Next Time, Hire a Pro Vol. 8

Next Time, Hire A Pro | Construction Pro Tips

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Hire a pro

It’s true that not all homeowners can afford to hire a professional for each home repair and improvement, but not every project is DIY friendly. Sometimes calling a pro makes more sense and will save you money in the long run.

For more collections of less-than-stellar work, click here.

An apple in the wrong place | Construction Pro Tips

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Apple flapper

Given how finicky toilet flappers can be, it would be awesome if an apple would do the job. As for the sock, we suspect it’s a substitute for a missing fill valve cap (see next page). Or maybe it’s just decorative.

A correctly installed toilet flapper | Construction Pro Tips

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The Right Way

Replacing the flapper is probably a better solution.

Poorly done over the top flashing | Construction Pro Tips

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Over-the-Top Flashing

We're guessing that the same bloke who installed the vent also installed the flashing. 

A Saddle Valve | Construction Pro Tips

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Saddle Up for a Headache

Saddle valves are frequently used to route water to appliances like ice makers and furnace humidifiers. They work by piercing the copper line with a hollow needle. A rubber gasket seals between the clamps and the copper line. But saddle valves are notoriously unreliable and eventually clog or leak. And they’re virtually impossible to shut off after a few years. See the next page for an example of the right way.

A Good Example of a Sweat Tee | Construction Pro Tips

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The Right Way

Instead, install a sweat or compression tee with a 1/4-in. shutoff valve. This system will give you years of trouble-free service.

Poorly designed bathtub above stairs | Construction Pro Tips

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One Small Step

This bathtub must have been installed in a tightrope walker’s house. Just think about turning on the water to fill the tub, then walking the ledge to get in. After your bath, you’d be getting out with wet feet on 8 in. of slippery tile. Talk about a fast trip down the stairs!

Stair tearout on missed stud | Construction Pro Tips

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Missed the Stud

Drywall anchors are the hardware of choice for hanging pictures and mirrors, but handrails need more support. The installer of this rail either didn’t bother to find a stud or miscalculated the location of the handrail bracket. See the right way on the next page.

Mark studs with tape so you don't miss them | Construction Pro Tips

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The Right Way

Find and mark the studs with masking tape. Then hold the handrail in position and mark where the brackets should be mounted so they’ll align with the studs. This ensures a safe, solid connection.

A ball of light bulbs | Construction Pro Tips

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That’s one way to heat an attic

There’s enough wattage here to fry a circuit and enough heat to melt snow on the roof. Bulb sockets like this aren’t meant to be daisy-chained.

Stairway to nowhere | Construction Pro Tips

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Stairway to Nowhere

Maybe these folks have a future second-floor addition in mind. Is a handrail required by code if the stairs don't actually go anywhere?