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Anyone here live in a reallllly old house? (long post)..

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by newyorkin, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    I live in a house that was built in 1920... We've been renting half of it for 5 years, and just bought it and take over the whole thing at the end of december.

    Some of my challenges for the new year...:

    *Plaster walls and ceiling - I'm replacing with sheetrock...

    *Quite a bit of Original BX wiring (the kind with the rubber and paper insulation) - I'm replacing with Romex, somebody please stop me!

    *Steam heating - Leaving alone, incredibly efficient!

    *Wood Floors - Refinishing when I win lotto, they look good but are scratched from uncaring tenants...

    *40 years of tenants paint (every tenant decided to paint over the last tenants work) - Hopefully replaced with the plaster-to-sheetrock job...

    *Uneven basement floor (used to be dirt, we rush-poured concrete on it last year and nee to re-do it right)

    *Possibly weakened joists in the basement that may need replacing; and each one is black from the houses coal-burning days...

    *Two fuse boxes - I want to combine to one big one

    *Decaying Stucco exterior - Need to walk around patching and re-weatherproofing that

    *Vertical Cracks all over the foundation - Wondering what to do about that... 80+ years of settling...

    *Tongue and groove roof boards, some of which are rotted from a leaking roof - We already replace a bunch in the front. Another drawback to plaster ceilings, you don't know when there's a leak until it's already too bad. The roof looks fine.

    *original bathroom plumbing in the upstairs bathroom - NOT looking forward to replacing that big-arse cast iron waste pipe...

    *And about 300 things I can't think of right now...


    I was down in the basement allll day yesterday to install a pair of 4x2 flourescent light panels. The original lights down there were single socket incandescant lights, wired with BX run across the joists to rusting sockets and daisy chained to the living room electric. I had two flourescents that I put down there last year, one on a standard wall-plug adapter that I screwed into the light bulb socket so it would work with the switch, the other wired into a new circuit I put in for my computer lab setup. The two new ones I was putting in yesterday I was just going to tap into the original light circuit and move the wires that were running across the joists to running along them, closer to code (original was exempt cause there was no code when it was done).

    So I ran my new Romex supply wire, wired in 1 new flourescent with a seperate switch so you can turn it on outside the switch at the stairs, set up the junction box, then started undoing the two sockets I was eliminating.

    I had planned to replace only 1 or 2 of the old BX and reuse the exisitng runs. Then I opened the socket boxes... The insulation of every old wire, literally crumbled off as I touched it. I ended up spending 12noon to 12:30 am replacing this crap. I had just enough Romex to replace the worst BX, but still had to re-use some of the old, very carefully. So hopefully home depot's open today, I have to go buy another 100' of Romex to replace about 50' remaining feet of BX on this circuit. I am NOT looking forward to that, as this stuff is plastered into certain points of the living room walls and wallbase...

    Anyway, of you read this far into this, thanks!! I'm do have a couple old house and wiring questions I'm going to post, but my wife is now getting all annoyed with me 'cause it's thanksgivign and Im' banging on the keyboard instead of being where she can yell at me while she cooks...

    Happy turkey day, y'all!
     
  2. fourwheelerjeff

    fourwheelerjeff 1/2 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Location:
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    i just moved to fort worth from this little town in the panhandle named childress, (shoulda' stayed, but another story)

    anyway, the house there i was living in was built in 1916 and had a historical marker out front, it used to be a hospital, the first one built in the county, it was two story and the walls were 18 inches thick, they were planning on going three story, but stopped at two, it had been converted into a house, but the upstairs bedrooms still had the room numbers on them, the play room had carpet, but underneath was concrete, it used to be the operating room, the owner kept trying to sell it to me, and i kind of wanted it, but would take a lot more work than i was capable of to fix it up, i had lots of room and it came with another house to the side of it that was the doctor's quarters when it was in operation, it was rented out to some other people, people were always telling me about someone they knew that was born there, and some would ask if it was scary living there when people died there, i just told them "some people died and some people were born, and some went insane and some stayed the same"

    should have stayed and bought it /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  3. BranndonC

    BranndonC 3/4 ton status

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    i live in a 1920's house, but we rent and have been here 5 months and i can vouge for the following
    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    *Plaster walls and ceiling - I'm replacing with sheetrock...
    *Quite a bit of Original BX wiring (the kind with the rubber and paper insulation)
    *Wood Floors - Refinishing when I win lotto, they look good but are scratched from uncaring tenants...


    [/ QUOTE ]
     
  4. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Congratulations to owning a home that you can/will remodel!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Remodeling homes is one of my passions. We are currently in the finishing stages of our living room and furnace room project. Both jobs required the removal of plaster and lathe, rewiring, insulation, new windows, new flooring, etc. You get the idea. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

    I will be more than happy to help you thru your remodeling job, if I can help. My specialty is sheetrock and drywall. I was self employed for a few years and had worked with another guy before I was SE. I have about 11 years of drywalling experience on me. Feel free to ask anything that will help you get your home fixed. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  5. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Awesome Wes!! The cool thing about this is that the current tenant is moving out in three weeks, so I can do that side of the house without us living in it yet.

    Do you ever find the studs under the lath to be really uneven? I read somewhere that I'm going to have to do a lot of levelling work before sheetrocking. What's your experience been, and what do you recommend?
    I can't wait to get the wals apart to redo the wiring... That's a good point, I forgot the windows all need to be redone, and they seem to be funky sizes... We literally have 80 year old trim on the outside of the windows...
     
  6. reddog64

    reddog64 1/2 ton status

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    That's alot of work...

    I hope you got a good deal on the place!

    Congrats on owning your own place!
     
  7. willyswanter

    willyswanter 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Welcome to my life!

    All I do is buy older, 1910-1940's, homes and remodel them and sell them. Usually takes about 6-10 weeks to turn one over. I do all the work myself so I know all about the work thats involved...

    As far as the BS, I fawkin hate that stuff /forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif. Soon as you touch it the insulation falls off and shorts out. So now my routine is just to abandon the BX and run all new romex through the attic and down the walls to old-work boxes. Actually takes less time than going through and fixing all the little problems with the BX.

    Any questions just ask, I've done all of it...
     
  8. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yes, I've dealt with literally hundreds of homes like this...with uneven studs, walls, etc.

    I've found the best method to fix this and get straight studs so your walls are not wavy, is to take a string and stretch it at one corner to the other corner, usually in the center part at 4' off the floor (if you have 8' ceilings).
    Take a look and check the gaps between the studs and string. If you find a gap or a few gaps, look for the high part thats sticking out more and then get a long straight-edge or the string and hold it to the top and bottom of the stud, flush to the edges and scribe or pencil the straight line down the length of the stud. If you do have some stud stick-out, that will be the line you follow to cut it and have your straight stud. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Now if the wall bows inward and you can't pull it out, simply get another stud and nail or screw it side by side with the bowed stud. Again, use a string at the corners to get the new stud out to the proper stick-out location. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    A lot of older homes are victims to uneven walls. I've found it easiest to cut the warped or bowed studs in order to have straight walls. Sure it may take some time to go thru all of them, but thats the price you pay when buying an older home and wanting to have straight walls.

    Replace all the old insulation, and whatever you do, do not use the blow-in type insulation. This stuff is just pure nasty. Just get the batt rolls and be done with it. Same for the rafters/ceilings, too.

    If you are wanting to replace all the windows, I recommend you to look at getting vinyl clad, double-hung, tilt, and insulated windows, preferrably some name brand. I also recommend you to get all or as many windows you want to replace, in the same size. If you have one or two windows that are odd or a different size, fine, get those in the same replacements. Its easier to frame the openings and close up what you don't need and have them all the same size so you don't confuse yourself too much with different window dimensions.

    We replaced all the windows in our current home with what I described above and they are Owens-Corning windows. They measure 30" x 48", a common size, and still ran us almost $200 per window. They came with a full screen and have a lip on them to nail right to the outside walls. We have 6 of these windows total on the house and love them. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Don't skimp when it comes to windows. The type and brand of windows you pay for will determine the efficiency of your heating and cooling bills.

    If you are planning to redo the exterior of the house, I wouldn't worry about the window trims, etc. Just concentrate on doing all the interior work first and do the siding last. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  9. AGM

    AGM Registered Member

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    You might take any of the old doors, windows, fixtures etc. that you are not keeping to a salvages shop if there is one in your area. I made a few hundred dollars after a remodel by selling the old medicine cabinet and a couple of doors at a place here in Portland.
     
  10. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Fourwheelrjeff, that house sounds pretty sweet. If the price was right, I'd have jumped on it now. Months ago I'd think differently, but now I see this isn't what I thought it would be...
    Reddog, we're paying about fair market value for the house, What I didn't mention was that it has only a sideyard, the back is all dirt/sand driveway that needs to be cultivated into a yard. There's a 4-bay garage built the same time the house was, but cared for a lot less, so it's kinda crumbling and will likely need to be knocked down in a couple years.
    Jason, my thoughts exactly on the BX. I'm going to go buy a couple hundred feet of Romex, and replace any BX circuits as I come across them.

    Good idea on the studs, Wes, thanks. For some dumbarse reason, I was thinking I'd have to shim each stud that was too shallow, putting in a second stud is much faster and easier!

    I think the insulation that's in there now is the blow-in on one side of the house, and the roll on the other side. I'm just putting in rolls like you said whereever I need to.

    Thanks for the window info, too. We've known we're going to have to do a couple right away, and the rest can be done gradually, but I think I'm going to go buy 1 or 2 tonight at the home supply place, and attempt to install them tomorrow (we took out the window ac unit last night and most of the outside window frame went with it... It's a miracle the ac unit didn't fall out).

    AGM, I hadn't thought of that, but I was thinking I'd try to save a couple things for thier antique value. I.E. I think the windows may actually be original. Yes, they're that bad...
     
  11. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Ok first challenge/Question:


    The living room cielings have a short ornamental curve from the cieling down to the wall, instead of being a 90 degree cornered angle where the wall and cieling meet. That goes down to the picture hanging trim pieces on the wall, and up to a sort of a 1/4 inch indent to the cieling. We really like the way that looks and want to keep it.
    So my plan is to cut a squared edge into the plaster along the borders of that curve, and remove all plaster in the room except that, just sheetrock everything else and leave that as plaster.

    What would you guys recommend for that? Especialy for cutting the plaster. Should I run along it with my circular saw? What kind of blade should I use on it?
     
  12. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Depending on how big that 1/4 round curve is, you should check into the vinyl corner beads, which normally are those metal thingies around corners of walls where there are no trim. Just made of vinyl instead of metal and fasten to the corners where the joint compound is applied over the corner bead to get the uniform, even coat.

    Now, I've seen the round type of outer corner beads, but am wondering if they make the inner corner beads, which they do on 90 degree, but don't know if they have the 1/4 round inner beads. This is something to check into.

    If the inner corner bead is available in the 1/4 round type, I would go ahead and tear out all the plaster and sheetrock the walls and ceilings like you would normally do it. Then get these vinyl corner beads and glue them to the corners. Apply the joint compound accordingly.

    Does this make sense? I can get some pics of the vinyl corner beads as I've got one in the other room right now. I can take pics of some other corner beads that are available at the local lumber yard. Just don't know if the inner 1/4 round bead is available or not.
     
  13. willyswanter

    willyswanter 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Why yes it is available. We buy it through a local specialty lumber yard and it's the same price per stick as the outer rounded corner bead. And yes the rounded is much nicer. We use it in all our new homes and it makes everything look alot nicer, plus you don't have paint chipping off of it in a month like on the sharp corners. Nothing worse than your nice newly painted white walls with gray metal corner bead sticking through on all the edges /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif.

    Anyway, I tore a closet out of one I'm working on today and what did I find? About 50 years of water damage from a leaking roof valley. It has a new roof but I guess the previous owner just decided to put plywood over the rotting plaster inside and paint it /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif. Guess who gets to tear out a whole wall and floor tomorrow to replace it all...
     
  14. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    Guess who gets to tear out a whole wall and floor tomorrow to replace it all...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Ummm...let me think...you!!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
     

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