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Fun Time

Under the house

This is where I was working for too long today. The white pipe is the drain for the bathtub in one of the bathrooms. It is of ‘singular’ construction, and not particularly apt for moving water out as it has almost no drop due to length of the down pipe. The execution of the P-trap displays a lack of measurement that is common when you are installing something under the house.

I have a picture because I took my camera to the site in hopes of a cat picture [no luck], and got tired of describing things to the two guys who didn’t want to crawl under to see the situation for themselves.

We haven’t quite figured out what all of the blocks are supposed to be supporting, It would make more sense to put them under the joists if the floor is sagging. With this house, who knows…

10 comments

1 ellroon { 02.08.13 at 1:46 pm }

How awful! I crawl about in our ‘attic’ and freak out about the spiders, but being under the house would be even worse. (Being on a slab has some advantages.)

Will you have to repipe the whole thing? Just be careful of those cinder blocks… it looks like that house was ‘homemade’…

2 Bryan { 02.08.13 at 4:26 pm }

The house was DIY’d near to death, and all we will do to the drain is shorten the down pipe to give it a downward angle to drain. The parts used are good and standard, but they were used incorrectly.

The blocks will be removed or shifted to a joist if support is necessary. The way they are being used now is pushing the subfloor up from the floor joists and creating a bulge in the floor.

There are feral cats so all of the annoying things in the sand are gone … well, except for the fleas and fireants. Having a slab so you could roll around on a creeper would be nice, but you learn to deal with it. I think the guy who is going to deal with the support issue was concerned that there would be snakes under there, but the snakes don’t have anything to eat with the cats around,

3 Badtux { 02.10.13 at 6:46 pm }

I can definitely see the water issue off to the left there. Maybe the cinder blocks are to keep a pedestal-type lavatory from plunging through the rotted subflooring? Oh sure, there may not be a pedestal-type lavatory there *now*, but who knows what was there a couple of years ago?

I’m not perfect, but this house shows a level of jerry-rigging that even my crudest redneck relatives would consider a bit amateurish.

4 Badtux { 02.10.13 at 6:48 pm }

Holy bajeezus, I just realized that they demolished one of the brick piers to run that white sewer pipe, and have blocks turned *sideways* rather than longways supporting the beam in its place!

5 oldwhitelady { 02.10.13 at 9:06 pm }

Whew! That sounds like a lot of hard work. It looks like being under the house isn’t any fun!

6 Bryan { 02.11.13 at 12:04 am }

I have no idea what the collection of bricks was doing under the house, but it may have been from the time when they moved the toilet and ‘accidentally’ cut through a floor joist. The joist was replaced years ago, and the guy who did it may not have bothered to get rid of it.

Oh, yes, the blocking is all wrong. You put a solid block down on the ground, and build up from there, capping it with a treated two-by between the concrete and the original wood. It got sorted out by a very annoyed framing carpenter who was complaining about it for several hours. Twenty ton hydraulic jacks are very handy for these situations.

OWL, nothing about this house is fun. A lot of money wasted on a lot of bad remodeling. Expensive materials were put in wrong and created more problems than they solved.

7 Badtux { 02.11.13 at 9:26 pm }

Given the age of this house, it very well may have originally had brick piers. That certainly looks like the remains of one.

The “right” way, if you were actually building things to code, would be to dig out a square area and pour a concrete footing on gravel the exact right height so that when you mortared together your concrete block piers, you’d be just the right height without any silly shenanigans. Of course that requires actually measuring things and that’s more work than Redneckus Fu’pitus is willing to put in… not to mention that reedin’ and ritein’ stuff ain’t so easy fer’em. The “put a square solid block on the ground and pile concrete blocks atop it” thingy is common for mobile homes, but if you tried to do that for a stick-built home in an area with actual codes and code enforcement, you’d end up getting your rear reamed big-time by the foundation inspector… it’s pretty much guaranteed to settle unevenly over time and cause all sorts of issues ranging from cracking drywall to drains running uphill. Of course, as you pointed out in another post, “over time” is a rather nebulous concept for Americans, who seem to be of the opinion that four years is a long time. :shrug:.

8 Bryan { 02.11.13 at 11:26 pm }

Brick is strictly a veneer down here because it comes from Alabama and fractures readily. It may be the clay, or kiln, but it is brittle. That block was probably acquired for a backyard ‘pig pit’, because a number of locals roasted whole pigs at parties some time back.

What is weird about the foundation of this house is its mixed nature. The front foundation and one side are an ‘L’ of a poured concrete wall, while the back and other side, as well as the center supports are concrete blocks. What makes no sense is why they didn’t just pour center and back walls at the same time as the front foundation wall was being poured, or at least pour footers to put the blocks on. The poured foundation is still level which caused the house to twist when the blocks sank in the back.

The problems could have been avoided if there were gutters or the eaves were longer, but the rear drip line just undercut the rear blocks.

The house is just a nightmare, and I cast my vote for bulldozing it, rather than doing a rehab, as it would have been cheaper.

9 Badtux { 02.12.13 at 2:19 am }

I cast my vote for bulldozing it, rather than doing a rehab, as it would have been cheaper.

Haw! Sounds a bit like the house I live in right now, except its problem is that it’s pretty much held together by termite spit, heh. The issue with having to demolish the countertop to get the dishwasher out due to the multiple layers of flooring is just the beginning. If I showed you what they did in the garage to put in an automatic door opener on one of those old tilt-up garage doors, you’d be aghast…

10 Bryan { 02.12.13 at 11:49 am }

I was pretty aghast the first time I encountered one of those doors. There are so many opportunities for slicing off miscellaneous body parts in the hinges of those doors, that a powered version would be something used by a Bond villain.

I like the old ‘barn doors’ in areas without snow. It saves overhead space for storage, and doesn’t make the car a hostage during power outages. Strap hinges and a caster keep them easy to use.

I assume they had some type of ‘trapeze’ hanging from the ceiling joists that was weakened every time the motor was used by flexing the supports. I see that a lot with roll-doors down here. No one wants to use angle iron.