This week Anthony has answers to your questions and takes more questions for next week.
Q: Our ceiling is starting to crack. Is there any way it could be fixed? We don't want to spend lots for it. The house will be up for sale soon. We just want to present a well maintained house before we put it on the market.
A: Hi, butterflybp. Thanks for writing in.
Ceiling cracks are very common. The question I always ask people when they mention that they have cracks in their ceiling or walls is, of course, How bad is the damage?
The most common causes of cracks in ceilings, walls, and even floors are settlement and foundation motion/vibration.
Cracks such as these are easy to fix or maintain, barring, of course, a serious problem with your foundation. You will find settlement or motion cracks at the top corners of doors and windows, near interior stairwells, and in ceilings usually running evenly from wall to wall or where the wall and ceiling meet.
Water damage that had dried over and weakened the drywall or plaster causing it to bow or crack is another problem that will definitely need complete replacement.
What I need from you is some more information on the extent of the damage.
Describe where the cracks are and what they look like.
Let me know if there was any type of natural jolt recently (like an earthquake). Do you live near train tracks, a highway, or a busy street? How old is your home? How long have these cracks existed? Are they getting worse?
If you can send me a picture (via link or PM to Cafe Sheri) of the areas, that would help tremendously.
Once we figure the type of cracks we’re dealing with, we can go over what exactly we need to do to fix the problem.
Don’t worry, the fact that you used the words “starting to crack” leads me to believe it’s not that serious.
We’ll take care of it. I look forward to it.
Q: We are going to be running electrical wiring to our garage and bonus room (previous owners put the structures up but never came close to finishing them). My husband worked with his father doing appliance repair and electrical work when he was younger and feels that he can do what he considers a simple job.
The plan is to connect the new wires to wires that were orignally intended for use in the master bedroom (bonus room is accessed through the master bedroom). We have several outlets that are already connected, but that we have NEVER used.
Is this a feasible plan or should we plan on spending the rather large amount of money (that we don't have right now) for a professional to do the wiring?
P.S. We have already gotten estimates and explanations of what various pros would do, and all have said that they would either do just what we are thinking of, or would go into the attic and track down the wiring that the previous owners put in but never connected (to the breaker OR the bonus area).
Thanks for your time!
A: Nice to hear from you, Larisa.
Okay, sounds like you have a handyman around the house that you may or may not trust with wiring up this room. LOL. I have nothing but respect for anybody, male or female, who take matters in their own hands. Give him a pat on the back for me. If he feels confident in doing this job and the cost of a licensed contractor or electrician is out of you budget, then here’s what I suggest:
The last thing I would cut corners with is electricity. This is not an area I would feel comfortable with advising someone to tackle without being a licensed electrician. Building codes are written and strictly enforced for homeowners' safety first and foremost.
However, you can pull a building permit as a homeowner by drawing up a plan of your intensions, providing a detailed list of everything in your electrical panel (amperage, breakers, etc.) and filling out an application at your city’s building department.
This sounds difficult, but truly it is not. The peace of mind will outweigh the aggravation of playing it this way. It doesn’t sound like a big job so the cost of the permit will be minimal. The biggest reason why I suggest this route is so you can have city inspector come to your home and properly access the situation. When the work is complete, they will make sure your home is up to code (all part of the cost of the permit). This will also help in the long run for home insurance in case of a future problem or resale.
For the record, I do feel your husband can do this if he feels he could.
Just remember, always do it right, and always cover yourself.
Keep me informed.
Q: Hi Anthony.
It's me, rere. It seems that all my floors are slanting more, and everything looks crooked. What shoud I do? Thanks.
A: Hey Rere.
How’s my biggest fan? Isn’t this website cool?
Okay, keep in mind the age of your building. Slanting floors could mean a problem in the basement or the foundation.
Do they slant towards the middle of the house or towards the outside walls?
This information is vital to learning what the problem could be (like butterflybp’s problem above). Let me explain how typical foundations work. You have exterior walls which are always weight bearing and depending on the square footage in your home, there will be at least one bearing wall running through the inside of your structure.
If your floors are progressively slanting towards the middle of your house, it can mean your interior bearing wall is slowly sinking at the foundation. If the floors are progressively slanting towards the outside walls, there could be a problem with the foundation perimeter.
Take a good look around and let me know exactly where you’re feeling the slants or sags or any weakness.
Have you noticed it getting worse over time or the same?
No need to panic, Rere. There are simple answers to these problems, such as stabilizing problem areas. Get back to me, and we’ll talk about it.
P.S. How’s the weather back home?
Hey CafeMoms, Mr. Gilardi will answer more of your questions next week. Leave your home repair questions below.