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Old 02-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #46
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Re: old buildings


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The insulation on the boiler pipes looks more recent, a DIY job where someone ducttaped a foam material or rags to the pipes from the looks of the pictues. Does not look like asbestos there to me."
Well, lesser risk then is the previous people likely removed all the old asbestos pipe coverings, which means they were likely careless with the removal and disposal and got it on the floor and elsewhere. There's probably traces left but not as bad as it was.

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I will post a few pictures of an area in the back portion of the building that I think would make a great space for the first rentals.
These ceilings are too high and inefficient for a rental. If I knocked out the damaged plaster and lathe (assuming the floor joists above were solid), do you think I could get away with just hanging a drop ceiling down around where that average-hight wall stands?
Ugh, nothing worse than cheap dropped ceilings, you'd have to re-light or move all the lights too. A ceiling fan is better. My building has 13' ceilings, some fool put adropped ceiling in but it was taken out before I bought and I'm GLAD it's gone!


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My dad has original loose-fill vermiculite insulation in his house from the late 50's. Don't know where it was from, or it's R-value, but in recent years he put inexpensive R-19 rolls of batts insulation overtop of the old vermiculite. He figured that the added value of the old insulation to the new would be enough for a decent overall R-value.
Vermiculite's R value is about 2 per inch, a bit late now I suppose, but the very last thing you ever want to do with vermiculite is disturb it in any way, while laying batts over it is not as bad as drilling out holes for recessed lamps and moving the stuff around, ANY disturbance of this stuff puts the microscopic asbestos particles in the air.
Tests have been done proving this, the stuff produces clouds of microscopic particles, and of course messing around in the attic get's it all over your clothes, hair, shoes and when you leave the attic you inevitably bring this stuff into the room and carpeting below.
My building has 2" of this crap in the attic, soon as I saw it was when I decided to seal the attic up permanently and re-run all the wiring on the ceiling surface. I also caulked every possible crack, crevass and hole. The ceiling is tin, so as long as seams are caulked it's good. The key is leave it 100% undisturbed and it's not an immediate problem, but once you start disturbing it in any way its big trouble!
HVAC, electricians and roofers are at the most risk as these persons would be working long hours around this material cutting holes for ceiling lights and wiring, vents etc. and digging in it. Then they climb down into the living space and get the stuff on the carpeting etc and of course the carpets will get vacuumed and the particles are so small they go through the normal paper/bag type vacuum cleaner filters and into the air.
Then the worker gets in their vehicle, contaminates that, goes into their home and take off their dirty work clothes which usually the wife puts in the washer.

It's an insidious, terrible material.


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You had mentioned that because the tar was black, it will expand and contract and crack after a few years, not to mention holding lots of heat, so if it is affordable, I may just patch and tar the roof, then apply a layer of the white stuff for energy efficiency and hopefully to extend the life of the tar. I am sure the tar will fill holes and stop leaks. Sounds like a good idea, or do you think the white stuff on top is still a waste of time/money?
I don't know how well ANYTHING actually sticks to tar, it's a petroleum based waste product basically, it tends to soften and even melt a bit. Seems to me painting anything over it is like painting a greasy wall.

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Well, at least they fixed that old building up. Or, perhaps, just made it liveable. Wow... that elevator... I would have never thought of that. Wonder how anyone else got their stuff out. Do you think you totaled it, or was it still serviceable? Just when I thought I was border-line hoarder... man, you sure had alot of stuff!
After the deadbeat muslim tenant next to my place who always made excuses why he couldnt give me the rent check for the landlord early on when there was one and got on my bad side with all he did- rang my bell and when I opened the door to the elevator he had a samurai sword in his hand and a stray dog by the collar I had been feeding, and threatened to cut the dog's head off and hang it on my door if he saw him in the hallway again.
I suspect he had to haul all his furniture and stuff down 5 flights of stairs, served him right

Yes, I had a lot there for sure! It took 5, 24' U-Haul trucks to move out.

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Old 02-05-2013, 10:18 PM   #47
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Re: old buildings


Well, they saved me from having to clean that asbestos up! And about not disturbing it... well... I have a horror story that just got worse. In my dad's house, where the attic was full of vermiculite, the fact that he put down batts is barely the tip of the iceburg when it comes to not disturbing it. Well, he had a leak in the roof. A bad one, before the roof was replaced. I came home to visit him one rainy friday, and a several foot section of plaster had fallen from a hole in the roof where water entered and pooled on the plaster. That vermiculite was EVERYWHERE in the spare bedroom. I was shocked how much had fallen down. Not knowing the hazards of asbestos, we cleaned up the broken plaster, and got out the shop-vac and swept up all of the vermiculite. Boy, bet that left an imprint in my lungs... that was about two years ago.

I know, I know, I hate dropped ceilings too. I really hate them, but you saw those pictures. Plaster was trashed, and the ceilings must have been at least 12 foot! I don't think there is another reasonable way to go with a rental. I would never install them where I lived, but a cheap, clean, easy to create rentable space is a must if I ever hope to save enough to repair/restore the rest of the main portion of the building. That one storefront (Liberty Tax) MIGHT bring in enough to cover a 15 year mortgage plus taxes (hopefully). Can you imagine the heating bill? (Good thing the boiler is shot, LOL). I am afraid to find out what it would cost to insure this place in its current condition. Those lights look dingy anyway, I might just leave them in-place above a dropped ceiling and bring down electrical wires to install ceiling fans at the new room height, to give a more homey feel.

In that first pictue that I posted last time (posted again bellow), I might also just take out that wall in the middle. That back portion has the wall of windows, but the back of the apartment has nearly no natural light (some light allowed through enclosed atruim area). If this wall were taken out, a more open-concept floor plan would be allowed to better distribute natural light. That front area by the windows would serve as a living/dining area, and it would fade back into an open kitchen area with bedrooms/bathrooms in the back. Same applies to the third floor. I think each floor in this back section could accomodate a two bed one bath apartment on it. The wall to the right in the photo, I believe, holds the currently blocked-off stairwell to the main road for the main upstairs access in this wing, which I would re-open. It appears from street level that fiberglass panels were nailed over the doorway, for whatever reason.

About the roof, I would probably end up patching it, then taring it, leaving off the white patch. I think it would hold out several years after that. Now, the Lowe building... that is just a nightmare. I am hoping its roof is solid, and that the leakage that came clean down to the storefront area is just from flashing that has been pulled away from the brick years ago. That would be a nice, easy fix; as opposed to replacing the entire roof. But, then again, that trash bucket full of water WAS in the middle of the floor. Even if it is flaulty flashing, the rafters are likely all along the front of the building, and they are likely all rotted from water seeping in.

Wow... that's pretty harsh with the dog. I would have reported him, personally, after he did that to me... that would have really set me off. Guy sounds like a potential terrorist! It would serve him right, unless he stayed there because he didn't have to pay rent to anyone! Was everyones power still off as well? If so, I see why you wanted to move out. I've never been to New York, but I'm sure it's a pretty rough place.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:02 PM   #48
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Re: old buildings


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That vermiculite was EVERYWHERE in the spare bedroom. I was shocked how much had fallen down. Not knowing the hazards of asbestos, we cleaned up the broken plaster, and got out the shop-vac and swept up all of the vermiculite.
Oh boy, see, that's another thing- roof leaks causing the ceiling to decay and then that vermiculite is in the room everywhere.
Using a shop vac is not good either, from what you describe, there is almost certainly asbestos still there in the rooms, it is an insidious material because it has microscopic particles that float in the air with the slightest disturbance.
It's a tough one to know how much exposure will do how much damage, some people may be much more sensitive than others, but in theory just one particle in the lungs could cause cancer and there's no known safe exposure level, in short we just don't have all the answers.
Obviously the less exposure there is, and the less concentration of it the better, but in the home with a ceiling collapse like that and the stuff getting everywhere, it would cause a high exposure initially and during cleanup, but then continued exposure long term with varying lower levels of it in carpets, bedding, drapes, furniture, on the walls and surfaces etc.

There's not really anything you can do at this point other than stay out of that house. Probably everyone has had exposures of some kind at some point in life since it's so everywhere, just be aware you have been exposed to it and be alert in the future to the first signs of any health issues that could trace back to it.

Here's a scandal if there ever was one, the background story:


W.R. Grace & Co. is associated with the one of the largest asbestos contaminations in American history. The company purchased vermiculite asbestos mines and a processing mill in Libby, Montana in 1963 and operated them until 1990. Vermiculite is a naturally-occurring mineral which is mined from raw ore deposits in a method very similar to asbestos mining.

Employing up to 200 people, Grace & Co. produced up to 200,000 tons of vermiculite a year. Its Zonolite Mountain mine was shut down in 1990 after large quantities of airborne asbestos fibers were discovered. From that discovery began a steady stream of asbestos-related lawsuits against W.R. Grace.

More than 400 of Libby's residents died from exposure to the asbestos in the Grace mines, and at least half of the town's population of 3,000 is currently ill. Grace has faced more than 250,000 asbestos-related lawsuits, and it declared bankruptcy in 2001.

Criminal proceedings against W.R. Grace & Co. began in 2001, and the case is now considered one of the largest asbestos-related environmental cleanup lawsuits in the country. The U.S. government charged the company and seven of its top executives with concealing information about ongoing health problems caused by exposure to their asbestos-contaminated vermiculite mine in Libby.

Records obtained from the company revealed that as far back as the 1970s executives had been aware that the asbestos found in the vermiculite mine was not only sickening employees, but also the residents of the nearby community. Grace was additionally charged with obstructing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cleanup efforts at the site.

As a result of the 2009 trial, W.R. Grace & Co. was ordered to pay the U.S. government more than $54 million to cover cleanup costs related to the vermiculite mine that Grace operated near Libby. Now a designated Superfund site, the mine disturbed a vast area of asbestos that contaminated individual residences, schools and businesses in the town of Libby, as well as the water and soil in the area. More than $5 million of the fine was earmarked for medical testing and mortality analyses of Libby residents who had perished after mining operations began.

In June 2009 the EPA declared a Public Health Emergency in the towns of Libby and Troy, Montana. Incidence of asbestosis among the residents of these small communities was "staggeringly higher than the national average for the period from 1979-1998," according to the EPA.

W.R. Grace & Company knew all along that abestos from its Libby, Montana, mine was sickening workers and their families -- but said nothing. Only now, a decade after the mine closed, are the town's residents learning the painful truth.
Under ordinary circumstances, Gayla Benefield should be looking forward to a peaceful retirement among neighbors and family. But Libby is no ordinary town.

For the past 40 years, Benefield has watched an epidemic of lung disease spread quietly through the valley. It killed both of her parents: First her father, a former miner, then her mother died of asbestosis, a cruel thickening of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos. "It took my mother 17 months to slowly suffocate," Benefield recalls. "The oxygen she was getting was the equivalent to what you would give a newborn, because that was the size of the lung capacity she had when she died."

Other miners and their families were getting asbestosis too, along with malignant lung tumors and mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the pleural lining. They suspected a connection between their illnesses and the dust in the mine, but they could never be sure. Every day after work, the men would come home covered with a fine white powder. Their wives inhaled it as they scrubbed clothing and curtains and floors. Their children breathed it in as they played on the carpet. The miners were told it was just "nuisance dust," nothing to worry about -- even though W.R. Grace knew well that the dust they were breathing was loaded with microscopic asbestos fibers that could kill them and their families.
Two years ago, a Libby jury -- after hearing a Grace executive testify that he knew there was asbestos up in the mine, and that it could kill the mine workers and their families -- awarded the sisters $250,000 in wrongful-death damages.

Vermiculite is a shiny mineral, similar to mica, that pops like corn when heated. The puffy product, as light as cork, was once a popular form of building insulation and is still an ingredient in potting soil. Vermiculite itself is harmless: The problem is that the layers of igneous rock where it is found almost always contain asbestos, exposure to which has been definitively linked to several fatal lung diseases for more than 70 years. The vermiculite deposit outside Libby is particularly dangerous because it is laced with tremolite, the most toxic form of asbestos. Tremolite's long fibers are barbed like fishhooks. They work their way into soft lung tissue, and they never come out.

Until the mid-1970s, the vermiculite mined in Libby was processed in the "dry mill," a place so dusty that workers often couldn't see their hands on their brooms. The mill workers suffered the worst exposure, but the rest of the miners and the townspeople got their share of dust as well. What wasn't swept out of the dry mill and dumped down the mountainside was spewed out a ventilation stack and into the air. By W.R. Grace's own estimates, some 5,000 pounds or more of asbestos was released each day. On still days, some of it settled back on the mine site. When the wind blew from the east, a film of white dust covered the town.

it was heated and popped for commercial use under the brand name Zonolite.

Not all the vermiculite left Libby. Grace had its own expansion plant and a bagging operation called an "export plant" in town, right next to the baseball diamonds. The area was ringed with spilled or discarded batches of Zonolite. Kids played in the piles, and people brought home bags of the stuff to pour into their attics or use in their gardens.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:14 PM   #49
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Re: old buildings


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Can you imagine the heating bill? (Good thing the boiler is shot, LOL). I am afraid to find out what it would cost to insure this place in its current condition.
High ceilings are not the problem, since the heated floor above acts as insulation, it's the lack of insulation in the walls, leaky single pane windows and no attic insulation, it's also a lack of ceiling fans to push the warmer air back to the floor area. Dropped ceilings won't make any difference on heating costs- the suspended ceilings have no insulation value and the heat just goes up into the space above where at best it warms the floor above from the underside.
I pay $55 a month for insurance for my building- liability, fire, contents etc and it's basically replacement value on it, but then the building is in good condition.


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Wow... that's pretty harsh with the dog. I would have reported him, personally, after he did that to me... that would have really set me off. Guy sounds like a potential terrorist! It would serve him right, unless he stayed there because he didn't have to pay rent to anyone! Was everyones power still off as well? If so, I see why you wanted to move out. I've never been to New York, but I'm sure it's a pretty rough place.
Yes, the power was still off untill the $35,000 bill that was due was paid by someone. Yes it is a tough city, and while that part of Brooklyn near Grand Army Plaza was better than most, during the after-work hours when the huge commercial bakery one street over closed and the workers went home, I was the only white guy around in an all black neighborhood and I had at least 3 very scary confrontations with people there on the streets, one of which was an attempted mugging but my dog who didn't like strangers lunged at the 2 guys and they took off. There was also a gang of kids there too.
It was a pretty tense place, and everyone's lofts in the building complex had been broken into and robbed except mine, and it was because I had 4 large dogs, and my stairway door was covered with a sheet of 3/4" plywood and the door locks had wide 1/4" thick steel plates bolted over them leaving only a hole large enough for the key.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:42 PM   #50
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Re: old buildings


"High ceilings are not the problem, since the heated floor above acts as insulation"
What would you suggest to do with the twelve foot (or so) ceilings in that bad of shape? You saw the water damage picture. I assumed that ceilings that high would turn away potential renters, and they would assume a lower ceiling with new tiles would be more enegry efficient. I hate drop ceilings, but it would make easy access for installing ductwork and electric, and makes accessing plumbing in case of a leak easier. What does it typically cost to run new wooden framing for a ceiling? I have heard bad things about metal (aluminum) studs, but would they be OK for use solely in the ceiling if they are cheaper to hang drywall? How do you feel on them? I'd imagine that hanging drywall on a ceiling would be much more difficult that installing a drop ceiling. Which would be more cost efficient? Only windows to worry about in this area would be the "window wall" up front. The issue with the rest of the area is likely just uninsulted masonry walls. Doubt the ceilings have any insulation either. I don't know if this place is even insurable. Lots of agents in town, but none likey want to take on the liability. Possibly one of the reasons it's been on the market for so many years.

"Yes it is a tough city, and while that part of Brooklyn near Grand Army Plaza was better than most, during the after-work hours when the huge commercial bakery one street over closed and the workers went home, I was the only white guy around in an all black neighborhood and I had at least 3 very scary confrontations with people there on the streets, one of which was an attempted mugging but my dog who didn't like strangers lunged at the 2 guys and they took off. There was also a gang of kids there too."
Man, I'd never want to live in that area! I can't blame you for moving. I'd be terrified to live in that area. Sounds like you had yourself pretty well secured there. Did anyone ever try to break into your loft? Honestly, when we moved to East Liverpool, I didn't like it a whole lot. I never imagined staying here long-term, but the place has grown on me. It's kind of a sad area, but there are lots of places worse-off. Not to mention the history this town has! There used to be hundreds of potteries here until the 1960's. China has simply taken over everything.

"W.R. Grace & Co. is associated with the one of the largest asbestos contaminations in American history."
I had heard of the asbestos mine in Libby, MT, but I had never read into it. Didn't imagine it was ever that bad! That's one story. I don't care if they filed for bankruptcy, they ought to have still been held accountable for their actions. They likely ended lots of lives, put many in misery, and completely got away with it. Shows how corrupt our justice system is. Their executives that let the mining go on all those years after obvious dangers ought to all be jailed for life. On another note, I heard that asbestos was more of a long-term exposeure damager, so I think our little vermiculite accident will be alright. I couldn't find info on who started using asbestos in building construction, but I did find who I believe to be the inventor of leaded paint. Ironically, he was also the inventor of leaded gasoline, CFC's, and freon. Man, this guy did alot of damage!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley,_Jr.

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:55 PM   #51
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Re: old buildings


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What would you suggest to do with the twelve foot (or so) ceilings in that bad of shape? You saw the water damage picture. I assumed that ceilings that high would turn away potential renters, and they would assume a lower ceiling with new tiles would be more enegry efficient.
The hate of classic high ceilings and putting in "modern" looking suspended ceilings and those semi clear "crackle" panels under the fluorescent lamps hidden above was a phenomenon that was part of the 70s and 80s. It was the same with oak furniture, back then you could't give oak furniture away, no one wanted it, then suddenly EVERYONE wanted those big heavy oak tables and chairs with the carved lion claw feet and they became hot collector's items as antiques selling for thousands.

More people WANT the high classic ceilings, those businesses who don't are more likely looking to rent in a NEW building as they want that contemporary modern sleek office tower look and LED lighting etc. They don't want to be in an 1880s building with wood floors and an antique facade out front (doesn't fit the modern business image well)
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What does it typically cost to run new wooden framing for a ceiling?
I'd imagine that hanging drywall on a ceiling would be much more difficult that installing a drop ceiling. Which would be more cost efficient
Installing drywall on the ceiling is certainly not a one man deal, it's a big pain in the behind, and then you have to tape and mud all those joints, oh gawd no thanks!
What's wrong with a classic tin ceiling? it certainly would fit the style of the building and era. It's still made today in a choice of aluminum or tin plated steel in 2 foot square sheets. I tore out the ceiling in what was the dining room in my house and made it a cathedral ceiling and installed tin throughout, it was real easy, one man job just putting up 1/2" CDX and air nailing the tin on.
The tin plated steel is currently $7.75 a section, that is equiv to $62 for a 4'x8' area, at that price it's competitive with a lot of other ceiling materials. Drywall would require at least one helper, the tin you don't need a helper and you just air nail it up and it's done, no taping, sanding, drywall dust.

The tin was so nice I never painted it, it still has it's original mirror polish appearance.
The front parlor I used aluminum as it was the first room I did and they had a sale on the aluminum, this ceiling I painted and detailed with various colors.

http://www.mbossinc.com/

Part of the ceiling in my cathedral ceiling former dining room, I didn't have the top section covered yet in the view from 2008.



I can't advise you on what to do with the ceiling or what the cost is for everything, but I know what I did, and what I would do.

Doubt the ceilings have any insulation either. I don't know if this place is even insurable. Lots of agents in town, but none likey want to take on the liability. Possibly one of the reasons it's been on the market for so many years.

I know the ceilings don't, the ceiling is nothing but the underside of the floor above, so the heat is not wasted. It IS wasted and lost thru an uninsulated attic or cockloft.
The guy who owns the building currently must have insurance, whatever insurance he has today is the one to go to. I'm with State Farm, all I asked about was liability for if someone slipped on the ice on the sidewalk or something, they would not provide JUST liability insurance, they required the building be insured as part of the policy.

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Man, I'd never want to live in that area! I can't blame you for moving. I'd be terrified to live in that area. Sounds like you had yourself pretty well secured there. Did anyone ever try to break into your loft?
Someone tried, I saw evidence of someone working at the back stairwell door with a crowbar, but they gave up. They broke into the other lofts in the building by punching holes through the walls, and the dance studio below me they reached one of their windows from the roof of a lower buiding next door and a ladder. But I had 4 dogs who made a lot of noise when anyone came to the door, so I have no doubt they made a lot of noise during the attempt.

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I had heard of the asbestos mine in Libby, MT, but I had never read into it. Didn't imagine it was ever that bad! That's one story. I don't care if they filed for bankruptcy, they ought to have still been held accountable for their actions.

Their executives that let the mining go on all those years after obvious dangers ought to all be jailed for life. On another note, I heard that asbestos was more of a long-term exposeure damager, so I think our little vermiculite accident will be alright. I couldn't find info on who started using asbestos in building construction, but I did find who I believe to be the inventor of leaded paint. Ironically, he was also the inventor of leaded gasoline, CFC's, and freon. Man, this guy did alot of damage!
Medical science doesn't have all the answers, and a lot depends on the individual, which is why some people can smoke 3 packs of cigs a day for 50 years and die in their 90s and someone else who never smoked a day in their life develops lung cancer in their 20s, but one thing is clear- ANY exposure, even once is a significant risk. By once or minimal we are talking about say, a guy replacing the brake shoes on his old truck in the driveway and being exposed to the brake dust that has asbestos.
Having a ceiling fall down in a residence whose attic is full of vermiculite is not a one time exposure, it becomes a long term multiple exposures incident because first there's the cleaning up what is on the floors, then there is the use of a vacuum cleaner which further puts it into the air, and then there is the dust that lands on the furniture, walls, light fixtures, carpeting and all other surfaces. Over time with weekly house cleaning what is wiped off the table tops and so forth goes away, but every time that vacuum is used it's putting more into the air that was in the filter, and more if it wasn't totally empted and washed out completely, and new filters put in.
What wound up in the carpeting gets somewhat vacuumed out, but it's still there and getting crunched into the carpet further by walking over it.
This is the risk with this vermiculite when something like a ceiling falls down, the stuff LOOKS harmless and most people have no idea it's contaminated by asbestos because WR Grace and the others have kept things quiet, time has marched on and people forget.
Over the coming years and decades many more people will be inadvertantly exposed to it in older homes if they re-roof the house and it includes replacing the deck sheeting or disturbing the attic to run vent pipes, new skylights, HVAC or wiring. Some, like your dad's house will develop water leaks in the roof and not know it for a while because the vermiculite might absorb small leaks enough it doesn't drip in the room below.
But, as happened with your dad's house- the ceiling can cave in unexpectedly.
Many older houses and buildings with this in the attic at some point will be demolished or have a fire, and for the most part people involved will have no clue what the pebbly like fluffy stuff in the attic is, or means.
I found out only by noticing a couple of empty bags in the building's attic one day when I went to look at the space, and I decided to Google the Vermiculite brand name and find out what the R value was, believe me, Googling that brings forth tens of thousands of asbestos related web sites in connection to it.
That was when I decided to seal the attic up completely.

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Old 02-07-2013, 12:53 PM   #52
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Re: old buildings


Personally, I prefer high ceilings in older homes... I was thinking what I thought would attract renters. If I lived in a portion of it, my area would certainly have original-height ceilings. Bellow is a picture of the main front turret room on the third floor. I'd love to have this area as my living room. However, the ceiling is totaled. Assuming the floor/ceiling joists above are still solid (would a wood hardener-link bellow-solve the problem if they are only semi-weakened?), I would tear off the rotted plaster and lathe. Dont know if the area above should be insulated, considering that there is a small attic area/living space (See top of second picture) above that specific room. I imagined nailing up plasterboard, because I though that tin ceiling prices would be through the roof (no pun intended). I never knew that they were so cheap! I would certainly have to consider putting up plywood and a tin ceiling, considering that the rooms in this old building (like so many other) are small. There isn't much more than what you see in the picture. I would have to consider the same in the rental area I posted about last night. I read up on dropped ceilings, and I was shocked to see how expensive they are. Fairly simple to install, but I assumed they would be much cheaper.

The two smaller unoccupied storefronts on the long side of the main building toward the back are somewhat modern. You can see that the windows have been replaced in recent years (third picture). However, the former tattoo parlor in the very last one is all brick walls, and likely original tin ceilings as well from the pictures. Might be hard on the gas bill, but I really like how it looks on the inside. When I said 'ceilings', I was referring to the the ceilings of the top floor/attic area; I know there is none between the lower levels... sorry for the confusing wording. I would have to ask him who his insurance provider is. If it seems costly, there are several companies just a small walk away downtown where I could get qoutes. There is one right in the building next to this one, as well. For all I know, he could use them. Or, he could have inherited the building or bought it with cash, and simply never aquired insurance because he didn't have to. Just like how he didn't have to patch the roof.

We did a good cleaning of the room, and the plaster was repaired, but that carpet is still in there. I think we hit it with the carpet scrubber, but that might still be an issue. However, that back bedroom is rarely used. Since his attic is now insulated, I might just suggest to nail plywood down to all the floors so the area is sealed off better. There are several things in storage up there. I think the base coat of the plaster had that vermiculite or a similar, styrofoam-type material in it. I recall it when I was looking at the damaged plaster at the time. I thought it was strange that they would put styrofoam material in the base coat of plaster. Did they put asbestos in plaster in the 50's as well?
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:38 PM   #53
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Re: old buildings


What would you suggest as flooring for the main area in these units; cheap carpet, cheap laminate, or a mix? I don't think that tile or hardwoods would be worth the purchase price (or install time) to be ruined in a rental.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:57 PM   #54
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I was thinking what I thought would attract renters.
Ask some real estate rental agents around the area what trends they are seeing for business rental environments.


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Bellow is a picture of the main front turret room on the third floor. I'd love to have this area as my living room. However, the ceiling is totaled. Assuming the floor/ceiling joists above are still solid (would a wood hardener-link bellow-solve the problem if they are only semi-weakened?),
That's real bad, and the fact it's so extensive means it's been going on a while. You know, I really have to point you in the right direction on some of the stuff you are asking about, you really need to stop looking at those homeowner gotcha ADS and promotions, these products are sold to naive homeowners, the elderly who have no idea, and people who don't know any better!
Seriously, a wood hardener??? give us a break! I don't care what glowing testimonials from 85 year old homeowners who have no clue, or how many lifetimes worth of "guarantees" these things have, you can't patch and glue, tape, seal, paint or slather the latest miracle glop over ROTTEN structural lumber or roofs full of holes! Any kind of glop sold over the counter in a can for $29.95 or $49.95 or whatever is NOT going to fix your way out of replacement and proper repair of a roof or load bearing structural members of a floor, and I'm sure others here will agree with me on this.

STOP reading those ads!


Quote:
I would tear off the rotted plaster and lathe. Dont know if the area above should be insulated, considering that there is a small attic area/living space
By all means take off the damaged plaster and lathe, and re-sheet it with CDX, 5/8" is good, 1/2" might be okay- screwed into the joists above not nailed. Then you can air nail tin or pressed aluminum ceiling.
The insulation goes in the attic.
Quote:
(See top of second picture) above that specific room. I imagined nailing up plasterboard, because I though that tin ceiling prices would be through the roof (no pun intended). I never knew that they were so cheap! I would certainly have to consider putting up plywood and a tin ceiling,
They usually screw plasterboard not nail it.
You don't even really have to put plywood up- just strips per their instructions to nail the perimeters and seams of the tin to, but I prefer plywood because it's SO much easier and you have no issues with missing a badly put up narrow strip of wood due to mismeasurements or whatever.It also adds a little sound resistive material and ties all the joists in together nicely.


Quote:
I read up on dropped ceilings, and I was shocked to see how expensive they are. Fairly simple to install, but I assumed they would be much cheaper.
The typical suspended ceiligns I'm famaliar with use sheet metal T shaped strips that are hung from the old ceiling with wires, and the cheap textured pressed carboard stuff lays on the flanges of the strips. Where there's lights they lay in a section of semi clear crackle plastic, and crackle is exactly what that garbage does real quick from the heat and UV light from the bulbs- you go to flex it a little to take it out to replace a bulb and 9 times out of 10 the stuff just cracks apart handling it.
Dust, cobwebs and dirt accumulates in there like nothing else- falls in from the floor above too.
They are not exactly easy to install- you have to get it all level and even everywhere or it looks like mountains and valleys.
My building had one of these ceilings, it must have been down 3-4 feet below the original ceiling, and every few feet they nailed up those suspension wires.


Quote:
I would have to ask him who his insurance provider is. If it seems costly, there are several companies just a small walk away downtown where I could get qoutes. There is one right in the building next to this one, as well. For all I know, he could use them. Or, he could have inherited the building or bought it with cash, and simply never aquired insurance because he didn't have to. Just like how he didn't have to patch the roof.
I can all but guarantee he has some insurance, if someone so much as slips on ice on the sidewalk and injures themselves, the person they will SUE is the building owner whose sidewalk they fell on, they can go to court and win by citing the fact the snow was either not removed, or it was removed improperly and incompletely, thereby creating a hazard.
The side walks are public access but it is the property owner who has to remove the snow and who is responsible for injuries.
these 2 buildings have sidewalks on BOTH streets.
A story in the paper here on a different topic detailed the guy who was unemployed suddenly and then shortly afterwards he slipped and fell and BROKE his ankle. His bill for the emergency room was $50,000 and he had no insurance, so you know WHO he will go after for that $50,000, right?


Quote:
We did a good cleaning of the room, and the plaster was repaired, but that carpet is still in there. I think we hit it with the carpet scrubber, but that might still be an issue. However, that back bedroom is rarely used. Since his attic is now insulated, I might just suggest to nail plywood down to all the floors so the area is sealed off better. There are several things in storage up there. I think the base coat of the plaster had that vermiculite or a similar, styrofoam-type material in it. I recall it when I was looking at the damaged plaster at the time. I thought it was strange that they would put styrofoam material in the base coat of plaster. Did they put asbestos in plaster in the 50's as well?
Yes, they put asbestos in cement, plaster, wallboard and many products back then, anything they thought a little extra insulation or fireproofing would help they put it in.
They often mixed horsehair in plaster for reinforcement and to lighten it, horsehair was sold by the bale long ago.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:50 PM   #55
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Re: old buildings


First off, I never read about the wood hardener in a advertisement, I saw it on a home improvement website listed in a section for rotted window sill repair. Never trying it, or even hearing of it, I was just curious if it would work for such an application... I guess I've got my answer now. I am skeptical about every advertisement now-a-days considering the quality of new things; that's why I come here and ask questions. I am obviously not too experienced; but learning.

Sorry again for confusion; I meant to say screwed, not nailed for the drywall. I agree with the plywood, I'd imagine it would make the ceiling thicker, thus more secure. Not to mention making installing a tin ceiling easier as you stated and possibly adding a little bit of R-value. How do you feel about aluminum studs for framing? I've heard that they are cheaper, but I am not too sure about how durable they are. I also know about the horsehair, I have read into old plaster and lathe extensively with intentions of repairing all of the damaged areas to original specifications on our old house before we moved.

How does liability insurance work on property? I know that it only pays for the other car if you get in an accident, but I've never heard of it on a building. I have also wondered who cleans the snow from the sidewalks infront of these buildings. The owner is a dead-beat, and there is alot of sidewalk area. Don't know quite how it would work out with the large fountain area infront of the building. Is that the property owners responsibility, or the cities? Are you only entitled to clean the main strip of sidewalk infront of the building? I'd imagine Liberty Tax likely cleans their own sidewalk area, but who knows about the rest. I ought to take a trip down there after the next good snowfall and see. If I slip on the sidewalk, I can sue him and use the money to purchase the building!
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:02 PM   #56
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that's why I come here and ask questions. I am obviously not too experienced; but learning.
That's good, continue to do so.

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How do you feel about aluminum studs for framing? I've heard that they are cheaper, but I am not too sure about how durable they are.
I don't care for them, I prefer real wood.With the price of metal these days I doub't they are cheaper than studs made of wood, you can get studs at Menards etc for $1.99 or thereabouts, ALL metals have gone thru the roof in prices, copper especially, its at the point where brass, bronze, copper, alumimum, iron etc are being stolen from cemetaries, construction sites, churches and more.
I read of a guy caught stealing train batteries and selling them for scrap.


Quote:
How does liability insurance work on property? I know that it only pays for the other car if you get in an accident, but I've never heard of it on a building.
The same as any other insurance, on a building usually it's part of the whole package since State Farm would not provide JUST liability coverage, they have to insure the building at least, and it seems to include some amount for the contents. I have essentially a replacement value policy on the building since the amount that is their minimum is considerably more than I paid for the building, it also includes $25,000 for contents, and extends to the same related contents in my home.
It's like your homeowner insurance, you select a deductable, the higher the deductable is the lower the monthly cost. They quoted several rates for various deductables up to $5,000 as requested, I found the best coverage at the best price came with a $3,000 deductable. A $5,000 deductable policy was only something like $6 a month less.
They also came out to see/inspect the building and take pictures, I suspect it was more of a salesman visit than anything since the agent was trying hard to sell me on other coverages too.

Quote:
I have also wondered who cleans the snow from the sidewalks infront of these buildings.
YOU do, here, which I'm sure is about the same most places- the city has some snow removal equipment, and usually they will run the plow over the sidewalks in the center of town around the square since they plow it all into a huge pile and haul it away to the river to get rid of it.
My building as a result gets the benefit of that, but even so, the skid loader they use leaves a lot of snow near the wall, by posts etc.
The city ordinance is the property owners have 24 hours after the stopping of snow/storm to clear their public access sidewalks, they can cite/fine you for failing to do so.
Your town might have something similar that removes the HEAVY snow, but if there's only an inch of snow mine doesn't break out the skid loader for the sidewalks.

Quote:
The owner is a dead-beat, and there is alot of sidewalk area. Don't know quite how it would work out with the large fountain area infront of the building. Is that the property owners responsibility, or the cities? Are you only entitled to clean the main strip of sidewalk infront of the building? I'd imagine Liberty Tax likely cleans their own sidewalk area, but who knows about the rest.
The sidewalks are usually a right of way kind of thing, where the building owner owns the land to the curb or thereabouts, but the city owns the sidewalk space as a public right of way, the property owner may or may not have to physically maintain the actual sidewalk itself (depends on the city and state I suppose) but the property owner is the one who has to clear debris, keep obstructions off, remove snow and ice. When there's stores on the ground floor, the merchants might clear the space in front of their own store, or they might expect it be done FOR them as part of the rental.
Each store merchant would have their own insurance for losses and liability, though that doesn't let the building owner off the hook,nor would you likely ever find a policy that covers the building but excludes the store spaces.

Mowing. Requires the mowing of property within the City. Properties not mowed in accordance with the ordinance shall be mowed by the City or their agents, and billed to the property owner as established in the ordinance.

Tree Trimming. Requires property owners to keep tree branches trimmed at least 15’ above the street and 8’ above the sidewalks.

  • Property cleanup. Please keep your property free of junk, junk vehicles. The City has junk, nuisance, and dangerous building ordinances to aid in maintaining a clean community.
  • Snow on Sidewalks. If a property owner does not remove snow, ice or accumulations within a reasonable time, the city may do so and assess the costs against the property owner.
  • Snow Ordinance. When snow is of sufficient depth for plowing, the ordinance shall be placed in effect. The parking ban shall continue for approximately 24-hours after the snow has stopped falling and blowing to allow for plowing of the streets. It is recommended that when snow is forecast overnight, or conditions indicate potential snow, vehicles be moved to off-street, private parking. Violation of this ordinance may result in the issuance of a parking ticket.

Last edited by RWolff; 02-07-2013 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:46 PM   #57
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Re: old buildings


I have had trouble finding local codes so far, but I shall continue searching. I can't find much of any information on building permits, either. Is there anything general that is or isn't code everywhere that would relate? For example, I know you don't need a permit to paint windows. Therefore, I'd assume you wouldn't need one to set up a rolling scaffolding to paint windows or re-glaze. I would also assume that the same would apply to minor woodwork repair/replacement before painting was done. And I am sure that you would need a permit to install a new roof, but would you need one to patch an existing roof? How about tarring a roof? I don't know where to look for these questions to be answered. From what I understand, framing studs can be put up, basic electrical/plumbing systems can be installed, and then an inspector needs called in to issue an occupancy permit. Likely before drywall is hung. I'm sure a permit needs to be taken out before anything is altered.

When I mentioned that I didn't know who had to clean the sidewalks, I know that it is the owner's responsibility. That would be no problem for me, especially if I lived here. I know I can handle it. I was referring to the fact that the owner doesn't seem to be involved at ALL. I just find it hard to believe that he shovels it every time it snows. I also find it hard to believe that he would pay someone to do it. Who shovels infront of abandoned or bank-owned properties? Plenty of them around here, that's for certain. East Liverpool has a poor snow removal system, and there are always complaints in the local newspaper about it. Not to mention that only 2 of 4 total plows operate without stalling/overheating during the first half hour. 2 plows just doensn't service a city the size of ours very well.

I certainly wouldn't have a problem with mowing! Nothing to mow. Now, I believe the Diamond area with the fountain is all taken care of by the city, but I would likely offer to keep it maintenced as well. Simply, I would miss gardening living in the city... and there are lots of large flower pots filled with hostas for low maintence. I would offer to plant nice, bright-flowering annuals and perenials in this space as well. I'm sure they wouldn't refuse that offer to make the area look nicer. Don't know if the trees along the sidewalk by the long side of the building are maintained by the city or the property owner, but I could easily handle those as well with a pole-pruner. Gardening and landscaping is my other hobby. I don't know if you've ever seen the actual Diamond area infront of the building, so I attached a picture below, taken from the front of the Liberty Tax storefront facing out. Rainy day here, but it is a nice area in the summer, especially when the fountain is going.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:33 PM   #58
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I have had trouble finding local codes so far, but I shall continue searching. I can't find much of any information on building permits, either. Is there anything general that is or isn't code everywhere that would relate?
Try --------> the city offices,

http://www.eastliverpool.com/

William Cowan, Director of City Planning/City Engineer
planning@eastliverpool.com
Phone: 330-385-5394
http://www.eastliverpool.com/planning.php


The county recorder
http://www.columbianacountyrecorder....r/services.php
If you have any questions feel free to contact your County Recorder (330) 424-9517.

County treasurer/ real estate taxes;

http://www.columbianacounty.org/treasurer.htm
Real Estate tax bills are generally due the first Friday in March and the last Friday in August. The bills are mailed out twice a year, usually in January and July.

Quote:
For example, I know you don't need a permit to paint windows. Therefore, I'd assume you wouldn't need one to set up a rolling scaffolding to paint windows or re-glaze. I would also assume that the same would apply to minor woodwork repair/replacement before painting was done. And I am sure that you would need a permit to install a new roof, but would you need one to patch an existing roof? How about tarring a roof? I don't know where to look for these questions to be answered.
Usually you don't need permits for cosmetic/maintenance work- painting, patching, caulking, minor repairs. If you get a scaffold the city might require something, or red fluorescent traffic cones be placed so no one not expecting the sidewalk to be blocked- walks into it late at night. They might require it because the scaffold would be shutt access off to the public sidewalk


Quote:
From what I understand, framing studs can be put up, basic electrical/plumbing systems can be installed, and then an inspector needs called in to issue an occupancy permit. Likely before drywall is hung. I'm sure a permit needs to be taken out before anything is altered.
They will typically want a permit for any STRUCTURAL work and additions, you start cutting out wall studs, building a new interior wall, taking a floor off the top of the Lowe building etc they'll want you in their office before starting, with written plans in hand showing what is going to be added or replaced, where, how.
The inspector will want to look before you close up any walls with electrical wiring, plumbing in them etc.


Quote:
I was referring to the fact that the owner doesn't seem to be involved at ALL. I just find it hard to believe that he shovels it every time it snows. I also find it hard to believe that he would pay someone to do it.
You don't know for sure, for all you know he pays some kid $10 to do it for him, I work with a guy who does exactly that- he pays a kid to mow his lawn and shovel his snow.


Quote:
Who shovels infront of abandoned or bank-owned properties?
The smart person who doesn't want to pay a $50 fine or to pay for the billed cost for the city's hired people to do it every time it snows. If the property is truly abandoned, it goes undone or the city does it.

Quote:
Don't know if the trees along the sidewalk by the long side of the building are maintained by the city or the property owner, but I could easily handle those as well with a pole-pruner.
Chances are they are city property, and it may in fact be illegal for you to trim, cut or otherwise alter the trees without approval. Chances are the city crews maintain them or they hire an arborist.


The building 522 Sixth & Market sold in 1993 for $18,500
Mkt Land Value $8,600
Mkt Improvement Value $38,400
Total Value $47,000

Annual Taxes $1,071.06 Taxes Paid $250.00

Land Use 429 Other Retail Taxpayer Name and Address DIAMOND REAL ESTATE 520 MARKET ST E LIVERPOOL, OH
http://www.columbianacntyauditor.org

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Old 02-08-2013, 09:57 PM   #59
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Re: old buildings


I won't call those offices just yet; however, I did save the info on my computer. I will wait until I have decided that I want to purchase it. I shouldn't be getting my hopes up so much. Those most recent photos were from 2011. Two years later, it could be alot worse from leaks for all I know. That trash bucket in the Lowe building may have never been emptied, it may have been left to overflow. The exterior is looking more dingy than in the photos. However, it ALWAYS looks worse in real life than it does in the photos. I have learned that from viewing several local homes on the computer, and then walking to them to visit in real life. Or, It could be nearly identical to how it looked then. Only time will tell.

I guess it would require a permit for tear-down of old plaster and what-not before hand as well. There is no real way to hide that. I'm sure that, with a permit and permission, a dumpster can be rented and parked partially on a sidewalk/parking space bellow upper windows. He might just do that, have a kid shovel it. Or, Liberty Tax may have a very low rent, and they shovel the walks as part of an agreement. Who knows? And I certainly wouldn't trim any trees or do any landscaping before getting permission to do so. I would likely just not bother with the trees, and just ask for permission to maintain the garden area/planters. I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem with it. It would pretty the area up to have some bright, colorful blooming flowers growing.

You know, I saw that listing on the auditor's website at one point. I wondered why there wasn't a listing for the Thompson Building (524 Market Street). Perhaps they pay the taxes on all the buildings together. I know they run the Paul Arrow mens pants shop at 520 Market Street. Likely ran it to the ground... it's been open for decades, and they've been "going out of business" for several years now. They are only open for a few hours on saturdays now. "They" would be referring the the two brothers that own the property together, or whatever. Paul and Ian Braslawsce. Found their names on a blog site from the local area. I searched "Braslawsce" on the auditors website to find it. It's listed under Paul's name I believe. They both own alot of property in the area. Perhaps they had a plan to be slumlords and make some easy cash, but maybe it didn't work out. I wondered how they covered the taxes on all that property. Wonder if the sale of the Lowe building (522 Market Street) included the Thompson building as well.

Last edited by mt999999; 02-08-2013 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:19 PM   #60
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Those most recent photos were from 2011. Two years later, it could be alot worse from leaks for all I know.
I guess I thought those photos were more recent that that, 2 more years of raining inside since then, it could be a LOT worse now than those pics show.


Quote:
You know, I saw that listing on the auditor's website at one point. I wondered why there wasn't a listing for the Thompson Building (524 Market Street).
There is a listing for a 524 but it's owned by a different name.

The only entry shown owned by Diamond is:

DIAMOND REAL ESTATE 3709152000 522 MARKET ST
DIAMOND REAL ESTATE 3709153000 522 SIXTH & MARKET

http://www.columbianacntyauditor.org...5F519AD04B49A1



Quote:
Wonder if the sale of the Lowe building (522 Market Street) included the Thompson building as well.
It doesnt indicate and the property record for the 2nd entry above leads back to the first and only the first has a detailed "property card" at that url above. The record only has a sketch and it's obviously of the Lowe bldg.

Who knows, maybe they already started some kind of foreclosure for failing to pay the taxes or something and the record is not available right now.
OR it uses a different official address than 524, either way it doesn't show up and Diamond is shown as only owning the Lowe building- the only building in the whole county they own it appears.

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