OT: Home Improvement Recommendations and Questions

So my wife and I just bought a house this past weekend. I already have created a list of things I need and want to buy and it keeps growing in order to complete my also growing list of improvements and maintenance tasks. I generally like to research before buying larger ticket items and will spend more, so I can buy something that will last and do a job well if it's for something that I will use often. I wanted to make this topic as a place to ask questions or have discussions about maintaining or improving your home, what improvements, gadgets or tools you can't live without as well as any other recommendations.

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To start the topic, currently at the top of my list is a lawn mower and other items for lawn and garden care as I have no outdoor tools coming from renting. Does anyone have recommendations for a push mower? The yard is flat and a little less than a 1/4 acre. I am still debating between Push or self propelled and Electric or gas? I'm between Honda brand mowers or an Ego/Ryobi for electric. Any other recomendations for lawn and garden care?

I have a self propelled mower that I never use the self-propelling part. I like pushing it around myself for the exercise. My neighbor has a Ryobi electric mower that he says can run the whole yard on one charge, but we have 0.2 acre lots so they're very small yards.

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

I only have 1/3 of an acre and only about half of it is substantial grass, but I don't think a self propelled is worth it. My old mower was a push, and I now have a newer self propelled mower my dad got from a neighbor for free. I think push mowers tend to be lighter (and I assume cheaper?), and with a flat yard can't imagine a self propelled would make a ton of difference.

I don't have experience with electric mowers, but have had a good experience with an electric edger and other smaller equipment, although I still strongly prefer a gas blower over an electric one, if you have to deal with leaves in the fall.

Exact same for me, 1/3 acre, less than half mowable grass. Push mowers are cheap, definitely lighter than the self propelled, and can be easily repaired when necessary. I merely keep the oil level up and change the air filter at least once a year and the plug every other year. I keep starter fluid around for easy one pull starting, and a gallon of gas lasts for a bunch of cuttings. I only use non-ethanol gasoline as well. When between mowers, I borrowed a neighbor's self propelled and while it did help me some in one part of my yard where the moles have colonized a big portion, I did find it useless otherwise, and turning and working around flower beds, etc., was much more difficult. Pick a good motor, Hondas are good, but Briggs and Stratton motors seem to work quite well enough. Don't know about electric mowers, but my overall experience with electric anything has been less than stellar unless you spend the big bucks for the higher quality brands, like DeWalt or Milwaukee in tools, so I'd expect the same for mowers.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Self-propelled is just something else to break. Also, the mowers tend to be heavier.

I've used them in the past, but I really don't see much benefit unless you are getting it without additional cost.

if the yard is flat, self propelled is not a big deal. usually it's the hilly ones that'll get after ya. I've always used gas powered mowers and I think that will be the move for me going forward. While battery technology is always advancing, you just get more bang for buck with a gas -- most electric mower manufacturers have specialized design and no standardization, so replacement batteries are expensive. Don't buy a plug-in electric because cords are a mess. Gas mower will take a little more maintenance (remove fuel over winter months, etc) but should last you more than a decade

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Agreed about batteries. From what I've seen the batteries that are actually worth it are $70 to $100 each and will degrade over time which is why I am leaning gas. Would you recommend one with a bagger, mulching and side discharge capabilities?

depending how often you mow, you'll get 2-3 years per battery. as far as bagging, we've tended to bag probably 90% of the mows and have taken to using the clippings in pile compost. the other 10% of the mows just mulches onto the yard. Side discharge isn't really a feature worth paying extra for unless you're going to mow really thick or wet grass regularly.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

dont sleep on the electric mowers. I bought an EGO in '18 and eventually bought in to their system. I've been extremely pleased with the results. I have 1/2 acre and there are some very hilly parts of the lawn, and the self-propelled power takes care of this without a sweat. In addition to the mower I have a multi-head system with an edger, blower, trimmer, and even a chainsaw. The batteries are interchangeable across all of them.

If you are interested in this route I would keep an eye on Home Depot and their refurbished EGO tools. You can get them at a significant discount, and that includes the batteries as well.

How does the battery perform when paired with the blower? Everything I've read about these battery systems is pretty positive except for using a blower on an actually useful (powerful enough to move leaves) setting.

Its definitely powerful enough for what i need in general, but I have a very annoying tree (willow oak i believe) that has some very heavy and small leaves, and the blower is practically useless against those in the fall. I imagine if I needed to move any other type of leaf then the EGO blower I have would tear through it.

I have a few Ryobi tools, including the blower, that share a universal battery. The blower blows (both literally and figuratively); it's pretty weak. And worse, the battery has like 30 minutes of life on the blower, which isn't enough for those heavy leaf days. The battery, however, is great for my weed wacker and drill.

If the Ryobi blower used the same battery my Ryobi mower, it probably would be much better.

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ah, nice. yea, that's the same mower battery. I'm betting that gets the job done. I'll have to upgrade.

I need a chainsaw too and was thinking about getting the Ryobi tool that uses the 40V. Anyone have experience with Ryobi chainsaws with the 40V battery?

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For everyone crapping on self-propelled mowers, mine paid for itself a million times over the first season I bought it. But my backyard is also nothing but hill. Still, that mofo is nice even in the flat front yard when I'm in no mood.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I like mine as well, I don't really have a flat portion of my .4 acres. The assist to go up the hills is nice. Going down, I just take my finger off the mower assist.

Agreed. If any of your lot is sloped, self-propelled mower is a must have.

Mowers: About 4 years ago I moved away from a rural area and vowed to minimize the number of internal combustion engines in my life. Every spring was some fight with chain saws, mowers, blowers, etc.

New property has only about 1/3 acre of lawn, rest not mowed. I went all in (mower, leaf blower) with the Lowe's Kobalt brand that uses 80V batteries and haven't had to replace them yet. 1/3 acre of rough grass requires one battery swap per session.

I do miss the smell of ether starting fluid in the springtime however.

I don't know where you live but if you are mowing lush St Augustine or centipede or zoysia, you will die if a gas powered mower isn't self-propelled. and self propelled honda's are just about bullet proof

on the flip side, my son is in your same predicament in Winston Salem and has so little lawn he bought a non-motorized reel mower

Believe me, I know whereof I speak. Buy a Honda mower. I deal with things like this on a professional level, and they're well-built. My experience led me to buy one this year when I had to replace an old mower. Push or self-propelled is a personal choice, but if you have a rough yard with roots or other obstacles, it's not as useful.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

I have a hand me down Honda Quadracut. Don't know how old it was when I got it in 2011, but it certainly wasn't new. I've abused it nearly weekly since and only changed the oil 3x. Runs great and starts 1st pull. Almost as good a gift as the 1992 Accord I drove at tech. Great products!

"It's always great to beat UVA, that makes us all smarter and better looking for a couple days".

Get a honda mower, dont worry about the self propel feature. The honda starts very easily and will pay for itself in gas savings. An electric weed eater is a great option if you have to buy one anyway. No mixing gas and has the power of gas. Mine is a 40v kobalt and runs about 30 minutes on a charge. You can also get a grass/leaf blower that takes the same battery.

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

I vote for a self-propelled mower. My last yard had steep slope to it, and I never would have kept it cut without that.

Something to consider if you don't have a good place to store a mower, or if you just don't want or have time to take care of your lawn yourself is to hire someone. Depending on where you are located, the cost to pay someone else to do it for you could be worth it. My lot is a little bit larger than yours, and I pay $45 for my yard guy to cut, edge, and blow off the sidewalks every 2 weeks. Unless it's been raining non-stop for 3 weeks and it's been too wet for him to get out there and now my dogs are shoulder high in grass when I let them out.

Bit late to the party here. But if you go gas route search out some youtube videos on basic maintenance. Oil change, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement and blade sharpening is all they really take. Doing that at least every other year will extend the life of the mower and keep it starting up easily. If you are kicking up a lot of dust while mowing you'll also want to periodically clean the air filter. Make sure the gas you are using towards the end of season has fuel stabilizer in it. Briggs and Straton sells a tune up kit that has oil, air filter, spark plug and fuel stabilizer for like $20, guessing Honda has something similar. In my experience finding someone to work on a push mower in timely fashion can be a pain, doing a bit of preventative maintenance will save you some headaches and money in the long run.

Scissors are pretty cheap

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Not if you count the time factor!

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I do maintenance professionally and highly recommend investing in a good mower. Electric mowers aren't quite up to snuff yet so I recommend a 24" toro brand gas mower. The better blade speed will do wonders for the look and health of your lawn.

Keep the blades sharp and use ethanol free gas if you can. The next best investment are good quality hand pruners and pruning saw. Skip the hedge trimmers, i can usually prune and clean up the same area by hand my crew can do with trimmers.

I've been putting off installing new shelving in our townhouse. We've got those wireframe ones that are probably original and I'm trying to put in some new wooden shelves but it's no easy task.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

When looking at houses, I saw some places with awesome closet shelving that was a mix between wood shelves and slide out wire baskets for smaller or miscellaneous items. I just know it can get expensive fast when you look at those modular shelving systems.

Are you looking to make the shelves yourself or buy a system? That's on my list for something to do eventually.

what kind of shelving? I installed these using lag bolts right into the studs.

Those look awesome. I need some in my pantry as well as two basic shelves over top of my washer and dryer. The pantry is going to be the headache, they're about 3' wide but need to be spaced about 15" apart in height, and brackets would take up too much space for where I'll be putting food.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

If you're handy and have a table saw, French cleats everywhere. Great for easy to customize and change up shelving.

Frank Howarth video

Thanks for sharing, that's a cool video. Only problem is that it's given me more ideas of stuff to build, and if I add anything else to my list of open projects Mrs. Freefall is going to kill me!

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."
--unknown

1/4 acre and flat, I would go electric push mower. Batteries life seems to be improved enough now to consider one. You can cut the grass at 6:00 am if you want to and not wake anyone.

Agreed. I've owned high dollar Toro and Honda mowers and neither made it more than a season, even after being treated extremely well. They needed special gas or else the carbs would get blocked up, and then getting someone to fix or replace the carbs, even after using the expensive gas cost as much as a new, cheap mower. The electric Snapper has been a dream for a couple of years now. No oil. No gas. No maintenance. Super light. Super quiet. It came w/ 2 batteries that charge in 5 min, but most of the time I can do my 1/3rd acre yard on 1. I'm not sure I can see a situation where I would go back to gas.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Killing more than one Toro or Honda in a season seems highly unusual to me. I've seen posts online where people are changing their oil once a decade, fill it with the cheapest gas, and keep them out in the rain but the machines simply won't die.

My Honda manual says gas with ethanol up to 10% is acceptable to run - no special gas is required, which is good because I can't even find any ethanol-free stations near me. I personally throw in some Stabil fuel treatment into the gas can every time I fill it up and run the tank dry at the end of the mowing season.

I bought an MTD back in 1999 when I bought my first house. I think I have changed the oil in it 2 or 3 times, the spark plug twice and rarely drain the fuel at the end of the season. It still runs great. It has a Briggs and Stratton engine in it.

I highly recommend self propelled, especially if you don't like mowing. It will help you get the job done quicker.

Agreed - I recall reading very similar info on them before I purchased, which is why I ended up with each. Especially for the Honda. Having owned one of their motorcycles, which are nearly bullet proof, my logic was 'who makes the best small engines in the world? Honda.' So that's what I went with first. I ended up spending a lot of time at the local small engine mechanic, and noticed an overabundance of both brands in his shop and asked about it, and he said the older stuff is great, but the newer stuff, not so much. I don't recall the exact reason why, but I think he said that that since they moved to being able to get their products at big box stores, the quality has gone way down as they use cheap components to keep the costs down. I couldn't even give him my Honda tiller - he already had 5 or 6 of the exact model on the floor that needed repair, and he wouldn't rent them to customers b.c they were so unreliable, they created more headache than they were worth.

I like my neighbor's philosophy - he just buys the cheapest $80 mower he can find and runs it till it dies. He'll get a couple seasons out of it and go buy another, since a new one is as cheap as the smallest of repairs.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

You may had some bad luck, but honestly I think you neighbor may have the right philosophy for gas powered push mowers. Something made 15+ years ago may outlast anything made in the last 10. Got 10 years out of my troy bilt push mower which I thought was pretty good*. I replaced it with hand me down from my Dad that had 1 season of use before going into storage for 5 years. Basically the same mower I had before, except with self propel. The self propel lasted another season and half before dying. Ended up reading that troy bilt self propel went to shit around 2010 and the gears getting stripped after 2 - 3 seasons was pretty common. Now I just have a heavier push mower. When this one dies I'll either go the super cheap gas route or look at electric. Longevity of batteries is my main concern with those, but replacing the battery every 2-3 years is still probably cheaper than getting a push mower repaired and you don't have deal with oil changes, gas cans etc.

*Pretty sure the starter failed due the excessive starting/stopping caused by bagging. I guess idling push mowers really isn't a thing anymore.

Changing the oil at least once a season will extend the life of your mower more than you think. The mower I just replaced (with a Honda) was the one I bought not long after I moved to my current house....purchased in 1990. Oil changed at least once/year. It was a Lowes model (made at the time by Cub Cadet) with a Briggs and Stratton engine, which was still fine, but the wheels and handlebars were falling apart. I moved up to a self propelled model because I'm old.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Dunno, maybe I'm just cursed when it comes to lawnmowers. I followed everything by the book, changing the oil as recommended, the best gas, replacing spark plugs, and draining the gas at the end of the season and storing indoors. Not having to deal w/ any of that on the electric has been wonderful.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

I change the oil on my Honda Cub Cadet like once every three years and it still cranks. I think I've had it a decade. The wheel bearings busted so I had to replace those but other than that, only air filers and the occasional blade replacement.

Drill and impact driver. I have Milwaukee M12 Drill and Impact driver that is my "go-to" for 85% of projects. I do have M18 drill and impact driver that I use for heavy duty work. I like the M12 because they are not very heavy and often times work you are doing is above your head (hanging blinds changing light fixtures) where weight and finesse is more important than power (going against Tim the Toolman Taylor). Get that and a nice set of bits and you will be set up for at least 10
years (that's how old mine are at the moment). Pick a good brand like Milwaukee or dewalt and you can reuse your batteries for many different tools. Oddly most of the cost of a tool is the battery. I have a Milwaukee battery that I paid $200 that I use for heavy duty tasks (drilling into concrete or brick).

Congrats and good luck with the new house!

Thanks. I already have a Ryobi drill and impact driver and will likely stay in their product line. I bought them a few years ago and have had no issues and it's performed as expected for their price.

Was going to comment, I have a bunch of the Ryobi One+ system and have been happy. I have had one battery go bad in 5 years. The weed wacker works pretty well on the larger 3a+ batteries.

I agree on Milwaukee tools. I had a few Ryobi tools but made the switch over to Milwaukee a few years ago (there's nothing wrong with Ryobi but my batteries were worn out and I had heard great things about Milwaukee). The M12 lineup outperformed and were more powerful than all of my 18V Ryobi tools. M12 has plenty of power for DIY projects, are lightweight, and there is a wide variety of tools in that lineup. I purchased the M18 yard tools this year and have been really impressed with those as well (string trimmer, pole saw, blower, hedge trimmer).

If you do any car maintenance, the Milwaukee M12 ratchet and the M12 Fuel Stubby 1/2" impact are must haves.

Milwaukee and other brands routinely offer deals that include free tools and/or free batteries.

Get you a set of the 1/2" and 3/8" impact wrenches. They are a bit pricy but the most useful tools I own. They will rip stuck bolts with the same force or better as a pnumatic but not hoses or cords to deal with.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

My Milwaukee impact driver has been the best tool I have ever bought. The things will sink a screw into anything without a struggle. I also pay attention to what the pros use when I have someone doing work on my house, and Milwaukee seems to be most common brand in their toolbag.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Make sure you get a good bug spray, and maybe a tennis racquet, for those pesky yellow jackets. ;^)

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Get a Home Depot or Lowe's credit card. They routinely send offers for 5 or 10% off of purchases and offers for free financing for 6/12/18/24 months depending on how much you spend. Something big will break on your house at some point and the free financing offers can help manage that.

For tools, don't buy everything at once. Buy them over time as you need them for specific projects. There are a bunch of different brands of cordless tools, look into the reviews of the different brands but I would try to stick with one brand so that you can share batteries which can be expensive.

I will echo all of this comment and add this about power tools, I bought one of the Dewalt oscillating tools a while back for a specific project and I have wound up using the hell out of that thing for a vast array of projects. Thing's pretty damned versatile is what I'm saying.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

We still haven't purchased a chainsaw because we haven't had any real culmination of huge diameter logs to cut and the saws-all is such a versatile tool. We have a plug in with more power, but typically only need the battery one, and it's way easier than stringing out cord.

OMG yes. I bought the Porter-Cable version of the oscillating tool because it uses the same battery as my drill when I was helping my sister install vinyl plank flooring at her house. We needed something to undercut around the door casing that wouldn't take 5 years like a handsaw would. Side note, when the packaging on the vinyl flooring says you can cut it with a utility knife, disregard those instructions and break out your miter or table saw. We would still be installing her new floors if I hadn't loaded down my car with literally every tool I thought we might possibly need when I went out to help her.

Fast forward 8 months and the BF and I are hanging new drywall as part of a kitchen remodel and that thing has been worth its weight in gold, which admittedly isn't a lot, for cutting out around outlets, trimming things down just a bit when our my measurement was a hair off, etc. We're going to have to feather in some hardwood floors before we install the new cabinets, and I suspect it will be very valuable for that job as well.

It's great for anything that needs a flush cut. The idiots that used to live here previous homeowners were really good at making things look nice on the surface, but they've fucked up so many door frames in my house it's not funny. The door knob on our bathroom door wouldn't catch because the strikeplate didn't line up properly, but the screw hole, for lack of a better term, was now too large to accept a new screw. My favorite method of dealing with this is to curse everyone that lived here before me, then take a wooden dowel of the appropriate diameter and some wood glue, stick it in the hole, wait for the glue to dry, the take the oscillating tool and cut it off flush, then re-install the strikeplate in its new location, slightly adjacent to the previous spot. Hasn't failed me yet.

TL;DR Buy the oscillating tool.

You may want to consider buying your general tools cheap from Harbor Freight. They sell super cheap stuff. The quality isn't great, but for most tools, you don't need high quality.

When the tool breaks or your find yourself using it a lot, you replace it with a better quality one.

No need to spend a lot of money on something you use twice a decade.

This^

And also check SlickDeals for power tools. Ryobi, Dewalt, and Milwaukee show up there on a weekly basis with good deals. Just note once you buy into a brand of these battery power tools you're in that brand. It would be silly to buy the 20v Dewalt drill/impact then buy a Ryobi anything.

(add if applicable) /s

Just note once you buy into a brand of these battery power tools you're in that brand. It would be silly to buy the 20v Dewalt drill/impact then buy a Ryobi anything.

This is why everything we own is Porter-Cable. If Porter-Cable made coffee machines I'm pretty sure we'd have one of those too.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

I'm the same way with Dewalt. I have a friend who has every possible tool in the Ryobi One+ set. He doesn't need them but he keeps buying them. Flashlight, vacuum, pressure washer, outlet, fogger, hedge trimmer, belt sander, ratchet, speaker, shears, HOT GLUE GUN I'm not joking he has everything. I'm not a big fan of Ryobi but I will give them that they have an incredible amount of versatility in the One+ line.

(add if applicable) /s

You mean, our coffee machine isn't Porter-Cable??

This definitely this.

Buy the cheap one first, and if you find yourself using it all the time it is either exactly what you need or becomes the tool you upgrade to a Cadillac version when the old one breaks. Add to that fact that when you buy a new tool, you can read all you want and get all the advice you want, but it will take having one and using it to figure out what the tool doesn't quite do well enough for you to understand what you really want in that particular tool.

Not trying to hijack the thread, but how many of you have experience with the Generac (only brand I know) automatic generators?

When Mrs. APFOW and I moved in our neighbor warned us about how often the power went out on our little part of the neighborhood. At the time, I shrugged it off thinking how bad can it really be?

Our power has gone out 3 times in the past week. I'm ready to throw in the towel and get one of those generators.

I had always thought they just ran on diesel, but when I found out they run on natural gas as well...and I have a gas line...it seems like a no-brainer given how ofter our shit goes out.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

My parents have an automatic generator using natural gas connection. Unsure on the brand, but it works great. Only takes a second or so to start. One thing to note, it's not loud, but it can be noticeable when it starts once a month. You get used to the noise though when it's running.

Also you aren't hijacking. I wanted to create a thread for everyone to discuss home improvement/maintenance stuff.

We have one of these and love it. A few seconds is all it takes to get running.

Freaks out the dog though.

I have a DuroMax dual fuel as an emergency generator.

Be prepared to pay to get an electrician to install one as well but they are very well worth it. I have a diesel one and its awesome to have.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Curious if you can run the whole house on these generators? I know someone who had one in the past but could only run the refrigerator and I think maybe the downstairs AC. I guess the power can be different and you could get one that will run the whole house but I had always heard most will only run essential things and not the whole house.

My parents have a whole house generator that they have linked up to their propane tank. It runs the entire house, and turns on automatically in the event of a power outage. In fact, it switches on so fast, sometimes they don't even know if it's running or not. That said, the generator itself is also about the size of the propane tank, so I guess you get what you pay for?

One of those is the plan for the house I am building for my mom.

One came with our house, auto start, propane. Runs almost everything but won't run the heat pump or the kitchen stove. No prolonged outages yet here, but we don't use an inordinate amount of gas for the weekly 15 minute test run. Only other thing we have that's gas is the water heater and it seems like we only use a couple hundred gallons a year. We can run aux heaters and even a tiny AC unit for the bedroom, so we're in good shape. In the mountains, we spent a lot of time without power for various weather events, and boy do I wish we had had one there. I would suggest getting one that'll run everything, though. They're expensive enough that it's worth the extra to be well situated in power loss prone areas. Were I to replace ours, I'd go big enough for the stove and heat pump.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

You can but be prepared to pay out the nose for it. And out the arm. and out the leg.

Best to select things like refrigeration and freezer, any necessary medical devices and maybe just a bit more like enough to run a fan and maybe a TV. Always put your persoanl electronics like TV, Internet, PC etc on a UPS to help protect it from the wild power swings that will go along with your whole house generator.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

These generator's use up quite a bit of propane. Make sure you have an adequately sized tank for any longer term power outages or only put needed circuits on it to reduce the load.

depends on how powerful they are.

I have a 5500 for post-tropical event outages; with a little thought, it will run everything we need except the central air and H/W heater (we have a gas stove). For a/c I have 3 inexpensive window units and for H/W I'm getting a camp style tankless setup (previously we've just been judicious with the H/W).

The 5500 has wheels, fold down handles, and a small enough footprint that storage isn't an issue.

I was just looking for general feedback on how everyone liked theirs, if it was worth it, and tips. And you all delivered. Thanks, everyone.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

Paint before you move in. Trust me, you would much rather do that with no furniture in the house than to do it when you are fully moved in. Moving furniture off the walls and covering with drip cloths and praying you didn't miss anything is a huge pain in the ass that you can avoid if you already know what aesthetic you like.

Don't do any major home improvement jobs for the first year or two. Live in the house and see how it actually functions before you make any changes. Anything you do up front is based upon what you think you might need to do rather than things that actually need to be done. Things might be in certain spots for a reason and the cost of changing like far exceeds the benefit you get from the change. There were a lot of things my wife and I wanted to do to our house that we absolutely scrapped because of either cost or a realization that the way things were actually made sense.

As for the lawnmower. I have a 1/3 acre yard, mostly grass, that is on a bit of a hill (street is a good 5 feet higher than front door. I got a cheap lawnmower from LOWES that isn't self propelled, and it still works great 6 years later. Get a small toolset with a flathead, phillips head, powerdrill, and small wrench/socket set. That will handle most of the daily things you need to do, and when you're ready to tackle something bigger, then get the tools for it.

Don't overthink the yard up front. Seed, weed, water, and mulch for the first year or two just to see how it works, especially as a new homeowner. Then, once you have an idea on what you have to work with, then you can tackle any bigger challenges.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Thanks for the pointers. We are planning on painting the dark brown beadboard ceiling in the basement before moving in furniture. First project we are planning now is replacing the flooring in the kitchen. It's currently a cheap warped and not level floating wood looking vinyl floor that is loose in spots. It's maybe 200 SF of floor. These are probably the only two things we want to do immediately.

The front yard has a slight crab grass issue. My understanding is to just cut and water until fall, and then try to do the seeding and weed killer then when it's cooler. I believe the grass is a Kentucky bluegrass mix of that matters. I do also need to set up a system to water since there is no inground irrigation system.

I do also need to set up a system to water since there is no inground irrigation system.

Putting in an irrigation system is stupidly expensive. Put it this way, we're going to be in quarantine for a while, get used to watering every evening or morning. Though, if your area is anything like mine, we've had so much rain this year that I haven't needed to water, yet.

And if you can take care of the kitchen flooring before moving in, do it. Something that is obviously broken, of course fix it when it is of least impact to you.

Oh, and as an aside. A maroon room sounds like a great idea. First thing I did when I moved in was pant my office maroon. It was great. But maroon traps heat. In the summers, that room was a sweatbox even with the AC on (two story house, office on the second, only one AC unit for both floors... not a great setup). Painted it grey for my daughter's nursery, and the temperature is far, far more regulated than it was before. Also, dark colors really make the room look small, too.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Fortunately quarantine hasn't really affected my wife or I, so we've still been going to work every day. I think I will just have to try to water sections each morning and put it on a timer. And rotate it each evening to another section. It's not to much, so I think it won't be too bad.

The color is the issue with the basement. The dark ceiling makes it feel cramped and there are no full size windows so it feels even darker and more cramped.

if you're trying to avoid it being cramped, just go white on the ceiling. It'll reflect light, making it look more open and will complement any color you put on the wall.

Also, if you're looking to paint any walls grey, always go with a muddy tone, otherwise it trends toward UNC blue when applied.

And when trying to pick out a color at the store, always go 2 shades lighter than you think you need. You always see more color and things always dry darker than they seem like they will on the paint swatches.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

If it's an accent wall, always do your selection in the space it's intended to be in. Lighting causes colors to look different. And you need to have the accenting colors together. Don't select them separately.

Never, ever, pick colors in a store. Worst case scenario is to pick outside in sunlight. But never pick under different lighting conditions.

More importantly, find a color you think you want, and then buy samples of a few different shades of that color. Put them on the wall and let dry to see how they would look in that space.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

You can also get pieces of poster board, paint those and tape them up in the room to see how they look during different times of day. They sell packs of the poster board in the paint section of Lowe's and they aren't expensive. Just ask for a few of those little sample paint jars in similar colors and try some out.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Long story short.... Painting a room is a bitch and a half to accomplish. Take the time to do it right the first time around.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Prep work is the hard part. Fill all holes, fix cracks, nail pops, etc., sand well, and wipe down the walls before painting. The actual painting is comparatively easy. Assuming you have standard sheetrock walls, 3/8 nap roller covers for paint. I prefer an eggshell finish over flat or semi-gloss. Tape off the trim, do your cut-ins first, then roller. A small roller extension (18"-24") actually makes rolling a little easier.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

I use SureSwatches that I get at home depot. They are clear clings that you paint one side then peel and stick to the wall to see the color in place.

I'm in the middle of repainting the living room so we just spent 3 days with 7 different swatches lined up on the wall and moving around the room to see how the lighting effects the color choice.

Spackled and sealed all the decoration and curtain/blind holes last night. Tonight is sanding and taping, Friday primer and hopefully Saturday color.

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

consider putting in natural areas in yard to reduce grass/watering, etc.

HH4455

Crab grass should die off after the first frost, and crab grass prevent every 2 months in the spring should let the bluegrass mix you seed in the fall and patch in February should get a good enough start to keep it from taking over when it does come in. Doing a lawn right is a good way to spend a lot of money, but getting a good base of grass, keeping it cut tall, building a thatch base underneath with trimmings, and watering when really dry can really limit what you need to spend. A tank sprayer with a lawn safe weedkiller, a drop spreader for crabgrass prevent fertilizer, a long hose and decent hose end sprinkler and a mower should be all you need if you can get the grass filled in right to start with.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Depending on age of house, if older, be very careful of any ripping up floors as older homes have asbestos, including mastic under old vinyl flooring. DO NOT make the mistake of ripping it up without knowing ahead of time. You can always have a professional take out a small sample(s) and test it cheaply, prior to major renovations.

HH4455

Asbestos isn't in the house based on the build date. Already saw underneath the vinyl plank flooring since it slides underneath the cabinets. A thin vapor barrier and then the subfloor.

Also for the lawn: Don't be afraid of white dutch clover. If you seed your yard with a good mix of grasses as well as clover, the clover should out-compete other weeds and it will act as a nitrogen sink, which fertilizes the grass. The greenest healthiest places on my lawn have small patches of clover in it. It's also nice for pollinators, particularly honey bees.

There's also a variety of clover that doesn't flower if you don't want the pollinators around. You'd also have to stop using broad leaf herbicides (weed and feed) in order to keep the clover around.

Glad I read down before posting.

Don't do any major home improvement jobs for the first year or two. Live in the house and see how it actually functions before you make any changes.

So much true, do the painting and maybe the floors before you move in (just be real sure on your choice of flooring material), otherwise wait. I had a plan for my house since I moved in and here at the three year mark my wife just come up with a much better idea for an area i was going to build a retaining wall into. Live in it for a time and you might change your mind on some things once you use them. I am pretty handy (tore out the entire floor on the second floor to brace, sister sunken joists, level up and put down new subfloor, and all new wood and heated tile floors) and I change my mind on projects all the time (I am getting ready to relocate some light switches because I am tired of zigzagging between them or having to use my phone for light to get out of rooms or down hallways after turning off the lights). Give it time to find what you like and what annoys you and then plan the project accordingly.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Another consideration for mowers is fall leaves. I used to live on a 1/2 acre lot in Ohio, and our neighborhood was formerly a maple lumber forest. We fell 4 trees in the yard due to various rotting/splitting issues, and still produced 200+ bags of finely mulched leaves every fall. (Had to bag the leaves for our town's pick up).

So while the push mower was sufficient in the spring and summer, quality of life drastically improved in the fall when I bought a riding mower. My only regret was not buying a nicer/bigger model.

New house has 1/3 acre, a few huge oak trees, but a battery powered mower with a bag has been more than sufficient (we left the riding mower with the last house).

Really depends on how the leaves are dealt with locally. We broke down and got a backpack leaf blower because we got too many leaves for the mower to handle, but we can just put a pile by the curb and the city vacuums it up.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I just went through this myself. It's been mostly hassle free for me, and I am incredibly happy.

I will comment one thing on tools, as I am a professional wrench thrower.

Harbor Freight is a wonderful place but do not fall in love with anything you buy. If it breaks cut your losses and get another one, unless you just got it.

If you value tools I reccommend picking a major brand and going with it. I prefer Milwaukee because they have a hugely vast tool base that all uses the same batteries, and their warranty support is really quite amazing. Most of the time they will just send you another took if you have an issue. This is true of most brands, not just Milwaukee. That's just what I picked. Fixing power tools used to be one of my jobs and when they were apart I was just more impressed with with way the Milwaukee stuff was out together. DeWalt used to be a favorite of mine until Black and Decker took them over and their quality went down.

In the end, and I know other people said it before, have some decent tools on hand. Makes you less crazy.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

The best small techy thing I did when we bought the house was install smart switches everywhere; I can control every light and fan in the house from my phone, can put them on schedules, automate them for things like when I leave the house, etc. Easy to install, and cheaper than those smart light bulbs (why replace 4 bulbs in a kitchen when you could replace the 1 switch they all run off of).

I did something similar and got a few TP-Link lights for the living room and bedroom. I like being able to set the dimmer from my phone or set up a random schedule for when we are away.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Or draw a second mortgage to trick out the house in philips hue over priced stuff

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Right? I priced out replacing all the bulbs in my house and it was +$3,000 (now about $2,400 since prices have come down)... the switches were $500.

I don't get pretty colors, but that wasn't the goal... lazy light-switching from the couch was the goal :)

What brand switches did you get? I have some TP-Link plugs that are mostly reliable, but wouldn't mind actual switches.

Wait, what?

I use the GE switches (link). They also have add-on switches, dimmers, etc, and I use their smart outdoor outlet for my deck lights (and Christmas lights in the winter).

I use them with the SmartThings hub from Samsung, but they have a few variants (Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-fi) with support for numerous integrations.

If you're in the market for the color switching and dimming lights, I highly recommend the bulbs that TP Link has on Amazon. Have a few and they are all great. Newer model is a decent improvement over the old.

We like to dim our room and change the lighting to blue, purple, magenta, aqua, etc to set the mood at night. I've been known to set to orange and maroon while watching Tech.

Easy peasy to set up and they work like a switch without needing to install a new one.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Yeah, I picked up a half-dozen of the Kasa bulbs from TP-Link and have been pleased with them, especially for the price. The kids love picking a different color in the playroom every day, but I wish they'd allow cool features like color cycle or different effects.

TP Link sells a light strip that does the color cycling, so I'm guessing that might be included in their next bulb iterations. Was looking for the strip to go behind the TV, but it sells out quick everywhere

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

I had a friend buy a house and immeadiately buy all philips hue stuff and it cost him a fortune, then their heat pump died and just like that he was in a pickle. I still use regular stuff but was looking into some smart lighting for the man cave/game room but man do philips want an insane amount of money for not much.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Quick home improvement question for current homeowners (I apologize if I have asked this in a previous thread):

Is your exterior trim wrapped/capped? Have any of you had exterior trim work done?

Mine is currently just painted wood and I do not want to get a super tall ladder to go up there and paint that stuff every couple of years, especially the parts where I would have to go out on the extremely angled portion of the roof above the garage. I want the more permanent, low maintenance option of wrapping/capping but have no idea what type of costs I'm looking at.

Any thoughts, suggestions, or experience would be greatly appreciated?

Thanks in advance.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

I have an overhang roof on my house and the wood trim on the bottom side began to rot at each corner of the roof.
I had it replaced with cellular PVC trim pieces that are low maintenance and won't rot or mold. It's more expensive than wood but will last longer and should not require maintenance.

I hired a guy from Thumbtack to do the work. It was done in a day and I paid about $1K in total (about $100 for the materials and $900 in labor). I've used Thumbtack a few times and have had good experiences, typically you can spend less and get the same quality of work done. My neighbor had their roof replaced and that company quoted over $3K for this job.

Definitely recommend a nice power tool set. Home Depot has some great deals on Ryobi right now. Two years ago I picked up a Ryobi kit on clearance for $75 and it included a drill, impact driver, and two batteries. Added the skill saw later on. In this current sale I got the multi tool and two batteries for $90 when the multi tool is normally $80.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

I stumbled across an unmarked box in a back corner of a TJ Maxx one day and felt compelled to look inside.

Refurb Skil electric set. Small circular saw, non-impact drill, flashlight, and reciprocating saw with two batteries and a charger and a bag for $120. Bought it and the drill is my go-to, the reciprocating saw has been huge for me, and the flashlight sees work occasionally. I use other circular saws that I already had but this set was a great find.

I highly recommend that you or your partner start working for a company that manufactures and distributes tools and sells said tools at cost to employees at the company tool store. My BF has this perk, and I can't tell you the number of times I've said "do we have something that would work for x...?" and behold, we have it. Also, if you're planning any sort of major renovations, you can never have enough demolition tools. My personal fave has been a telescoping pry bar with an articulating head.

Jokes about career changes aside, I also suggest that when you're planning a project, really do your research as to what is involved, and what can go wrong and what kind of supplies you're going to need. The other weekend, we completely re-wired our kitchen while we had everything down to the studs. In preparation, I picked up just about everything we would possibly need with the mindset that I would just return whatever we didn't use. We still had to run to Lowe's twice for box grommets (which, had I researched a little more carefully, I would have already purchased those), and metal junction boxes that we needed to terminate the old wiring safely (again, research, didn't know we would need those). Thankfully, I was able to run out for those supplies while the guys kept working on something else, but it easily could have slowed progress if that hadn't been the case.

gutter guards are a great buy
thermal leak detector
Extra long spooled auto-retracting extension cords for working where you need
home composter
driveway sealant (depending on your driveway)
Smart Indoor Herb Garden (I gave my parents a Click and Grow. They love it)
motion sensor lights in kitchen and bathroom active at night
flex tape
Upgraded cabinet and drawer pulls for kitchens and bathrooms (wives love this, especially if you repaint them too)
Updated kitchen backsplash. Either some mosaic tiling or simple white subway tile.
Procelain counter tops
modern thermostat
fire extinguishers

and of course, WD40

some smaller tools i use a lot...a stud finder and a level. always useful when hanging pictures or tv's, or putting in shelves.

A good thing to think of is somewhere to store trash cans securely. Local wildlife love to spread trash all over the yard at night and nothing worse than waking up in the morning to see all your trash across the yard.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

A word of advice....find out when your hot water heater was last replaced. Average life is 12-15 yr. When they fail, it can be a big mess, and depending on where your tank is located, could do major damage. If it's located in a crawl space where it doesn't matter, you could let it fail, but know your water bill will be very high. It's still better to replace it before it fails. Once you replace it, write the date you replaced it on the tank with a sharpie.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Manufacturer dates from HVAC, Heat Pump and HVAC were all between end of 2012 and end of 2013, so I'm guessing about halfway through their lives. I did make sure to check these during the inspections.

Oh, thought of another tidbit. HVAC systems/heat pump life span is about the same as a hot water heater. And they're incredibly expensive compared to the hot water heater, upwards of $6K. Start setting aside cash for it.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

This should not be the case. A hot water heater will last an average of 8-10 years but you should be getting 15 years minimum out of an HVAC system, with them commonly lasting 25 years or longer now.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

WD-40
A selection of common screwdrivers slotted and #1, #2 phillips and adjustable crescent wrench in the 2 common sizes.
A selection of common pliers, the needle nose, and channel lock type.
duct tape and masking tape.
A box cutter
2 flashlights and extra batteries, rechargeable flashlight is great
metal tape measure
square
level
cotton string
a small claw hammer and a framing hammer picture hanging assortmentand a box of 1-1'5" common nails
pencils
some medium and some fine grit sandpaper
a toolbox to put them all in.
sharpie

This is going to be great for the ACC.

First time home owner as well. I went with electric with everything since we have a tiny yard. It's convenient as all hell to mow my lawn, trim the edges, and finish with the blower - all with 2-3 batteries.

If you can't have a gas range to cook with, look into induction.

I'm also looking at installing synthetic turf to cover all my outdoor ground space but I live in the city so it may not be practical or appealing to everyone.

Everyone else mentioned what I would have said for traditional home maintenance and repair, so I'll add this one.

Plan you home network needs NOW.

Regular consumer level wifi routers are going to choke soon enough with all the 4k streaming needs, and you are going to want a network that is capable of lasting for a while. If you intend on going pure wireless you may still want to consider some higher throughput access points in your home, and those will benefit the most from being cabled-up instead of a wireless mesh system. I started to implement my Unifi network about 3 months after we moved in because I had easy access to most of the areas I needed to place my access points. Still, there was drilling, fishing between floors, and hanging out in the attic for hours to get things just right.

If you have the means and some above average home networking skills it is very much worth the financial and time investment.

Planning on building a house for Mom and then for my wife and I. I planning on running cat 5e (I have spools laying around) between most of the rooms so I can just put in a switch and a central data point for the network.

I wanted to future-proof mine as much as possible and ran / running 6a... I'm planning that when 10g nics become maintstream then I'll be set.

Since I have my floors torn up at the moment and plan to put down new ones this weekend, what cable should I run from my basement to the second floor to add another cabled wifi router to the second floor instead of the mesh system I was going to install?

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

I would install cat 5e at a minimum.

Yup. You want to at least make sure that the cable allows for PoE (power over ethernet) even though you may not need it immediately. If you have the means I would use a newer cable like Cat6a since it supports 10g speeds. If you do go 6a just know that it is much more rigid than 5e, so tight bends may be an issue depending on where you are trying to make the runs. Also, make sure that whatever you get is appropriately rated for the installation (i.e., get plenum if you need it).

I will be going through exterior walls and floor joists so the smallest radius bend would be 5-6".

Also do I need to run the second cabled router to the modem or to the ISP source? They are in different directions from where I want the second wifi point.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

For the connecting - sounds like you are going to daisy chain your routers. That can work, but just know you are going to have to setup different SSIDs for the wireless, otherwise your devices are going to be completely confused as to which router to talk to (unless you have something like this already - Asus AiMesh). You could opt to use the router as a repeater, but I dont believe you would be able to use the wired connection for that - you simply have to hope the 2nd router/AP is close enough to the signal to amplifi and repeat.

I will add that if you really need a reliable connection you probably need to buy in to a mesh system of some kind. TPLink, Eero, Google, Netgear Orbi... they all have some kind of mesh offering, but all come with tradeoffs. I personally selected Ubuquiti's Unifi lineup because I didn't want to compromise on privacy or performance, but I had to put a little more work in to getting it operational. Its definitely not plug and play, but if you have the ability (or willingness to learn) it is well worth the investment.

I just have plaster walls in my house and the wifi doesn't reach all the bedrooms. I was thinking of a mesh system to improve signal, but your comment made me realize it would be very little trouble to run a cable to the hallway in the center of the second floor, I just don't know enough about the overall internet system to know how to make the whole thing work. My ISP comes in and has their box in the NW corner, the modem and router are in the the NE corner and the place I want to get to is in the south center of the house, which is why I may just run the cable to the hallway and leave it spooled up in the basement until I can get someone who knows what they are doing to set up the system.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

My understanding of Internet/cable is that your modem or cable box is what is used to unscramble the signal from your ISP connection. There is always information going through the ISP cables and you pay for the modem which unlocks this information. Everything you do should be after the modem.

You may be able to move your modem closer to the ISP box and connect it there or run a new cable from the box to where you want your modem to be.

Sounds to me like split the signal at the modem and set up two separate wifi routers. I will have to do some internet searching on this tonight.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

This approach is workable, just know that your wifi clients may find themselves constantly switching their connections. Not a major issue for general use, but if you require a constant connection for anything this could be an issue. E.g., if you are having to do a lot of Webex-ish stuff now you may just have to stay in one place, or otherwise you risk losing the signal and disconnecting.

I ended up installing the Google Mesh system and it was super simple. Our split-level plaster walled house was a pain before, but now we get coverage everywhere, even to the back of the property.

You can install a more complex system, but the simplicity was nice. Just plug in each node and follow the instructions in the app. Its been running for three years now and pretty much takes care of itself.

I second the Unifi suggestion. In my house, I have the ISP signal into the ISP modem/router, but I disabled the router wifi and instead I connected a Unifi switch (link) into one of the router output ports. From there, I ran Cat6 to two Unifi Access Points (link), one on each floor. The APs are ceiling mounted, centrally located, and are powered through PoE. I use the Unifi software to manage the devices, and my network only has one SSID, regardless of the floor you're on.

The network diagram would look something like this:
ISP into house --> ISP router (wifi off) --> Unifi Switch --> Unifi APs and other wired devices

I have a similar setup but I have the security gateway in the middle between my router and the unifi switch. I'm about to install a 4th AP outside to extend the coverage well in to my backyard.

I'm in the process of having all of the quest pipes in my condo replaced (1st floor, one level, nothing fancy). Pipes are all done thankfully, just drywall and floor replacement to go. Biggest pain in the ass and wallet ever. This being by first major home purchase, I had never heard of Quest piping, Big Blue, etc. During the home inspection, the guy goes "Now I'm required to tell you that this property has polybutylene piping. However its 3rd generation so you should be good." Biggest crock of shit I've ever been told. 2.5 years and 6 leaks later I reached my last straw. Its expensive, but I'll be damn glad when I don't have to worry at the sound of rain anymore.

Best part is I'm not having the drywall repaired until tomorrow so I've got holes everywhere in my walls and ceiling. Well tonight the cat went missing and she's always up our butts. So my girlfriend and I start searching and shaking the treat box. Nothing. And this cat is food driven. So we're kind of freaking out. I get the bright idea to stand on top of the kitchen counter and shake the box as close to I can to the tiny opening that my head barely fits through in the ceiling. The feline was off having all kinds of merry adventures in the ceiling after climbing on top of the counter, fridge, and cabinets. I need a stiff drink.

"The Big Ten is always using excuses to cancel games with us. First Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin. After that, Wisconsin. The subsequent cancellation with Wisconsin comes to mind too. Now Penn State. What's next? Wisconsin?" -HorseOnATreadmill

Ugh, Quest piping - so sorry. First home I ever bought had the same and there was no warning from the home inspector. So many bad memories from that stuff, an absolute nightmare. The plumber, who I was good friends w/ after the 10th or so time, called the neighbor down the street's house 'swiss cheese'. He didn't even bother fixing the drywall b.c he knew another leak was coming next month, so there were holes everywhere.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

That's basically how my broom closet looked. The water heater sits in a space in behind an access panel in the closet. After the second leak in the closet I just left all the drywall open. So when the 3rd leak in there happened it was a bit easier for the plumber to access. It's amazing to me this piping was used in so many homes over 20 or so years...

"The Big Ten is always using excuses to cancel games with us. First Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin. After that, Wisconsin. The subsequent cancellation with Wisconsin comes to mind too. Now Penn State. What's next? Wisconsin?" -HorseOnATreadmill

When I bought my house, there were no warnings about quest pipe. House was three years old. Not long after, I heard about the class action lawsuit, and you had to have had a leak/repair to participate. I had not had any. Two months after the window closed, I had my first leak. I invested in a PEX tool. I've replaced about 60-70% of the plumbing now.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Thats a freaking bummer. The last senior level plumber I spoke with said you needed three qualifying leaks. They legalled the hell out of the situation to cover their butts as much as possible...

I wish I had the expertise to do it myself or the time to learn. I briefly considered it, but I just wasn't confident enough to do it myself. I am proud of my ability to watch a YouTube video and attempt something myself, but a plumber I am not

"The Big Ten is always using excuses to cancel games with us. First Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin. After that, Wisconsin. The subsequent cancellation with Wisconsin comes to mind too. Now Penn State. What's next? Wisconsin?" -HorseOnATreadmill

Generally (not just for plumbing), never be afraid to try anything. Do your research on how to do whatever repair you're doing correctly and to code beforehand, then have at it. Particularly to plumbing, if you're replacing Quest with PEX, it's very easy. You'll need a good PEX crimp tool, which isn't cheap, but pays for itself quickly. If you have copper or want to re-plumb with copper, you might want to have a plumber do it, only because copper is expensive, and soldering can be tricky if you're inexperienced with it. There are push fittings for copper now, so that's less of an issue, but I've always been a little leery of those fittings.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Pex Manifolds are quite amazing if never considered.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Indeed. I have a friend who bought a house a few years ago, and the previous owner was a plumber. He took me down to his basement and showed me how the plumbing was designed, manifolds and all. First time I've ever had plumbing envy.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

So the plumbers did end up using PEX. Watching their process though, it was for the best that I did not touch it. Apparently this place was built in a rush when it went up in 1990. The plumbers said none of the pipe was installed correctly. I spent 3 days watching them take feet of material out of the drywall so that they could drill through the studs to run the PEX through the unit correctly.

The next project I do plan on attempting though is cutting some stacked stone panels and affixing them around my fireplace. I feel that is a small enough job to get my feet wet with cutting panels and applying thinset mortar (I hope...)

"The Big Ten is always using excuses to cancel games with us. First Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin. After that, Wisconsin. The subsequent cancellation with Wisconsin comes to mind too. Now Penn State. What's next? Wisconsin?" -HorseOnATreadmill

I wish I had the patent on sharkbite fittings. They are AWESOME. But they are also more expensive than the standard fittings. But for repair work on copper they do a great job. One big advantage is that repair work on copper requires the pipe to be perfectly dry for the solder to hold and that can be tricky on a repair. The sharkbite just works.

Agree on the sharkbite fittings. We're completely redoing our kitchen and that involved ripping out some very old, very corroded copper piping. Ended up using the sharkbite fittings and it was magic. Although my advice is to just get a bunch of different sizes before you do the job and take the ones that you dont use back to the store instead of trying to guess the size of the fittings you need. Also, it requires a pipe that's been cut pretty cleanly. I couldn't get a good angle on the first pipe I cut and ended up bending it a bit at the cut, so the sharkbite couldn't fit on cleanly. Had to do another cut down the pipe in order to get the fitting on.

Long story short: if it's not your first time and have a clean hole it makes laying the pipe much easier.

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

"Long story short: if it's not your first time and have a clean hole it makes laying the pipe much easier."

Ain't that the truth.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

I recommend this episode. One of my favorites.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Do yourself a favor and go watch the red green show itll help prepare you for the fun of home ownership with a nice twist.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Red Green Show, Tim Hortons, the best Canadian imports.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Some tools that I use:

Indoor power:
Drills (battery for simple stuff, corded for heavier stuff, impact for the heaviest stuff)
Reciprocating saw (mostly demolition)
Circular saw(s) - I have a regular sized one for wood, a regular sized one for concrete/other stuff, and a small one for little stuff
Nailgun/compressor - trim work. I did a bunch of this. I had a cheap one and sold it, I'm going to get another better one.
Compound miter saw - so versatile, also did a lot with this. I have the 12" dewalt. Maybe should have gone with a radial arm saw instead
Oscillating saw - great for detail work and flush cuts.
I don't have a table saw but I have had so so many project where I wanted one. Always managed with the circular saws

Indoor nonpower
Levels. A few of them
Stud finder - (*runs it over self*) ding ding ding - great for parties, you'll be a hit
Good set of screwdrivers. I have mostly bit drivers, but I wish I had a great set of screwdrivers
Great set of socket wrenches - I have a big 120+ piece set that has everything I need here. Super useful
Multiple types of hammers. Claw, tack, hand sledge.... also nail sets

Outdoor - power
Honda mower, self-propelled, side discharge/mulch/bag
Leaf blower (don't buy into the leaf vacuum concept, it never works well). Mine is electric. Also 100ft extension cord
Weed whacker. Mine is electric. It's fine
Power washer

Outdoor - nonpower
Anything made by fiskars. If you need a tool and fiskars makes it, buy that one
Grain shovel. Get one
Pitchfork (?) Heavy duty tines for loosening soil and uprooting plants
Wheelbarrow

I'm sure there's more. I'll see what I use this weekend.

The ryobi nail and trim guns work pretty well and don't require the compressor.

As touched on by Alum somewhere above paint as much as you can before you move in. It helps make the place feel like your own and not like you're living in someone else's house. Also take care of refinishing wood floors or getting new carpets.

Hold off on major renovation projects for a while. Do the small needed things and you'll build up a familiarity with your house as well as some more DIY knowledge and the tools to do it. Those small things are not as flashy or fun as big transformations but they add up and determine the general "health" of your house. If you have a full-time job already be kind to yourself - don't take on everything at once and make yourself miserable.

Get ready for a never ending war on water. It's constantly trying to destroy your house in the most insidious and cruel ways. It attracts mold, bugs (btw, get a termite service if you live anywhere but the desert), rot, and wanton destruction everywhere it goes.

There's some good recommendations above for tools. Just remember, whatever you buy you're gonna have to store so don't buy it until you need it.

There's some good recommendations above for tools. Just remember, whatever you buy you're gonna have to store so don't buy it until you need it.

This has become one of the top questions before every purchase we make. "Where are we going to store [this thing]? Do I want it bad enough to make room for it?"

Oh man, this x100. Now I'm telling myself, "I just need a shed for the lawn stuff and then I can work in the garage again." It's way too easy to accumulate stuff to fill the space you have so you gotta be selective.

If you're thinking about getting a freezer, get an upright, not a chest. It sucks digging around that thing looking for that last lb of ground beef that you know is still in there.

Leonard. Duh.

I need to replace the door seal on my upright, but that is about the only disadvantage to an upright compared to a chest.

They also take up less floor space for the same/similar amount of storage.

I am going to go I to a slightly different direction. Here.

I just bought a one level rambler. No carpet, it is either all hardwood or tile. I needed a vacuum and was debating what I wanted because my pet peeves is cheap shit. I ended up buying a $40 shop vac and then bought a $300 robovac (Eufy), and man was that the right idea. I am astonished how well that robovac works and it's slim, able to go under all kinds of stuff. It can traverse the whole house, all I gotta do is remember to empty it every day. My first week there it was hard to talk around barefoot because I was always carrying dirt with me, but now it is rarely a problem. Occasionally the little guy will get stuck somewhere but it is very rare. It really makes keeping up with house cleaning much easier.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

I have two Ecovac Deebot Ozmo 900 series robots, one for upstairs and one for the first floor. They run twice a week, take about an hour to do each floor and pick up dust, dog hair, etc. quite nicely. My floors are either all carpet, or a mixture of hardware, carpet, and rugs, and they handle it just fine. I am very happy with them.

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

Have you named your robovac? Ours is named EDI. We have the Eufy 15c, and she gets stuck...a lot. That is likely because our house is a construction zone right now, and the sensors get dirty and we forget to wipe them off. In fact, when I left for work this morning, she was stuck on the slight step-down into the laundry room, but I was running behind so she got left where she was. We have hardwoods throughout the house, but we also have rugs and 2 very sheddy dogs, so we still have to get the big vacuum out from time to time to pick up the dog-hair dust bunnies that get missed. But for day to day cleaning, she's been great.

Yeah

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

We have talked about getting one and you just made me think to name it the Wahoomba, since it never stops sucking.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

All I could think of was "docking" when looking at this and can't stop laughing about it. If you do not know what "docking" is look it up on urban dictionary (obviously NSFW)

One thing that my wife and I have done since we moved in is that we started taking an annual approach to what we have been doing.

One year, we'll work on updating the yard and exterior of the house. The next year we'll focus on doing some interior work. It started out as a necessity because there were some necessary things that needed to get done up front outside (someone was obviously shooting up heroin in our front yard a couple weeks after we moved in, so we clear cut as much as we could to open up the yard to the street lights) but that really allowed us to consider exactly what needed to be done rather than what we wanted at that moment. Ever since, its been a great cycle because it allows us to really plan our attack on the house every year instead of just being overwhelmed with everything all at once.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

This year's project for me is going to be new floors in my house. People with experience, what are you thoughts on:

  • Types of flooring you like
  • Professional installation vs. doing it yourself
  • Overall cost of such a project

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

I just went through picking out flooring myself. All the professionals I spoke with suggested Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Its waterproof, even when its cut because of the material its made out of. But it is thin, even if you get something with like a cork bottom. Additionally, some people take issue with the wood look not looking very good/realistic. I didn't have an issue with any of the samples I looked at, but to each his own. Finally, I have read that LVP fades easier than laminate, but my property gets very little light, so it wasn't much of a factor in my choice.

You can find waterproof laminate, but I was told by one professional that as soon as you cut a piece, its no longer waterproof because of the material its made out of (not sure how valid this is, I've been dealing with getting steered to things throughout this whole process). Laminate is also thicker, but the professionals I spoke with indicated that the thickness of the materials was trivial.

"The Big Ten is always using excuses to cancel games with us. First Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin. After that, Wisconsin. The subsequent cancellation with Wisconsin comes to mind too. Now Penn State. What's next? Wisconsin?" -HorseOnATreadmill

I've replaced my parents flooring with just about every flooring you can think of. LVP is great. Tile is probably my favorite from easy of install to looks. True hardwood gets really expensive, isn't terrible to install, isn't the best. Carpet is....carpet, i installed carpet professionally for years I'll never put carpet in my house.

If you've got time you can save loads of money installing flooring by yourself. None are really that hard, some require specialty tools (carpet stretcher, hard wood nailer, tile saw, etc), it mainly tedious work. I would stay away from glued floors (glued laminate) just to save yourself if you ever want to replace them in the future, especially with how far floating laminate has come.

(add if applicable) /s

Honestly my thought was hardwood in the first floor (about 1/2 of the existing floor is already hardwood, but it's the older narrow boards and in not great shape) and LVP for the upstairs. I don't want to remove existing hardware and replace it with a lower value product, so that limits me a bit. I worry about the dog sliding on a non-carpeted floor as well, but I got a sample of LVP that was surprisingly well textured.

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

I did LVP in my bathroom a few years ago. Even grouted it (wish I didn't cause grout gets dirty). Liked it so much I did my whole basement after I had a water issue on the carpet. I got the nice quality textured stuff. Worth every penny, plus it's waterproof.

I have hardwood in my house now with LVP upstairs. My dog slides more on the hardwood...but he's not much better on the LVP.

I haven't done hardwood in a few years but the one thing that is important to remember if you DIY it is to open a few boxes at a time and keep grabbing slats from different boxes. The color can vary slightly, it won't be noticeable unless you lay one box at a time.

LVP is about as straight forward as laying floors goes.

(add if applicable) /s

I haven't done hardwood in a few years but the one thing that is important to remember if you DIY it is to open a few boxes at a time and keep grabbing slats from different boxes. The color can vary slightly, it won't be noticeable unless you lay one box at a time.

Leonard Emphasized and Approved.

Leonard. Duh.

Don't buy from Lumber Liquidators. Fuck those fucks. They sell cheap (not inexpensive) shit from China with a 30 year "warranty" that doesn't cover anything. Class action suits across their entire product line. Stay away...

"It's always great to beat UVA, that makes us all smarter and better looking for a couple days".

Good to know, thanks.

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

That would explain why they are rebranding to LL Flooring.

Has anyone worked with the wood-like tile? Buddy of mine bought a new house with it and I liked the look/feel, but have no idea how it'll hold up over time, ease of installation, cost, etc.

Looked online but it feels like every review is just an ad...

I've never worked with it, but my sister has it in the living room and kitchen of her house and it's beautiful. It hides dirt really well.

My fear is durability. What if you drop something and the tile breaks? Can you easily replace it?

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

No easier or harder than a regular tile floor. Its just a regular tile with a wood pattern on it. They don't fit together or anything like that, you just get color-matched grout to fill the gaps.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Removing any ceramic/porcelain tile and the thinset from the underlayment is never fun but can be done.

We just did a big reno of our master bath (small leak turned into a big problem) that required us to do a full gutjob of the entire space. We put wood-like tile down on the floors and so far they are excellent. The only thing is, I wish they had some better variety in their wood patterns. In a space that is probably 15ft x 15 ft, there are multiple instances of the same wood pattern being within a foot or so of each other. Kinda ruins the effect.

In terms of ease of install, they install just like any other tile. Just use a grout to colormatch. Cost is going to be a bit more than bare basic patterns, but its not super high end stuff.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Your master bath is 15 by 15? That is bigger than my Master Bedroom. :)

I love my Master suite but we designed and built our forever home so yeah, they both big. I just hate paying for it all.

......ok I was in a meeting when I did this, messed up the estimate there a bit.

I think its 8' x 8', but the shower takes up 1/3 of the space.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Have it in our basement shower, it is great.

@hokie_rd

Did full out shelving on one side of my garage, all wood and did it myself and I'm not great with builds, can send you a nice YouTube and you can adjust accordingly. In the middle is a workbench, so then it gave an area to put a my saw, tools, etc. one of my last home projects and should have been the first if you don't have workspace.

After that I did industrial epoxy flooring on my garage. It was about 7 days of part-time work, and I researched the product and application for more days before that to get ready, but it is honestly awesome. I was bored staying at home so wanted a big project.

Other I did was built garden beds for my wife, and that was nice because it was fun to build and she was happy.

@hokie_rd

Didn't read then whole thread but I recommend shopping at Harbor Freight and Rural King. You can get some tools and whatnots for less money than at either Lowe's and Home Depot.

“But do kind of enjoy reading this thread, it's really nice because Auburn can't swoop in and take our juicy ripe tomatoes.” ~ lewiswb

Big difference between Rural King and Harbor Freight is Rural King sells actual name brand stuff like Milwaukee and Stihl. One of the best places to shop on the planet.

ESPN. The coverage is excellent, you'd be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Yes and DeWalt as well, but don't sneeze at Harbor Freight.

“But do kind of enjoy reading this thread, it's really nice because Auburn can't swoop in and take our juicy ripe tomatoes.” ~ lewiswb

I'm currently watching painters do my kitchen cabinets. Glad I decided not to do it myself. They spent 5 hours yesterday just prepping. Plus they can spray the doors. I'll paint walls, but not this.

I painted my cabinets. It was a huge pain but they looked so different and it was a lot cheaper then paying someone.

There's always a lighthouse. There's always a man. There's always a city.

I definitely considered it. But through a recommendation I found someone to do it at a good price. And I've been lucky enough to work through the pandemic, so I decided to use some of my stimulus check to go back to local businesses.

Commenting on several above comments.

I've put down many different types of flooring in my house over the years, and I'm most satisfied with wood floors and ceramic tile. Bathrooms would be re-done now in ceramic if there hadn't been that whole get-two-kids-through-college thing. The only thing I won't install is carpet, because it looks easy, but you need experience and the right tools to do it right, and I have neither of those with regard to carpet. Wood flooring tip: the type of wood you choose makes a big difference in the ease of installation. I used teak, which looks amazing, was a bit more expensive, but is a royal pain to install. It's incredibly hard, so you go through a lot of saw blades, and any splinters are like needles. But the dog's claws don't scratch it up.

Ceramic isn't too bad if you take your time. And make sure you find a good tile store that you can trust to give you good product advise.

Painted my kitchen cabinets about 10 years ago. It was a pain to do, but they look so much better. LOTS of prep work. Best paint for cabinets that I've found is Cabinet Coat made by INSL-X. It's not cheap (~$55/gal), but it gives an incredible finish, looks like factory paint.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Has anyone ever poured their own concrete countertops? We are prepping for an outdoor kitchen project and are planning to go that route.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

One of the biggest visual difference makers (besides paint) that my wife and I did when we bought our house in February was swap out all of the drawer pulls/door handles and hinges in the kitchen, and swap out the plates for every light switch and outlet in the house. Both were reasonably cheap (roughly $250 total), but it makes a big difference as far as making everything look clean and well-kept. I thought about the switches and outlets themselves, but only ended up doing certain ones because its just a pain in the ass having to turn everything off and back on all the time.

Has anyone tried installed recessed shelving in their home? My small bathrooms in my 14ft wide rowhouse are a really good candidate for them and I think it would add a ton of storage.

No personal experience myself. I think the biggest issue is if you need to relocate electric or plumbing. Personally I would probably also stay away from doing them on the wall(s) that you share with your neighbors to avoid possibly compromising the fire barrier.

New first homeowner task. Chipmunks have taken over the garden within the last week. I know where the entrance is because there is a massive fresh mound of dirt and pebble outside of it. It's under a small azalea bush. Anyone have any experience getting rid of them? Neighbors said pest control in the area is $400 for initial visit and $100 each month thereafter in a contracted time.

Google Humane Pest Removal in your area. I had an issue with a squirrel building nests in the engine bay in whichever car wasn't parked in the garage, damaging wire harnesses in the process. The guy with the highest rated reviews humanely trapped and removed two squirrels and it only cost us $125 total.

Also, is the chipmunk causing any real damage? Generally they are harmless and will eat garden pests like insects, snails, slugs, and grubs. They will even chase mice away to protect their territory. Unless they are digging under your foundation they can be beneficial. And unlike squirrels, they aren't social so you probably only have one (except in spring during mating season). Why spend all that money to remove something that is essentially harmless, especially since removing one is just going to allow the next one to move into your yard and repurpose the first one's borrows.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Neighbor said it is a problem on our street. They believe thats what damaged electrical wiring in several cars when the quarantine started due to people not moving their cars for a while.

Only issue we have right now is it's kicking out a lot of dirt and gravel on the sidewalk. I also can't think it's good digging right at the base of the azaleas and rose bushes. This is also right next to the foundation so I'd rather not risk letting it continue.

I guess none of your neighbors have outdoor cats.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Tomcat mouse poison in the green plastic house to keep other animals out of it placed in a protected area near the hole.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Ha! This one is easy.

1) Get a cat. I highly recommend it. And they'll enjoy the hell outta your yard. And they'll keep your lap warm.

2) Chipper Dipper. Google it. It ... isn't entirely all that humane but it works.

I have a tomcat rat trap that I fill the little bait cup with peanut butter and stick a sunflower seed into the PB to make it hard to get out. I will sprinkle a little bird seed on around the sunflower seed. Works pretty well so far, only issue I had was the smaller chipmunks didn't seem to weigh enough to trip it every time and you need to place it where squirrels won't find it. The chipmunks have dug under my front porch and sidewalk leading up to the house and both have sunken spots and cracks. They did they same to my parents house growing up.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

If you don't have much that you'd ever need a chainsaw for, get a good bow saw. A Bahco or similar, with adjustable blade tensioning. Don't buy the cheap Fiskars or others with a cam-type tensioner.
One good hammer. Estwing or other similar hammer with some vibration dampening qualities. Then get a bunch of cheap hammers you can leave all over the house. Same for screw drivers. Get some good ones and then junk ones to have staged around the house.
Telescoping magnet. When you need it, and don't have it, you'll wish you did.
Laser level. Doesn't have to be anything fancy. It just needs a bubble and a laser that casts along walls.
One nice 25' tape measure. Bunch of 5'-10' tapes to have in your tool drawers.
If you plan to live there any length of time, get real picture hooks. 3m adhesive does more wall damage than a nail, if left for extended periods. I've patched a lot of drywall where 3m adhesive ripped off the paper facing.
You can never have enough shelving, if you have storage space.
My experience with kobalt 40v equipment is that it is mostly adequate. Not as good as its equivalent gas equipment, but more convenient. I haven't used the mower. No experience with the 80v system or any others.
Stick on felt for bottoms of furniture. In bulk.
Buckets.
Glue board traps. Work for mice, spiders, bugs, drunk friends.
Zip ties. Gorilla tape. Quick grip Bar clamps. Glues for most every substrate you can imagine.
Random screws and other fasteners.

Pull saws are good too. Mostly, it's just to point out that the vast majority of people don't need a chainsaw or it's upkeep. The use is just too infrequent. (Much like most truck owners don't need a truck, but I'll save that rant for another day).

Ah, agreed. I do have an old chainsaw, it's probably 40 years old and just burnt out on me a couple of months ago. But keeping it sharp and oiled was a pain. I inherited it after my parents retired after a peaceful life of virtual non-use. I did find it useful for chopping up trees for a few years at my place, but I don't think I'll buy another one. I hire that stuff out now.