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Old 03-29-2013, 06:44 AM   #16
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Help with colonial house


Heh, let's hope the previous "updates" don't add to your complications.

Having never worked with, nor seen that kind of in-wall stone I can't say what should or shouldn't be done with it. My big question would be how to insulate it? Insulating on the inside would seem like it'd waste the "thermal mass" properties of it. So that would leave insulating on the outside, which presents issues with changing the exterior. But, again, not something I know anything about.

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Old 03-29-2013, 08:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
Not quite. All that wood and coal burning wasn't very smart. Nor was the lack of insulation, masonry heat bank aside. Most the houses were overbuilt and that wasted a lot of material. But since it was (mistakenly) thought of as cheap and plentiful they didn't care. I'm all for sturdy stuff, but nostalgia is often wrong.

BigJim raises a good question, make sure all that weight is being managed properly. When you start taking off the wall you're potentially removing something that was holding part of the weight in place. Was there a lot of cracking on this wall?

That and what's the chance that was part of an older exterior wall?
Filling homes with ton of glass isn't exactly smart either but that the new standard of construction today.

The fact is that most homes were build with ventilation in mind and more aimed at passive solar heating (large overhang for summer protection and allowances for passive winter heating).

I am not arguing that the technology hasn't come light years in the last 20 years with advancements in building science and insulation, but this is mostly in the last 10-15 years at that.

We weren't even insulating walls until the mid 1970s in most cases.

I have seen more rainscreen wall designs built before the 40's than I have since. Thermal mass walls were more popular back then as well.

Sure, air tightness and envelopes have gotten tighter but they would probably have killed more people in homes back then with all the heating and open burning for heat.

In terms of materials to burn...what does that have to do with building science. That was the available material of the day and coal can still be burned quite efficiently and cleanly with modern scrubbers. I am sure they people of the early 1800s would have loved to had a modern Geothermal furnace if it existed.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:40 AM   #18
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It's the whole notion of reminiscing about the past as if it was somehow better. Often it wasn't.

Anyway, let's keep the thread on topic.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:42 PM   #19
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The architect we decided to go with has suggested we leave the stone in place where it is still untouched and insulate the upper floor with glass. Although we do not have a vapor barier and the home will have to be painted more regularly, it will be more cost effective to not take the siding off to put the barier in, and potentially damage it and need to replace a lrge amount of "virgin growth" wood siding. The siding in in suprisingly great shape and is quite sturdy and has only small amounts of rot where the "new" windows were installed in the 1990's. Also, as an aside, the windows that were left original have no water damage around them (Mostly in the rear of the home)
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:38 PM   #20
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Where is the home located? Vapor permeance recommendations are climate specific.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:14 AM   #21
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Presumably you've gotten estimates on what repainting is going to cost?
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:04 PM   #22
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I said Balloon construction based on the picture she posted. I see rough cut studs about evenly spaced, plaster lath for rubble support, and plaster lath for plastering. Maybe this section was an addition? Interesting.

As an aside, do not start sticking vapor retarders in now, as this house has been performing fine since 1790? The reason the new windows caused damage is because they were probably installed without a drip cap or proper flashing.

Fiberglass, spelled "Fiberglas" was not even invented until the mid 1930's. Putting tightly packed straw in the walls would have made a lot of sense as insulation, as its a lot like fiberglass, being tubular, but fire would have been a concern.

Lets face it, the people back then were tough compared to us wimps.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:53 PM   #23
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I'm an MDS Historic Preservation student at the Boston Architectural College. What you have in the walls is called nogging. Early in the 18th century it would have been unfired clay brick but in the late 18th century stone, unfired clay brick, and fired clay brick were common depending on region and what was available.

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