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my home, its a love hate relationship mostly love

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by ad356, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. ad356

    ad356 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    141
    Loc:
    north java, ny
    well i live in an old farmhouse, really old, it was built in 1895. it's an old plank farmhouse, allot it has a allot of country charm. its located in the middle of a farming town, really a great little place to raise a family peacefull enough to be left alone and close enough to the store (1/2 hour drive to major shopping gas station in 10 minutes). the home itself, its been an adventure and kind of a money pit. first year we lived here we replaced 5 windows, the following year i replaced the remaining windows. the windows werent cheap. total bill was probably $3-4,000. i also insulated and drywalled, this was another expense, not only that but it was probably was one of the worst messes i have ever endured; it was aweful. dust everwhere on everything; i burned lath for what must have been a month. you dont realize how much of the crap is nailed to your walls until you remove it. we had the floor under the master bedroom rebuilt; well we had very joist reinforced because the floor was springy when you walked or jumped on it. again more money and more expense, this was done before the living room ceiling was drywalled. the master bedroom is directly above the living room. the same thing was done in the kitchen. i installed the harman P61 that year, the furnace in the basement is a horrid monster, i call it the dragon. its a oil fired harmark warm air POS converted to natural gas. the thing is long but narrow, dont know how they got it down there doesnt like removal is going to be much fun. for this very moment its going to stay put. then these is the adventure of the not so level floors. i tried to have floating floors installed, what a joke. i had to remove it, it will not sit level on an unlevel floor. that stuff is junk and i wouldnt recommend it to anyone. any amount of getting wet and it's shot. then there is the wirring. when we moved in it was still on fuses, all 5 of them, lol. the prevous owner just piggy backed all of the circuits to the five breakers. some of the circuits have been replaced but some are still original. the circuit panel was replaced a couple of years ago, a brand new cutter hammer 100 amp load center was installed.

    now i will start on the good parts. this house is over 100 years old, allot of great history. i love the construction, it is made out of some of largest beams i have ever seen. it makes me wonder how it was built, they didnt exaclty have the ability to call in a lumber truck loaded with lumber straight from the lumber mill. perhaps this home was built right from the trees that were harvisted right here where the house stands, everything is big heavy rough cut planks. the beams in the basement are basically trees that just had the ends cut off making them square. the construction practices were far from perfect, nothing was done to any kind of code; but it has held up well, i would say that is a credit to the quality of materials used. phenonmal thick heavy beams and planks. i wouldnt be surprised if this home is still standing 80 years from now. i wont do anything to make it look more modern, well i have installed new windows and drywall but i refuse to replace the great wooden shake, i just love the look and style of real wood sidding. modern sidding might be maintence free, but it makes the house look like its made out of plastic. im going to have to paint once a decade, its just a fact of life. we are going to replace the front door, its original to the home and it's not energy efficient. my wife asked me if i wanted to replace the storm door. i said no, it has the great old wooden farmhouse style storm door, i dont want to replace its actually in good shape and adds to the look. basically if it is a structural issue, safety issue, or a heat retention issue i will replace or repair it. if it's a cosmetic issue, i want to retain what i feel is a great look. i dont want to take away from that.

    then there's the barn. i had all new metal roof and sidding done 2 years ago. the shingles were falling off but the structure was still sound, next thing im doing to the barn, new overhead door and a good source of heat.

    at $75,000 for the house, barn and two acre lot it was cheap to buy but it has been a money pit to fix up. its amazing how much you start replacing when you buy an old home that has only seen limited remodeling done. basically i wanted to fix the issues.

    at the end of the day i wouldnt trade it for anything. my parents have a much more expensive home to the tune of $175,000. they live a cutesie little development. they bought the house when i was already out of high school. the house i grew up in, a ballon construction house but in 1901. i remember when my parent bought the house they have now. i was actually upset that i had to move to that development, i just loved that old house and it sat on 55 acres of land. the houses in the development all look the same and i hate that with a passon, the community is also filled with mostly yuppies, good grief

    i guess i bought a home that reminded me of my childhood home, so if someone asks me if i like my home, my answer officially is, i love my home. i am 32 years old and this is where i am going to spend the rest of my usefull life, i have no intention of ever leaving here. my mortgage is less then allot of people pay in rent, but even if i became a multi-millionare i would still live here.

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  2. pyroholic

    pyroholic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2013
    Messages:
    219
    Loc:
    Mid-Michigan
    Lots of reading, but I can relate. Bought a house in July 2012 that was built in 1884. I love it too.
  3. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,608
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    The house sounds great....those house are built to last (obviously)....we went from a 1953 Cape, to a 1978 Split Level Ranch in what is considered a higher end community....the difference is incredible, that 1950's Cape will outlast this 1978 construction without a doubt
  4. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    934
    Loc:
    Upstate NY

    My sentiments exactly. My (1990) Queen Ann Vic. was built entirely with chestnut framing and cedar exterior, right down to the fancy trim work, shingling and clapboard. It'll last another 100 years or two.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2013
  5. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,247
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    1895 is still young. That house is just breaking in :)

    Old lath can be left in place, just drywall over it. Even better keep the plaster if its in reasonable shape. Plaster in many ways is a much higher quality wall covering than Sheetrock, its just too expensive to duplicate today.

    The old windows and trim are likely make of old growth wood you will never find replacement for of equal quality, do save what you can.

    As for the structure, in 1895 they could easily call up a lumber yard for a delivery. Much earlier than that even. If I had to guess you probably have construction that's called a 'new england braced frame'. It a hybrid of balloon stud framing with heavy corner posts left over from the age of post and beam.
    woodgeek likes this.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,247
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    I thought about your house some more. You said its a plank house... Tell me are the walls made of vertical wood planks T&G and mortised into top and bottom beams with no studs? And with siding nailed right on the planks?

    If yes, and you have half sawn trees for floor joists in the basement, then your build date is off. Way off. By about 100-150 years :)
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,577
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Even my 1960 stick framed house is made with **real** sticks...the joists are 'fir' and seem harder than modern oak to me...very slow to drill or saw.
  8. ad356

    ad356 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    141
    Loc:
    north java, ny
    the lath HAD to go as there was no insulation none what so ever under the lath. we had two reasons for taking down the original plaster/lath. the plaster was horsehair, in many areas it was starting to crumble. the windows had to go as the were single pain, very inefficient. when we started to install new windows the plaster started to fall off the wall. we did what we did to improve the efficeincy of the home. the walls did not have modern studs, there was some form of "studs" that the lath was nailed to but i dont think it was structural. it certianlly is plank construction, larger planks standing vertical on end. the house is made out of fantasic materials, the quality of wood is probably better then anything avialble today. the sidding is nailed right too the planks. i have a friend of mine that is an electrician, we wirred some new circuits in; he told me to replace all of the wirring is going to be extremely difficult and that if we add more plugs upstairs its going to have to be wiremold.

    you said your queen ann was built in 1990, did you mean 1900? back when this place was built a 2"x4" was a real 2"x4" and a 4"x4" was a real 4"x4". the main beams are probably oversized. the sidding is nice cedar, many people would replace that great cedar with that modern plastic junk so they dont have to paint it. i would rather pain it, i have never painted a house so that will be fun. i would describe my home's style as an "american farmhouse" but im not even sure if that's what's officially called. my "barn" has a gambrel roof so it really does look like a barn. its not a huge cattle barn but a mid sized building probably 8-900 sq foot.
  9. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,784
    Loc:
    NNJ
    Give us a picture.
    Beer Belly likes this.
  10. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    192
    Loc:
    The Great North East
    My home was built in 1856 and it has plank walls. 1.5" going vertical between the beams and the. Another layer 1.5" going vertical on the exterior. The cedar siding is nailed directly to the exterior. The lath was nailed to the interior and horsehair plaster on the inside. In order to get insulation I had to remove the plaster and lath, stud the walls and run electric/insulate and drywall.

    House is coming a long nicely but I have lived here six years and it is not done yet. The house now has geothermal heating, tankless hot water heater, and new electric and new wiring everywhere.
  11. ColdNH

    ColdNH Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2009
    Messages:
    536
    Loc:
    Bow, NH
    lets see some pics, sounds like a great house!
    Beer Belly likes this.
  12. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    1,661
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    the other benefit of wood lath is the house tends to be very quiet. it seems to cut down the sound from outside and the next room.
  13. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    Messages:
    852
    Loc:
    Pt Pleasant, PA (SE PA)
    We live in an 1865 bank barn converted into a home in the 20`s. I have the same feeling, love hate here too. Nothing is "standard' so everything is a special order and expensive.

    We had a tree fall on our house from Sandy crushing the main beam on the side of the house. They pulled the roof off anyway so they replaced the entire beam in one piece, like they would have done back in the day instead of trying to modernize the construction. A HUGE beam was delivered on a flatbed truck and they used a pulley system to get it up the hill to the house and set into place. I wish I was home when they did it as no one got photos! They did use modern fasteners, not the hand forged nails that were all over, but was I impressed they didn't try to rig something in place that would have been easier ;)

    We have dirt under the wood floors, horse hair and plaster inside some of the walls still and ANY project we have ever started resulted in something weird we never imagined.

    But...I love my little old house,
    Beer Belly likes this.
  14. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,692
    Loc:
    WNY
    (Good thing Jade isn't here. Old house we reference re the windows.)

    Single pane isn't as bad as people think if they are kept in good shape.

    I like the Java area, it's a nice place!

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