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Old 01-29-2013, 12:19 AM   #16
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Re: old buildings


Before I nodd off here, I'd like your opinion. Look at the page below, it was of the 1968 diamond fire. You can see the now-enclosed staircase in one of the last pictures from the back portion of the building. Doesn't it look like the Thompson and Lowe buildings were painted white at the time? Just strikes me as odd, compared to the color of the bricks around them. I'll check for your responce tomorrow.

http://www.eastliverpoolhistoricalso.../diafire68.htm

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Old 01-29-2013, 07:39 AM   #17
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Re: old buildings


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Doesn't it look like the Thompson and Lowe buildings were painted white at the time? Just strikes me as odd, compared to the color of the bricks around them. I'll check for your responce tomorrow.

http://www.eastliverpoolhistoricalso.../diafire68.htm

It does appear to be painted white, though I've seen anomalies in old photos with fading and color shifts (especially instamatic prints whose blue skies turns a cloudy day beige) so it can be difficult to look at the one color photo and say positively one way or another. If they were painted, then some time after 1968 someone had to have gone to the expensive of having it all REMOVED which also seems unlikely.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:31 PM   #18
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I also doubted that the buildings had been painted, but the other brick buildings looked normal in the old photo. The bricks look old and worn on both buildings, without much visible mortar as I recall on the corner Thompson building, so I had thought it was possible that the paint had been sandblasted off. However, the Thompson building seems more intact than the Lowe building. Also note the three windows together, one is boarded-up. Looks like the bricks are white above those three, doesn't it? They sell a paint called "Rhino Shield" now. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but the sales pitch on their website seems hard to beat. Check it out with the link below, and tell me what you think of it. Seems pretty cool, but Lord only knows what the price tag will be.
http://www.rhinoshield.net/
Could the mortar be fixed to blend in better on the Lowe building? Would it require too much work? Also, I wonder how hard it would be to find replacement bricks for the Lowe building. Another possibility would be to attach a thin facade (fake brick?) to the front of the Lowe building to hide the damaged brick. Looking at the first picture of it that I attached, the bricks on the first storefront level look bad in the top left corner. I assumed that the visible water damage inside the left storefront window (See the paint peelings hanging down) was from water leakage clean down from the damaged roof. I have close ups posted. There is minor damage on the right side, mostly brown, dried, water droplets. However, the pictures of the second floor just above it don’t seem to have much of any water damage, unless the water just ran down through the wall. (See the ghost-busting video on youtube.com, link below) The video, ignoring most of the commentary, has some interesting shots that aren’t on the website. I believe the first set of the interior shots are the second floor of the Lowe building, which the website doesn’t really show. The room directly above the damage is not shown, but the room next to it is, @7:03 minutes into the video; or I could be wrong on that location. I had never thought that the water could have come in from those badly-damaged bricks. Or, perhaps, as you had stated, deterioration of the fire escapes above. The fire escapes don’t seem that difficult to remove, but then again, I have never seen someone remove them. How exactly, are they anchored? Are they illegal to remove, without replacing? If the top floor were taken off, the fire escape would look incomplete, and I would assume the best bet would be to remove the rest of it entirely. Must bring in some money as scrap metal, anyway.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvhJiP25y9Q
It is listed for $22,900 at the moment. What are the benefits of paying insurance and property taxes separately? I assumed it would be easier to pay them all together, but I am obviously new to this home buying thing. If I bought the building, I am sure I could patch the roof then tar it myself, afford dumpster rental for the first summer to gut out old, damaged walls and pitch debris, and then have the time to clean the place top to bottom. I don’t know what it would cost to replicate the missing woodwork outside, but I would like to get that done the first summer as well, then paint it all with a fresh coat; preferably oil-based. The old paint is most likely oil-based. I am sure that the woodwork pieces that are still there could be molded to make cheap yet matching replacements. You will see a few close ups of damaged woodwork that I got yesterday below with the Lowe pictures. The fourth floor attic turret is pictured, and in the worst shape. The wood work is better on the third floor turret, and even better on the second floor. Some of the old woodwork could be replicated with a steady hand and a router. All of the exterior windows need glazed/puttied and primered/repainted; possibly epoxied before they are primered/repainted as well. I think I could take a router and make permanent weather-stripping on the windows to seal out drafts. There are a few "interior" windows that can be worried about later. After all of that, and possibly a good cleaning for the bricks, the exterior of the building would look almost as good as new; better than it has in years. I would also have to rip out old carpets, strip old wallpaper, etc…

Once it was gutted, cleaned, windows repaired, and roof sealed, the rest would come at a much slower pace. I do plan on inspecting the place very well before hand, as you suggested. People have told me that I have an eye for detail, too. I would try to get an idea on the materials needed, to see if I could afford it. I have experience in fluxing and soldering copper pipes, some electrical/HVAC experience, but minimal drywall/sheetrock experience. I’m sure the wallboard couldn’t be that difficult to get the hang of, though. Don’t know if you saw the picture of the furnace, on the 6th page (I think), but that boiler looked OLD. It didn’t appear that this specific furnace was ever coal powered though, looked to be gas from the beginning. The only water-heater that I saw was on the third page, and it appeared very old as well, and disconnected. It was sitting in the hallway. The Lowe building and the main storefront for the Thompson building (Liberty Tax) appear to have individual, new, gas powered, forced air furnaces in them. I’d assume the boiler covers most of the upstairs. Not sure if there are seperate ones for the two buildings, but I hope so.

It has been my dream for a long time to own and repair a building like this one. I wouldn't know where to begin on the budget if I didn't get at least one good inspection. Most things don't seem too expensive, but I'm sure it will all add up. All the insulation will certianly add up for all exterior-facing areas on a building this big. What would you suggest as the best insulation for walls? How about the upper-most ceilings? I don't know what romex or electrical wires run for price-wise. If the electrical is upgraded in the kitchen, laundry, and utility/HVAC areas, that should take alot of the load off the old knob-and-tube, and I think it could handle living and bedding areas, as well as lighting certainly. I'd say new electrical to any and all window air units, probably on individual circuits as well. I think PVC would be a decent replacement for rotted copper/galvanized/cast iron drainpipes. Leaking copper joints could be re-soldered. Good plasterboard only runs for 8 dollars or so per 4' by 8' sheets, but I'm sure that will add up too.

There are two total buildings involved, the Lowe building and the Thompson building, just to clairfy. The back portion of the Thompson building is where the old Electrical Panel Thread started out, that is part of the corner building for certain. If you saw the old Fire Insurance map on page two of pictures, you'd see that the Thompson building is an L-shape, because of the back portion. The upstairs area of the back portion would make at least two apartments, considering that it is seperate from the main part of the corner building. Did that other guy on the old forum have anything going when he said that it would be strict rules to re-issue occupancy permits? I'm sure every area varies, but it shouldn't be too bad, I wouldn't think. Do all areas even require occupancy permits, or are those just for dilapatated/rehabilitated buildings? The tricky thing about the Lowe building is that it is connected on most of the upper floors. If I only bought the Thompson building, those areas would all have to be bricked up or just covered over, not quite sure how close the buildings were connected. (See the last attached picture) I'm sure the connected basements would simply be a matter of cinder-bricking the wall up between the two.

Don't forget that the higher the floor, the worse the damage. The second floor wasn't too bad as seen on the first page of pictures, but that God-awful green was painted on all the woodwork. That was just a cosmetic issue, though. Third floor is completely trashed. The store fronts look like they could be rented out (You'd be lucky to make $300-500 in this area, there is not a high demand), and there is minimal damage on the lower levels, no water damage in the Thompson building that low. Basments were part of the dry goods store that started out there in 1892, so they have some interesting tin ceilings and woodwork, but most of the tin is rusted out down there. The cellar is nicer than most are, though. I won't even begin to take any action on it until the spring rolls around. I think the owners brother owns the mens store next to the Lowe building, so it shouldn't be hard to contact them. I will think about just offering for the corner building, but I don't know if they'd only sell the one. Plus, if the Lowe building continues to deteroriate, it could cause damage to the Thompson building just from water run-off. What would it cost to remove a floor of bricks, assuming a construction company came in and took off the top floor of the Lowe building? It would be awesome if someone would do it, and just take all the bricks to be reused as payment.
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Re: old buildings-pictures-20th207-1-.jpg  

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Old 02-01-2013, 12:09 PM   #19
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Re: old buildings


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It does appear to be painted white, though I've seen anomalies in old photos with fading and color shifts (especially instamatic prints whose blue skies turns a cloudy day beige) so it can be difficult to look at the one color photo and say positively one way or another. If they were painted, then some time after 1968 someone had to have gone to the expensive of having it all REMOVED which also seems unlikely.
Hey.. did you see my last post? Also, I went ahead and posted a picture of the old boiler from the cellar of the building in the HVAC section, and the people there didn't think too highly of it.

Ancient Boiler
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:32 PM   #20
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Re: old buildings


That looks pretty shot, abused, neglected, possibly frozen at least once and that's all it takes!
I am amazed the gas meter is directly next to this, that seems like a dangerous spot to put a meter!

If it's about 750,000 BTU, you can figure that's about what they originally figured it would take to heat the building, but you don't know know to what comfort level they allowed for 75 degrees or 60 degrees.
Assuming it's about 55% efficient as someone suggested, maybe a modern more efficient unit maybe 500,000 BTU getting at least 90% would be close.
Rememebr too, the all brick uninsulated building has an R value of single digits, if the attic space is insulated and the exterior walls are, and if the windows had double glass it would substantially reduce what's need to heat. If you have to remove/repair the insides of the exterior walls ANYWAY, thats when you can fit insulation in there for little more than the materials cost, and that would be well worth it!

Just Googling for an example to get an idea of cost, I found:
Dunkirk D248A600A20 D248 Commercial Series Electronic Ignition, Gas Fired, Steam Boiler, Taco Pump, 80% - 600,000 BTU

  • Steam System
  • Natural Gas
  • Cast Iron Heat Exchanger
  • Vertical Vented
Price: $6,789.99


That's just for the boiler unit, no installation, chimney, piping or radiator/repair/replacement if needed.


So You are looking at at least $10,000 for a unit like that to get it to the basement, set in place, and a start on the distribution systems.
That's not a whole lot but that one system alone is half the cost of what the owner is trying to sell the building for.
Other options might be looking at zone heat/cool rather than central, by this I mean each "apartment" or whatever has their own unit which they control, and which runs on THEIR electric and gas bill, while you can do with a much smaller unit that would cover any public space such as the hallways etc.
Still, you would have to buy those units and install them, and buying say 4 of those or however many are needed, likely would cost about the same outlay as the one boiler in the basement, though maybe you can buy and put those in when an apartment is rented.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:17 PM   #21
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Re: old buildings


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That looks pretty shot, abused, neglected, possibly frozen at least once and that's all it takes!
I am amazed the gas meter is directly next to this, that seems like a dangerous spot to put a meter!

If it's about 750,000 BTU, you can figure that's about what they originally figured it would take to heat the building, but you don't know know to what comfort level they allowed for 75 degrees or 60 degrees.
Assuming it's about 55% efficient as someone suggested, maybe a modern more efficient unit maybe 500,000 BTU getting at least 90% would be close.
Rememebr too, the all brick uninsulated building has an R value of single digits, if the attic space is insulated and the exterior walls are, and if the windows had double glass it would substantially reduce what's need to heat. If you have to remove/repair the insides of the exterior walls ANYWAY, thats when you can fit insulation in there for little more than the materials cost, and that would be well worth it!

Just Googling for an example to get an idea of cost, I found:
Dunkirk D248A600A20 D248 Commercial Series Electronic Ignition, Gas Fired, Steam Boiler, Taco Pump, 80% - 600,000 BTU

  • Steam System
  • Natural Gas
  • Cast Iron Heat Exchanger
  • Vertical Vented
Price: $6,789.99


That's just for the boiler unit, no installation, chimney, piping or radiator/repair/replacement if needed.


So You are looking at at least $10,000 for a unit like that to get it to the basement, set in place, and a start on the distribution systems.
That's not a whole lot but that one system alone is half the cost of what the owner is trying to sell the building for.
Other options might be looking at zone heat/cool rather than central, by this I mean each "apartment" or whatever has their own unit which they control, and which runs on THEIR electric and gas bill, while you can do with a much smaller unit that would cover any public space such as the hallways etc.
Still, you would have to buy those units and install them, and buying say 4 of those or however many are needed, likely would cost about the same outlay as the one boiler in the basement, though maybe you can buy and put those in when an apartment is rented.
It just hit me... it is possible that the ancient boiler is in the basement of the Lowe building, and it might only heat the Lowe building. Just another possibility; the basements are connected on the two buildings. Not to mention, most of the interior shots of the Lowe building have a radiator in them. Not sure how many, if any, rooms of the Thompson building have radiators in them. Hopefully the boiler only covers the Lowe building. If so, I probably wouldn't even worry about replacing it for years to come. Might make some cash on scrap metal, one day.

Did you see my last long post from the other day, with the six pictures I took of old woodwork and the Lowe building storefront? The one with the white on the bricks above the windows always confused me, that's why I assumed it may have been painted and blasted off.

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Old 02-01-2013, 03:44 PM   #22
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Re: old buildings


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It just hit me... it is possible that the ancient boiler is in the basement of the Lowe building, and it might only heat the Lowe building. Just another possibility; the basements are connected on the two buildings. Not to mention, most of the interior shots of the Lowe building have a radiator in them. Not sure how many, if any, rooms of the Thompson building have radiators in them. Hopefully the boiler only covers the Lowe building. If so, I probably wouldn't even worry about replacing it for years to come. Might make some cash on scrap metal, one day.
If it only heats the Lowe building then you have a new problem-the condition and size of whatever else is heating the Thompson building, it could be bigger and worse, bigger since the Thompson building is bigger, exposed on an additional side with more windows.
The stores could be heating themselves with space heaters or some alternate due to a larger boiler in there going defunct besides the one in the pictures.
I doubt they would fire up anything this size just for the little ground floor store(s) and with the conditions upstairs I doubt any central heating system could even be working.

You'll either find the stores have some alternate heat like one of those hanging "Modine" heaters, or something else, and that either the boiler you have pics of heated it all once, or there is yet another boiler or furnace somewhere else you haven't found yet.


Quote:
"Did you see my last long post from the other day, with the six pictures I took of old woodwork and the Lowe building storefront? The one with the white on the bricks above the windows always confused me, that's why I assumed it may have been painted and blasted off
I did, it could have been whitewashed or painted, seems difficult to imagine anyone spending the tens of thousands it would have cost to sandblast the paint off the entire facade, especially since the total neglect of these buildings is so obvious and has been ongoing for years.
The apparant paint dated to the photo from about 1966?
Your buildings dept may have an archive of permits and improvements over the years, the answer may be in there in the form of a permit for painting or sandblasting as either would likely require extensive scaffolding to be set up on the public sidewalk.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #23
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Re: old buildings


Could the mortar be fixed to blend in better on the Lowe building? Would it require too much work? Also, I wonder how hard it would be to find replacement bricks for the Lowe building. Another possibility would be to attach a thin facade (fake brick?) to the front of the Lowe building to hide the damaged brick. [/QUOTE]

Mortaring to that degree is more art than anything, it's a skill you can learn but one that takes years to master. The problem is every cement and sand differs in color a little depending on where it's from, it will also vary in color depending on the ratio of sand to cement, and what you might add to it like lime. You can add tints to the mix too, but it has to be the right color, and mixed exactly the same every batch.
I would never suggest adhering a veneer of brick over the existing, fake or otherwise. If you really REALLY feel the need to do something to blend it in more, I don't know, maybe you can paint just the top floor to a color that's matched up by a pro to what's below it, but adhering stuff to the brick facade 4 floors above the sidewalk is a real bad idea and it too won't perfectly blend either, not in texture or color.


Quote:
I assumed that the visible water damage inside the left storefront window (See the paint peelings hanging down) was from water leakage clean down from the damaged roof.
The water is running down inside the wall cavities then and exiting there, it's still saturated everything above, yet there's enough water left after doing that- to wind up inside the ground floor store windows.


Quote:
What are the benefits of paying insurance and property taxes separately?
You get to choose your OWN insurance co and policy, deductables etc and you have more control over your monthly cost if something bad happens with income. If it's your house and you are paying $250/mo for the loan and insurance is another $75/mo on top, and taxes another $100, if your income dropped suddenly you pay that $250 mortgage so you have a roof over your head, the insurance can go bye bye and the taxes are only due usually once a year and won't go into default for months or more after it's due.
If you pay the bank for all that, it might cost more, and your monthly payment for it all goes to them, in this example say $425/mo you'd better pay that $450 each month or you go into default real fast. Far easier to get $250 and say screw the insurance, work out something on the taxes and still have a roof over your head.
Not all lenders will allow this, it may depend on the size of the loan.
In MY case, the taxes on the building are $1,000 but I sent in the required one page form for the not-for-pofit exemption since it's a non profit project. Even the county assessor had to query another (larger) county because she had never run into this before now, but Iowa state code specifies what is allowed as exempt, and it states that privately owned art galleries, open to the public, non for profit use is included.
You won't have that luxury on your project unless you were planning to convert it's present use/occupancy to one that is non profit.


Quote:
I am sure I could patch the roof then tar it myself, afford dumpster rental for the first summer to
All doable, I might even be able to do something for you on the woodwork for a fee.
You would not need to use oil paint, I only used oil paint on the ceiling in my building because it's tin (pressed steel) and even though it's been painted before, people making the mistake of painting these ceiling with latex (water based paint) discover in about 2 years that the moisture in the paint apparantly migrated thru the paint into the steel and caused corrosion, and all the paint starts peeling off.
Oil paint is a real pain to paint ceilings and things with, stick with a good brand/quality latex. I happen to like the Hardware Hank house brand, it's very good quality, very thick bodied and covers well.


Quote:
Once it was gutted, cleaned, windows repaired, and roof sealed, the rest would come at a much slower pace.
You may find it of help to find a class this summer maybe at a nearby college or something similar, check if they have some kind of general community non-credit type class (open to everyone regardless of age/schooling) to gain some basic home repairs skills, you may find some that are specialty with a narrower focus like carpentry and roofing together, plumbing and electric together, so it may require more than one class to get broad coverage.
You'll need plumbing, electrical, carpentry, masonry, roofing, insulating or energy efficiency, some trades will overlap a bit- plumbing and that boiler's piping, rough carpentry and installing finished floors, masonry and plastering or sheetrock.
You certainly can do the WORK yourself, but with the extensive scope of what you need to do, plus the fact you may be remodelling this into residences for the public- you will certainly need permits and inspections, you can get the permits you need, you would likely need to pay a licensed guy to check out your work, an electrician to deal with the incoming lines and circuit panels etc

The other issue that come to mind on this- most places have some sort of time limit on work completion of this sort, now, it might be in your area that as long as the visible exterior looks good, they won't care too much how long the interior work takes, but the permit(s) may only be good for a year or 6 months, and you may have to renew it /them (if they allow you to, some may not)
I have read of remodelling projects where the owners dragged it on and on and on and the city finally ordered the place demolished as a safety hazzard and eyesore, so the very best FIRST thing you'd want to do aside from patching the leaks in the roof is get the exterior work completed ASAP- all the missing wood elements replaced, everything caulked and painted, glass and windows repaired or replaced as you see fit.
You can rent or borrow a rolling scaffolding, you'll need it!
Once you have the exterior looking good and the roof has stopped leaking, I'm pretty sure you can take your time on the interior a bit.


Quote:
but that boiler looked OLD. It didnít appear that this specific furnace was ever coal powered
That boiler almost certainly replaced the original one from the 1800s when the building was built, it's almost a sure bet they burned coal, and there would be (have been) a coal bunker under one of the sidewalks, or a shute in the sidewalk near the wall leading to a storage area in the basement. Most likely it's been covered over by new sidewalks. Gas heating did not come into widespread use until the last half of the 20th century, it's relatively new, coal however was plentiful, cheap, put out lots of heat, and it was what I used for heat in the 1980s in New York City, you could still have coal delivered there. The old boilers that burned coal also had some automatic feeders on them in larger buildings.

Quote:
appear to have individual, new, gas powered, forced air furnaces in them.
That verifies what I thought- that if there WERE 2 boilers and you only saw one, that the other one must be as defunct since you saw individual forced air gas furnaces.

Quote:
It has been my dream for a long time to own and repair a building like this one.
I only wish your dream building was just one building and a bit smaller!
Yeah, where to begin on the budget... true, on the surface most materials are not too bad price wise, you can get sheets of CDX plywood for things like flooring and the roof deck for around $15 a sheet, that's cheap enough, but my 20x42' gallery floor in the front- it took 5 sheets to span the width, and 5 rows of them to reach 40', that's 25 sheets plus 2 more to cover the 20' x 2' spot. 27 sheets of 5/8" CDX all of which I had to haul in my car via 3 trips to Menards 35 miles away (local lumber place wanted almost twice that price and they didn't have 5/8") that was about $450 there. The oak parque tile flooring I planned to get at Menards that was always around a buck a sq foot I figured $900 for the tile to cover the floor- they no longer CARRY the tile and the cheapest elsewhere is closer to $3 a foot and up now.
Every dollar the floor covering costs higher is another $900 on top of what I PLANNED to spend.
You'll find water and sewer pipe is pretty cheap, it's the valves and fittings that they rake you over the coals with on price. You might pay $6.99 for a 10' piece of PVC pipe, then find the shutoff valves for the sink are $14.99 EACH, and the elbows are $4.99 each and so on. You can buy a new toilet for around $100 at Menards, cheap enough if you only need one, but if you need 8, plus 8 $20 toilet seats, plus 8 $14.99 shut of valves, well, you can see how they add up in a hurry.

Roofing, the same thing, you see the price might be $125 a square (10x10') for shingles and that doesn't seem bad, untill you do the measurements and find you need to cover 30 squares worth of roof, plus all the flashing, vents etc (haul it all up 4 flights and put it all in)
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #24
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Re: old buildings


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I think PVC would be a decent replacement for rotted copper/galvanized/cast iron drainpipes. Leaking copper joints could be re-soldered. Good plasterboard only runs for 8 dollars or so per 4' by 8' sheets, but I'm sure that will add up too.
Cast iron doesn't usually go bad unless it's hit by something and cracked, otherwise PVC works fine for drainpipes, personally I never use plastic pipes for water. Copper can be soldered but it has to be CLEAN to bright metal and fluxed, it also can't have water in the pipe when soldering, even small amounts act like a major heat-sink.


Quote:
Did that other guy on the old forum have anything going when he said that it would be strict rules to re-issue occupancy permits? I'm sure every area varies, but it shouldn't be too bad, I wouldn't think. Do all areas even require occupancy permits, or are those just for dilapatated/rehabilitated buildings?
I don't know what other guy on what forum... but as far as occupancy permits, I can't say for sure, but I am 99% certain you DO need one in some form for any building that is to be occupied as a dwelling, or where the public will access. I am sure there are variances in fees and requirements, but I have no doubt some kind of formal official sanction is required by the county along with zoning rules be met.
In a city like New York City, the Dept of Buildings issues (or used to) an actual little sign with the building's registration number on it and it was required to be installed in a certain location.
If you change the building from what it is now zoned as, to something else, you'll certainly have to do paperwork and all for a variance. It would be more stringent and harder to do if you are converting a commercial building to residences.

Quote:
The tricky thing about the Lowe building is that it is connected on most of the upper floors. If I only bought the Thompson building, those areas would all have to be bricked up or just covered over, not quite sure how close the buildings were connected. (See the last attached picture) I'm sure the connected basements would simply be a matter of cinder-bricking the wall up between the two.
Personally I'd rather brick up a few doorways than deal with two buildings, and actually, I am sure those buildings were originally separate and later had holes punched thru the walls. Cement block is easy to work with, and the blocks are typically cheap, last time I bought some was last spring and I think they were around $1.25 each.
Quote:
"What would it cost to remove a floor of bricks, assuming a construction company came in and took off the top floor of the Lowe building? It would be awesome if someone would do it, and just take all the bricks to be reused as payment.
Quite a bit I imagine, but since you likely have to replace at least portions of the roof otherwise, if the roof is to be replaced because rafters are rotted and the deck is too (likely) then there's only the brick to remove. It would be a big job neverthe less, and I doubt you will find anyone willing to do the job for the bricks. The bricks are worth something, but used brick is as common as grass, they even sell used brick by the pallet on Ebay, for around $1 a brick or even a lot less, cleaned and ready to go.
It would be a demolition company who would do that kind of work usually.

It certainly WOULD be awesome if you can find someone to do it for the bricks, but George Washington's slaves didn't hand press those bricks, so they aren't worth more than about a buck a piece for whole unbroken ones, some people use them as pavers and in the garden.

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All the insulation will certianly add up for all exterior-facing areas on a building this big. What would you suggest as the best insulation for walls? How about the upper-most ceilings?
It shouldn't be too bad, you can get rolls of it, I would say probably for this the standard spun glass wood insulation in rolls, it tends to fill irregular spaces a lot better than rigid insulation boards. Your interior walls would have used real 2x4 lumber, it's been my experience in NYC they used that on the inside of exterior walls too- leaving about a 4" cavity, but that may not be typical of all areas, and you might even find they attached thin cleats to the brick and lathe/plaster on that, leaving only a very small gap.
If there's 4" I'd certainly fill it up, the 3-1/2" thick stuff would work, more is better but you want to avoid compressing it to fit, also, your code may require a certain amount like 6", if so that can be done simply by adding to the existing 2x4's to make the cavity deeper.
The ceiling on the top floor is almost certainly going to have a cockloft between it and the roof rafters, you can use the roll insulation, batts, or blown in insulation which is usually easier and quicker. You can do that yourself, and where you get the bags of blow-in insulation they usually have a machine to use free if you buy X number of bags. Getting the machine up 4 flights of stairs I don't know...
The roof must be water tight before you put in ANY insulation anywhere, or the insulation will suck up water like a sponge and be ruined.

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I don't know what romex or electrical wires run for price-wise. If the electrical is upgraded in the kitchen, laundry, and utility/HVAC areas, that should take alot of the load off the old knob-and-tube, and I think it could handle living and bedding areas, as well as lighting certainly.
Oh you are in for sticker shock there, the price of copper has skyrocketed, as a result all romex and copper wire has dramatically increased. I bought 3 rolls, 500' each of the THHN #12 copper wire on Ebay and got the best price by a lot of shopping around.
Menards has it here for $60 a roll + 8% sales tax, but Menards is a 60 mile drive, I found my black and white wire for $68 each brand new unopened, shipped to my door.
Knowing I didn't need as much green ground wire I found a partially used roll on ebay with still 475 feet on it for $34, with postage it was about $40.
I bought the 2 boxes of wire nuts I needed on Amazon for less than I could get them at the local hardware store.
The #8 romex I needed for my kiln was $3 a foot, the receptacle was $17.

You'll definitely want to shop Menards, Lowes, or Home Depot, as well as Amazon.com and Ebay. You can buy almost anything on Amazon and Ebay, including electrical, plumbing, construction materials, appliances, flooring, and even roofing.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:06 PM   #25
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Re: old buildings


One thing I find with old buildings is once you find it is worth saving and you are going to go ahead with it. The best thing you can do is invest in a complete rehab of the roof. Then you will be able to work inside without worrying about further damage.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:09 PM   #26
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You'll definitely want to shop Menards, Lowes, or Home Depot, as well as Amazon.com and Ebay. You can buy almost anything on Amazon and Ebay, including electrical, plumbing, construction materials, appliances, flooring, and even roofing.
Could also price local supply houses sometimes you will be surprised. My local supply house is usually cheaper than any of the big box stores.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:47 PM   #27
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Could also price local supply houses sometimes you will be surprised. My local supply house is usually cheaper than any of the big box stores.
Yep, he could, I sure can't, there's no "local" supply houses anywhere around me in a little town of 1,800 people in the middle of nowhere.
Only thing here is the local hardware store and lumber yard where everything is 50% higher, or limited selection. That's why I buy maybe 95% of everything I need- on line, even dog food for my dogs I have shipped in- it's usually cheaper to start with and delivered to my door for a lot less than I'd pay here.

As an example- the local hardware store has #12 THHN solid copper wire, a spool of 500' is $129 plus 7.5% tax, I found the same item on Ebay from an electrical supply house for $68 to my door. Menards sells it for about $60 but then there's tax and its a 60 mile drive on top- another $20 in gas.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:56 PM   #28
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"Now is the time to start learning if you are truly serious about owning these 2 buildings, if there's no local 4-8 week public classes at a University or equiv in your area to learn basic carpentry/construction, plumbing/electric/roofing/flooring etc then you'd be wise to take a trip to the library or to Amazon.com and start picking up some how-to books so you have at least that much behind you to refer to. Yes, I know, before anyone says something about learning to do complex systems from a book- at least it's something to refer to, would usually include basic information on acceptable/normal/standard practices and methods etc. The electrical book will give you ideas on what kind/size wiring you would need, how high up from the floor wall switches have to be, outlets etc. It's all good reference material and basics, but the grunt work, dealing with things not in the book to guide you, and all the rest you'll have to learn by doing!"
I don't know if there are any classes, but that would be helpful to reinforce any experience I might have. I have a few basic books, but I will look into finding some more. I have learned alot just from some Youtube videos, plus from my step-father with various home improvement projects over the years. He has a background in Plumbing, HVAC, and some experience in electrical. I wouldn't go to the point of installing extra electrical outlets, if the current outlet's electrical boxes are installed properly, assuming there are more than one per room. I have been in several old victorican homes with one outlet per bedroom. They probably started out with 60 amp service too. I am usually a more hands-on person.

Don't mind my slow-ness here, I have alot more to respond to. I'm taking my time
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #29
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Yep, he could, I sure can't, there's no "local" supply houses anywhere around me in a little town of 1,800 people in the middle of nowhere.
Only thing here is the local hardware store and lumber yard where everything is 50% higher, or limited selection. That's why I buy maybe 95% of everything I need- on line, even dog food for my dogs I have shipped in- it's usually cheaper to start with and delivered to my door for a lot less than I'd pay here.

As an example- the local hardware store has #12 THHN solid copper wire, a spool of 500' is $129 plus 7.5% tax, I found the same item on Ebay from an electrical supply house for $68 to my door. Menards sells it for about $60 but then there's tax and its a 60 mile drive on top- another $20 in gas.
We have a local over-priced hardware store, and Lowes/Home Depot is 30+ minutes out of town. No Mernards anywhere near here. Internet would be a good idea.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:01 PM   #30
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One thing I find with old buildings is once you find it is worth saving and you are going to go ahead with it. The best thing you can do is invest in a complete rehab of the roof. Then you will be able to work inside without worrying about further damage.
Roof on this building certainly needs re-done, or very heavily tarred then re-done shortly there-after.

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