Yes your probably right about the structural integrity of the house,
but even more right about the interior detail. From what I could see
through the windows, the house is outfitted with wide baseboards,
pocket doors, crown moldings, ornate window casings, hardwood maple
floors laid in long strips that are about 1 inch wide (Thinnest, I
have ever seen!), and one room seemed to have a tin ceiling. It is one
huge arc of a house and is a shame that nothing was done earlier. I
also noticed the fancy veranda that was on the front of the house.
Again, people not caring about detail and architectural features.
Lotsa things can make a basement cave in, especially on an abandoned
house. And especially one with an old chinked rubble-stone foundation
like that one likely had (if it was pre-1910 or so), even if the visible
part above grade was brick or skinned in brick. Was this house in frost
country, by any chance? Usual culprit is water, often draining off the
roof with failed or no gutters, saturating the ground near the
foundation and freezing. Frost heave in winter, plus the rain washing
away the chinking between the stones, eventually makes them fall apart
just like an old stone fence. Even if basement is early block or brick,
rather than stone, the mortar used back then was less than ideal, and
foundation drainage was seldom taken into consideration. People expected
basements to be wet. We'd have to see detailed pictures to make an
As to what other poster said- yeah, if you throw enough money at it,
almost anything can be 'restored', but if place is too far gone, it is
more like re-creating it. Kinda like This Old House used to do in the
old days, before they switched to doing rich yuppie mansions. It is
seldom any cheaper than new construction, and only really justified for
historical properties. And even if rebuilt and insulated with modern
materials and HVAC/plumbing, they almost always cost a fortune to operate.
I've been through several properties like that over the years, but it
wasn't with a bunch of kids running wild, probably at night. That hole
in the roof likely had holes (or weak spots) in the floors below it. And
I grew up in the business, so I know how to eyeball spaces before I walk
into them, and stay away from spots likely to hurt me. Some of the
places I saw were indeed magnificent old piles. One even had an inlaid
hardwood floor up in the attic, which apparently was a dancing room for
parties. (In a part of Indianapolis that was a rich neighborhood in the
1900-1920 era, but was now part of the 'hood, bordering on slumdom.) One
can only hope that some historical society or school of architecture
documents places like that before they fall down, because most never
will get rebuilt.
The house didn't die-- but it needs some loving & either a lot of $
or a bit less money and a lot of sweat.
My 100 n'something year old house has a dry laid stone foundation on
clay. The basement was always damp & the ceiling height was 5' 11' &
I'm 6'2". So I began to dig. I wanted to put a French Drain
[sorry heybub] around the perimeter and lower the floor a foot or so.
I got the trench dug- about 1' in from the existing wall-- and mother
nature threw us a 150 year rain deluge. For us 2" is a lot of rain
in one day. This one dropped 4 in 2 hours. . . . . and collapsed 2
adjoining walls in the basement. One for 25', the other for 18'. The
corner between them held. And it didn't crack the plaster
upstairs. [though things shook some & I thought the oak tree had
landed on the roof.
Water erosion alone could do the same thing in a house if nobody was
paying attention to it.
The insurance company said 'pound salt' - the contractor said "$40K
off the top of my head".
So my son, my brothers in law and I had a summers worth of sweat work-
and $10K later I have 2 proper insulated walls of 10" block, perimeter
drains inside and out, an 8' ceiling in most of my basement, and the
basement is pretty dry. [oh--- and some real good life &
construction lessons packed away, too]
Now that its over, I can look back and say it was a good thing it
caved in-- I've got a much better situation down there now than I was
going for with the Band-Aid approach.
On Fri, 03 Sep 2010 21:38:59 -0700, camryguy wrote:
Being a plumber I've seen many shady foundations in older homes. Although
not my job I've warned some residents of the fact in case they didn't
realize they had problems. I've also worked in some homes that were
receiving foundation renovations. It's 100% possible to repair the
foundation and likely a good buy if you get the house cheap enough.
re: "If you wish to reply, please do, but only on the topic being
So it's OK for Hugh to reply "off-topic" since he is on your side, but
Han can't because he disparaged your grammatical skills.
Since some folks are allowed to reply OT, I'll give it a shot and see
This isn't an insult, just an observation. Call it "constructive
As a "licensed Survey Technician" I assume you occasionally need to
write up reports. Have you considered how much more professional you
would appear if proper grammar were used in your writings? I don't
know your employment status, so I'm curious if you think that that
might open some doors for you in terms of advancement.
Just a thought...
Yes I am a Survey Technician, but I do not write reports, I take
observations using a Total Station which are then automatically stored
in a data collector. I, then in a field book, draw a sketch of the
property in question showing all features, fixtures, buildings, ROW,
etc. Once complete, I hand in the field book and the data collector to
the drafts man for processing. If there are any questions, he/she will
ask me for verification (ex. if the number 7 is confused for a 1).
As for advancement, I am as high in the company as I can get right now
as a Survey Technician. I was sent back to school by the company to
get the 'Geomatics Engineering Technologist' Certificate. or GETG.
Who are you and what did you do with camryguy? ;-)
Look at this last post as compared to your first post.
If you had written your first post as well as you wrote this last one,
I doubt this arc of the thread would even exist.
Keep up the good work...and thanks for caring about that old house.
It is certainly a shame to see something like that in its current
We used to go camping on Wellesley Island in the Thousand Islands. On
the road to the campground was (is) a house that had been neglected
for many years.
With each trip we watched it become more overgrown with vegetation and
"shorter" as it slowly collapsed. I was always curious about the
history of the house and what happened to cause it to be abondoned.
Such a shame.
I am sure there are other groups you can bother. I don't care if it
gives you a headache or nausea or whatever. And if your not going to
reply with an "on topic" comment, than please don't. Don't read it, I
don't care at all. Like said earlier, you really don't have anything
good to offer me, so please stop trying.
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