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Old 03-02-2013, 11:29 AM   #91
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Re: old buildings


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Originally Posted by tony.g View Post
Nice job and a lovely house.

Leaving aside materials, the only thing I would disagree with is your comment about the porch roof sagging. Personally I don't think it detracts from the house at all. It's part of the history of your house, and something which distinguishes it from the cheap, neat, mass-produced stuff of today.

Besides, it's hardly noticeable unless it's pointed out!

Great job.

By the way; FYI, PUR = rigid polyurethane and PIR = polyisocyanate. These are the yellow insulation boards which are usually faced both sides with aluminium foil. They are extremely good insulators, inch-for-inch being about twice as efficient as ordinary polystyrene board (though more expensive).
The sag doesn't bother me really, it's there, in fact, I had to replace that porch DECK last summer due to the ends of all the deck boards being rotted under the paint (they had used plain pine 2x6) I installed concrete footings and pier blocks and replaced all of the structural lumber under the deck with treated lumber and beefed it up.
I decided to see if that sag would come out as I had to replace the last original column due to base rot (they were just 4 boards 3/4" thick nailed into a square configuration) I actually had the left half supported by nothing when I tried to see if it would flex down, and even it's own weight didn't bend it down at all, so the horizontal beam is permanently warped that way and it's going to stay like that.

Ok, I get it, no I didn't suggest using the urethane board on the brick building, I used then in my house on the inside. I had added depth to the inside of all exterior walls by screwing 2x2 cleats to the wall surfaces, with long screws going into the studs in the wall. That gave me a 2" additional depth which I filled with Celotex, overlaid that with a sheet of plastic, then 1/2" CDX and then 1/2" sheetrock.
The original plaster/lath was not in good shape and had a dozen layers of wallpaper on it.
I used the plywood because I wanted to be able to hang heavy things (up to 100#) on the walls anywhere I wanted to.
I gave the sheetrock a texture with drywall mud using a trowel and a stiff wallpaper glue brush.
Thanks for the comments.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:39 AM   #92
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Re: old buildings


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I have read studies that state that only 10 percent of energy loss in homes is due to old windows,
The majority of heat is lost thru the uninsulated roof space, which in the Thompson and Lowe buildings is certainly going to have zero insulation, or if there is any it's ruined by the leaks.
The biggest issue with the windows is air infiltration, you'd be surprised at how one TINY little crack on a windy day you can feel the room get cold from the air coming in. You can't caulk you way air tight on loose, warped, water/weather damaged wood frames and still expect thse windows to OPEN and CLOSE when you want them to.
People today have no patience, and people don't want windows they have to "mess with" every time they want it open or shut- tenants especially won't put up with windows they have to prop open, use a screw driver to get to open, or leak cold air in that costs THEM more money for heat if they are paying to heat their own spaces.

You will have to consider that in your case, it won't be as much about what you want as it will be about what your future tenants and renders will demand, and they will almost certainly not put up with having to apply weatherstipping all the time, loose, leaky windows that ice up etc etc.
As to the 5% or 10%, 5% is a considerable amount even if it doesn't seem so, and that's 5% every month, every year, year after year, the number changes dollar wise when the cost of gas for heat increases as it inevitable does. There are other harder to measure things such as how often the heating appliance cycles causing wear and tear on it, i.e having to replace that sooner, we could assume maybe for the heck of it that it might run 5% more frequently with retaining the old windows than it would if the windows are replaced.
The percentage differs per building, I know I saw an immediate measureable reduction in MY electric bill amounting to about $35 a month by replacing just windows in 3 openings in the kitchen where my computer desk office is. I replaced one set of 2 double hung windows that appeared to be salvaged from somewhere butted against one another, with 2 Pella wood windows, aluminum clad on the outside that were within one inch of being the same size $192 each.
I replaced that ugly, stupid aluminum horizontal storm window and the completely inoperative old wood slider with the vinyl tracks with these two wood, aluminum clad Pella windows, they were about $125 each and I made the opening taller than the ugly original slider was to let more light in.
And I replaced the door as mentioned earlier, with a window, a Pella wood, aluminum clad as the others, that was around $189 as I recall.

This was where the horizontal slider was, bad pic due to the sun, but all the trim is stained oak, and modelled after the original painted pine window trim that the rest of the normal windows had.




That saves me a measureable $35 a month minimum because now that I don't have ICE on the inside of the glass and all that cold surface setting up a convection draft (cold surfaces chill the air and it falls to the floor, it creates an air movement that feels like a DRAFT) I no longer have to have a 1500 watt space heater behind my chair ON me to keep from freezing. Do the math: 1500 watts x roughly 12 hours a day x 30 days = 18,000 watts or 18 kwh x .08/kwh comes to about $43 a month during the heating season. I have not calculated what the summer cooling is, but my electric company dropped my monthly equal budget payment to $103 and my one 5200 btu window a/c cools the entire 1000 sq ft house.

Soon as I put those windows in the savings started and it's more than 5%, the savings is every month, the window replacement cost is a one time thing.

Quote:
"I think the existing windows look fairly solid."
All but guaranteed those windows are NOT hardwood, the interior TRIM might be, but the actual windows are almost certainly softwood caked with layers of lead paint.
Looks from the outside don't always tell the whole story.

Quote:
"Personally, I would stick up plastic over interior windows for dead air space, and to stop convection currents. This could be repeated annually."
Oh yes, repeat anually! I got sick and tired of the staple-the-plastic sheeting over the windows routine, having them come loose in winter storms, get dirty and hard to see thru. If you have renters/tenants you can't expect they will put up with that.

Aluminum storm widows are UGLY, my house had them and they were piss ugly, you could only open the bottom, they were a major chore to clean too, I got rid of all of mine. New storm windows would likely have to be custom made to fit old windows of a non stock size, the cost for new storm windows comes close to just replacing the old windows in the first place with a quality brand like Pella, solid wood, aluminum clad. Granted, storm windows do help a lot, but new ones, custom sized to fit old windows not only look ugly to begin with, and add an odd looking gap between the glasses that is noticeable, but harder to keep clean, and cost almost as much as new windows.
Quote:
http://www.oldhouseweb.com/product-showcase/windows/
Here's our growing collection of replacement windows (and accessories) for old houses.
Quote:
" I likely would NOT replace the windows in the Thompson building, for several reasons. One, the original architectural elements (in what I believe are the original windows) which simply cannot be replicated at a reasonable cost. Two, plain and simple, the cost. I don't wan't crappy 150 dollar"
Which elements are you talking about? Yes, you could be talking about $54,000 there v/s maybe $7,000 for the $150 windows, but this is what I have been trying to say all along, the costs will be more than you expect to renovate this building, that is a big reason why it's been on the market so long and is so low priced and no one has snapped it up yet- those who would renovate a building like this know pretty well how much it will cost, we're not talking here about $50,000 or $75,000 to renovate a building this size, were talking in the upper six to seven figure levels here when you consider all the stuff that has to be replaced or repaired- plumbing, electrical, roof, interior walls, flooring, fixtures etc

Here's a comment from another forum that sums it up pretty well:

"I will tell you though, as an old house lover & renovator, old houses will ALWAYS cost more than you think. Always.
As an example:
We blew out the back of our third floor walk in attic space for a master bedroom addition in our 1902 house.
When it was all said and done, it cost us about 200k....and that's not because we dipped it all in gold or that we're idiots.
When you pull back a wonky subfloor and find that there are about 5 generations worth of electrical additions/splits/ etc. then that's how things add up. Plus add in that we're in earthquake country and had to jackhammer out the foundation, and rip out and restore walls on the 1st and 2nd floors to put in a 3 story post....and then the new roof, gutters,new windows, new HVAC additions, moving plumbing out of the way plumbing, paint house, the cost of the architect, the gc, the subs, the permits, the structural engineer, etc etc you get the picture....."


Quote:
"I would nail new oak hardwoods over that old subfloor of yours"
Wood floors and multiple large dogs don't go well together at all!, I wanted a permanent durable, easy to mop floor which is why I went with white commercial grade porcellain tile in all the rooms, including the bedroom. Only the front parlor and my added on studio room have wood, oak parquet.

Quote:
"See how the siding is level with the window casing on your house?
"

I duplicated what the original windows were exactly, that's exactly how they were made in 1930 on my house, the trim and header were flush with the clapboard. I don't know who designed the house but it was not well designed or built well, even the roof didn't have a ridge beam, I added one in the attic. They used 2x4s over 16 feet long spaced on 2 foot centers for the heavy plaster and lathe ceiling in the front room, running them the long way across the length of the room! It was no wonder the ceiling sagged down 6" in the center.
There are different styles and different methods of building depending on the area, if projecting the windows out further is the style in your area that was the style then, there. You have to consider other issues too- the more you project out, the more likely leaks and rot will happen.

Last edited by RWolff; 03-02-2013 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #93
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Re: old buildings




Quote:
"I am ALWAYS for repairing historical plaster and lathe, "
Repairing a few holes and cracks is one thing, but when you have huge areas of plaster fallen off the lath due to water leaks, that goes well beyond "repairing." Plaster and lath walls and especially ceilings are not in my opinion a do-it-yourself job, and that photo above is not going to be a repair job, it will be knocking down the rest of that plaster that is ready to fall down and replacing it all. The ceiling is the worst surface of all to spend time messing with!

They applied the materials in layers, starting with a cement/sand/lime mixture which I have seen, and it may depend on the place and time what exactly they used, but what I've seen is a thick layer of sandy cement to start with, covered with layers of finish plaster.

Temporary lath guides are placed vertically to the wall, usually at the studs. Plaster is then applied, typically using a wooden board as the application tool. The applier drags the board upward over the wall, forcing the plaster into the gaps between the lath and leaving a layer on the front the depth of the temporary guides, typically about 1/4 inch. A helper feeds new plaster onto the board, as the plaster is applied in quantity. When the wall is fully covered, the vertical lath "guides" are removed, and their "slots" are filled in, leaving a fairly uniform undercoat.

It is standard to apply a second layer in the same fashion, leaving about a half inch of rough, sandy plaster (called a brown coat). A smooth, white finish coat goes on last. After the plaster is completely dry, the walls are ready to be painted. Traditional lime based mortar/plaster often incorporated horsehair which reinforces the plasterwork.

It's an artform you have to learn from someone who does this kind of work, I personally would never even attempt it and I work with plaster and concrete every day.
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:26 PM   #94
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Re: old buildings


I am sure the windows are currently as you described, caked with layers of leaded paint, sash cords rotted. I would certainly NOT leave them like that. Now, I'm no fool, I know I would spend a long time, likely all summer (or longer), restoring them. I've used the following process on a smaller scale of windows before. I'll describe the process, but let me mention first that I understand the hazards of leaded paint, and I would keep the area very well ventilated, while wearing a good dust mask as well.

First, I would pry off the interior sash stop. Next, I would chip away the old glazing and pins, and remove the glass panes. Afterward, for the exterior side, I would sand it down with a rough grade of sandpaper, then again with a more fine grain, until the paint was more thin, and even. Following, depending on the time I had to spend on the project, I would either do the same for the inside of the sashes (and interior woodwork/window casings), or, as I would always prefer, I would use a heat gun to strip the paint all off of the interiors, sand lightly, and refinish the wood. If it is a softwood like pine as you said, or if it has been painted with a bugger like milk paint (that stuff never comes off), I'll just sand them like the exteriors and primer/repaint both sides. I really hate the Victorian era pine woodwork faux finished to look like it was oak, that is nearly impossible to replicate. Obviously, I would need to re-pin and glaze the window sashes before I repainted, and it takes time for the glazing to set. I prefer DAP-33 myself over silicone based glazings.

Now, for the bottom window sashes, I would re-hang them with new sash cords, or better yet, sash chains to last longer. After weather-striping, they would be in proper order, ready-to-go. The hardware like locks and handles would likely need replaced too. I would simply nail or screw the upper sashes in; no sense in fooling around making them work. It would be too difficult to reach the upper window sashes on these huge windows anyway. As long as the lower sashes work smoothly, I don't see a problem here. Now, I would be much more partial toward replacing the windows on the Lowe building, but I don't think I could bring myself to do it on the Thompson building. Plus, I would have to go with a new color scheme on the thompson building, there is no way to match vinyl or cladding to paint, unless you go with pure white, which I don't want to do.

Remember the back portion of the building I showed you in a picture earlier? I posted it below, again. These two upper floors, based on the floor plan I saw, would make nice two bedroom units, one per floor. It would kill me to replace those windows, but this portion almost appears as a seperate building. After the windows were restored, I would debate installing storm windows over this portion to attract potential renters. There shouldn't be a problem if it functions properly. If not, I would offer to stick up transparent plastic every year, if that helps. They sell interior plastic too. Like the Lowe building, I would be more partial to replacing these windows, over the windows in the main portion of the building.

New 3 track storms open on the bottom and top, your storm windows were cheap and junky when they were new. I totally understand replacing in a case of non-original rotted-out windows like yours, but I honestly believe these windows can be salvaged. Modern storm windows are less ugly, see the link below. Now, you would need a different style/size to match certain windows, but this Low-E window would be decent, functional, and pleasing style in my eyes. However, it is a two-track window. There are lots of nice styles of 3 track windows on the Lowes website.

http://menards.com/main/storm-screen-windows/larson-24-x-39-white-aluminum-low-e-glass-storm-window/p-1364219-c-9460.htm

Also see: http://www.lowes.com/pd_13148-78360-...dows&facetInfo=

I agree that the ceiling picture you re-posted is NOT repairable, and it is a tear-down and start over project. I would seriously consider installing a tin ceiling in that room as you suggested. You cut off my sentence in your quote early, and that made it sound like I was trying to get a different point across; I was agreeing with you. Here is my entire sentence: "I am ALWAYS for repairing historical plaster and lathe, but in a building like this it is only feasable for interior walls." Afterward, I went on explaining that I would tear-down exterior plaster and late walls, as well as damaged ceilings. I agree, I would not mess around with a ceiling. I posted that picture stating that it was beyond my abilities; I used it as an example.

Now, my other picture showed a repair I WOULD attempt, which was and INTERIOR wall on the Lowe building, with a much smaller hole. For that, you would wet the visible lathe to keep it from twisting and warping, then do a few coats over it with a large trowel. I have watched extensive videos on it, and I have attempted much smaller-scale repairs with non-traditional products, such as plaster of paris and joint compound. By the way, you do have a lovely house, and those kitchen windows look very nice. Considering my budget, I could not afford any replacement windows with other necessary repairs that are needed to the building, to make it liveable.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:35 PM   #95
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Re: old buildings


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Originally Posted by mt999999 View Post
I am sure the windows are currently as you described, caked with layers of leaded paint, sash cords rotted. I would certainly NOT leave them like that. Now, I'm no fool, I know I would spend a long time, likely all summer (or longer), restoring them.
Well you may find out just how much of a pain in the azz this really is, and how much time it takes. Personally just the thought of all that gives me as much "thrill" as removing layers of paint from a tin ceiling, there's no way on earth I would do that, not when there's alternatives and int he case of the tin ceilings- they are still made today the same patterns the same way.


Quote:
I would use a heat gun to strip the paint all off of the interiors,
NEVER use a heat gun on this, aside from the lead poison, more old buildings have been burned to the ground by the use of heat guns for paint removal, torches on the roof etc than probably any other cause I know.

FYI No. 10

BURNING THE PAINT OFF

The Dangers Associated with Torches, Heat Guns, and other Thermal Devices for Paint Removal

Updated July 2000

Buildup of old paint on wooden, masonry, or metal surfaces can inhibit the ability of new coats of paint to adhere. Buildup of paint on millwork can diminish the texture and depth of the historic materials. In some cases, excessive layers of old paint can inhibit a building's ability to breathe. Many rehabilitation and restoration projects, accordingly, call for removal of old paint as preparation for new finishes. Some contractors find that thermal devices, including heat plates, heat guns, and open flame butane or propane torches, are effective tools for paint removal.
These methods are extremely dangerous. Buildings catch fire because of these practices. Irreplaceable historic buildings have been destroyed and lives have been threatened. Despite the continued warnings of the State Fire Marshall's office, the Department of Historic Resources, and the Department of the Interior, the number of important buildings threatened, damaged, or destroyed by this practice keeps growing:.

The danger is greater on old buildings. Flammable debris, including animal nests, sawdust, lint, and cobwebs, accumulates in joist pockets, attics, and other recesses. This debris can be easily ignited by blowtorches, and it can a
lso be ignited by the lower temperatures created by heat
plates or heat guns. Fires started in such recesses can smolder for hours before flames break through to the surface.
Even if the surface to be stripped of paint is a non flammable material, such
as metal or masonry, torches or heat guns can ignite nearby flammable materials. The fire at the Stonewall Jackson School was caused when torches ignited the wood backing behind the metal cornice.


http://www.nps.gov/hps/tps/briefs/br...Remove%20Paint


Quote:
there is no way to match vinyl or cladding to paint, unless you go with pure white, which I don't want to do.
White is an almost universal color, it goes with everything, you don't have to match up walls or other things to white window frames, I didn't, my house is pale yellow, the windows and trim I painted white the first time, so the white windows I put in last summer were a perfect match that way since that's the color the old ones were.



New 3 track storms open on the bottom and top, your storm windows were cheap and junky when they were new. I totally understand replacing in a case of non-original rotted-out windows like yours, but I honestly believe these windows can be salvaged. Modern storm windows are less ugly, see the link below. Now, you would need a different style/size to match certain windows, but this Low-E window would be decent, functional, and pleasing style in my eyes. However, it is a two-track window. There are lots of nice styles of 3 track windows on the Lowes website.


Quote:
I agree that the ceiling picture you re-posted is NOT repairable, and it is a tear-down and start over project. I would seriously consider installing a tin ceiling in that room as you suggested. You cut off my sentence in your quote early, and that made it sound like I was trying to get a different point across; I was agreeing with you. Here is my entire sentence: "I am ALWAYS for repairing historical plaster and lathe, but in a building like this it is only feasable for interior walls." Afterward, I went on explaining that I would tear-down exterior plaster and late walls, as well as damaged ceilings. I agree, I would not mess around with a ceiling. I posted that picture stating that it was beyond my abilities; I used it as an example.
Okay.

Quote:
Considering my budget, I could not afford any replacement windows with other necessary repairs that are needed to the building, to make it liveable.
Okay, but now I guess we get to the root of the whole thing, I mean all these ideas and plans are great, but you are going to have to do two things very soon, one is decide if you are going to BUY the place or not, the other thing is you need to sit down and figure out exactly how MUCH your budget IS, what can you afford, how much you can put down on a mortgage and can you afford the monthly loan cost plus insurance of roughly $100/mo, real estate taxes adding about another$100/mo, the minimum charges for utilities like your electric, water/sewer/garbage/storm sewer can be another $100/mo since it's commercial and you usually will be paying this to the city.

Just the loan, taxes and insurance is likely to run around $500/mo minimum, and that's assuming you put roughly $5,000 down cash and only carry about $10,000 mortgage.

There is also closing costs, title search fees, apprasal fees, the county recorder fees, and most people pay a lawyer to do the things the bank requires, or the bank charges the fees at closing which can be several hundred dollars.
You already have a pretty good idea now what just replacing unrepairable windows would cost, and some of the basic costs for some of the materials.
You really need to sit down with pen and paper and figure out how many sheets of drywall you might need to repair the walls and ceilings, that are beyond patching with plaster, how many tin sheets to cover that ceiling, how many square feet of flooring is rotted and needs replacement, what the roof will cost (mine on a 20x96 building would cost around $20,000 to replace the PVC membrane, that's just the fabric no structural!!)

Come up with a ballpark figure, research some on-line prices for materials at lumber yards etc and come up with a total. Then divide that by 3-5 years to come up with a rough idea of the averaged out costs per month.
I say 3-5 years because most, many municipalities have ordinances that require such work be COMPLETED within a certain set time frame, this is to avoid those who buy a junker of a house and then much to the annoyance of all the neighbors, the place looks half finished for YEARS, with construction debris laying all around, scaffolding rusting away, windows still boarded over etc
The city will usually grant an extension, but there's a limit as to how many extensions and how much time they will give you to finish the work for final inspection.
Improvements also get them more tax revenue, they want that ASAP too.
The insurance carrier also will be putting pressure on because a half finished renovation is an extreme risk for them, more buildings being renovated burn down than you'd imagine, from temporary wiring and extension cords, old wiring that becomes damaged during the renovation, power tools, things falling etc.
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:24 AM   #96
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Re: old buildings


it might be more energy-efficient (and more interesting) if you two guys could hire a hall somewhere neutral, and have a debate on window conservation or replacement in front of an audience; then take a vote.

I've found both your comments interesting and both give food for thought.
Personally, I'm a little more inclined to mt's view on repair rather than wholesale replacement. Just because items were stock/cheap a century ago, doesn't make them not worth repairing; old timber is often of better quality than new. Retaining some of the old also keeps the history of the building.

But then again, I'm not paying!

Good debate, and good luck with your projects.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:30 PM   #97
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Re: old buildings


Thanks Tony! Now tell me, what's your background? What do you specialize in?

Now, about the windows, while it would be a pain to get up there and paint them, it honestly wouldn't make much of a difference in the long run. The pictures below are from the historical society, and they aren't the greatest. I'll try to post some better ones that I took when I get home. Now, you can see some of the extent of the woodwork below. Regardless of the windows, I'll still have to get up there every 7-10 years at least to repaint the woodwork and original window casings. One cannot replicate this design with vinyl, and there is NO WAY that I would do away with the original woodwork. Basically, if I have to repaint the woodwork as often as the windows need repainted, the arguement of replacing windows for easier maintenace is invalid, because it wouldn't really make much of a difference.

Another issue about replacing the windows is the stained glass above every window. Now, on the majority of the winows, the stained glass is in a seperate pane above the actual window, and if all of the main window sashes were removed, a replacement window could be installed in the opening, saving the stained glass windows above. However, the stained glass would damage efficiency, and installing a storm window pane outside of the stained glass would cover up the beauty of it. Another thing I would NEVER EVER do, would be to remove the stained glass above the windows. Back to my main point, not every window has the stained glass panes above them. The "Wall of Windows", in the apartment area, second floor (see the second picture in the red circle), has the stained glass literally ATTACHED to the glass of the upper sash. Replacing these windows would entirely do away with the stained glass. You can't see it well here, but I have close-ups I took of it, I'll post them tonight.

Another thing, I know there are some dangers to heat guns, but I didn't know they were that bad. Usually, I just put the gun down for a while when the paint chips start to smoke and glow. Then again, that sounds a little more dangerous when typed, I suppose. Well, it appears that all of the windows are painted from the inside from Historical Society photographs. While I would love to have natual wooden windows, heat guns do occasionally scare me. Not to mention, they are likely victorian era pine windows that are faux finished to look like oak. I'll most likely sand each side of the window, and primer/paint them. I don't think that will look too bad. Not to mention, ALL the woodwork on the second floor is painted the UGLIEST shade of green! I don't know if you saw the pictures on the first page, but it was AWFUL! I do not want to remove all of that paint. I posted one of the shots below.

Wow... $100 a month JUST for real estate taxes? For the whole duration of the mortgage? That seems over the top to me, but what do I know? With all of the different colors of roofing material on the Thompson building, one would hope that someone has made an attempt at patching leaks. Looks like it has been tarred somewhat recently, and the white, I would assume, is where someone tried to use the white patch to seal the roof recently as well; see the last picture below. Also, the fact that the 2009 pictures resemble the 2011 pictures very well. As in, no new aparent leaks. Hopefully, it still looks the same in 2013 when I tour it this spring. It looks like they have totally given up on the Lowe building, though. And again, as I stated before, I can't judge the materials needed until I tour it. There are WAY to few photographs to judge anything, I can barely get my bearings as to where I am in the building from the photos. I can't do anything until the weather warms up, but I certainly plan on seeing it in a few months. Only time will tell what happens.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:59 PM   #98
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Re: old buildings


Quote:
Another thing, I know there are some dangers to heat guns, but I didn't know they were that bad. Usually, I just put the gun down for a while when the paint chips start to smoke and glow.
Old buildings have accumulations of dust, cobwebs, lint and extremely dry wood, it takes very little to get a fire going. I know of a number of churches who had roofs replaced or repaired by contractors and invariably someone used a heat gun or open torch and the old wood and dust caught fire burning the place down in minutes.

The former state capital building here had a large dome and cupula, and the contractors were removing paint and/or re-roofing and they caught the wood on fire, and the whole cupula went up in flames.

Quote:
On November 20, 2001, contractors using open flame torches and heat guns on the cupola supporting the building's gold dome accidentally set the cupola on fire. Golden smoke rose from the Old Capitol Building as the dome burned. The fire was limited to the cupola of the building, thanks to a concrete slab firewall that had been installed during the 1920s renovation. The bell at the top of the Old Capitol was irreparably damaged, the dome was destroyed, and the tens of thousands of gallons of water used to douse the blaze caused major damage. The University of Iowa later settled a lawsuit with the contractors for $1.9 million
.





Quote:
ALL the woodwork on the second floor is painted the UGLIEST shade of green! I don't know if you saw the pictures on the first page, but it was AWFUL! I do not want to remove all of that paint.
That green is what I call seasick green, or Willowbrooke green, Willowbrooke being a mental hospital and they painted the walls that dark green to keep the patients calm or something.
The walls in the rear of my building had that kind of green paint, it was horrible, and you have to wonder what goes thru people's minds to select a ****ty, dark color like that.
Trust me, you DON'T want to strip that paint. There is nothing unique about any of those elements, the wainscoting etc is a case of it's cheaper to replace than spend the time and expensive paint remover trying to hand strip all that.
It might be oak but more likely just the lowest cost softwood since it was painted.


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Wow... $100 a month JUST for real estate taxes? For the whole duration of the mortgage? That seems over the top to me, but what do I know?
That's $1,200 a year yes, according to your tax assessor page,

http://www.columbianacntyauditor.org...082BD77AFECE6C

the tax rate in East Liverpool is $60.05/$1000 assessed valuation according to that web page. There could be discounts or other reductions I am unaware of but that's the amount it shows, and that's per year.
Figure on a minimum of $1,000 a year as it stands now in the condition it's in, as you increase the value the taxes will increase as well over time.
Probably half the funds go to the local school, another chunk to the county, the city, for storm sewer maintenance, fire dept, police etc.
Your $1,000 a year payment won't even cover the payroll cost for one full time city police officer for two weeks.
And with the insurance, the mortgage holder- the bank will require insurance be maintained the full duration of the loan, the bank will be listed as the primary beneficiary, with you as the second.
I pay around $70/mo for my insurance, for the Thompson and Lowe together and all that sidewalk, plus the age/condition, you can bet $100/mo is almost certain.

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With all of the different colors of roofing material on the Thompson building, one would hope that someone has made an attempt at patching leaks. Looks like it has been tarred somewhat recently, and the white,
No doubt that's what happened, patches on patches on patches, never getting the leaks stopped and never spending the money to do it right once.

Last edited by RWolff; 03-08-2013 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:03 PM   #99
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Re: old buildings


mt & RW;
Just regarding the windows. As I said, my own preference in an ideal world would be conservation and repair rather than wholesale replacement. However, regardless of any repairs which may be needed, removing the old paintwork would be one of your most time-consuming jobs.

None of the 3 methods (mechanical, heat or chemical) is easy, and RWolff makes the sensible point regarding the fire risk if using a torch or heat gun. Chemical has its own problems, and is often not easy to apply to horizontal members. You've also got to clean it off with water, or a solvent stipulated by the manufacturer, and then the grain will come up.

If that were my job, I'd tackle the workings first, replacing chords, pulleys etc as necessary. Then I'd just wash the frames thoroughly to get rid of the grease and grime, and then sand them by hand, though not down to the wood.
Now here's where the purists would disagree; the frames will of course have many layer of paint on them, and will be chipped and marked. They are big, and will need many hours painstaking work to get them back to the wood, and then of course filling gouges and inevitable blemishes. The danger is that the job is so big that it would be easy to give up part-way through and just buy new. I don't see the harm of leaving the blemishes under new paint. After all, the wear-and-tear is part of the history of the building, and I'd rather see old, well-worn original (but clean) work rather than new.
That's just my own opinion and I know many will disagree.

Almost forgot; you asked my background; I trained as an architect but then went into historic building conservation. Most of the buildings I deal with are late-18th and 19th century domestic. Biggest problem is dealing with later additions and alterations to old buildings - a balance has to be struck. We generally try to preserve as much as possible of the history of the building, rather than attempting to return it to what we think it might have looked like when built.
As always, though, it's down to money !!

cheers.
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Old 03-09-2013, 05:49 PM   #100
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Re: old buildings


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Originally Posted by tony.g View Post
mt & RW;

Now here's where the purists would disagree; the frames will of course have many layer of paint on them, and will be chipped and marked. They are big, and will need many hours painstaking work to get them back to the wood, and then of course filling gouges and inevitable blemishes. The danger is that the job is so big that it would be easy to give up part-way through and just buy new. I don't see the harm of leaving the blemishes under new paint.
Most people have no idea how much time and remover it takes to strip paint off woodwork, the stuff CLAIMS it removes X number of layers but the cold hard fact is all of these chemicals sold for homeowner and do it yourself use are so watered down to reduce injury lawsuits it's laughable, absoluteky none of the stuff has the strength and power it did 20 or 30 years ago.
Back then you could get a lime remover to take lime deposits off your toilet bowl etc and it worked, now the stuff is so diluted even the entire container can't remove half of the lime, and if you get any on your skin it's not much more than orange juice.

So it goes with stripper, you are reduced to removing about ONE layer of paint at a time with the junk sold in the hardware store no matter what the label says.
A co-worker gave me a pickup truck full of old salvaged window trim boards, they were softwood and had a few routed beads on the face surfaces, I thought I might use them in my house, but wanted to see how much work it would be to cleamn the paint off since I wanted stained wood.
It took an entire quart of remover to get most, not all the paint off ONE 5" wide or so by maybe 6-1/2 foot long board! It was a joke, I was not going to do that when I could buy new solid oak boards that size for about $9 and just rout them with a decorative cutter, and that's what I wound up doing.
I liked one of the header boards in the pile and traced it out on a new piece of oak:


TThe doorway face trim boards only took one pass with a router down one side and back the other side to make this design.



And the baseboard




It's been several years since I put these in and there's lots more to do yet, but it's coming along.


Quote:
Most of the buildings I deal with are late-18th and 19th century domestic. Biggest problem is dealing with later additions and alterations to old buildings - a balance has to be struck.
Yes, like those Menards type decorative iron trellis things people add to their porch to replace the bannisters and balustrades, or the posts, aluminum or vinyl siding with wide "boards" on a Victorian house that once had clapboard, suspended ceilings, and modern entry doors with oval glass and lever handles, yeah I know all about that stuff.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:09 AM   #101
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Re: old buildings


I like the plinth block at the bottom of the architrave, where it meets the skirting board at floor level.
Most old houses have this nice detail - too many builders today leave this off and just let the architrave go right down to the floor and that looks so cheap.
(the terms I use may be different but you'll know what I mean!).

Agree about the chemical stripper. For removeable items like old doors, you can take them to a local yard where they have vats of the stuff and they just dip it in (and hope that the door doesn't fall apart if the glue gets affected).
But you can't do that with skirting boards and dado rails etc. I used some a few years ago and, like you said, it takes several applications to get through multiple layers. And the mess......!
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:43 AM   #102
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Re: old buildings


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Originally Posted by tony.g View Post
I like the plinth block at the bottom of the architrave, where it meets the skirting board at floor level.
Most old houses have this nice detail - too many builders today leave this off and just let the architrave go right down to the floor and that looks so cheap.
(the terms I use may be different but you'll know what I mean!).

Agree about the chemical stripper. For removeable items like old doors, you can take them to a local yard where they have vats of the stuff and they just dip it in (and hope that the door doesn't fall apart if the glue gets affected).
But you can't do that with skirting boards and dado rails etc. I used some a few years ago and, like you said, it takes several applications to get through multiple layers. And the mess......!
I forgot where I came up with the design, but it was a combination of what the windows here had inside, and other features I liked. The bird's beak or sawtooth headers were inspired by finding a 4' long scrap in a pile of old salvaged moldings, I liked the gothic craftsman style of it, so I replicated it.
I have several windows to trim inside yet, including one that was a second front door that I filled in and put a window in place of.

In the kitchen, because it was originally a back porch, the low ceiling and this doorway to the basement and outside was a real challenge. I replaced the original garbage door that was there with one I made from oak and 2 pieces of custom cut 1/4" glass to let more light through both ways.
They had the hinge pins buried against the wall which was insane. I added 2" of wall inside for more insulation and the tile below, and pine beadboard above.
That required moving the door opening over slightly and then the first concrete step on the other side needed to be made wider.
It may not look it, but the door is just wide enough to get a washingmachine/dryer through.



The window that can be seen a little, a little better shot of it, replaced that ugly aluminum and wood horizontal slider window that looked suitable for a mobile home or some other cheap construction. I opened the wall opening at the top and bottom to fit a pair of small Pella wood/aluminum clad windows in, and trimmed the inside with natural stained white oak in the same style the windows originally had but in painted softwood.




In what was the dining room, I removed the ceiling to make a cathedral ceiling in that room, the ceiling was sagged a few inches and they originally had used ordinary 2x4s for rafters holding up a heavy plaster and lath ceiling.
I framed in the wide doorway with the new oak, and a pair of salvaged heavy cast-iron brackets from 1856 are hanging in the two corners.
The horizontal cornice covers the stubs of the rafter and ceiling attachment and provides a little shelf.
I built the gothic style bookcase out of solid oak boards, it was so heavy I had to use a chain hoist to stand it up, and it was a real chore to work around when I redid the floor with porcellain tile and tore out the old floor, it had to be moved around LOL.
A tiny corner of this room's tin ceiling can be seen, as can the tin ceiling in the adjacent room.

The adjacent room's ceiling was really bad, it had sagged down 5" and they had originally used 2x4s for rafters there too, with a heavy plaster and lath ceiling. spaced on 24" centers one of the 2x4s twisted and warped and that left a huge bulge.
My solution to deal with it was I bolted 1/4" thick 2x2 angle irons along both long walls, and used them to support two 4" C channels across the width of the room. I first sheeted the ceiling with 3/4" CDX and used a jack and post to push the ceiling back up in the center, slipped the C channels in and let the weight back down to rest on those.
Then I boxed them in with pine boards, and installed the metal ceiling and painted it since this was aluminum.




The doorway from the other side, it's doubtful there were doors, no evidence of any having ever been there, but the front door is on the right in the pic, and there was a second front door of a different style around the corner in the adjacent room.
I made the pair of gothic styled gates for the doorway out of walnut scraps, and stained them with red mohogany oil stain, keeps the dogs out of this front room which has parquet flooring.







The ceiling in this room, showing an example of the boxed in C channel. I cast 4 reproduction brackets in plaster to hang under them as an added decorative touch. The original was a very ornate antique French wood carving bought on Ebay





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Old 03-11-2013, 05:59 PM   #103
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Re: old buildings


1. I was intrigued by the tin ceiling, never having seen one before. I googled it and was amazed by the retro patterns available - presumably there's a good business in restoration of old ceilings.
It must have saved a lot in the old days in terms of plastering; a good early example of rationalization of building perhaps.

2. The craftsman gothic style bookcase I really like - and the gates, and what's the gothic feature behind (like a church organ?). The atmosphere reminds me a little of that painting by Grant Wood (not the expression on the man's face I would add!) but rather taking the style of another land and time and turning it into something distinctly American. I thought the house looked really nice and homely outside, and the interiors do it justice - you must be proud of it.

Great job!
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:25 PM   #104
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1. I was intrigued by the tin ceiling, never having seen one before. I googled it and was amazed by the retro patterns available - presumably there's a good business in restoration of old ceilings.
It must have saved a lot in the old days in terms of plastering; a good early example of rationalization of building perhaps.
I see you are not in the USA, I assume these tin ceilings are an American phenomenon, the concept dates back to around the 1880s and it was originally invented as a low cost replacement or alternative for plaster ceilings. It was extremely popular in commercial buildings and stores because most of them had a large amount of square footage.
I think the tin was more popular in commercial applications in the Victorian era and the houses built then tended to lean more towards elaborate wallpapers with lots of colors and designs.
There are probably half a dozen firms making new tin and aluminum ceilings today, though 1 or 2 may be just resalers that appear to be manufacturers since they have the same exact designs 1 or 2 others do.


Quote:

2. The craftsman gothic style bookcase I really like - and the gates,

Here's a picture before I added the rest of the door pull rings, and obviously before I replaced the floor too.
I just came up with something for the design on scrap paper and this was the result. The oak boards used was all 5/4" thick, so those inset panels on the side are not panels at all, that's actually one board.




Quote:
and what's the gothic feature behind (like a church organ?). The atmosphere reminds me a little of that painting by Grant Wood (not the expression on the man's face I would add!) but rather taking the style of another land and time and turning it into something distinctly American. I thought the house looked really nice and homely outside, and the interiors do it justice - you must be proud of it.
It actually IS an organ facade, it was my class woodworking project when I went to a community non credit 15-16 course years ago, everyone else built cutting boards and little cabinets and pencil boxes, this was my project.

In the former bedroom behind it the wall is mostly removed behind this, and the bedroom has most of the guts of a 1930 pipe organ, the mechanicals, including the blower is in the basement, and the console is in the adjacent room.
The hanging lamp I also made out of oak, it needs some of that bubble glass used for stained glass windows yet.





Difficult to tell in this photo, but the console is actually on a large platform that has 4 casters under it so it can be rolled out a little or moved as needed, it can't move far since there is a 100pr telco cable and a flexible windline going to the controls from the basement.
This is all solid mohogany with some cherry accents, it was dinged up and some moldings missing that I had to replicate, refinished stained with red mohogany oil stain. It was stored for some time in the churchs' nursery/daycare room but the kids didn't do any damage to it.
I bought the whole thing from them for $1500 around 1996 and it took a medium sized U-Haul truck to move all the parts.
It was built in 1930 and some of it is working, but a lot more to do to get it all working.


Last edited by RWolff; 03-11-2013 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:47 PM   #105
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Re: old buildings


Well, I got news today that crushed my hopes and dreams like a garbage compactor, or so it felt anyway. I heard that someone bought the building for "a project". The next thing I learned, was that it was just sold for ONLY $13,000; the Lowe building included in the price. I'm very disappointed, but perhaps God has other plans for me...

Beautiful house, by the way. I love the old woodwork and the organ. I especially like the white painted tin ceiling, I think it looks even nice than the bare metal one. Must have taken you a long time on just the woodwork alone.
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