This framing sucks

It’s the most basic rule of American carpentry framing: Studs must be spaced evenly 16″ on center. It’s really simple when the wall measures exactly 8 feet. You also want that framing tightly fastened to something. The idiots who flipped our house didn’t even do that much right.

A stud wall with studs that aren't evenly spaced 16 inches apart.

Nothing says “I took a shortcut” like framing over drywall. That’s exactly what the flippers did at the end of this stud wall. On the backside of this wall is the mechanical closet where the furnace and water heater are. The drywall has some mold damage, so I decide to partially demolish the lousy parts of this wall and rebuild it later.

A house flipper did sloppy carpentry by framing over existing drywall.
Black mold formed on drywall that was near a water heater.

Another Bagster hauled away

Just when I think there’s no more demolition to be done, there’s always another Bagster to fill up. It’s fun watching them lifted up, though.

A Waste Management truck hoists a Bagster up to be hauled away.

Electrician decides not to fix existing problems

Today my electrician disappointed me. I hired him to move my electrical service panel, which he did. As for all of the other electrical problems in the house, he simply refused to fix them. He said they’re too hard to find, and not worth his time.

One such problem has to do with a circuit that runs through this junction box. It’s huge circuit that powers most of the house including lights, outlets, the refrigerator, the washing machine, the garage door opener, and more. Somehow, both ends of the circuit are on separate breakers. Removing the connection at this junction box doesn’t break the circuit. Instead, it causes a “free neutral”. When that happens, the lights in the house blink on and off. You can’t make this stuff up.

Junction box with wiring my electrician refuses to fix.

I asked him what it would take to fix the problem. He wouldn’t give me a bid, saying the problem could be hidden anywhere, like in the attic. I tried to reason with him, saying that the entire basement is exposed, and the attic has very safe lighting and rat runs. He simply said “I don’t do attics” and wouldn’t even look.

Unfortunately, untangling this mess means I’m going to have to hire another electrician, or find a way to do the job myself.

Tricky to insulate around the pipes!

These drain and vent pipes are attached directly to the basement wall. I need to insulate that wall with foamboard insulation. This means carefully cutting out pink foamboard shapes that exactly match the pipe hangers and fitting them into place. Then I’ll have to do this again for with the fire-resistant foil-faced foamboard, but this time I’ll have to insulate around the pipes themselves… very complex shapes. What a painstaking job. No contractor would do this kind of work, but I’ll feel better knowing that wall is thoroughly insulated.

Foamboard insulation cut to match the shape of pipe hangers on a basement wall.