Search found 57 matches

by WaffleCone
Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insulation in home question
Replies: 25
Views: 2011

Re: Insulation in home question

Definitely consider blown cellulose before any type of fiberglass product. Better R value, less expensive, and much better at air sealing. In theory I agree with removing the plywood floor and any existing insulation. In practice this can be very time consuming (expensive) and possibly create cracks...
by WaffleCone
Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it worth it? [demanding jobs vs time with family]
Replies: 182
Views: 11853

Re: Is it worth it? [demanding jobs vs time with family]

Just my 2 cents... First, make sure it's really a question of not seeing your children enough vs. not having any time left with your spouse after you both work and spend time with the kids. It doesn't leave a lot of quality couple time before you go to sleep and do it all over again. With a regular ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?
Replies: 23
Views: 2667

Re: Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?

We have a real estate agent friend who said that not having a garage is a negative for resale, mainly becuase no matter how nice the house is the auto-searches filter it out before people even see it. On the flip side, no one around here actually uses their garage for parking and the extra bedrooms ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?
Replies: 23
Views: 2667

Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?

Anyone have real-life experience with putting the kid bedrooms in the lower level (daylight basement)? We are a family of 6 with 4 kids (under 8yrs) living in a 1600sqft 3bd/1.5ba ranch. The main issue is bedrooms, which are all situated on one side of the house. When one person wakes up, everyone d...
by WaffleCone
Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Physicals and Forms for Kids Activities
Replies: 12
Views: 786

Physicals and Forms for Kids Activities

This is part consumer question and part gripe. I just spent ~$200 on physicals and health forms so my kids could attend a day camp. The camp was already paid for and something they earned so I went along with it. Allegedly the camp needs it for certification compliance. My insurance covers one physi...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car engine dispute
Replies: 29
Views: 2854

Re: Car engine dispute

I'd keep pouring oil in as well. $4 qt/1000 miles is much cheaper than a $1000 piston job. You may consider using different oil too. I don't know if the Equinox engine is similar to the direction injection model on the Enclave, but I find that I get better results with Pennzoil Platinum 5w30 and AC ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nephews play football - don't want to encourage this
Replies: 45
Views: 3490

Re: Nephews play football - don't want to encourage this

As the parent of 3 young boys, I can assure you they won't make the connection between buying raffle tickets and your principled stand on not wanting them to play football. I think it's great to mention to their parents about all the new research showing the long term dangers. But ultimately the par...
by WaffleCone
Mon May 08, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Swing Set 2700.00??
Replies: 35
Views: 3646

Get a steel set for 1/2 the price

I was never a fan of wood playsets. They are expensive and often an eyesore after a few seasons. I suppose they can look good with some maintenance but who wants that. Check out a steel Lifetime set. You can order from Home Depot, Costco, or search online for even better prices. It ships to your hou...
by WaffleCone
Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What kind of stuff would you never DIY, assuming you could?
Replies: 75
Views: 6988

Re: What kind of stuff would you never DIY, assuming you could?

I just spent $2200 on 22 yards of mulch and soil, spring cleanup, and bed prep. It would have taken me a month to do the work myself, squeezing it in after work and on weekends in-between kids' activities. The longer it goes, the harder it gets to cleanup. And it's not worth vacation time to do. I'm...
by WaffleCone
Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a video game PC with an 8 year old?
Replies: 9
Views: 602

Building a video game PC with an 8 year old?

Silly me thought I could go out and buy the new Nintendo Switch for my son's birthday this week. I was a little surprised to learn people were camping out for it. Camping out was OK when I was 18 buying concert tickets but daddy doesn't shop that way anymore. We live near a Microcenter and I'm leani...
by WaffleCone
Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs
Replies: 69
Views: 4618

Re: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs

Do not aerate, slit seed, or till any area of your lawn unless you're prepared to fight the weed seeds that are dormant in the layers underneath. In most cases of spot over-seeding simply throwing seed down and covering with a thin layer of compost is fine. And then: water water water. You can put d...
by WaffleCone
Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs
Replies: 69
Views: 4618

Re: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs

Throw away the estimate if they're not doing a soil test. As someone earlier suggested, go to www.aroundtheyard.com forums. Spend $20 for a soil test and post the results there. They will give you a plan for what you need to do with mostly non-chemical fertilizers. They are very helpful and in a few...
by WaffleCone
Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grass trimmer
Replies: 67
Views: 4228

Give battery a try first.

I have both, a 4-cycle gas dual-line trimmer and a Black & Decker battery power single-line trimmer with a second battery. I NEVER use the gas trimmer anymore. If you have a residential lawn where you're edging grass around sidewalks, fences, and flower beds you don't need the power of gas. Even...
by WaffleCone
Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?
Replies: 44
Views: 4198

Looks like I'm an energy hog

1900 sqft ranch in Philadelphia. Gas heat/HW, electric cooking. Newer windows and insulation. A/C from 2005. Family of 6. Stay at home mom and 2 young kids home most of the day. Electric min/max/avg: $95/221/133 ($1636/yr) Gas: $23/172/78 ($871/yr) Water: $95/125/105 ($1275/yr) Trash: $20/month Tota...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Construction Loan as 2nd Lien?
Replies: 1
Views: 305

Construction Loan as 2nd Lien?

Does anyone know if it's possible to get a renovation or construction loan (HomeStyle or similar) in the second lien position? I'm at least 6 months away from starting a large home renovation and mortgage rates are climbing. They may be a full point higher by the time we start. Looking to keep my cu...
by WaffleCone
Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Finishing a Basement
Replies: 13
Views: 1794

Re: Finishing a Basement

How high is the basement ceiling? Is it a walkout basement or almost entirely underground? Does it have a bathroom currently? What are you doing for HVAC? And, are you looking for a true code-compliant bedroom or just a workout room (big difference)? Answering these questions may help determine if i...
by WaffleCone
Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two stage Snowblowers -- 22" or 28+"?
Replies: 40
Views: 3123

Re: Two stage Snowblowers -- 22" or 28+"?

I have an Ariens 28" without the auto-turn. I keep the wheels locked and it does take a little extra extra effort to make a tight turn, especially the first pass in deep snow. I don't have a problem with it. My neighbor is 65 and he uses it regularly without a problem. Just something to get use...
by WaffleCone
Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snowblower
Replies: 39
Views: 4547

Re: Snowblower

There are plenty of good options but you won't get the horsepower you need from a 15A electric circuit. Ariens, Simplicity, Cub Cadet, and Honda all make very good snowblowers. You can get a lesser model from Sears/Craftsman, MTD, etc. that will still far outperform a small gas powered machine or an...
by WaffleCone
Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: major remodel: regrets or things you'd do again
Replies: 68
Views: 8230

Re: major remodel: regrets or things you'd do again

We've been planning to start "this fall" for about 2 years now, but we're finally getting closer. Our architect suggested that we pick out everything we can "see or touch" before the remodel begins. If you don't, you'll either have to accept whatever is convenient/cheap for the c...
by WaffleCone
Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retaining wall on neighbor's property
Replies: 69
Views: 5912

Re: Retaining wall on neighbor's property

Is it really the landscapers fault? If you said "replace this wall" but weren't there during construction and the property line isn't clearly marked, then I think you bear some if not all of the responsibility. Could they be reasonably expected to know where the property line was to within...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for temporary housing during renovation
Replies: 4
Views: 680

Suggestions for temporary housing during renovation

We are a family of six (with young kids) and are planning a large home renovation that will last about 6 months. Does anyone have tips on finding a short term rental aside from using rent.com or similar? Other places to look or ways to find something less than a 1-year lease? Can anyone who's been t...
by WaffleCone
Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen remodel suggestions
Replies: 45
Views: 5183

Re: Kitchen remodel suggestions

I was wondering if you had any advice on mud room and/or laundry room remodels. We are getting those redone as well because the washer/drier is in our "mudroom" which is right off the kitchen. With 3 small kids, the shoes, coats, and backpacks end up being in a large pile in the tiny clos...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen remodel suggestions
Replies: 45
Views: 5183

Re: Kitchen remodel suggestions

Second best - build a commercial kitchen. Make it look like a restaurant kitchen A real commercial stove (Vulcan) NOT one of the home "cook" styles Tile floor- real stuff like they use in restaurants- you think they worry about grout? Stainless shelves on wheels Stainless tables. Pot rack...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 31, 2016 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Boiler Sizing
Replies: 40
Views: 2832

Re: New Boiler Sizing

Buying a new boiler is a lot more complicated than I could have ever imagined. Are you trying to self-calculate the boiler size but letting a pro design and install the system? It's not a DIY task for most people. I'd get a few estimates then review those with people in the know. There is more to s...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 31, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: backyard for a new house, pavers questions
Replies: 36
Views: 2655

Re: backyard for a new house, pavers questions

I'm not too concerned about drainage. This is exactly why municipalities care about drainage. Dumping thousands of gallons of rainwater in to the sewer costs money. What if everybody did? Similarly, on small densely populated lots, water runoff pouring in at all angles with no natural place to go c...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 31, 2016 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: backyard for a new house, pavers questions
Replies: 36
Views: 2655

Re: backyard for a new house, pavers questions

I'd be surprised if you can even do this since you'll be creating a large impervious surface and water runoff problems for surrounding properties. IF you are allowed to do it, you'll likely need large a rentention basin underground to manage rainwater. Make sure your contractor gets a permit. There ...
by WaffleCone
Mon May 23, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building an enclosed breezeway
Replies: 9
Views: 1817

Re: Building an enclosed breezeway

I'd reconsider this project. Why are you doing this? Are you trying to connect the house and garage for zoning purposes (can't have two dwellings on one lot)? It will cost more to do properly and aesthetically than rebuilding your in-law suite in a more suitable spot. And rebuilding the garage may b...
by WaffleCone
Sun May 22, 2016 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?
Replies: 22
Views: 3187

Re: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?

A quick check of San Jose shows (if I read it correctly): a permit fee ($160 per bathroom x 2), a plan review fee ($105 x 2), and an inspection fee (^$618 + 206). That's $1300+ assuming no re-inspections and does not include contractors time to draw the plans and get the permit. m Still, if the cont...
by WaffleCone
Sat May 21, 2016 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?
Replies: 22
Views: 3187

Re: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?

OP is in the Bay Area, my guess permits are not cheap there. How much are you spending total? There needs to be trust between the contractor and the homeowner. If you need more transparency and he "just refused", he's not the right one for you. No matter how good. I'd let him know in a nic...
by WaffleCone
Thu May 19, 2016 12:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting married and how to quit my job. This is follow-up post earlier post
Replies: 16
Views: 2002

Make it a honeymoon never to forget...

My then girlfriend and I quit our jobs to take a cross country road trip. She is now my wife. It was the best thing we did for our relationship and it got us both out of an employment rut. New doors will open, much easier now than later especially if you plan on having kids. Trust me. Put your notic...
by WaffleCone
Thu May 12, 2016 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifted math program for 1st grade
Replies: 66
Views: 8302

Re: Gifted math program for 1st grade

Just wondering... Can he answer this? It was on a standardized test in the UK for 6-7 year olds and generated quite a controversy. "There were some people on a train. 19 people get off the train at the first stop. 17 people get on the train. Now there are 63 people on the train. How many people...
by WaffleCone
Sun May 08, 2016 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Steam Shower - Your experiences?
Replies: 30
Views: 4643

Re: Steam Shower - Your experiences?

Thanks everyone. I did some research on gardenweb and not surprisingly they were a bit more popular there. Although I've never been in a steam shower, we do enjoy an occasional very hot shower that steams up the room. The hot water soothes sore muscles and breathing in steam relaxes me. Does a steam...
by WaffleCone
Fri May 06, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Steam Shower - Your experiences?
Replies: 30
Views: 4643

Steam Shower - Your experiences?

We're redoing our small master bath. The stall shower will be 3x4 with an adjustable height sprayer and a folding wood bench-- that much we've decided. Can anyone comment on the rain showerheads, body spray, and steam features? Is it a worthwhile splurge that you use frequently or something that was...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 03, 2016 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pea gravel as paver patio alternative
Replies: 28
Views: 3694

Don't bother with stone

Personally I wouldn't haul in stone for a small patio that you plan to replace. That said, if you get bigger crushed stone like 3/4 it tracks a lot less than 3/8 ". I'd be wary of stone dust or crusher run unless you plan to use a compactor, even then it may not stay put through the winter. Or ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should a 60 yr old buy her first house?
Replies: 27
Views: 3110

Re: Should a 60 yr old buy her first house?

Knowing the area of the country and the housing cost would be helpful, and also if you have younger family nearby to help out. There are a lot of retirees in my area living in small 1200sqft ranch houses on a postage stamp of land. It gives them enough space to make their own without being overwhelm...
by WaffleCone
Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost to refinish hardwood floors and to install new floors
Replies: 16
Views: 2191

Re: Cost to refinish hardwood floors and to install new floors

If the tile is a porcelain or ceramic variety (as opposed to vinyl, laminate, asbestos, etc), that alone could be $4000 of your estimate. Did you ask how much you'd save by DIY? It's time consuming and messy but not skilled labor. Finishing a floor nicely, especially if there are sections that need ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The Lawn vs. The Homeowner (guess who's winning)
Replies: 59
Views: 7457

Re: The Lawn vs. The Homeowner (guess who's winning)

I agree with pennstater. Get a soil test from Logan Labs and post the results to www.aroundtheyard.com. If previous owners used chemicals and you stopped, and since then you've "tried everything", it's guaranteed your soil biology is out of wack. I had my lawn seeded by a professional and ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for yardwork?
Replies: 71
Views: 7925

Re: Do you pay for yardwork?

1/2 acre. I mow and trim myself. Costs are in addition to the purchase price of the equipment which can vary widely depending on personal value for low price, equipment quality, dependability, etc. Equipment life estimates based on my experience over the past 25 years at the current location. 1. Jo...
by WaffleCone
Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Remodel or buy a different house?
Replies: 13
Views: 1762

Re: Remodel or buy a different house?

We are in a very similar situation-- ranch house in a good neighborhood, growing family, but in our case _everything_ is outdated. We've opted to remodel and are currently working with an architect. We feel we can get what we want more cheaply than if we move, and if we sell many of the improvements...
by WaffleCone
Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Preventing soil from gathering on driveway
Replies: 14
Views: 1590

Re: Preventing soil from gathering on driveway

A picture would be very helpful. If your driveway is repeatedly to the point of collecting enough soil for grass to grow, sounds like your 4" hill is rapidly eroding away. FWIW, we have a 3 FOOT hill going down to our driveway. In a heavy rain, water flows down the hill and across the driveway....
by WaffleCone
Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making new mulch bed yourself - what do I need?
Replies: 35
Views: 2966

Re: Making new mulch bed yourself - what do I need?

Also... post before and after pics with how much you spent!

Good luck!
by WaffleCone
Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Making new mulch bed yourself - what do I need?
Replies: 35
Views: 2966

Re: Making new mulch bed yourself - what do I need?

Forget the fabric, it's unnecessary and the cheap stuff doesn't work. Newspaper? Do they even have that anymore? Line out your area with a hose or spray paint. For a nice edge you can use rocks if you have them on site or dig a narrow grass/bed separator. Put any dirt and grass in the bed. Then get ...
by WaffleCone
Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I have my kids participate in school fundraisers?
Replies: 78
Views: 7063

Re: Should I have my kids participate in school fundraisers?

In the grand scheme of "things to worry about when your kid goes to school", months before they are even in class, this is pretty close to the bottom of my list. Simply writing a check to get your kids or yourself out of something contributes to affluenza. You can google it. Especially whe...
by WaffleCone
Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?
Replies: 46
Views: 4900

And your taxes may go up

Our neighbor added about 300 sqft for a master bath and mudroom and they now pay about $800/year more.
by WaffleCone
Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?
Replies: 46
Views: 4900

Re: Cost of home addition? Should I do it?

We're in the early stages of doing a full-scale remodel. In fact, I have a $3000 architect bill due and we're barely done 50% of the plan. A little advice: 1. Do not try to live through the renovation. It will be too disruptive with three kids and end up costing more since they're working around you...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oil Changes turns into a disaster. What to do?
Replies: 62
Views: 8383

Re: Oil Changes turns into a disaster. What to do?

Today I learned the engine blew as a result of a loose oil filter, which led to leaking oil and eventually no oil left in my vehicle. The Toyota dealership told me the jiffy lube should be liable. I'm not sure how I should handle this situation? I was told a new engine would be $15k and $10k for a ...
by WaffleCone
Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fix Broken Sewer Line-Thoughts?
Replies: 20
Views: 1357

Re: Fix Broken Sewer Line-Thoughts?

It's either taking in water from the municipal sewer or from the ground. Check your check valve which ensures one way flow of water and also inspect the basin for leaks. With cold weather it's not uncommon for freezing to cause cracks or force rubber seals loose. You don't want your sewage ejector a...
by WaffleCone
Tue Jan 05, 2016 12:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fix Broken Sewer Line-Thoughts?
Replies: 20
Views: 1357

Re: Fix Broken Sewer Line-Thoughts?

I don't have one of those things. I almost bought one but it turns out gravity does the job. Based on what I remember, the pump check valve would be my first thought. The check valve at the pump (in the pit) should stop water from flowing back in. It's fine to have the discharge pipe filled with wat...
by WaffleCone
Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Direct Vent Gas Hot Water Tank
Replies: 21
Views: 2731

Re: Direct Vent Gas Hot Water Tank

Do you have a gas boiler? If so and it's in decent shape, look at an indirect hot water tank. It's a super insulated storage tank with a coil from the boiler going through to heat it up. Efficiency is better than a standard water heater because there isn't an exhaust pipe going through the center an...
by WaffleCone
Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Counter Depth Refrigerator to buy
Replies: 27
Views: 3722

Re: Best Counter Depth Refrigerator to buy

We have a JennAir going on 10 years trouble free. It cost around $1100 from a Sears scatch-and-dent store (small dent on the side, hidden by cabinets). It's a fridge/freezer side-by-side model with ice-maker but no door dispenser. Parents have a Samsung and it's been serviced 3 times in as a many ye...