Tag Archives: shoddy work

Shoddy Work Hall of Shame

I’m having a problem in WordPress – most of my pages are all fine when I edit them but don’t show up when I publish and I can’t figure out why. The house tour can stay broken for now, but the h.

Studs too short? Cut blocks of wood and/or stack up scraps of plywood to fill the gaps!

Don't even try to understand this one

Don’t even try to understand this one

Time to frame a wall. New wood or old? Let’s alternate them! (These studs are not the same size, but they didn’t screw the drywall into the studs anyway so it doesn’t matter)

I guess it looks cool get size, color, and texture variety with your studs

I guess it looks cool get size, color, and texture variety with your studs

Woodwork coming loose?  Don’t push it into place and re-nail it, just caulk! Cracked plaster? Just find a scrap of drywall to cover most of the cracks, and some of your woodwork! Just line it up between/on the surrounding trim, drive screws in wherever the spirit moves you, and you’re done! Radiators are totally solid so no one will ever notice.


And then there’s the caulk. So much caulk. I wasn’t strong enough to pull apart the caulk on the living room radiator covers; had to cut it.

Radiator cover removal

Radiator cover removal

Normally how do you handle finishing floors around the radiator? You’d use special sanders to get around the low clearance. How did the previous owner do it? His… people just skipped it. And when they dropped globs of joint compound, dirt, pennies, and other odds and ends under it, they just polyurethaned right over them. This is what it looked like after I gave it a thorough cleaning.


It looks like someone kicked in the door to the front bedroom at some point. The jamb was all busted out around the strike plate. To fix this, long screws were driven through the destroyed wood into nothing. And there’s a lot of caulk on it, of course.


Then there are the front bedroom windows:

P1040199 P1040198

So what exactly are we looking at here? Lots of holes, obviously, and gorilla glue! Inside that, we have a very cheap window installed so crookedly (in a wall that’s actually square!) that it doesn’t even close. There are scraps of who knows what stacked up to reduce the size of the opening, and there are 1×3′s, that’s framing grade lumber, not what you’d ever have for decorative purposes, attached right to the tops of the window sills. I know this woodwork won’t survive being taken down, but I’ll be able to replicate it. Not just yet though because the front windows are staying until the brick is restored. And until I can afford the windows I want. And when I feel like doing another project. That could be a while.

Then there are the radiators. More bad paint. More joint compound gloop.


And I don’t have the steadiest hand, but look at this job cutting in with the paint around the stairs.


And, when you install stucco, install the flashing to take water out and over it, not as corner molding to drive it into the wall.

Back 3

Back 3


Rediscovering More Shoddy Work

It feels like it’s 2013 all over again! You’d think I was done with the astoundingly bad repairs that I found all over the Crooked House, but here’s one more. Along with a whole lot of boob lights, the house came with a builder’s special grade chandelier.



It stuck around into the demolition, so needless to say it was a little dirty.


And then it stuck around in my parents’ attic. A family friend was selling her house and they wanted to offer her something to leave if she took her chandelier with her. That didn’t happen so it was one more piece of clutter in the attic.


But… what’s going on with the chain? It can’t stretch out; it actually was this bunched up. (And sorry for how blurry this picture is.)


The chain is doubled up and the wires are kinked and twisted together. I sorta knew about this but ignored it because I wasn’t keeping the chandelier anyway. Well, I figured out what it is. Bending chandelier chain is kind of a pain, so they just did it to one link. And then they doubled the chain up and braided the wire through both layers of it. And then left the one link open. It made no sense at all. But I fixed it and cleaned the light.


So I kinda get that someone was working on my house and they were really high and decided that they could bend out fewer chain links this way. But why was the wire so kinked up? I must be underestimating just how high they were. And I shouldn’t after all the coins stuck in the floor finish, drywall screwed on over woodwork, and mismatched studs inside walls that were barely fastened together. The old plan was to charge $20 and get rid of this fixture fast, but after all this work I raised the price.

Also, my grandmother’s old mattress went super fast, which means we’ve now sold all the biggest white elephants and my parents’ basement is starting to look like a room again! Well, maybe not till after the yard sale in a month. But I’m still happy to hang out down here because it’s cold.


In other news, I got in trouble today. A friend of my mom’s said she wanted 2 5-inch serving dishes. My mom said she’d give her a pair. I said, “Yes, take them now.”

I brought them up, and she pulled out a $20, and asked what we were trying to get for them. I made a face and said $2 each. My mom yelled at me for telling her. She tried to force my mom to take 5. A battle ensued and I don’t remember who lost and was forced to go away with the 5 dollars.

And while we’re at it trying to figure out what to do with heaps of old things, I think this picture of my great-great grandparents should go right here. (Incidentally they were also my neighbors in South Philly, only a couple hundred feet away!) My mom thinks it looks weird because the wall isn’t on center with the stairs. Tell her I’m right, Internet people!


Anyways, this yard sale is a month away. This prepping job is getting to be almost another remodel. And also, buy our stuff.