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Home Improvement #1: Perimeter Structures

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Blog entry by Mark Wilson posted 12-07-2017 09:16 AM 1934 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Brought to you via a Blog Post because the Forum topics don’t have an entry for “Home Improvement.

I call upon all my Buddies who possess many marketable skills, including big, ugly, messy things like, oh, tearing out an entire kitchen before lunch and eating dinner in a brand-new kitchen the same day. Or, those among you who’ve rehabbed houses. Or, built you’re own power plant. You know who you are.

Here’s the situation:

The house in which Aged P and I reside was built in 1958, in a Southeast L.A. County tract. The walls surrounding the back yard (Cinder Block?; Concrete Block? I don’t know what it’s called,, really), are, well, I’m surprised any of them are still standing at all – no rebar. All three of the walls have been falling apart for years. There’s one section of one side wall (@22’, from midpost to back corner) that’s mostly in a heap in the next-door neighbor’s yard, and desperately needs to be replaced. We’ve had a number of estimates that were, quite frankly, shocking. All the walls, at least on this side of the street, are leaning over, one way or other, have openings where blocks have departed over the years due to a combination of earthquakes and trees that looked really good when they were planted way too close to the walls. In our yard, there’s only one tree that grew from a root of unknown origin – a volunteer, actually – that stands about 4-1/2’ from the wall in question. It’s my beloved Chinese Flame (AKA Lantern) tree that sprang up long after a previous, much bigger, much closer to the wall, tree had been removed, long ago, decades ago. She’s in the aforementioned corner of the yard. On the other side of the back wall – adjacent to my tree – are a Carolina Pine and a Queen Palm that are each against the back wall and, in point of fact, are holding up what’s left of that part of the crumbling back wall, for several years, now.

The estimates we’ve gotten on that 22’ section involve removal of the broken wall (which, having been built in 1958, is made of a block thickness that some turdbush, mouth-breathing, inbred, knuckle-dragging group pf bureaucrats in Sacotomatoes decided, some time ago, are unacceptable), must be replaced with thicker bricks), so new material is factored into the price, which ranges from $2200 to $2500. To me, THAT’S the unacceptable part of it all. The neighbors on the side of the wall into which the wall has fallen seem to be somewhat sullen about it. They offered, unbidden, to share the cost. (Dad, a few weeks ago and had gone next door to beg use of their phone when he thought he’d locked himownbadself out of the house while I was thirty miles away, on a Friday afternoon, which translates into a two-hour drive. They got to talking about t then. My plan was to not even broach the subject with them, leaving it up to them to insert themowbadselves into the situation at their will, when they’d see the work being done. (I don’t like these people, and I think they likely hold us (or, me) responsible for trees that were planted before my birth, as well as earthquakes.) Nonetheless, because Dad had discussed the matter with them, and told me that they were going to seek other estimates, I found myownbadself in the unenviable position of having face time with one of them and talking over the various estimates we had variously obtained with the “she” half of the “them,” a couple weeks ago, I suggested that the best go-to would be the two wall men whose company names that include the word “masonry,” and whose estimates were in the middle of the range, whilst she was inclined to hire the guy whose flyer begins with the word “landscaping”, and, who gave the highest estimate. She said she’d talk it over with the “him,” and would call me. I have heard from neither “her,” nor “him,” since. Neither have I seen either of them outside their house since. (This is not unusual – since they retired, their wont has been to hole up in their yurt, and rarely venture into the sunshine).

So, I woke up this morning, and instead of the regular “Well, that’s a surprise,” (that I woke up at all), “What about a Cedar, or Redwood, fence to replace the entire, roughly, 60’ side wall?” The estimates (for the 22’ section of block) were $2200, two $2250s, and a $2500 – the “Landscaper.”

This is where you, my Beloved Buddies come in. I trust all of you people infinitely more than anything I may Google. Can you ball-park the cost of the removal of a roughly 60” Block Wall and replacement with a Cedar or Redwood, 6’ fence? And, to any of my fellow Golden Staters, whose brains are bigger than mine with regard to such matters: Given the exigencies of all the crap that constantly lands on us any time the brain-trusts in Sacotomatoes poop out a new idea to improve their leftist “Utopia,” is it even legal to erect a wooden fence between two yards, one of which has a swimming pool (not ours)? As an example of our illustrious legislature and bureaucratic State’s efforts: I recently found out that, if you wish to engage in the private sale of a cemetery plot or two, betwixt the Glorious State and the cemetery itself (mandated, of course, by the knuckle-dragging paper-pushers upstate) the considerably fat wad of cash that leaves the buyer’s hand will weigh less than half as much, by the time it reaches the seller’s hands. And, one more: We have, at our doorstep, the biggest ocean on the planet, which through desalination – a technology that’s been in active use for as long as there have been submarines, aircraft carriers, a thriving agricultural industry in Israel, and two desal plants on Catalina Island – has kept at least two planned, and begun, desalination plants locked up in red tape for years.

There. I’ve said it. I hereby pass the talking stick.

Thank you. And, I apologize.

-- Mark



14 comments so far

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4503 posts in 2039 days


#1 posted 12-07-2017 09:49 AM

Lotta gum flappin but not too much picture snappin.

Just so you dont feel to bad here is my roof I am rebbedding and pointing. What a job.

The whole roof tile bedding was 75 to 80 % “gone” so I removed 100% being every ridge.

just completed all the ridge tile rebedding and now starting the pointing.

Fancy a holiday in Sunny QLD you can see all sorts of interesting things from my roof!!!

-- Regards Robert

View lew's profile

lew

11841 posts in 3590 days


#2 posted 12-07-2017 01:35 PM

I’m not a contractor and don’t even play one on TV but around here- east coast- redwood fencing is very expensive. Have you checked the local Borg’s for fencing sections? Around here they stock those and even install them. Removal of the wall should be a no brainer and maybe you should get estimates for just that part.

BTW, hope you are safe with all the fires in your area.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View doubleDD's profile (online now)

doubleDD

6838 posts in 1878 days


#3 posted 12-07-2017 01:39 PM

I agree with Lew. Check out prices for the fence just to see what it would run. Maybe get one of those do anything guys to remove the wall. Good luck.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

473 posts in 385 days


#4 posted 12-07-2017 02:10 PM

If I understand all that post correctly I would take it all down and do a wooden fence but I have no idea how legal that is for you and its legality will vary depending on where you are.
https://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/fencing/wood-fencing/5-4-x-8-cedar-diamond-lattice-top-fence-panel/p-1444452020759-c-5774.htm?tid=-3338385795441726286&ipos=9
Anyway, the above fence will run under 500 for just the panels for 60ft but youll also have to figure in the removal of all the old block fence and new posts and concrete and since the government will likely be involve youll have to pay for some sort of permit and inspection plus possibly more property taxes for your “improvement”
No doubt it would cost more to have someone else do it but it might be worth it since theyd likely know what legal filings would need done… plus you guys would just have to come up with the money and not have any labor in the repair

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View BrentH's profile

BrentH

71 posts in 874 days


#5 posted 12-07-2017 03:37 PM

From the “Entirely-No-Help-At-All” Department…

1) Makes me tired just to think about it.

2) Glad to hear that you (well, maybe not you exactly) but “you” in the “generic Californian” sense, are still voting in those “turdbush, mouth-breathing, inbred, knuckle-dragging group of bureaucrats in Sacotomatoes”. The reason: You won’t believe how many people I’ve met recently who are fleeing California in their retirement years and are therefore increasing my property and rent values in my nearby, but fortunately-not-neighboring, state. I just rented a home to a wonderful 70-ish couple from the “Sacotomatoe” area who 1) couldn’t wait to leave you-know-where, 2) said they “never wanted to own a home again”, and 3) joined the nearby Country Club so they could spend all their time playing golf. Now they couldn’t be happier. Me too. Hey, everybody wins!

3) You can always get creative and do it yourself. Not too bad a project, really, done in wood. Did a few of those in my younger years, including one with brick pillars and cedar fence panels in between. Was actually fun at the time. Now…?, well, probably not. You know… “been there, done that, bought the fence.”

Hang in their, buddy. “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”

-- Brent H. --"This retirement stuff is hard work. I need to go get a job so I can get some rest!"

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4503 posts in 2039 days


#6 posted 12-07-2017 08:38 PM

OK I got down off my roof fired up the PC and was llookng at the pictures you posted of the “Wall Task” but the steam from my old PC was fogging up the screen and I couldnt see anything.
So I went looking for the wall referenced in the home improvements post in other places, I visited Berlin nothing to see there so moved on, next stop China, I walked and walked and walked but could not find any defective sections there so thinking I may be in the wrong place I returned home, very tired and flustered, a bit pink you might say after my exploits looking for your wall on my now marathon Wall walk and idecided to look in n my record collection, I remember something about a wall there many years ago.

Am I getting warmer! and I am not refering to BrentH’s post above, ... scary stuff I might add.

-- Regards Robert

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1283 posts in 1787 days


#7 posted 12-08-2017 12:02 AM

Hi Mark as a municipal employee here in Ohio I have the following advice which comes with the following disclaimer – California laws are different than Ohio laws so you cannot hold me liable for any actions taking on your part in response to suggestions on my part.

In my City your situation would play out in the following fashion:

Step one – call the City Zoning Office and ask about building codes for fences – they may even be available on-line. This is where you ask about your options for REPLACING an existing fence (very important – if you tear down the fence first you could be on the hook for a NEW Fence Permit). Does it have to be the same type (brick/block) or can another type be used? Ask about ALL types of fencing – keep your options open – brick/block, wood, chain link, vinyl, and what permits might be involved. Some fences here in Ohio require written approval from the neighbors – ALL neighbors within a certain area not just the ones sharing the fence line.

Step two – ask about options for financial assistance for homeowners on a fixed income (Your Dear Old Dad). Some Cities have such programs, others do not, never hurts to ask.

Step three – visit the local big box home improvement stores to look at options and make a decision about what you want. Ask the sales person about installation services. Call a few other fencing companies to get other estimates. Here it is polite to get the neighbors input. Will they accept a wood fence that will require paint/stain or would they prefer a lower maintenance option? Now you can ask them about sharing the cost – If your City has one of those home improvement grant programs they may qualify also which could lower your cost even more. I know this is a woodworking website and suggesting a vinyl or metal fence is sacrilege, but they are weather resistant (and fire resistant out there in wildfire country) and can be covered up with decorative landscape plantings.

Step four – be nice to the building inspector when he or she comes to look at the work. Yes they are a City Employee, but they are just doing their job which is to ensure the safety of all citizens. Not talking bribes, but a friendly smile and common courtesy go a long way.

Good luck, keep us fence posted. (Couldn’t resist that one.)

John

-- Leafherder

View Hermit's profile

Hermit

139 posts in 1160 days


#8 posted 12-08-2017 12:27 AM

Well I live in the northern part of this POS state. Here, in my county, if I remember correctly, permits are not required in less the fence is over 6 feet tall. Any fence installed on the property line is the legal responsibility of both homeowners who share the fence. Here, a new redwood fence runs anywhere from $25 – $32 a linear foot installed which includes removal and hauling away of the existing fence. If you’re under the authority of a home owners association you’ll need to check with them. To be certain, go down to the county buiding department with photos and ask them.
Also, if I remember correctly and you own a pool, you are required to have it fenced in. Building department can clarify that too.

-- I'm like the farmer's duck. If it don't rain, I'll walk.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2045 posts in 898 days


#9 posted 12-08-2017 08:33 AM



OK I got down off my roof fired up the PC and was llookng at the pictures you posted of the “Wall Task” but the steam from my old PC was fogging up the screen and I couldnt see anything.
So I went looking for the wall referenced in the home improvements post in other places, I visited Berlin nothing to see there so moved on, next stop China, I walked and walked and walked but could not find any defective sections there so thinking I may be in the wrong place I returned home, very tired and flustered, a bit pink you might say after my exploits looking for your wall on my now marathon Wall walk and idecided to look in n my record collection, I remember something about a wall there many years ago.

Am I getting warmer! and I am not refering to BrentH s post above, ... scary stuff I might add.

- robscastle

Rob, I included no photos, because I figured most people probably know what a block wall that’s falling apart looks like. Sorry if I gave you the vapors.

-- Mark

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2045 posts in 898 days


#10 posted 12-08-2017 08:39 AM

John, I don’t live in a City. I live in an unincorporated area of L.A. County. Now, dealing with that ridiculous Unicorn fart sniffing circus is something I’d much prefer to leave to the professionals.

-- Mark

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2045 posts in 898 days


#11 posted 12-08-2017 08:45 AM

Hermit: I didn’t know you were a Californian. I love my state and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I just do my best to keep my head down and steer clear of anything and anyone that has a County or State Seal on it. The pool is in the neighbor’s yard.
$25 – $30 foot? Including demo a removal?Unheard of, around here.

-- Mark

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4503 posts in 2039 days


#12 posted 12-08-2017 09:11 AM

Anything like this?

Dont have earthquakes here so It was just idle interest, plus you usually always post interessting pictures as well, ...I missed those.

-- Regards Robert

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

1283 posts in 1787 days


#13 posted 12-09-2017 03:14 PM

Here in Ohio you would be in luck – unincorporated areas have more lenient building codes – until the neighbors complain and get the County surveyors involved, and file lawsuits because your fence is infringing on their property or blocking their view, or otherwise creating a nuisance because you had a verbal agreement with the Township Zoning Inspector instead of a written permit, and then the news reporters show up because property owner rights are being infringed and feuding neighbors also makes a good story and the only ones enjoying the mess are the lawyers who are racking up billable hours… OK maybe not so lucky.

-- Leafherder

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

23195 posts in 3686 days


#14 posted 12-11-2017 02:58 AM

Mate i’m speechless, LOL.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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