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g and a's mom
Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions- Find a way to eliminate the drafts!

When buying our house two summers ago, my husband and I could not have imagined how cold this house gets in the winter. There are drafts everywhere. While we have had extra insulation added to the attic, cold air is leaking in all around the windows and through the walls. Insulation companies tell me that since there is some, but not much, insulation in the walls of my 1973 built home, I can't blow more insulation in. I will focus on the windows and try caulking and weatherstripping to stop the drafts. Any other ideas to make the inside of my home draft free are welcome

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions
Moderator wrote:

In 2009, what do you resolve to do around your house? Will you finally fix that cracked ceiling plaster? Repaint the foyer? Install solar panels? Finish a forgotten project you once started?

If you tell us, your home improvement New Year's Resolution could be featured on ThisOldHouse.com, and who knows maybe Santa will see it...

I have a cutout in the ceiling of my downstairs bathroom--plumber had to cut into the ceiling to access pipes above. I plan to repair this. I also have acoustical tile ceilings I plan to resurface. Laminate flooring that needs to be pulled up and replaced. Carpet tiles that need to be installed over old linoleum tile. And kitchen cabinets that need to be stripped, sanded, and revarnished. And this is only a short list!!!! I have several other projects, as well!!!

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

TOH 2009 New Years Project Resolution

2008 has been a wondrous year. Financial and time constraints along with a failed sump pump in April 2008 have played their part in thwarting my 2007 resolutions which included completing the painting of my house exterior (started in November 2006 for Family Christmas party) and constructing my newer, bigger, better H. O. Scale Model Train layout. So in effect my 2007 resolutions to complete my projects have become my 2008 and soon to be 2009 resolutions.
My resolutions for 2009 will include, but not be limited to(you will see why), replacing the laminate tile and wood floor in my basement which were damaged when the sump pump failed. The failure was brought about, no doubt, because my wife asked me to check on it during a typical St. Louis April rain storm which included tornado speed winds, thunder, lightning, and monsoonal torrents of water. It was working fine at 2 AM but at 5 AM when my wife went to the laundry room we had 2” of water and a un-pumping pump. The pump was ten years old, so I guess it earned it’s keep for itself and the new one.
I have 1500 sq. ft. of the new floor stacked neatly in the foyer and hallway, but have been reluctant to start the job due to the amount of accumulated articles (all useful I am sure) that are taking up space in my lower level. The moving of said articles to one end of the room to allow the opposite end to be un-floored and re-floored is a bit overwhelming. Also one room (700 sq. ft.) is an Armstrong 16” tile that I can not replace due to production changes(it is now thinner.. go figure) and I hate to give it up because not much is actually damaged. The other room has commercial wood laminate(thicker...you will see why)Also it can not be replaced( no longer produced). The second room has a pool table, foosball table and sundry model train supplies in it. The pool table stole space from my trains and that is why my Railroad will be allowed to circle the soffit in the “tiled” room, thus making for an excellently long mainline run.
The salvaged flooring will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
I also have a ceramic floor in my foyer which has sub flooring issues and will have to be ripped up to be repaired. I attempted to solve the issue from underneath the sub floor but it did not last. All the floor will have to go and some of the Armstrong tile may be utilized if the “Boss“ (you met her...she steals train space) likes the color there. But, (you guessed it) the lower level has to be done so the new laminate floor in the foyer will be off the ceramic tile (see a pattern forming…?)
And the dishwasher needs replaced, the disposal already has been, it lasted about 8 years. And other plumbing issues include the tubs drain plug systems, which are not used, since we take showers. They do not hold water when we do want them to, so we can clean the tubs or bathe the dogs. Oh yes, we had root damage to our 186 foot long lateral which flooded the laundry room(concrete floor…yea) it has been repaired, but time was lost cleaning up that mess which naturally took priority over everything else including going to work. Which reminds me, need to bathe the dogs( we now have three… father and mother and one of the 5 puppies that was not sold and we kept her… still contemplating how that happened)
The 75 foot tall Tulip tree in my front yard is leaning and destroying my Pavestone tree ring (my lateral and threatening my neighbors garage) so it has to be removed. Will have to rent a portable lift to top the tree. (but that financial issue…)
So I guess my real 2009 New Years Resolution is to get more time and money. Oh yeah… and paint the rest of my house

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

I am going to try to finish my 7+ year remodel my wife and I have been doing to our home (1 room at a time) so we will finally be insulated and up-dated. It will be so great to be finished. (remember I am married so that want happen)

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

I have been in the building trades for 26 years and I have seen a lot of poorly flashed decks. I would like to re-do my decks with a quality composite decking and flash the hole deck with Everflashing. F.E.M.A. has a flier out warning how poorly flashed decks can fall off homes. My new years resolution would be to let all home builders, and do-it-yourselfers the serious water issues that can occur if not properly flashed. ;)

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

This is necessarily a home improvement, but I have a really nice 60 gallon compressor that I need to fix. One of the pistons bent and the engine is toast, but I might be able to salvage it. I have been putting it off for months now, but intend to get around to it next year.

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

Finding a non-needy woman to share life with?...... Do they exist at 50? My research tells me no........... Plenty of women but, shesh! Do they have a story, and bag's and bills.

I sat down and figured it out and I as a fool have paid off a quarter million of debt that was not mine.

I'd be better off going to Vegas.

Sunny H
Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

Oh, please! Let me just get a kitchen this year! I don't have one. Without question, it's at the top of my list.

Several years ago, thinking he was doing us a favor, my dear husband had our kitchen gutted right down to the studs, exposing the great old hurricane braces that angle across its outside walls. This was not the best idea. He also had the floor leveled in preparation for installing an entirely new kitchen. That part was good. It used to be so uneven anything spilt immediately rolled towards one corner where a small hole in the old wideboard floor allowed it to run into the basement. Our kids used to love dropping small objects through that hole when they were small. I never knew what I would find down below it.

(People tell us we live the " - saboteamos.info" life and I think in some ways it's true. We bought our antique house in 1977 - it had been built by a whaling captain in the 1800's, then moved it back several acres and onto a new foundation 25 years ago. We have been working on it ever since, sort of like the old soviet five year plans that kept getting extended.)

Usually we agree on what needs to be done, however, this time we argued to a standstill and work was halted. My DH wanted to simply replicate what we had and update it with high quality cabinets and top of the line appliances (Wolf, Sub-Zero), giving us not one square inch more storage. (Nice thought, but not what we needed.) For my part, I knew we desperately could use as much storage as we could get, because most of our china, kitchen gadgets, pots and pans along with extra food and bulk goods has to be kept in our basement. And, I am usually the one who has to go down to get it. There's shelf after shelf of the stuff.

I also realized that we ought to be planning on making our house easier to live in as we get older, as this is going to be our "forever" house. While DH says he's "not getting older", I know that I am. With that in mind, I wanted to do some simple things like planning the new kitchen for ease of use, ie: installing a cooktop and wall hung double ovens, instead of a range, so I won't have to crouch or get on my knees anymore to take food from an oven and have drawers instead of lower cabinets with shelves. I'd also like to move our washer and dryer upstairs into a proper laundry room and combine it with a mudroom for all the heaps of hunting and fishing gear my husband and son own and that are stacked all over right now. (That would be luxury indeed!)

The problem was we would have to bump out the house to accomplish these things. Door ways and a fireplace opening severely restrict useable wall space, and my husband was dead set against expanding.

Well, we couldn't agree, so the electrician and plumber were send home along with the builder. Though not before I had them move our old range, sink and refrigerator into our narrow back hall and jury rig them up. Right now, our old kitchen stands forlornly empty, except for the piles of junk and fishing rods that migrate in and out of it; and, it's chilly without its insulation. Cooking in a crowded, narrow 9' hallway gets old fast. I need a kitchen.

The good news is that DH has come around and we are going to extend the kitchen, add a mudroom/laundry room, a downstairs bathroom (our old one was pulled out during a previous renovation) and even add good sized breakfast area with space to put the poor amazon parrot's cage, so she doesn't have to live in the TV room with us anymore. That will make it easier to clean up around her - she sure can throw food. We might even add a family room with a fireplace. None of our original seven fireplaces are safe to use, though they look wonderful. It would be great to have a working one.

Our problem is ... How to do all this, so as to not compromise the look of the house both inside and out? We are meeting with our architect again soon, but I am not optimistic after the last suggestions we were sent. I've drawn dozens of possible layouts, but none seem to work. I want to be sensible about cost as well, considering the state of our economy and the fact that our son will be going to college next September. We could sure use some advice.

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

About 5 years ago, the basement foundation in my 1979 built home experienced an unexpected and significant settling. After quite a few contractors and licensed engineers came by, it was determined that the garage slab settled onto its footer which is about 42” deep. The footer kicked back into the basement block foundation causing stair step cracks in the front and back walls that eventually opened up t more than 1”. Fortunately, the foundation was made with 12” block, and the engineer we trusted most said that if the cracks stopped moving after 6 months, there would be know urgency in remediating the problem. Fortunately this turned out to be the case. Nonetheless, over the past 5 years I have spent significant effort repairing my home and insuring its structural integrity for the future. It started with repairing drywall and squaring up some doors, fixing up my foundation by my garage doors and replacing the doors. Then I proceeded to remove an improperly installed fieldstone patio staring with removing a large concrete slab which was pressing against one of the cracked walls and functioned as the step from a sliding glass door onto the patio. I hauled 12+ yards of soil away, installed a French drain along the length of my tennis court which was across the patio from the house, I teed in a gutter downspout that previously emptied onto the patio into the French drain. I then properly graded the soil, brought in #2 crusher, graded that. Installed weed barrier and then brought in stone dust so that the fieldstone patio could be properly set. I also increased the patio size by ~25% and replaced the concrete step with a 4’x101 fieldstone capped stoop, with the risers made from thin field stone. The patio is nearly complete – just a few finishing touches to go, but this is only part of my new years resolution.

Through this process I discovered that my home was constructed without any wood sheathing. I have a 2x4 frame that is sheathed with 1” thick 30 year foam-board (not at all rigid by today’s standards) making my cedar clapboard siding, for all sakes and purposes, structural. Hence, my New Year’s resolution also includes making continued improvements to my home. I plan on re-pointing the foundation cracks, removing my existing siding and “sheathing”, Re-sheathing using Huber Engineered Woods ZipsystemTM, updating the brick molding on my windows (which I upgraded with sash replacement kits about 6 years ago), to a vinyl product, and residing the house using Alcoa’s Structure Double 6” insulated siding, and utilizing Miratec trim boards to replace all my existing exterior trim and exterior window sills.

Images of my patio project can be found at under “The Patio” link.
Images of my damaged foundation can be found at:

Images of my basement foundation can be found at:

Having the opportunity to be on TOH would be an absolute thrill. Happy Holidays,

Robert Egerman

Re: Home Improvement New Year's Resolutions

I plan on surprising my husband with some project he has not been able to finish around the house! We have been working on our log home since 2000-we moved in in 2001. It's been fun learning how to do a ton of different projects. But, I still need to put the trim on all the windows, doors, lay the floor, put in a real kitchen and bathroom. With family illness, we got off schedule. I am working on one project at a time now, and looking forward to an exciting 2009!


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