Maintaining old houses

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Anondson
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Maintaining old houses

Postby Anondson » June 5th, 2015, 5:48 pm

Figured a thread could be used for questions and topics about keeping old houses livable. But I had an ulterior motive anyway right now regardless.

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Anondson
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby Anondson » June 5th, 2015, 5:51 pm

For those who have bought old houses, what have you done for very old windows. Who do you recommend to update old double hung windows. I don't want to replace, but the strings in three of ours has failed and we need it fixed. Don't wish to do it ourselves, we don't have faith in our own talent or skill. :)

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby seanrichardryan » June 5th, 2015, 8:31 pm

Replacing ropes is super easy, but there are plenty of handman types in the SW Journal that can help you with that.
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby mplser » June 6th, 2015, 8:33 am

I just wanna say, Gaytee-Palmer did an amazing job rebuilding the stained glass window in my late 1800's condo after it started to buckle inwards and fall apart. They only do stained glass so idk how relevant it is though....

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby David Greene » June 6th, 2015, 7:56 pm

We had Paul Schmidt at Restoration Window Systems recondition all of our original wooden sashes, tie new ropes where needed, install replica locks where needed and put in all new storm windows everywhere. It wasn't cheap but it wasn't nearly as much as I thought it would be either.

Reconditioning means unsticking sashes, weather stripping and reglazing. He'll rebuild sashes if necessary.

We had crappy 1950's-era aluminum storms. Paul put on modern aluminum (?) storms that have a nice color to them. It made a HUGE difference in ambient noise.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby David Greene » June 6th, 2015, 7:57 pm

I just wanna say, Gaytee-Palmer did an amazing job rebuilding the stained glass window in my late 1800's condo after it started to buckle inwards and fall apart. They only do stained glass so idk how relevant it is though....
Do they do leaded glass? Our house is missing all of its original stained/leaded glass (curse some previous owner!) and I've been looking for salvage for years. Nothing ever seems to fit.

kirby96
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby kirby96 » June 8th, 2015, 6:36 pm

Well this is a timely thread. Started removing a wall in my 100 yr old house today, and of course there's a heating pipe that makes an inexplicable 90 degree bend to cross the area I'd like to open up (yes, I tried to figure out the most likely pipe runs before starting).

So anyone have experience moving radiant heat pipes? I'm not talking a whole sale move but rerouting an approximately 6 ft section closer to a wall and then running along ceiling a few feet. I don't mean how to do it (way above my skills), but cost and feasibility? I'm sure it's feasible I suppose but is this a thousand dollar job or a many thousand dollar job? If the latter, I may just close her back up. Old houses. I, err, LOVE them!

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jw138
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby jw138 » June 8th, 2015, 6:43 pm

So anyone have experience moving radiant heat pipes? I'm not talking a whole sale move but rerouting an approximately 6 ft section closer to a wall and then running along ceiling a few feet. I don't mean how to do it (way above my skills), but cost and feasibility? I'm sure it's feasible I suppose but is this a thousand dollar job or a many thousand dollar job? If the latter, I may just close her back up. Old houses. I, err, LOVE them!
I would guess less than a thousand, but I'm no plumber. I'd call a couple plumbers to swing by and give you a free estimate. I bet you could get a couple in yet this week.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby mplsjaromir » June 8th, 2015, 6:47 pm

Replacing the unwanted metallic pipe with PEx tubing. Fairly simple to do.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby David Greene » June 8th, 2015, 6:50 pm

Heh. I've got the opposite problem. At one point someone moved the heat pipes from an outside wall to inside the living room. Now we have two upgly pipes going up the wall to the master bedroom, blocking a chance to put really much of any furniture on that wall.

The only thing I can figure is the reroute was done to create space in the bedroom. Besides the obvious heat loss problem, is there some other reason *not* to run heat pipes in an exterior wall? I mean, the original builder did it. The placement of the radiator in the bedroom is non-optimal, heating-wise so moving it back to its original spot is attractive for a number of reasons.

I'm pretty sure the original pipes are still in the wall because there's at least one disconnected pipe in the basement. The other is likely hidden behind the rim joist.

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jw138
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby jw138 » June 8th, 2015, 7:25 pm

Besides the obvious heat loss problem, is there some other reason *not* to run heat pipes in an exterior wall? I mean, the original builder did it.
Maybe water condensation in the wall when you have a hot metallic pipe that close to the cooler exterior portion of the exterior wall? Or, maybe a rupture in the wall is possible if the boiler shuts down for whatever reason and the pipe full of water freezes? Can't really think of anything else...

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby FISHMANPET » June 8th, 2015, 7:41 pm

All the radiator pipes in my house run outside the walls. Maybe mine aren't original and they all had to be replaced at some point?

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby David Greene » June 8th, 2015, 8:07 pm

Yeah, I thought maybe there was a leak at some point. I'm still betting on a space issue. Our queen bed frame just barely fits with enough space for me to slip in along the outer wall while leaving the outlet next to the closet door exposed. The radiator now sits beyond the closet door where there is about 3-4 feet of dead space to the opposite wall (R=radiator, O=old location).

Code: Select all

___ __________ |R BBBBBBBBO| |R BBBBBBBBO| |R BBBBBBBBO| | BBBBBBBB |
The thing is, the radiator used to sit right where the exterior windows are, which is where it's supposed to go for heating purposes. I would be ok covering the outlet with the bed and crawling over the foot of the bed to go to sleep.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby seanrichardryan » June 8th, 2015, 9:39 pm

Hot water pipes outside the walls is completely normal.
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Anondson
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby Anondson » August 23rd, 2015, 8:02 am

Discovered my house still has its original wood siding under the aluminum it currently has. The old siding is four inch wood.

Is it more cost effective in the immediate (not considering the long term maintenance) to completely re-side with new maintenance-free siding, or to try to recover the original wood underneath? I had a bid to re-side with something much more appealing than the boring siding we have now that topped $14,000 for our tiny 1946 story-and-a-half.

I'm hoping recovering the original works out to be affordable enough to consider.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby David Greene » August 24th, 2015, 11:14 am

Completely re-doing our (on the large end) story-and-a-half came in at around $25k. That included some major trim repair work, replacing rotted moulding and soffits, a completely new porch skirt, a completely new foundation drip cap around the whole house, building a completely new half-moon decorative element for the dormer and painting the whole thing. Painting alone will run $10k or more. I don't think $14k is out of line at all. Exterior work is expensive (what isn't?).

I would definitely have someone come out and evaluate the condition of the wood siding. Ours was visibly warped and cracked and had to be replaced. Yours has been sitting somewhat protected for some number of years and might be in ok shape. Get an expert to look at it. My guess is that stripping and painting it will be cheaper than replacing it and then painting (if required). If you go that route, make sure the contractors are certified to work with lead! You don't want them sanding your house...

If you're looking at replacement, be sure to get bids for various materials, from several contractors. We ran into some surprises, where some contractors charged quite a bit more for Hardie Board than cedar. Their justification was that Hardie is heavier and more difficult to install. In the end we went with cedar (from another contractor) primarily because some of the elements to be repaired (the foundation drip cap, for example) couldn't be replicated with Hardie.

Also, check your neighborhood association to see what money might be available. The low-interest loan programs alone are very worth the small effort required to apply for them.

Metamorphosis was our general contractor but if you want to cut that aspect out, I can't recommend Hannan Exterior of Dalbo, MN enough. Russ is as honest as they come and he was super easy to work with. He crafted some new window crowns that are indistinguishable from the originals. If you do go with a general, maybe they will work with Hannan. Metamorphosis chose them and we're very happy they did.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby mattaudio » August 24th, 2015, 12:05 pm

You may want to consider LP SmartSide and Miratec, two products which are somewhat cheaper than Hardieboard and much easier to cut and install. I had a combination of those two products used all over my house for trim and dormer siding.

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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby mister.shoes » August 24th, 2015, 1:45 pm

We're very pleased with the LP SmartSide we put on our 1939 cape cod. Our cedar shake siding was in really rough shape that would have taken considerable work to rehab, so we ended up replacing it with the SmartSide lap. It's not entirely authentic to the era, but it looks far better than Hardie, as the latter lacks depth and would have resulted in a pretty bland look.
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby seanrichardryan » August 24th, 2015, 1:53 pm

In general, all of the new products are way over-scaled for a house of your vintage. Smartside is also pretty ugly i.m.o. It does a bad job of faking it, as the 'grain' is way too pronounced.
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Re: Maintaining old houses

Postby FISHMANPET » August 24th, 2015, 7:49 pm

OK, I did something stupid and broke a window thing by leaving it outside during a windstorm. But I'm not sure what it is to figure out how to repair/replace it. My house has old wood indows, and on the outside are just... pieces of glass in aluminum frames basically put over the old windows. They clip in with some clips that I couldn't fit in because I didn't have enough of a ladder so I left it outisde, and it fell over shattering the glass. The frame is fine so in theory I could just replace the glass in that? Or maybe a new piece would be cheaper? But I don't know what it's even called.

I can post pictures when it's light out if my ramblings make no sense.


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