake again.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 05:30 pm
@DrewDad,
Love it.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Apr, 2010 05:32 pm
@boomerang,
That's a point I tried to make earlier. Sometimes there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for a crappy job.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 04:40 am
When I was in Law School I lived in a lovely old prewar in Southeast Wilmington. The internal toilet mechanism was held up (so that the ball would stay out of the water to a particular height) with plastic twist ties from bread. Every time the toilet kept running, they must've added more ties because I remember there was a huge pile of them when the new maintenance guy finally came in and replaced the entire mechanism.

What amuses me is: why all the jerry rigging? Half the time it ends up taking as much if not more time to jerry rig (or cover up, like Edgar saw with the concrete) than it is to just do it right the first time. I recognize that there are emergencies and that budgets are sometimes tight, but not every day is filled with emergencies and there really should be an adequate budget for decent repairs.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 04:53 am
I have found also, that doing a job right beats the alternate solutions, because you rarely have to revisit the problem.
In my own home, when I moved in, about twleve years ago, I found that the water supply to the toilet was fed by about one foot of your common garden hose. I almost took it out to put in a real pipe, but decided to wait until it leaks. I am still waiting.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 04:55 am
Bathroom
Silicon bead around copper pipe instead of a flare. I went to change the tap washer on our vanity and all the pipework fell out. 10 minutes job took all day to fix.
Some Klutz puty a nail through the cold water pipe in the shower. They filled the nail hole with silicon. 10 years later the silicon gave way. Not a bad effort i thought. Mind you i had to pull the wall lining off the bathroom, cut out a piece of pipe, install compression fittings, insert the new pipe then replace the wall.
nother day gone

There are no sole plates under the bathroom extension stumps, Consequently the bathroom is falling away from the house.
I will have to take up the floor to fix that.
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 06:25 am
I know I posted this before but:
We used to grit our teeth whenever my father would say:
There's only two ways to fix something: The Right Way or over and over and over and over until you decide to do it The Right Way.
===
That said there are still a lot of quick (temporary) fixes which are quite satisfying in their simplicity.

A non-mechanical friend of mine had an expensive lawn furniture chaise lounge which somehow lost one of the bolts holding the folding top to the frame. Because it was expensive the bolt was a special thing, like a carriage bolt but with about an inch and a half of shoulder which acted as a simple bearing. She went out to her garden shed, found a long enough woodscrew lying on the floor, shoved it through the three rails of the chaise, tried it to see if the thing would fold correctly, it did, got her iced coffee and sat down on it.

Three years have passed, she has used that chaise hundreds of times since and refuses to let me try and find a more correct replacement bolt.

Joe(O happy find!)Nation
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 12:07 pm
When the hot water tank in the office went bad, the old lead man removed it and capped off the water line. In the interest of saving money, no new one got ordered. In our buildings the air conditioner evaporator coil rests in a cabinet above the hot water tank. Years later, after that man was long gone, I undertook to replace the coil. As a part of the operation, it was necessary to go in the hot water cabinet to separate the drip line. I opened it up and began to move in there, when a great electric spark sent me falling back. Turns out that guy left the hot water wiring dangling, live and uncapped. Fortunately, no one got hurt.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:16 pm
Don't know, jespah. Don't know.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:18 pm
@dadpad,
A radiator clamp over the silicon might have kept it from popping out. When you are going to rig something, go all the way.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:21 pm
@jespah,
jespah wrote:
why all the jerry rigging?

Because doing it right might a) require a trip to the hardware store, or b) asking for advice on how to do it right.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Apr, 2010 03:24 pm
@Joe Nation,
Reminds me of something I did this very week. A brand new looking computer person's chair had been left sitting next to the dumpster. Since mine was old and losing casters regularly, I was quite interested. There is a rod in the bottom that has to do with raising and lowering the height. Turns out, the chair was already optimum height for one such as me. But, the rod had burst out at the bottom and was ever poking the pavement. I separated the chair and legs long enough to put a wash cloth in the hole, then slid the parts together. Now the rod rests on top of the rag and I have a wonderful chair.
0 Replies
 
 

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