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Bad Boys of Home Disasters: The Real Repair Costs of Chimney Zip-Lines, Indoor Rockets, and Toga Parties

HouseLogic looks at cinematic examples of men behaving badly and estimates the real-life repair cost.

Delta Tau Chi fraternity certainly knew how to throw a party, but they didn't know much about keeping the frat house intact. Image: Universal Pictures/Everett Collection

It’s unlikely most men will invent billion-dollar social networks or conjure rockets into the middle of their house, but home damage is a real concern for all home owners.

HouseLogic looks at some classic bad boy films, and estimates the costs to repair the damage done to homes in the name of entertainment.

The Social Network

Facebook is all about making connections, but one connection Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg shouldn’t have made was hooking a zip-line to the chimney of his Palo Alto home. The film depicts the zip-line destroying the house’s chimney, leaving a pile of bricks in its wake. So before you go stringing wires to your house, know that it’s always better to inspect your chimney rather than connect a zip-line to it.

Disaster: Collapsed chimney. See it at second 0:49 in the trailer.

  • Cost of evaluation, materials, and labor to rebuild chimney: $1,000 or more.

Weird Science

Unless you’ve launched a rocket from your basement—which we doubt you’d do—it’s hard to imagine the kind of damage one can cause. But the guys from Weird Science know all about it. They summoned a ballistic missile in their house that penetrated a couple of floors and pierced the roof. Unless you live in a silo, that kind of damage can easily bust your budget.

Disaster: Missile through the house. Check out 0:55 of the trailer.

  • Remodeling costs: Between $100 to $500 per square foot.
  • Total repair bill for two floors and the roof (300 square feet): At least $30,000 and as much as $150,000.

Hot Tub Time Machine

When the four buddies in Hot Tub Time Machine hop into a dilapidated Jacuzzi, it takes them back to the ‘80s. But if your non-time traveling hot tub is in bad shape, it could transport you to the bank. An overflowing hot tub can disrupt its support structure underneath, which could require structural repairs.

Disaster: Overflowing hot tub.

  • Evaluation from a structural engineer: $300 to $500.
  • Cost of structural repairs: $500 to $2,000.

Animal House

While the members of the fictional Delta Tau Chi fraternity knew how to party, they didn’t know much about home repair. Throughout the film we see toga-draped debauchery with more than a few things thrown through windows. The Deltas could have saved a bundle (and maybe gotten back into Dean Wormer’s good graces) by repairing the broken windows.

Disaster: Broken windows.

  • Replacing broken glass: About $50 per window.

Jackass 3D

It takes a real jackass to drive a jet ski through a hedge, and Johnny Knoxville certainly fits the bill. While the group’s lead prankster gets a laugh, the cost of replacing landscaping is no laughing matter. And with the finely manicured privacy hedges seen in the movie, the cost will grow a lot faster than the shrubbery.

Disaster: Destroyed privacy hedge.

  • Landscaping costs: Between $17 and $23 per square foot.
  • Fixing the lattice and replacing bushes: Up to $1,200.