How NOT to build a wall

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I'm just finishing the demolition phase of a minor remodeling project in my basement, removing about 8 feet of wall installed by a previous homeowner. This project teaches a lesson:
How NOT to Build a Wall, in Ten Easy Steps
1. Install the studs at random intervals. 2. Don't bother securing the bottom plate to the floor. If you cut a few of the studs just a bit long, and force-fit them, friction will keep the bottom plate in place. 3. Don't bother nailing those studs in place. Friction, remember? 4. Attach remaining studs to plates with six-penny box nails. 5. Use eight at each end because they're so small. 6. It's OK to use untreated lumber for the bottom plate. Water seepage won't harm fir, will it? 7. Use regular sheetrock for the entire wall. Water seepage won't harm that either, will it? 8. The doorpost doesn't need to be attached to the bottom plate. The sheetrock will keep it from moving. 9. Nail the sheetrock every 3 inches along each vertical edge. 10. That gives you enough nails that you don't need to nail it anywhere else.
And don't _even_ get me started on the electrical code violations I found inside that wall...
Why, oh why, do people with no knowledge or experience of the building trades imagine that they are competent to do their own construction?
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Doug Miller wrote:

I guess if he thought it merely "looked" good enough, someone would buy it.
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Because Home Depot & Lowe's gave them the idea they were competent.
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news:ol37o.59372
<stuff snipped>

It's not just building. It's lots of thing. I laugh when I see Lowe's or HD run ads that make some seriously complicated improvements look like any Harriet Homeowner (remember Hechingers?) could do them with a hammer and a screwdriver.
Way back when I did a lot of PC tech support for neighbors and friends I saw some pretty savage things people had done trying to do their own upgrades.
Someone I know had read an article about easy it was to install your own hard disk. This was the age of the ATA66 and 100 hard disk cable standard. While Western Digital's big fold out instructions did make it look easy, it really only covered about 80% of what you might find "under the hood." IOW, it covered only the most basic installations.
By the time I got to the machine, I could find no earthly reason why it would even boot up, but it did. After about 5 minutes. (She had put up with that for five months before calling me!!) She had two *slaves* on one channel, with the right DIP settings, and a master and a slave (CD as master!) on the other channel, with the wrong DIP setting. Drive operations between channels worked, drive operations on the same channel did not.
I should have known right then to walk away. SHE was getting mad at ME for Western Digital not "being honest with her" about how easy it was. I told her they were also forgetting to teach her all about cable types, termination, DIP switch settings, Berg clips, Molex connectors, hard drive capacity limitations, boot sectors, basic electrical theory, why using WD's magic partitioning software was NOT a good idea, how her drive letters would change because of how MicroSoft lays logical volumes, the difference between physical drives and logical drives, the concept of Master and Slave drives (NO RACE COMPLAINTS, PLEASE! <g>), how important it was to back up ALL her drives before working on even a new one, how to check her work, etc.
In short, WD has failed to teach her how to do nearly everything that ten years of experience makes it seem easy. There was never any admission she was in over her head. This was someone else's fault. She did not know all the things she needed to know and did not even KNOW how deficient her knowledge was!
Putting up a wall must seem the same to some people. At one time, in real life or on TV, they see some master carpenter put up a wall and it looks SO easy. They know they can make all those same motions so off they go, never even bothering to check out a Time-Life book from the library (old world) or Google it on line (new world).
The most obvious giveaway of an amateur wall builder, IMHO, is studs NOT placed on 16" centers, even though most measuring types have specific marks for 16" centers. Next is lack of vertical plumbness. Third is that cluster f_ck of nails that Doug describes in list item 5 that are placed to assure the lowest strength joint possible.
I will have to admit, the first walls I put up at age 16 had their flaws, but they WERE on 16" centers!
-- Bobby G.
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Yeah, well, you should see the sheetrock taping job a presumably professional builder did in my closet. It's diagonal, not at a right angle to fit against where the wall and ceiling meet.
The first time I used tape it wasn't perfect but it was a hundred times better.
So it's not only amateurs...
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Shaun Eli wrote:

Roger that. Here in Tucson, I've found that it almost always requires 2 tries for people to get anything right. When I do things myself, I may sometimes have to re-do something, but I'm not claiming to be a professional at that particular task.
--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
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"Robert Green" wrote

Grin, first one I did had to match an older house. 12.75 inch. It was a replacement due to termite damage of a semi-structural wall along a stairwell (with closet underneath). Original followed the steps and we wanted to match to the undamaged other wall wood of the closet. The stairs were actually falling down on that damaged side so had to use metal supports (the sort where you twist to rise until hit it right). Major pain in the ass with leveling everything. Mom also insisted it be cedar to match the other side and we had to have that special ordered because they hadnt crossbarred shorter lenghts on the original wall and we needed over 10 foot 3x6 pieces for the stretches at the top end.
We were in a small town and had to order from Charlottesville VA (about 1 hour drive away). I still chuckle about the guy driving up and asking Mom for her husband. She saw the wood and told him, 'oh, thats for Carol. CAARROOLL! Your wood is here!'. I'd slept in late and came trotting out in my PJ's with a level in one hand and a muffin half eaten in the other. He didnt stop laughing until I showed him exactly why I had rejected 2 of the pieces. He gave Mom his card after I took him inside and showed the specs I needed for some of the floor beams and 10x2 oak flooring replacements in the far bedroom.
Lets not embarass anyone with my age then. Just say, young enough to come trotting out in my PJ's (girly snicker) and old enough to grab a level.
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

I saw today that Home Depot has just come out with a Peel and Stick Ceramic and Glass Tile. Now thats something for the ages. Right
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
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Rich wrote:

Pretty dumb idea. You could use peel-and-stick floor tiles and get the same effect. Cheaper, too.
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Of course, if the little woman is constantly changing her mind about what she wants for a backsplash, peel and stick would be a great labor saver.
Cindy Hamilton
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On 8/06/10 9:36 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

Been there done that. Previous owner left behind several mason jars full of mixed screws, seemed odd. Then I started removing stuff that he had built and need eight different bits to take them apart, what a pain in the backside, can't even imagine wanting to build something that way.
Last two or three pieces of his handiwork that I have removed, recip saw, hell with the mess, it is less frustrating.
--
Froz...


The system will be down for 10 days for preventive maintenance.
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Someday, maybe I'll post pictures of some of the electrical outlets in my house. Some are just crooked. In several places, the box itself sticks out 1/4" on one side, so the plates don't fit flush. I asked the previous owner about that when I moved in. He said the boxes stuck out "because of the lath".
Huh? I installed new boxes in plaster/lath walls in my previous house. There's no reason for them to look like they're trying to escape the wall.
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wrote:

A house, 3 doors down from mine, had the entire family room wired with those cheapo 18ga extension cords. They were held in place between the block foundation and the 2x3 studs which were concrete nailed in place. No insulation, no vapour barrier. The studs were then covered with hardboard panelling, no drywall. I have built theatre sets (flats) with more integrity.
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I went to an "A card" carrying electrician's house years ago and he had some bare receptacles nailed to the bottom of window sills (inside) wired with lamp cord!!! WTFrenchToast
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Well, look at the bright side. The obvious lack of fasteners must have made the demolition job easier.

My last house was full of surprises like this. They obviously thought it was OK. Anything goes. No sense of pride. Total garbage work.
I broke up some concrete in the back yard to expand the garage. Instead of rebar in the concrete, I found parts of an old refrigerator and bread trays from a bakery. Whatever was laying around got used.
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Three magic demolition items:
GRNSFORS 20# Sledge Sawzall
or
Nobel's Finestkind. ( A bit harder to control)
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Lee Michaels wrote:

So YOU bought my parents old house! Try digging around here and there, soon enough you will hit an I beam or a car engine.
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Which brings up the REAL question.. will he find your parents???
--
I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator
and name it after the IRS.
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What shocks me and is a common practice is to install interior door jams with no nails in the jam. Staples in the jam moldings hold it all in place. They don't need no stinkin shims.
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Leon wrote:

Thats common practice on most new homes today. The rough openings are very tight and they nail right to it then hold it together with the casement trim. I still do it the old fashion way. shim shim shim...
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
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