Mishaps On The Road To Homeownership

Sometimes -- no, most times -- it pays to hire a professional to work on your house instead of trying to save those few dollars. I was reminded of this as I was adding RAM to my computer. How difficult could it be, right? Well, I'm now writing on a borrowed computer as mine awaits transport to the computer repair shop.

Unless household repair has been a "successful" hobby of yours over the years, more than likely you don't really know how to install a door, any floor job would be warped and that leak in the roof could easily become "leaks" in the roof.

I'm reminded of a few frightful tales from homeowners who attacked home maintenance on their own without researching the how-tos of the job first.

Like the gentleman whose backyard to his new house had been ravished with mulberry bushes. They were all over the backyard; seedlings about 4 to 5 feet high. He started first by pulling them out by hand, but the branches soon were too large and roots too deep to continue with that modus operandi. So he brought in the big guns -- a chain wrapped around the bumper of his truck.

This all worked quite well, till he went after a rather large bush right next to the corner of his 115-year-old house. When he pulled on the bush, it came out all right -- along with the brick and mortar from that corner of the house. It seems the roots had grown their way into the crevices of the mortar.

Then there was the story of the executive who purchased a $600,000 home after he took on a new position in another city. He and his family loved it, but they wanted to put in a circular stairway. It looked like a simple enough process to just chain saw a circle from the basement to the master bedroom. The circular stairway fit nicely. However, the executive-turned-contractor-wannabe, didn't realize he had cut though the cross beams that keep the house sturdy. The house took on a Tower of Pizza look and was leaning about 3 degrees. This, as the expression goes, is not good....

Finally, there was a friend of mine who lucked out when he was trying to repair a leaky basement. He figured that he needed a gravel-lined ditch at the base of the wall with a proper drainage line installed. Years of settling had caused the wall to buckle, so he wanted to be careful where he dug. He worked on the ditch himself -- digging down about four feet where he was going to place the gravel and drainage hose.

This falls into the category of "don't try this at home" -- or anywhere else without an engineering license. Both ditches and walls can collapse, with results no one wants.

As he got to the floor of the basement, he started hearing a very loud popping sound, as if his son was hitting the wall from within the house. He hollered through the wall for him to stop, but the pounding continued. As he went inside the house to track down the perpetrator, he found that the popping sound was the wall correcting itself. By the time he got back out front, the wall was no longer buckled, but standing straight as the day it was built. Luckily, that's the way it went.

Article continued at http://realtytimes.com/rtcpages/20011130_whoops.htm