Fixing what the contractor messed up.


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Old 11-19-14, 01:35 PM
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Fixing what the contractor messed up.

Just a warning, I'm new to the forums so please don't exile me if I'm in the wrong section!! Anyways here's a little back story for some details!
Some years ago I purchased a small 1 bedroom & 1 bath house from a relative in need for some quick money. So yes, I got an amazing deal! Fast forward a couple of years later and my father passed away. In desperate need to provide a safe home for my elder mother I made the stupid mistake of hiring a "budget" contractor. He's a guy that I hired off a tip from a family friend. Don't get me wrong, the guy is great for repair and at an amazing price! But this was a whole room I was requesting him to build... Not a smart idea... Anyways fast forward to just recently and I finally found my dear old mother a safe apartment after they got to her name on the waiting list. I decided to turn this spare room into an office for when I have to bring home my work or attend my online College classes. With all that said... let's get to the problems.

Problems:
1. Basically the first problem was right out of the box. The outlets were sticking out of the wall an unusual and alarming amount! The guy told me since my budget was very low he had to make the walls unusually thin. This meant there wasn't enough room to mount the outlet right inside the wall... Oh and did I mention the light switch is OUTSIDE the room?

The fix: I could have left them in their ugly state, but it bothered me. I basically junked the original wall plates (there was putty there where he tried to blend them) and started doing my own putty. I made the walls look more seamless around the outlets especially after i sanded. I then applied a layer of caulk to seal off the gaps. This straightened up the outlet and held it straight very well. Later on when I was applying plywood to the walls, I made sure to leave enough to reach the outlets and cut out a hole for them. This basically added a layer to it, framing it. I put the face plate over the panel which made the outlet look properly mounted now. I should also mention that I no longer feel any give/sag in the outlet when I go to plug something in!

2. A year in and the roof started leaking. The ceiling was sagging and I used a little razor to make a cut through the "popcorn" to let it drain. Speaking of the popcorn... he tried to do it with a roller and it looks hilarious!! My significant other likes to try to make shapes out of it... she said she spotted a bear one time!

The fix: I called that buddy back over and basically we had to replace the beams and reinforce it. It seems there was a slack on the roof itself where it collected rain water which leaked through and pooled into the ceiling.

3. Holes started forming in the walls after only a few months of it being built. Basically they were drywall nail pops, the nails penetrating from the inside. This was ALL OVER and in straight lines on each wall. I called a buddy over to look at it and he said the contractor used roofing nails that were probably spares from the roof. I'm just guessing this was so he could save money on the budget and pocket the extra...

The fix: Recently after my mother moved out into her apartment, I started the major project of fixing the holes as they were just getting worse. After a shopping trip to my beloved Home Depot, I used adhesive metal mesh patches to cover the hole. I'm hoping that the metal sheet itself holds that nail head, preventing it from puncturing the outer layers and widening the hole. On top of the patch I applied a rather thick layer of spackling paste on top and around the surface. Yes, it was very much a pain to sand once that dried over the next week! I did this to every hole and protrusion I saw. Once all the sanding was done and my arms had time to rest (I should really invest in a power sander...) I cut a piece of plywood and started laying it over all the patching and putty. This would be the third layer and what hides it all to make it look better. I insisted on just doing paneling but the SO insisted on just plywood and paint to make it look more like it should have to begin with... So after I attached the plywood and put some caulk sealant around it, we painted it. It actually turned out much nicer than I thought and I'm pretty satisfied about it. I should also note that it this time is when I framed the outlets to make them even and not stick out.

Conclusions and why I'm posting:

I'm not completely done with this fix. There's still the awkward issue with the air conditioner and the lights... Basically the air conditioner is causing condensation to build up in the lights. I've fixed that just by taking the fixture shade off but according to Better Home & Gardens that's not fabulous. I will have to address that but I'm sure there's already a fix out there for that... Anyways, I still need tips for these things that are left:

1. I need to take up this cheap laminate flooring up and address the horribly done "Floating floor". I can feel gives in it and that buddy of mine says we'll have to reinforce it in some spots. I've helped him before on a project like this so maybe I won't mess it up! I will probably be replacing the laminate flooring with tiles. NO CARPET!!! :NO NO NO:

2. I'm not sure how I will even approach the light switch being on the outside... I'm thinking about replacing the light fixture with a ceiling fan. Most of the modern ones come with a remote control which could possibly solve my problem.

3. The floor molding/trim is going to have to be replaced eventually. I will take the time I do that to replace the trim around the door that has very awkward gaps... This issue will probably be addressed with I work on the floors.

Thanks for reading all of this! and please share tips on those 3 things I listed that still need to be done, and post if you see any future issues with the budgeted fixes I have already done. CHEERS!!

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Old 11-19-14, 01:56 PM
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I'm not sure what was meant when he said the walls were extra thin because of the budget ?? Last time I checked, 3/8" drywall was the same price as 1/2". The electrical boxes are set so they are even with the finished wall, when they aren't, that means somebody goofed!

You might be able to install a box on the other side of the wall, pull the wires thru and install your switch. Then you'd just need to insert a small piece of drywall and finish where the light switch was.

Do you know what size floor joists you have? how far they span? It could be the sub floor is too thin but if the joists are undersized ...... Was there a permit and inspection for the room when it was built?

almost forgot welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 11-19-14, 02:06 PM
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I'm a fan of rubberized flooring. It looks great & cleaning it is easy. No other maintenance is needed.
The light switch can easily be moved to the inside just by turning it around, on the same stud. If you still have a problem with the walls not being thick enough, use an extender box. A ceiling fan is a good idea as well.
 
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Old 11-19-14, 02:12 PM
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A box extension works great and is needed if the wall is too thick [with the box recessed] but I don't see how it would help anything if the box sticks out too far
 
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Old 11-19-14, 02:14 PM
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Maybe I used the wrong term. I meant a 1900 box.
 
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Old 11-19-14, 03:23 PM
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@marksr I'm not sure either but like I said, I made a mistake hiring him to do such an important job from the start. There was a tree at the very edge to begin with and he said I didn't need to get it cut because he'll just build like inches in front of it but of course I got it cut anyways!!! he might have bought/already had the materials to begin with so... save money?

Also, I was thinking about that I was just thinking of a non invasive way of having control to the lights since more or less this is just a spare bedroom...

As for the floors I'm honestly not quite sure what he did but I want to say he used 2 x 12's

Also, thanks

@Pulpo
I believe I know what you're saying I have solved my outlet problems (so far... knock on wood) with the plywood trick that basically "frames" it. On the light switch, there is no problem turning it around.... I just prefer not to really put anymore holes in these terrible walls! I might though if the ceiling fan idea doesn't work out... just prefer a non-invasive solution.
 
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Old 11-20-14, 03:20 AM
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As for the floors I'm honestly not quite sure what he did but I want to say he used 2 x 12's
You need to get underneath and verify the size and span of the floor joists. If there are any floor heat registers, you can pull one up to verify the thickness of the sub floor. If the floor joists are undersized or have too much span between supports - the floor will flex. If the sub floor is too thin, that's any easy fix. I would assume the floor joists are on 16" centers but you need to verify that too.

I forgot to mention earlier that the best/easiest way to fix nail pops is to install a drywall screw next to the popped nail and then either drive the popped nail in or remove it. The screw should stop any reoccurance.
 
 

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