neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby low277 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:06 am

The shoddy contractors should not only be ashamed but embarrassed to perform substandard work!!!

In Minnesota, all electrical work is supposed to be inspected. Most of the state by state inspectors and a few areas by city inspectors if their area is enforcing to a higher standard.

All electrical contractors are required to licensed, bonded and insured. If the inspector finds a installation that fails to meet NEC code standards, he can issue a correction order. It usually requires the contractor to complete any repairs or corrections, sign and date the order and return it to the inspector for re-inspection within 10 business days.

I have been a electrician my entire adult life, spent years in the construction side, working for others until I got my Journeyman and Masters licenses. I was also a state inspector for a number of years, now I head the electrical dept. of a large manufacturing companies facility group.

The work that a contractor performs and leaves behind is a direct reflection of his character!!!

I apologize on behalf of real legitimate contractors who take pride of the work that they do!!!
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:57 pm

low277 wrote:The shoddy contractors should not only be ashamed but embarrassed to perform substandard work!!!

In Minnesota, all electrical work is supposed to be inspected. Most of the state by state inspectors and a few areas by city inspectors if their area is enforcing to a higher standard.

All electrical contractors are required to licensed, bonded and insured. If the inspector finds a installation that fails to meet NEC code standards, he can issue a correction order. It usually requires the contractor to complete any repairs or corrections, sign and date the order and return it to the inspector for re-inspection within 10 business days.

I have been a electrician my entire adult life, spent years in the construction side, working for others until I got my Journeyman and Masters licenses. I was also a state inspector for a number of years, now I head the electrical dept. of a large manufacturing companies facility group.

The work that a contractor performs and leaves behind is a direct reflection of his character!!!

I apologize on behalf of real legitimate contractors who take pride of the work that they do!!!
  • Stand by, for a long tirade, full of personal experiences, opinions, and political views (as seen by me, a non-partisan voter): I'm in full agreement with you on contractor's (or anyone's) work being a reflection of their character. The diminishing standards I've observed are probably a reflection of the decline of the American value system, which started after WW2, as the returning vets tried to make a better life for their families, and the "keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome started. In the rush to a better life, gluttonous consumption became a lifestyle, greed became a byproduct, and laziness a spin-off. The way of life for many (most ?) became a race to buy as many new consumer goods as needed? to make their lives easier and more fun, and corporate types responded by giving them everything they wanted, enjoying huge growth and profitability along the way, and the whole thing spiraled out of control. The consumer was never satisfied, nor the corporate entity satisfied with the profits. But, it worked for almost 25 years following the war. But, when international competition became a factor, as the war-ravaged nations recovered (with the help of the Marshall Plan, the poorer countries grew to be competitors again, a factor mostly unimaginable during the golden age of the 50's in the USA;...it can be compared to raising a pet shark to go swim with), the consumerism continued to grow, and the corporate hunger for profits made the elite change the rules of the game.
  • 'The old rules were that if you worked hard for your family, and for your employer, then the rewards would be commensurate, and both sides were reasonably sure of a long-term equitable relationship. When cheaper items from the recovering nations appeared on our shores, the consumer added them to the growing list of things everyone must have, and the corporate elite had no answer, but to lower some standards, downsize quality and quantity (remember the American cars of the later 70's, I try not to) so their profits wouldn't fall, and that opened the door for a rash of other changes in our society.
  • It wasn't the youth rebellion of the 60's, or the equal rights movement, either, that so fundamentally changed the rules or our value system, so much, as it was the willingness of the average joe to buy buy buy anything that was offered him by the owners/corporate structure. Profitability of American companies, previously gained from fulfilling all the consumer needs, on all levels, was falling, as slowly the off-shore items took over, from lesser-cost goods (transistor radios in the 60's, to major-purchase items , like economy cars from abroad, in the 70's, especially). So, jobs went overseas so corporate greed was satisfied, and any governmental oversight was nil, with Congressmen turning a blind eye to this, since they were part and parcel to it, while the rampant consumerism of the citizen continued to fund this shift in the economy. Then, in the 80's, the populace seemingly got the "greed fever" of the elite, too, and everything that we knew before, all started an accelerated slide into the loss of integrity, work ethic, and personal values we see today. That's where the contractor ties into this sad story.
  • Traditionally, the American builder/contractor was hard-working, skilled (many started un-skilled, but grew into their specialty skills, and proud of it), and usually assured that if they did a good day's work, they would be assured of a steady income for their families. But, as manufacturing (and also agricultural) jobs continued to be sent overseas, and the resulting influx of American displaced-worker job-seekers entered into the construction market (there still had to be a domestic one), or still sought homes for a lesser cost (many citizens, having had no assurance that their job would remain in-country, anymore, sought cheaper housing than before, in comparison), both factors shook-up the trades, IMO. Construction companies, whose owners were increasingly greedy, sought to maximize profits by hiring cheaper labor (unskilled American, and alas, including a horde of similar foreign workers-I won't deny the fact that most are hard-workers, but they still diluted the job market), and utilizing cheaper, often foreign-made building components, to build homes for America. Of course, I'm only talking of the lower classes, the 99% (or has it grown?), that have to live in poorly constructed homes, that are not nearly as solid as they were in the cheaper post-war housing boom, as constructed in the late 40's-50's.
  • My Dad bought a 2-br, 1 bath, stick-built home in 1950, after I was born, in a tract housing area, after college graduation. Though the tract's main water and sewer lines were later found to be of rolled-up tarpaper (torn out and properly replaced en-masse, in '57-'58), the houses themselves had great oak planking, concrete pier and beam bases, copper plumbing, ceramic sinks and countertops, and an in-floor Williams (living room), and an in-wall Dearborn (bathroom) gas furnace. Everything "made-in America". That house, and the complete tract, are still occupied today, by the 3rd-4th generation of owners. Two houses later, my Dad bought another tract home, built in '79. More cheaply made, with mixed USA and foreign hardware, but the cost-cutting was evident everywhere, compared to the solidly-built, much smaller and cheaper 1950 house. But, good enough for his twilight years. After my parents deaths, in '97, the house was taken over by my brothers, whom I helped by doing repairs, and unknowingly financing others (thru funds siphoned off my share of the estate, before they spent it all)...repairs never needed on the 1950 house. The quality had changed, and perhaps the input of skilled work in building it? I don't know.
  • One of my brothers was actually involved in the glass business, from '75-'01, where he ended up running crews for his friend, the company owner. I observed remotely their change in work ethic, choice of materials and work crews, but mostly in attitude and work ethic, over those years. Little glimpses, not day to day.They started out working for a big-name firm, then moved to another, and finally the friend started his own, small company, financed by family. At first, work meant everything to both, working hard and talking about it all night. Later, they worked as little as they could, and never said anything good about what they did, but "it is just a job", after laid off from the big company and working for the smaller one. A renewed interest and pride-in-their-work showed for a few years, when the company was their own, but as time went by, the friend started living high on the hog, and cost-cut everything he furnished, from trucks & equipment to labor payments for the workers. They ended up hiring unskilled, undocumented workers off the street, with only my brother and another worker with trained skills. They often met and drank all day, leaving only the alien workers onsite, until it caught up with them, and the company folded. They blamed each other, but the friend bought a ranch with his profits, and my brother lived off me and my parents for the next 16 years, until his early death, unemployed. Maybe deservedly unemployed, for using shady practices? My only other knowledge of contractor practices, over the years, until recently, was from three former members of my drag-racing team (also "former"), that were plumbers, and cut corners on hired jobs, and eventually all went to doing only "new construction" work, because their work ethic was lacking. They talked of slacking on the jobs, and substituting lesser materials when doing contract work, so maybe it was better that they all ended working under others.
  • I sorta buried all these thoughts deep into my subconscious, when I started to try to find good & honest people to help with my rushed new home project. At times, I have felt like Diogenes, looking for an honest man (contractor). I resorted to using an online contractor service, with two successes, and one failure, to find a conscientious contractor, though I may have chosen wrong on the demolition contractor, because of cost, though he did the work as he said, but also did incidental/collateral damage, that ended up costing me more to correct, than the highest competing bidder would've cost, if done right. My attempts to get contractors thru friends, or thru the phone book struck out...none would even come out to look at the site, even after agreeing to do so (6 electricians, and 6 plumbers), so for those two jobs, I ended up using the recommended friend of our nice saleslady. He was the wonder contractor, who did it all (electric/septic/waterlines/concrete), though with inexperience and mistakes, but without whom (he was a last second call before demo, and also for the retaining wall build before delivery); we never could've gotten this far, except for the added efforts of myself, my handyman, and my heroic neighbor, the electrical engineer. The saleslady also recommended the pad prep guy, who was about 1/2 good, and caused friction with the house mover guy, but was the only one we could find on short notice that was actually licensed. The house mover/installer/set-up guy, the trim-out crew, the A/C installers, and the skirting man were all contracted for by the house mfg., and paid by us thru our contract, though we had no choice. They were all competent, though begrudgingly so, on the first guy, better with the second crew, and really good with the A/C guys. The remaining contractor, the skirting installer, seems OK, but we'll see after Tuesday, how he works out. Funny, though, the first guy I got to bid on anything, was the stump grinder guy, who had the best manner and price, but whom will be the last I actually use. We'll see how that turns out, probably in a couple of months from now.
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:51 pm

To add insult to injury, I've been watching old "Holmes on Homes" episodes on You tube today. I once watched the series (at least one season's worth), years ago, that should've warned me about contractors. If only I had learned from it, about contractors and incompetents, instead of just trying to learn about remodeling my old house (I also watched any and all programs about the subject, after I started trying in vain to fix the now-demolished house). Though I'm not sure that I could've achieved different/better results, at least I would've expected the worst from the contractors, and been better prepared for the inevitable.
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    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby M C Toyer » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:45 pm

Comments based on extensive experience with engineered wood based siding products - almost all involved total replacement:

Since you've opted for the "Smart Siding" it is imperative your contractor follows all manufacturer's specifications to the letter; especially priming and painting all cuts, proper spacing and sealing of all butt joints, keeping the required distance above grade, and not puncturing the surface with nails. Never allow staples to be used.

Not sure how the bottom of the home wall is configured but should either overlap the skirting or a metal Z flashing be installed under the home siding and over the skirting. DO NOT allow the use of a skirting top trim / channel that is attached to the surface of the home siding. No matter how well or often it is caulked it will fail.

I think you previously said you have laid treated lumber for the skirting sill. How was this secured to the soil? Have you also provided vertical struts for nailing the Smart Side panels and joints? LP also recommends a breathable vapor barrier, e.g., Tyvek or equivalent, behind the skirting. Do you already have a vapor barrier on the ground under the entire trailer?
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:09 pm

M C Toyer wrote:Comments based on extensive experience with engineered wood based siding products - almost all involved total replacement:

Since you've opted for the "Smart Siding" it is imperative your contractor follows all manufacturer's specifications to the letter; especially priming and painting all cuts, proper spacing and sealing of all butt joints, keeping the required distance above grade, and not puncturing the surface with nails. Never allow staples to be used.

Not sure how the bottom of the home wall is configured but should either overlap the skirting or a metal Z flashing be installed under the home siding and over the skirting. DO NOT allow the use of a skirting top trim / channel that is attached to the surface of the home siding. No matter how well or often it is caulked it will fail.

I think you previously said you have laid treated lumber for the skirting sill. How was this secured to the soil? Have you also provided vertical struts for nailing the Smart Side panels and joints? LP also recommends a breathable vapor barrier, e.g., Tyvek or equivalent, behind the skirting. Do you already have a vapor barrier on the ground under the entire trailer?
  • I am pretty sure that the siding is well sealed, with no apparent openings for water entry...we've already had them repair/reseal a couple of cracked boards, sealed again, and painted over.
  • I haven't seen the method of attachment planned by the contractor (hired by the manufacturer, not me), since he starts tomorrow, but I always planned to cover the top edge of the skirting with flashing, just enough to prevent wind-blown rain from penetrating the interface. If the plan is to use a top trim piece, then my flashing will protect it.
  • I haven't laid treated lumber under the skirting, YET, but will after the contractor finishes. We discussed my plan to do so, briefly, and I will make a trench under his sill, and insert my lumber there. I intend to use rebar or landscape spikes to secure the boards (I've used both for spiking lumber to the ground before, with no movement or shifting over the years),
  • The contractor said he would brace the panels, but I failed to ask how.
  • There is a ground cloth, heavy gauge plastic sheeting, covering the whole pad, extending two feet beyond the house (except on the two sides with retaining walls, which will be backfilled over, when I reconstruct the landscaping...as opposed to the moonscape it appears as, now).
  • If the contractor doesn't put Tyvek on the inner side of the skirting, I will, since access to the underside is easy (that was the whole idea behind elevating this house three feet higher than the old one). I'll be glad to do it.
  • M.C., thanks for using your experience to point out what I need to do, to protect this house, and prolong its' life. I am starting already, to maintain it, whereas I failed to do so, successfully, on the old house. I bought it already almost 20 years old, built to shoddy standards, and owned/altered by a guy who always did the wrong thing. With my primary attention(s) focused on work, car building, and racing for another 20 years, I suffered the consequences of having a house badly built and modified in its' first two decades, then neglected by me for another two decades. I'm going to go the extra mile in caring for this one, as long as I am able, so it will be OK for my wife, after I'm gone (I hope).
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  • featuring:
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    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby M C Toyer » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:22 pm

send me your e-mail and I will forward some do and don't pics.

mctoyer@hotmail.com
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:22 pm

M C Toyer wrote:send me your e-mail and I will forward some do and don't pics....
  • M.C. sent me some good info regarding the installation of my house skirting...what is good and what is not. Unfortunately, having already signed a contract about the skirting (included in the overall contract for the house), I found I had limited say over any change in the scheme of things, so I couldn't follow much of Mr. Toyer's sage advice. But, I did persuade the contractor to modify the prescribed methods a bit, to sorta satisfy my wishes. We kept the seller out of the loop on it, because they insisted on his doing it "precisely" as they said. I had to argue with them, initially, to even allow me to get LP Smart Siding (the same siding the house has), over their desire to have me accept vinyl or metal skirting, which they were pushing. I coughed up a lot, to get my choice of material, but they retained control of the details of its' actual installation.
  • I'm a relative newbie at this house repair/rebuild/new build game. I really never took the time to learn the proper way to do things, but learned from prior experiences what can work, and what didn't. And, I now have learned that trying to change the way things are done, especially by the people I have had working on my house project, is a sign to me, that everyone has their own way of doing things, for better or not:
  • Case in point: my electrical/water/septic/concrete guy had his own ways to do things, and I had to repair/replace much of his work; and there's evidence that it might require a 50% replacement of everything he did.
  • Case in point: my demolition guy damaged my retaining wall and patio, and removed way too much soil. I've had to spend $7500 so far, to remediate the damage, with more to follow.
  • Case in point: the house delivery/set-up guy was going to do it his way, irregardless of my wishes, until I "sweetened the pot" at the last second, with $2000 more, out of my pocket, on top of the contracted amount. I understood this, at least, because I doubled the amount of blocking over what was normally done.
  • And most recently, today, a case in point about giving a little, and receiving a little, when the contractor is the middleman, caught between me and the seller/manufacturer (as in the previous case).
  • 1) I was able to get him to use treated wood under the skirting, as a sill, of 8" width instead of 6",
  • 2) got him to change the color at the last minute (after we saw that the previous color was all wrong),
  • 3) got him to use a caulk/sealant that I saw that was better than what he was provided, and
  • 4) use more caulking than usual, to ensure that no area was left open to water intrusion, than necessary.
  • The skirting contractor was amenable to some changes, but was unable to comply with others, due to the specific wording in the contract, and the coming final inspection/detail check by the seller/builder, who had contracted with him, and who supplied him with the materials (and 90% of his work). He could make no major changes, visible to the inspector (the office/project manager/bean counter). Some changes, like the color, could be made, occasionally, but not any as to other specs. I wanted a flexible caulk that would allow some movement between the two dissimilar materials used, and my experience with OSI Quad led me to read up on its' use on LP and Hardie products. It was favored by both mfg's, so he used it. He went to a local paint supplier, and had them mix a custom color for him, instead of the provided color. But, when I asked for flashing, he said that it was not an option, per the mfg. So, that's why the best alternative was the much better caulk. I made up for the differences, in cost and time allotted, by helping out, furnishing some labor, tools, and buying parts, as needed, but I got it done 90% of the way I wanted (my best % so far.) This guy and his helper were so amenable to pleasing my wishes, that I talked my wife into giving him the job of building our front deck/steps/canopy, after seeing photos of his past work. Maybe I found a good one here!
  • In my dealings with various contractors, I see some good, some bad, some just incompetent, and some trying to do it right. I wish I had had time to plan and research in advance of starting this project, but it was an urgent thing, so I couldn't vet or screen among many, but often had to accept any that actually showed up. And, in our blind rush, with blind faith, to get a house in a short time, we were "forced?" to allow the seller/builder to sub-contract a lot to people of their choice, not mine (but I really couldn't find the right people, anyway). I have found some good out there, despite my complaints, but not as much as I had hoped for. It is what it is.
  • before & after skirting was added.png
    before & after skirting was added.png (802.13 KiB) Viewed 348 times
Last edited by working on it on Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
  • 147697148333125895
  • 148599148106
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/plumbing problem)

Postby working on it » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:23 am

working on it wrote:... I ended up using the recommended friend of our nice saleslady. He was the wonder contractor, who did it all (electric/septic/waterlines/concrete), though with inexperience and mistakes....
  • Another day (actually a week) goes by, another problem surfaces (literally). on Thanksgiving morning, when I drove my pickup down our driveway (to go to my in-laws), I noticed a damp/wet spot in the vicinity of our new underground waterline. My wife said that she saw the neighbors Mastiff dog there, so she thought it was just dog pee, so I thought it would be dry by the afternoon when we returned home . It was not. Since it was almost dark, I did nothing.
  • Next day (Black Friday), I dug down to the source of the moisture, before we left to get a couple of items on sale (I got a 20-gallon air compressor, she bought beaucoups more). I unearthed a leaking fitting on our newly installed waterline to the new house, buried directly under the driveway (precisely under one of the two tire tracks). It was streaming water, so I shut it off. I took a picture of it, and messaged my wonder contractor about the leak, forwarding the photo. H had promised to fix any further problems, ASAP, when he grudgingly repaired his collapsed septic feedline. I received no answer, so my wife and I decided to give him 'til Monday to respond, before we did anything to fix it. It was a holiday weekend, and many people are out of town, so we really didn't expect him to answer. The leak was so minor, that I could turn it on for washing clothes and dishes, and for showering, so it was primarily just annoying, not serious, yet.
  • Monday morning came, and still no response, so I decided to do the repair, myself. I tried to use my shovels, but found that using a claw hammer to break-up the compacted road base over the line was easier, and I used some gardening tools to de-trench the line, just enough to repair/replace it, without creating a huge hole. I used a knee pad to save my knees from contact with rocks, so it was hard work, but not really difficult. Since he had put one fitting directly under one tire track, I traced the next fitting to see where it was, and found it also directly under the other tire track path, another possible leak to come. And, the lines under the driveway were too shallow, at only a foot, with road base rocks pressing against them from above, though they were set in soft sand. I decided to remove all pipes under the driveway, replace them with thicker NSF-rated Schedule 80 PVC, and to bury the pipe slightly deeper, with concrete half-blocks surrounding the connectors, for protection from heavy loads. I also used larger Schedule 80 pipe over the connections to keep the concrete cinder blocks from abrading the new pipe. Sorta a pipe-in-a-pipe, inside a hollow block shelter. I also supported the blocks with rectangular blocks underneath. After enlarging/deepening/widening the trench, I used 4 "blockhouses" to protect the 4 new fittings I used, replacing Schedule 40 with 80, where the pipe was under the driveway. I used twenty feet of 1" Sched.80, and connected to the 3/4" Sched.40 pipe (feeder line from the meter) past the driveway, to make the critical driveway section all of the thicker-walled Schedule 80.
  • We had one of the storage pods removed about a week ago; the truck that picked it up was very large and heavy, so I surmise that it cracked the thin-walled pipe, and subsequent trips over it by my cars/trucks made it spring a leak. We have another storage pod pick-up scheduled for tomorrow, so I needed to make the new pipe (and protective housings) quickly, and bury them, as fast as I could, so I worked many hours yesterday doing so. So far, so good, with no leaks (never again, I hope). I compacted the soil "within and without", as best I could. It'll take a couple of rainstorms to fully seat and compact the area, but I hesitate to water it down yet, preferring to leave the area dry to spot any possible leak. Hopefully, the pod truck will not crack or crush the better pipes (and my connections are bound to be better than my contractor's, as proven by his septic disaster), and this new setback will be history.
  • I foresee future catastrophes looming ahead, wherever my wonder contractor touched anything...more plumbing issues, especially. The septic feed line was replaced; both outdoor water spigots were leaking, so I replaced the connectors there, already, and now the driveway leak has been rectified. If anymore water line connections fail, I'm going to run Pex from the meter to the house, and completely re-do his work.I sure hope that the retaining wall doesn't crumble!
  • wet spot.png
    wet spot.png (588.71 KiB) Viewed 303 times
    wet spot in driveway; a portent of things to come?
  • broken waterline.png
    broken waterline.png (698.65 KiB) Viewed 307 times
    a sign of possible future leaks to come
  • detrenching.png
    detrenching.png (628.45 KiB) Viewed 307 times
    done with a garden trowel, on my knees
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
  • 147697148333125895
  • 148599148106
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby jondbar628 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:30 pm

Working on it...........You've had more problems trying to rectify your situation than any one person should have to deal with. Aren't there any contractors in DFW that actually have pride in their work? What you've gone through is a travesty........jd
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:53 pm

jondbar628 wrote:Working on it...........You've had more problems trying to rectify your situation than any one person should have to deal with. Aren't there any contractors in DFW that actually have pride in their work? What you've gone through is a travesty........jd
  • From my experience...I'd have to say no. Nor have I encountered honest service writers at dealerships (a major reason I keep my vehicles a long time, and do my own work on them). I guess I'll have to expand that tradition, and do my own "contracting" on my house.
  • If you remember, from my earlier posts, I was never able to find anyone willing to work on my old house, and that my wife and I tried to do the work ourselves, to no avail...it was a case of doing too little, too late, to save that house. But now, starting anew, with a better canvas to paint on, metaphorically speaking, I 'll have a fighting chance to do preventive maintenance, and repairs, without ever calling another contractor. I've already sourced parts and made plans to completely replace the septic and waterlines in toto, if I have to, using new skills I have learned over the last 6-7 years on my TTT, the old house, and just now, on the new house.
  • I tried to be a good customer to those contractors, staying out of their way, but near enough to answer questions and pitch-in, if needed, contributing tools and my labor to help them, but I have officially had it with the breed. After the front deck is built (by our latest contractor, a seemingly straight-forward kind of guy), with me watching like a hawk, to make sure it is done right..I'm watching videos on all types of home construction that I can, I'll add another warning sign to my fence. I already have "no trespassing" and "posted" signage, to which I'll add "no contractors allowed, will shoot on sight". But, perhaps I'm exaggerating a bit. A few were OK, and reasonably competent and honest, but some were not. But my "wonder contractor", whom I initially liked and trusted, finally, totally, disappointed me and betrayed my trust, even after I made allowances for his shoddy, rushed work. Never again.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
  • 147697148333125895
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby GPW » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:06 am

Sounds like after Katrina where the regular contractors charged 10X as much and took forever , and the crooks just ran off with the money … I’m sure there were good honest contractors out there, we just never heard of them … :roll:
There’s no place like Foam !
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby Padilen » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:07 am

I didn't check this thread for a few days. I missed a lot!
I checked back in with you redoing septic line.
Brought back a memory of mine!
I had my mobile moved up to my lot. I had a well septic and power already present when I purchased. I had a slab poured that was supposed to have rat wall. Didn't, contractor said but I poured you a 6" slab instead. Didn't, just never leveled the ground but sort of did the slab. So the rear of slab was about 6", front was about 3.5 or a 2x4 pour.
Mobile got placed and set up but I was disabled- got in an accident on my cycle crushed right ankle. The injury made it impossible to travel the 4 hour to my place. When I'd recovered enough my mom, sis, and I went up. I had 2 bathrooms, never had an issue with either. Front toilet plugs up. Mom had to go buy a plunger and plunge toilet each flush. Then back bathroom started having same issue! What! The lines under mobile we're what had been working for 8 years !
When I was physically able I dug up from the septic to slab. Ran water down from house, not flowing. I had 7' under the slab. Yep I dug under slab, digging enough to get my body in there. I found contractor had drop & elbow through slab lower than line to septic. I had to cut line, get it out of my way, cut drop. Then the fun of glueing that back together. Yep I got wasted. Next day a couple told me they saw my feet sticking out, and moving, when they walked by. Decided that if my feet were still there when they came back by they'd check on me. When they came back I was just sitting on the ground. So they figured I was ok. But hey never had another plug, or slow flush. Worth it!

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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:51 pm

  • The wife is slowly unpacking and re-decorating the new house. By re-decorating, I mean that she tries the old stuff from the old house first, then goes and buys new stuff to replace it, and finally ends up using both new and old together; and that has to be tried in a couple of spots, before she decides that it'll work. Drives me nuts, but it's her way. So, she hasn't completed any room, yet, but keeps re-doing the kitchen, living room, dining room, both bathrooms, and the master bedroom, even though at one time or another, she announced that all were completed. I dare not say much about it, fearing that any criticism might make her begin again in each room. Her office/crafts-room, the spare/guest bedroom, and my office/dayroom/"exile with the dogs" room haven't been touched (except that I set up a worktable for myself in my room, and she's been using her laptop there, so it won't be arranged by myself until she fixes up her office).
  • It's just as well, though, since I have complete freedom in the 20-ft trailer, until I decide to move myself into the house. Since I am the caretaker of these mutts, and let them in and out several times each night, this way she never gets awakened (she usually retires to bed at 8:30-9, and our dogs are on a different clock than hers). Nearby neighbors let their animals out up to midnite, and our dogs respond to that, and raise a ruckus. Plus, I get to sleep a couple of hours longer than before, since I don't hear her alarms go off. Living 60 ft away does have its' rewards.
  • Meanwhile, everyday I try to fix something or another, not done right by the contractors. I related the story of the septic and waterline repairs, and I have been trying to level our moonscape frontyard; both were promised fixes by the contractor(s), but neither will respond to my calls, so I'm doing it myself, now. Though I bought a good wheelbarrow, I have trouble transferring dirt/clay/sand from one spot to another, with my bad back and knees. About 6 full loads each day wipes me out, and at this rate, it'll take me a month to be ready to put the fencing back up, and prepare a pad for the front deck. No fencing, yet, is the primary reason for living with the dogs in my temporary "compound" out in the driveway, behind the house. Tomorrow, I'll contact a sand and fill company about a mile away, to have them deliver about 20 cubic yards more select fill (clay-based) to build up areas on both sides and front of the house, then another 20 yards of sand to cover with. Of course, yours truly will be moving it all by himself.
  • I hooked up the under-house dryer vent last week (3ft flex hose to a 2 ft steel duct, then to a 5ft duct, then to 1ft of vent duct), and fashioned a critter-proof cage over the outlet (the cage was from Amazon, but I had to add backing material to attach it to the skirting), because the vent sits just above the retaining wall...an open invitation for birds, mice, squirrels to enter it. Works great, but I have to clean the trapped dryer lint almost daily, from all the new towels she bought, that seem to bypass the filter. And, I have to go back under the house again, this time to put in a greywater outlet (2" pvc pipe), that will also exit thru the skirting, next to the A/C drip line and the dryer vent, and empty into a drainage channel I'm making, between our septic field and the side retaining wall. I''ll fill the channel with gravel, and it will flow into our front yard, as our old house's greywater did (but on the other side, without a gravel channel...it just dumped into the sand, and disappeared straight-away). It's legal where we live, and doesn't require any permits or special equipment; we used our old one for over twenty years, and the plants loved it (my wife washes clothes often, using a lot of water; that's why I diverted the laundry water from the septic to the yard, instead). After she first moved into the new house, she washed about 20 loads over two days, which will fill one of our two septic tanks. During really wet weather, it would've backed our system up, due to the sandy leach field waterlogging, so I have to get this done next week before we get soaking rains this winter.
  • I wish I were still working on my squareback TTT, instead of on this home project. Sometimes, I would get fed up with a problem, or pissed off, and I'd walk away from it for awhile, until my spirit and enthusiasm returned to normal. But, for 4 full months now, I've had no escape or relief from the new home project, and I've been "camping" in the 20ft trailer for 8+ weeks. This old man is really getting worn down (though my physical strength has improved due to exercise/work, my constant knee pain never goes away, nor does my dread of facing the next problem, which is surely waiting around the bend.)
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
  • 147697148333125895
  • 148599148106
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:32 pm

  • Ordered 10 cubic yards of "select fill" today, to start filling some depressions in the yard, back-filling a trench next to the uphill-side retaining wall (to be used for drainage from the septic leach field, and for our greywater pipe), and to extend the house pad (also of compacted "select fill") to have a level footing for the 10x20 deck/porch were having built next month. I'm also using some to make a solid 2 ft wide x 3-4 inch high barrier along the skirting, to keep critters out from under the house. Once the select is compacted, it becomes hard.
  • 10 yards of material will not be enough to fix the entire front of the house, but it is a start. I'll know how much more material I'll need to complete the repair to our moonscape yard, after I spread this first load. Future loads will be more select, followed by a topsoil/sand mix, and then either gravel or road base for the front walk; extra material can go into the side trenches or to extend my rear parking area. I'll probably end up doing all the work by hand, since $300 a day is what a Bobcat rental goes for here.
  • A new problem: we're getting a hard freeze tonight, down to the lower 20's, which I hadn't foreseen coming before I winterized the 20-ft trailer, that I'm still occupying. I'm going to protect one of our new house's outdoor spigots with a cover, but not the one feeding water to the trailer. I'm just going to leave the sink tap flowing overnight, just a trickle, to keep the water from freezing (I've been leaving the greywater valve open for two months now, flowing freely into the dog compound thru a 20ft, 3" hose). I have heaters to keep the trailer inside pipes warm, so there shouldn't be a problem. Lower 20's is serious here, but nothing to most of our northern friends!
  • My wife has the flu, and I'm catching something, probably the flu, so I may regret not making time to get my flu/pneumonia shots this year. At 67, with a long history of pneumonia in my past, I am concerned over getting it again...the last time it nearly killed me - 107 degree temperature-). If I survive for a few days, then I'm going to my doctor again, for the shots (I went two months ago, to get them and a tetanus shot, but they were out).
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
  • 147697148333125895
  • 148599148106
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Re: neglected TT,our home for awhile (w/blackwater problem)

Postby working on it » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:08 pm

working on it wrote:
  • Ordered 10 cubic yards of "select fill" today, to start filling some depressions in the yard, back-filling a trench next to the uphill-side retaining wall (to be used for drainage from the septic leach field, and for our greywater pipe), and to extend the house pad (also of compacted "select fill") to have a level footing for the 10x20 deck/porch were having built next month. I'm also using some to make a solid 2 ft wide x 3-4 inch high barrier along the skirting, to keep critters out from under the house. Once the select is compacted, it becomes hard.
  • 10 yards of material will not be enough to fix the entire front of the house, but it is a start. I'll know how much more material I'll need to complete the repair to our moonscape yard, after I spread this first load. Future loads will be more select, followed by a topsoil/sand mix, and then either gravel or road base for the front walk; extra material can go into the side trenches or to extend my rear parking area. I'll probably end up doing all the work by hand, since $300 a day is what a Bobcat rental goes for here.....
  • After two days in my "dog trailer", trying to combat the illness that I felt coming on, I felt good enough today to start moving the dirt. I made a preliminary yard sweep with the rake, to get a clearer view of the "moonscape" I have to level; it is going to take a couple more truckloads to do, that's for sure.
  • I constructed the critter barrier along the front and exposed side, compacted it by walking on it, and will add more as needed after a rain compacts it more. I also started moving rocks and larger chunks of clay over to the uphill-side retaining wall, and will finish that side tomorrow, with finer material on top, The remainder or the 10 cubic yards of fill will be gradually moved into place by hand, without having to use the wheelbarrow (5-6 cubic feet in a 'barrow is way too heavy for me, so I've been moving 3 cu.ft. at a time...makes a lot of walking). I'll have the next two loads of fill dropped closer to where I need them, and rent a Bobcat to finish it off. Screened topsoil will have to wait, but it should be easier to spread, without the big rocks and clay chunks to deal with.
  • The select fill will require a few heavy rains to finally settle in place, as will my two planned diversion channels/trenches on each side of the house. Water will create its' own path downhill, so I'll let that happen before I make clay banks and a gravel bed for either. Why fight nature?
  • I found a photo of the old house on Google streetview, and it shows how overgrown and densely foliated our yard was before. I would prefer the current "moonscape" myself, or to have it Astro-turfed before it becomes another nightmare of bushes, vines, trees, and poison ivy, that I had to remove last August-September, but the wife wants to try her hand at landscaping again, after neglecting it for the past 5 years. Time will only tell if I can keep her from over-planting again, or not.
  • new house 12-2017, old house 8-2013.png
    new house 12-2017, old house 8-2013.png (723.37 KiB) Viewed 37 times
    barren now, but overgrown before
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring:
    • 3500 lb Dexter axle,
    • 27x8.5-14LT tires,
    • LED lighting,
    • A/C & heat,Optima AGM battery,
    • extended-run 2500w generator,
    • Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern
  • 147697148333125895
  • 148599148106
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