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Old 01-03-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
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Way in over my head


I recently purchased a very large 1940's brick three story home. Long story short the inspector missed almost everything and now I am living in "total chaos" and dont know where to start.

Replaced roof that leaked at chimney into first floor ceiling. I now need to replace the entire ceiling in the living room which is plaster and measures 24x20.

I am nervous about ripping it down because I have four children and they recently found asbestos throughout the entire home. Not to mention white mold and dry rot in the basement.

The foundation is currently supported with extra posts until I can get the floor joists replaced.
Also the attic, where three of the bedrooms are located is partially finished and is not insulated very well and gets very cold. Alot of the insulation I had to remove due to water damage and black mold. The roof has just been completed so now I am trying to figure out where to start.

Funds are very limited due to all the unexpected problems that have come up in the last 9 months. I am really concerned with the mold and asbestos, . I was told as long as I leave the asbestos alone undisturbed it will be ok.

The contractor that did the roof was suppose to get back with me about insulation and venting in the attic and has yet to do so. I could go on all day with the numerous problems but I will save them for a later time.

Where do I start and what type of insulation would be best for the cathedral ceilings in the attic for a reasonable price. What about the process for redoing the ceiling and waterproofing in the future? Please help I am in panic mode.


Last edited by oh'mike; 01-07-2012 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Added spaces
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:24 AM   #3
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Did the realitor suggest the inspector, or did you hire them?
Oh the joys of buying an older house. These are all normal things to find wrong in any old house.
What I have done before is work as a consultant for people in your situation. They do the labor and I just set up prioritys and let them know what tools to use, safety rules, and how to do the job.
With the economy the way it is you may be able to find a GC willing to take a look.
Offer to pay him, all his know how is going to be worth it.
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
What I have done before is work as a consultant for people in your situation. They do the labor and I just set up prioritys and let them know what tools to use, safety rules, and how to do the job.
Agreed. You need an overall **plan** that addresses everything that needs to be done along with the things that you would like to be done and describing the proper and best (code) ways to actually get those things done... in a logical sequence.

Even a bad plan is better than no plan at all...
but worse is bouncing around like a pinball doing jobs that can either wait or should be done along with some other process.

hth
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:00 AM   #5
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Good point, if your trying to live in the house while this works is going on try to work on one room at a time or you all will go nuts.
Three very important things to take care of in any old house if they have not been done before is total rewiring from the pole to the meter to all the outlets and lights. Sealing all the holes to stop air leaks behind the walls, insulating, and replacement windows.
By taking care of these things your heating and cooling bills would go down at least 25%, the house is worth more, be far more comfortable to live in, less of a fire hazzard from old wiring, more outlet.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:16 PM   #6
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You have received a lot of good advice here. I might add that by having the roof DONE, you have a major obstacle out of the way. Normally, your next step would be to open up the plastered walls so you could rid your house of asbestos and upgrade your wiring, if needed, and insulate properly. Unfortunately, you will likely need an asbestos abatement company to remove any plaster, insulation, etc that may contain asbestos or even lead. This can be very costly, so as Joe & Tarheel have hinted at, take a deep breath, make a sequential plan, and attack it ONE ROOM AT A TIME as time and money allow. In the long run, it does take more of your time, but to balance out the costs of what you are doing, a ONE ROOM AT A TIME plan may be the way to go.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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One room at a time, and really there is no need to pull the ceiling. As for the HI, there is no way that they will see the in the wall, buried under concrete issues, etc, unless they have the proper tools, which can somewhat help, but not do everything.

I would review the contract and see if there is any chance that you can have the sellers help pick up the costs, especially if there was not full disclosure, or was this a foreclosure through a bank.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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You can drywall a ceiling over the existing lath and plaster. Just take the time to locate the joists and mark their position on the top of the walls.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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One suggestion....you might want to contact the insurance company to see if any damage claims were made on the house....then compare that information to the disclosure statement. Basically, the seller has to disclose any 'known' issues at the time of sale.

Any attempted insurance claim is proof they knew about the issue but didn't disclose it. And while I'm very anit-lawsuit inclinned, if something like this happens...then a lawyer is very much called for.

I would get out the disclosure statement right now and go through it....
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the comments.
I knew I was looking at a long journey just didn't know how long. The house had set empty for over a year before I bought it and no disclosures. No luck with previous insurance claims either.

The roof started leaking 10 days after we moved in (caused by a storm) the insurance company took 8 months to cover that but didn't want to cover much of anything else.

When the other things came up like the ceiling, mantle and wall by the fireplace being wet, they just keep putting me off. I already have plans for rewire mostly because the unfinished part of the attic did not have electrity at all and the old knob and tube has to go.

Windows were already replaced and all openings(that I could see) were sealed as for insulation I am still working on that. So I am looking at hiring someone to come in and give me a plan and suggest the best way to handle it all. I am still overwhelmed by it all and I want to do it right cause I can see us living here for a long time.

Last edited by oh'mike; 01-07-2012 at 05:42 AM. Reason: Spaces
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #11
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I feel your pain. We bought a house dating from the 1930's six years ago, and there has been one project after another ever since. Still have two rooms with no walls, and have not touched the bathroom/kitchen yet.

A room at a time. And on the bright side, you will learn all kinds of stuff along the way.
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Old 01-07-2012, 03:03 AM   #12
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I bought a house that was built in the "1900s", slate roof and plaster walls. I had the house inspected like I was told. The inspector missed the leaking roof, gas leak from heater, and basement water.

I got roof and heat fixed NOW but it has added unexpected costs. I'm now attempting to fix my basement walls. The mortor is coming loose and exposing rock
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:02 AM   #13
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Being a first time home buyer I wish I would have been able to see some of the problems but I probally would have still purchached the house. My mother likes to continually tell me "I told you so". But it is beautiful has has tremendous character. I just get frustrated daily because progress is so slow. I am very disappointed in all the extra "improvements" and am very saddened that it is taking way more time to get it where I want it. I maybe crazy but we still love this house and God willing we will eventually be able to fully enjoy it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by fessner View Post
I am very disappointed in all the extra "improvements" and am very saddened that it is taking way more time to get it where I want it.
Avoid thinking about time in increments of hours or days or even weeks and months...
you have something that will require YEARS to get through.

This isn't bad... it just is.

Step back, take a deep breath, think, mull, contemplate, seek advice...
then (and only then) start making a PLAN.

Once you have a plan... then you can start chipping away at the work.
Do so in an orderly fashion as you watch the time (and your savings) melt away.

Enjoy every minute of it.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-07-2012 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
Avoid thinking about time in increments of hours or days or even weeks and months... you have something that will require YEARS to get through.

This isn't bad... it just is.

Step back, take a deep breath, think, mull, contemplate, seek advice...
then (and only then) start making a PLAN.

Once you have a plan... then you can start chipping away at the work in an orderly fashion as the time (and your savings) melt away.

Enjoy every minute of it.
This is good advice, heed it. Especially the "years" part. And be aware that these old houses are like icebergs. You'll see the surface problem but it may be much larger once you start to look underneath. Don't let it discourage you though, because when you're done, it won't be a cookie cutter house, it'll be up to modern code and you'll quite possibly have the satisfaction of doing it yourself. It will be what you want and that, to me, is priceless

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