My house was built with an unfinished basement. At some point (around 1978, based on the orange shag carpet and brown paneling), the previous homeowners made an attempt at finishing it. They built two walls to separate the basement into individual rooms, and added electrical wiring.
Then they apparently abandoned the project and just left everything there for nearly 30 years. When I bought the house, I came into possession of this time capsule from the '70s... along with some hidden problems.
The biggest problem lurked in the homemade walls. The walls looked innocuous. Crooked, sloppily made, and ugly... but not harmful.
I removed the drywall and doors, but I left the studs in place because live electrical wiring was attached to them.
A few months ago, I noticed that some of the studs were bowed, as if they were bearing a lot of weight. This alarmed me. I had a structural engineer evaluate the situation.
The conclusion was that the soil beneath the house had expanded, pushing up on the concrete basement floor. This, in turn, was causing the improperly built walls to push up on the floor joists above. The walls needed to be taken down as soon as possible.
I needed an electrician to move the wiring before I could remove the walls. In the meantime, I sawed through some of the studs to relieve the pressure on the floor joists.
And the cacophony began.
The floor in my living room/dining room began to creak. With the upward pressure gone, the floor joists settled and the subflooring loosened. So as I walk across, the subflooring moves up and down. The nails move in and out of the wood, creating the most horrible sound... a VERY LOUD sound as unpleasant as fingernails on a chalkboard. The creaky area is huge, and it's in the main living space where I'm constantly walking. It's so bad, it creaks even when my seven-pound dog walks across.
IT IS DRIVING ME CRAZY.
Several days ago, the electrician rewired the basement, moving all the wiring off the studs. I spent this past weekend removing the walls. They were surprisingly easy to remove... mainly because they were not attached to anything. They were simply wedged in between the concrete floor and the floor joists above. The walls had been jammed in so tightly, some of the floor joists were scraped and dented. It was the perfect example of how NOT to build a wall.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking the cursed walls down and was very pleased when nothing remained but a pile of wood.
Unfortunately, I still have the creaky floor to deal with. I spent hours in the basement shimming and gluing the floor from below, but it's too far gone for the usual remedies. I will have to pull up the flooring and fix the problem from above. That will be difficult and time-consuming, and I'm not sure I'll be able to successfully re-install the flooring.
Those stupid walls have caused me more frustration than any other problem in my house.