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100 Super Scary Home Inspector Nightmare Photos

After seeing these real-life home inspector photos (and picking your jaw up off of the floor), you’ll wonder what these homeowners were thinking!

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Leaking FaucetCourtesy Structure Tech

Leaking faucet

That’s the definition of “hard water.” On the plus side, the water spraying out should soon melt the icicle. Might be time for a new faucet and maybe to install a freeze detector in the house.

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A Garage Prepped for Elective SurgeryCourtesy Structure Tech

A garage prepped for elective surgery

Come on down to Bob’s Really Good Surgery Shack! This week’s special is brain transplants! Actually, this might provide pretty good shop lighting in the garage. Plus, check out these 16 cheap garage storage projects you can DIY.

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Mouse ApocalypseCourtesy Structure Tech

Mouse apocalypse

Picture yourself as a mouse with your honey out for an evening stroll… Quality mousetrap placement is the key-not quantity.

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More Duct Tape IngenuityCourtesy Structure Tech

More duct tape ingenuity

Well, covering the vent with tape stopped the cold air. The only problem is that it also defeated the purpose of having make-up air in the first place, which is to keep the occupants from being asphyxiated. Add this to the list of furnace repairs needed.

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Breaker Panel ConvenienceCourtesy Structure Tech

Breaker panel convenience

What a good idea. Just move all the paper towels, soaps and potions out of the way and you’ll have instant access to your breaker panel. Learn what you need to know about breaker box safety.

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The Rocky ThroneCourtesy Structure Tech

The rocky throne

Does something look unsteady in this photo to you? We thought so too. Here’s how to fix this very issue.

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Mail Slot?Courtesy Structure Tech

Mail slot?

Nope, this guy just doesn’t have all his bricks. He should probably learn how to tuckpoint.

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Legends of the fallCourtesy Structure Tech

Legends of the fall

Wonder why you’d even need the 2×4 cribbing when you have a ratchet strap doing the job! Wonder if the painting will get done before the fall. Renting a lift would be a lot safer approach.

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Wayne Gretzky’s Boyhood HomeCourtesy Structure Tech

Wayne Gretzky’s boyhood home

So you take a hockey puck and hold it in place while you foam it in. Brilliant! There are better ways to repair and replace soffit.

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Beaver in the Attic!Courtesy Structure Tech

Beaver in the attic!

Who thinks it’s cute to have red squirrels in the attic? Rodents in and around the house are something to take seriously.

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Follow the ArrowsCourtesy Structure Tech

Follow the arrows

It never hurts to double check the arrows when you install a new filter. Life’s easier if you go with the flow.

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Leaning PorchCourtesy Structure Tech

Leaning porch

Can you imagine trying to trim this thing? Or shut a door or window? Maybe it’s time to build a new porch.

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When Copper and Steel CollideCourtesy Structure Tech

When copper and steel collide

And it’s called galvanic corrosion. But it can be prevented if you connect dissimilar pipes the right way.

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Duct Tape Compression FittingsCourtesy Structure Tech

Duct tape compression fittings

What’s weird about this is that it appears that the drain parts are brand new. Installing drain lines and p-traps under a sink doesn’t normally call for duct tape. Don’t miss these shocking discoveries found in pipes. 

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Cris Carter's BasementCourtesy Structure Tech

Cris Carter’s basement

Those NFL jerseys need washing after game day. A nice hot flue will take care of the drying. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Maybe it’s time to repair the dryer.

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Shopping NotesCourtesy Structure Tech

Shopping notes

Wonder why a shorter water heater would help? (Could of put the writing backward on his forehead too.) At least he’ll have a convenient reminder when it comes time for a new water heater.

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Salvador Dali’s Ceiling FanCourtesy Structure Tech

Salvador Dali’s ceiling fan

We think it got very hot for a very long time here and the plastic blades sagged. There’s no fix’n it. Time to install a new ceiling fan.

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Ladder Extender Part 2Courtesy Structure Tech

Ladder extender part two

This is just a temporary solution until the 10”-thick slab is poured. Install an attic ladder as a handy way to use your rafter space in the garage. Don’t miss these secrets home inspectors won’t tell you

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See-Through PlumbingCourtesy Structure Tech

See-through plumbing

We’ve been through this before. Don’t use those stupid flexible plastic drain lines! If you have this kind of plumbing you better learn to how to clear clogged drains.

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That’s Not PEXCourtesy Structure Tech

That’s not PEX

Here’s a perfect illustration of just about everything that shouldn’t be used for plumbing repair. What do you think? ShooGoo? Regardless, this tops the charts for home inspector nightmares.

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Dr. Frankenstein’s wall switchCourtesy Structure Tech

Dr. Frankenstein’s wall switch

We think this is a way to turn on a light switch to a room that has no access but not sure! Believe it or not, there are electronic ways to remotely operate lights with wireless switches.

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Santa lost his bootCourtesy Structure Tech

Santa lost his boot

No, this isn’t a trash can. I think a good chimney cleaning is in order.

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Dryer VentCourtesy Structure Tech

Dryer vent

This would have been fine with only a few cleverly angled 90-degree elbows, and no vinyl at all. You won’t find this method in most dryer vent installation stories.

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Which problem solver would you choose?Courtesy Structure Tech

Which problem solver would you choose?

There are always options when it comes to buying a toilet—some better than others. Don’t miss these things to never flush down the toilet.

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Leaking fill valve repairCourtesy Structure Tech

Leaking fill valve repair

Once Warren caught the recycle/re-use bug, he just couldn’t stop. Even going to the extent of breaking the fill valve on his toilet for a chance to re-use this plastic container. Might be even smarter to replace the fill valve with a new kit.

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Flying Wallenda’s Family Home

Flying Wallenda’s family home

Whoever goes up this ladder has more courage than brains. Maybe it would have been smarter to rent a lift for the day.

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Watch Your Head!Courtesy Structure Tech

Watch your head!

Nothing wrong here, really.

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Not a DIY Mini-SplitCourtesy Structure Tech

Not a DIY mini-split

Just guessing, but we don’t think this is how a mini-split works. But the real question for this home inspector nightmares is, does it actually keep the room cool?

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Plywood window wellCourtesy Structure Tech

Plywood window well

Well, I hope it’s at least treated plywood. There are very rigorous standards when it comes to building egress window wells.

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Pillars of the earthCourtesy Structure Tech

Pillars of the earth

Lots of bad bricks here that a little tuckpointing may have prevented. At least it matches the rest of the chimney. Find out some of the craziest things found during home inspections.

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Brilliant extension ladder leg extenderCourtesy Structure Tech

Brilliant extension ladder leg extender

Another clever use for a five-gallon bucket, just prior to kicking the bucket. Please be careful with extension ladders, folks.

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Crop circles in the atticCourtesy Structure Tech

Crop circles in the attic

Here’s one theory. Frost on the underside of the roof deck is melting and wetting the insulation. A hot can light below is drying out the area around it.

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Liberty BellCourtesy Structure Tech

Liberty bell

It’s cracked like the Liberty Bell. But this cracked chimney liner needs to be repaired to prevent a chimney fire.

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Hardhat AreaCourtesy Structure Tech

Hardhat area

It’s never a good idea to hang a ceiling fan from electrical cable only. They make ceiling fan braces that make the job safe and easy.

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Brick Work Gone BadCourtesy Structure Tech

Brickwork gone bad

Some repairs are so neat and well executed that you barely even notice them. Not this one, though.

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Wine cork plugCourtesy Structure Tech

Wine cork plug

At least until you get to the store for a new pop-up drain assembly. Or maybe it’s time to install a new vanity sink.

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Bust’n out!Courtesy Structure Tech

Bust’n out!

What in the world made a thing like this happen? Whatever it was, it calls for a new outlet install.

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Ice warsCourtesy Structure Tech

Ice wars

Did you know that freezing water exerts 50,000 pounds per square inch? That’s a pretty good reason to winterize irrigation systems.

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One way to save money on flooringCourtesy Structure Tech

One way to save money on flooring

I’ve got a great idea! We don’t need new flooring under the rug. Nobody will ever know. 

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Boy-O-Boy!Courtesy Structure Tech


Not only is this chimney badly deteriorated, it’s almost completely missing any clay or metal liner. This is the poster child for why you should have your chimney inspected.

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Ho boy!Courtesy Structure Tech

Ho boy!

Vinyl dryer vent hose is such a bad idea on so many levels. So a smooth metal dryer vent is the best solution, hands down.

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Honey, let’s have a block party?Family Handyman

Honey, let’s have a block party?

Yep, let’s have over a couple of dozen neighbors for a really fun evening. Or tear off this disaster waiting to happen and build a deck properly.

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March of the roof ventsCourtesy Structure Tech

March of the roof vents

Yes, attic venting is important. This, however, might be a bit much. Maybe trying to save on shingles?

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You Can Still Use the Garbage CanCourtesy Structure Tech

You can still use the garbage can

I know it’s called a “garbage disposal” but I think someone’s taking that a bit too literally. Might be due for a replacement.

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Deck Stair Layout HeadacheCourtesy Structure Tech

Deck stair layout headache

Stairs are tricky to layout for the neophyte deck builder. But it’s easier than you think to get it right with a few stair building instructions.

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What’s wrong?Courtesy Structure Tech

What’s wrong?

Let thee count the ways… Broken chimney cap, missing mortar and bricks, all that’s gonna cause a few leaks. This chimney needs some major repairs.

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Ceiling kitchen ventingCourtesy Structure Tech

Ceiling kitchen venting

Marion loved the smell of her cooking so much, it seemed a waste to vent all of the wonderful aromas outside. Generally, most people would prefer kitchen venting to exhaust outside the house. These are the 16 things all smart homeowners do once a year

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How not to add lightingCourtesy Structure Tech

How not to add lighting

Pretty sure this wiring system won’t pass the electrical inspection. There are right and wrong ways to hang a ceiling light, and this is the wrong way.

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Duct Tape WallCourtesy Structure Tech

Duct tape wall

This tile was undoubtedly installed over greenboard instead of cement board and is completely falling apart. Regrouting isn’t an option.

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Hard hat areaCourtesy Structure Tech

Hard hat area

Maybe the in-ground pool sprung a leak? Or just maybe this was a first time retaining wall builder. Regardless, it’s time to bone up on building a retaining wall.

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Look closelyCourtesy Structure Tech

Look closely

And you’ll see a very conveniently located outlet right where it’s needed. There are several things to keep in mind when you’re roughing in wiring. Check out the 35 things every homeowner needs to know.

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“Dear, Why the heck aren’t the clothes getting dry?”Courtesy Structure Tech

“Dear, why the heck aren’t the clothes getting dry?”

I’ll bet the house feels a bit humid. A dryer vent is one of the many things in your home that needs regular cleaning.

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Proper grounding-not!Courtesy Structure Tech

Proper grounding-not!

OK think about it. This guy grounded to a PLASTIC COATED gas line. Unless they changed the rules, plastic is a non-conductor. How many other electrical mistakes do you suppose you would find in this house?

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Hot WiredCourtesy Structure Tech

Hot wired

This breaker is rated for both aluminum (AL) and copper (CU) wires. But that rating didn’t prevent this aluminum wire connection from loosening and getting hot enough to melt the plastic insulation. Here are 10 items to never buy if you want to have a clutter-free home.

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Poor Cable Detector?Courtesy Structure Tech

Poor cable detector?

Determined to find out if carbon monoxide was at fault for his poor cable reception, uncle Walter devised a plan…

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Blocked vent?Courtesy Structure Tech

Blocked vent?

Guess it’s OK if you block it with cardboard. While we’re on heating systems, how about a primer on efficient heating.

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A shower found in MunchkinlandCourtesy Structure Tech

A shower found in Munchkinland

After mom and dad moved out, the toddlers decided to make the bathroom more user-friendly. But when they grow up they’re gonna have to install a new shower.

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Dryer vent folliesCourtesy Structure Tech

Dryer vent follies

Why not just duct tape it near the attic vent. Why wouldn’t that do the trick?

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Hubcap Flue CapCourtesy Structure Tech

Hubcap flue cap

Well that’s one way to keep the rain away from your furnace. But there are official rain caps that you can buy at the home center.

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A Potentially Shocking DisposerCourtesy Structure Tech

A potentially shocking disposer

Not a bad idea to have a switch on the new disposer. As long as you don’t have to open the cabinet door to get at it-and that it’s properly installed!

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Toboggan ice-dam solutionCourtesy Structure Tech

Toboggan ice-dam solution

Granted, this is quite a clever setup. But it seems like it might be less work to fix the ice-dam problem!

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Skillfully Unnecessary ScribeCourtesy Structure Tech

Skillfully unnecessary scribe

Bonus: You can visit with your toddler while your taking care of business. If the door opened the correct way, there would have been no scribing required.

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No Fuse, Big ProblemCourtesy Structure Tech

No fuse, big problem

Just because it fits, doesn’t mean it’s a fuse. Yes, copper tubing will conduct electricity, but this is VERY dangerous! And I feel an eerie presence of the ghost of Charles Darwin…don’t let it happen to you!

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Why buy studs?Courtesy Structure Tech

Why buy studs?

Use up all that scrap 2×4. This might work structurally, but it’s definitely not the right way to frame a wall.

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Now that’s a maintenance-free finish!Courtesy Structure Tech

Now that’s a maintenance-free finish!

If you’ve got some spare time on your hands, give this a try. Otherwise installing a new door might be an easier fix.

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Liberace’s guest bathCourtesy Structure Tech

Liberace’s guest bath

Believe it or not, there are regulations regarding the distance between your tub and a light fixture. If you’d rather move the whirlpool tub than the light fixture.

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Strange brewCourtesy Structure Tech

Strange brew

Maybe it’s time for a water quality test. Or maybe it’s time to look into water softeners.

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Find the Fuel Oil Tanks in this PictureCourtesy Structure Tech

Find the fuel oil tanks in this picture

If you’re painting metal, do the prep work the right way. That way your artwork will stand the test of time.

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What the wall usually seesCourtesy Structure Tech

What the wall usually sees

How in the world can a tank get put on backwards? Maybe read the directions the next time you install a new toilet.

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Half-Hidden OutletCourtesy Structure Tech

Half-hidden outlet

To use the bottom outlet, simply snip the plug off your device and stick in the bare wires. These home inspector nightmares are truly mind boggling.

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Jacked-Up HouseCourtesy Structure Tech

Jacked-up house

I’m not certain how much weight that jack stand is rated for, but I’m pretty sure a house is a bit over the limit. It’s important to understand load-bearing posts.

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Kitchen exhaust vent routing funCourtesy Structure Tech

Kitchen exhaust vent routing fun

Yeah, this exhaust vent will get rid of some burned bacon smoke, but with that kink, not so much. And imagine the condensation issues. 

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Plumbing DiverticulosisCourtesy Structure Tech

Plumbing diverticulosis

Just because pipes come in all kinds of different shapes doesn’t mean you need to use them all on one job.

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The More the Merrier!Courtesy Structure Tech

The more the merrier!

Stacking more cheap filters don’t add up to higher efficiency filtration. Best to buy the filter that fits your furnace. Here are 14 smart things all homeowners should do once a month.

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Floating stairsCourtesy Structure Tech

Floating stairs

Just what on earth supports the top of the stringers. This builder could benefit by studying up on how to build stairs.

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Heat duct or exhaust vent…Courtesy Structure Tech

Heat duct or exhaust vent…

You decide. Whatever it is, the kitchen venting system coulda used a little more thought.

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Extra clothes rodCourtesy Structure Tech

Extra clothes rod

Clever why? Well it’s the shower curtain tension rod silly. It’s easy to violate electrical codes if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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A Wee Bit of an Access IssueCourtesy Structure Tech

A wee bit of an access issue

Can you imagine how this guy felt when he opened the drawers for the first time? A little kitchen planning never hurts. That would have done the trick.

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MedusaCourtesy Structure Tech


Do NOT look this mess in the eye! You’ll turn to stone! I think these supply lines could be a bit shorter. Plus the water pressure is bound to be affected.

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You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zestfully clean!Courtesy Structure Tech

You’re not fully clean unless you’re zestfully clean!

I don’t think this shower would meet the new low-flow requirements. But it’s sure makes a nice set of grab bars.

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All employees MUST wash their hands before returning to work!Courtesy Structure Tech

All employees must wash their hands before returning to work!

Genius! With this setup, you can wash your hands and your feet at the same time! A small bathroom requires a certain amount of planning.

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Beer can inspection panelCourtesy Structure Tech

Beer can inspection panel

Great way to save a trip to the appliance parts store. But the next water heater repair may require more than a beer can. This is what you need to know before doing a final walk-through.

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I’m mellllttttingCourtesy Structure Tech

I’m melllltttting

Little Johnny got a magnifying glass for his birthday and set out to harness the power of the sun and melt the neighbor’s house. Obviously, this house is in need of some siding replacement!

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Structural stuccoCourtesy Structure Tech

Structural stucco

The studs have completely rotted away leaving only the stucco to do the support work. Sistering new studs alongside the old ones would solve the problem. And if you have a similar problem with your floor framing, you can sister floor joists too.

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Desk fan attic ventingCourtesy Structure Tech

Desk fan attic venting

The desk fan pointing towards a roof vent is one thing. You just can’t run cable willy-nilly wherever you want…

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Don’t fall for this trapCourtesy Structure Tech

Don’t fall for this trap

Maybe it works-maybe it doesn’t. Is the whole system properly vented or not?

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Flashing in a CanCourtesy Structure Tech

Flashing in a can

Spray foam can be used for many things. Flashing is not one of them.

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3 way switchesCourtesy Structure Tech

3-way switches

Cleverly positioned 3-way switches for you want to control the same light with your left and right hand at the same time. Or maybe this guy wants to turn the lights off when sitting on the toilet perhaps?

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Return Air DownspoutCourtesy Structure Tech

Return air downspout

Here’s a quick way to add some humidity to a dry room. Just run the downspout into your return air! And better yet use conventional ductwork.

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A fat siding guys nightmareCourtesy Structure Tech

A fat siding guys nightmare

Installing your own siding isn’t all that hard to do. Providing you’ve got plenty of room for your ladders and scaffolding.

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What’s a TPR Valve?Courtesy Structure Tech

What’s a TPR valve?

Not willing to be outwitted by a water heater, Jim decided that the TPR (temperature, pressure relief) valve should only drip when he wanted it to drip. A TPR valve is an important safety feature, and the photo shown above is NOT an appropriate solution! 

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RedactedCourtesy Structure Tech


There are a multitude of things that shouldn’t be put down the toilet. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out what happened here.

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Mouse trap gauntletCourtesy Structure Tech

Mouse trap gauntlet

Determined to have Martha’s mouse-pelt coat ready for Christmas, Karl set about the task with never-before-seen enthusiasm. There are many ways to get rid of mice in your home.

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Belt and suspender roofingCourtesy Structure Tech

Belt and suspender roofing

This DIYer wasn’t taking any chances installing these shingles. Yup, he caulked between every single joint.

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Fancy access panel to nothingCourtesy Structure Tech

Fancy access panel to nothing

Maybe it used to serve a function before they walled it off? Actually we think it was a plumbing access panel.

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Sump pump smartsFamily Handyman

Sump pump smarts

It may look smart. But you’re not allowed to run your sump pump discharge into your home’s sewer pipes. This is another example of someone who should study up on the right way to cure a damp basement problem.

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Not a Real DoorstopCourtesy Structure Tech

Not a real doorstop

Make sure when you install a smoke alarm, it’s not doing double-duty as a doorstop. Placement of smoke alarms is super-important.

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Ice cream anyone?Courtesy Structure Tech

Ice cream anyone?

The cheapest, easiest-to-install, urinal on the planet. And no water supply lines required. But next time maybe you should read up on how to plumb a basement bathroom.

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Just Make It FitCourtesy Structure Tech

Just make it fit

Honey? I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but it seems like the kitchen floor has a dip in it ever since you put in the garage door opener. Beware of home inspector nightmares in which the home has structural issues!

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Extension Cord-Powered CircuitCourtesy Structure Tech

Extension cord-powered circuit

We think the idea here is to plug in an extension cord and use it to fire up another circuit. Maybe it’d be a little better to simply add another circuit. Next, these are the home improvement fails that will make you cringe

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman