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Thread: RE: Building Reconstruction

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
    Posts
    3,866

    Default RE: Building Reconstruction

    I just thought I would share my recent experiences with you folks since some of you might appreciate what I am going through.

    Heidi and I have lived in our house at Unity now for the past 10 years. From Day 1 we knew that the front wall had a slight bulge in it. However, it wasn't until last Fall that we realized that this problem was a structural problem and not just cosmetic. We should have realized this a number of years ago since we have found many things that the former homeowners and builders did that haven't been "quite right" (i.e. electrical junctions that consist of electrical wires being wire nutted and taped together without junction boxes, using light switches as "junction boxes", plumbing that doesn't have individual shut offs, etc.)

    In any case, last Fall a contractor came in (actually two) and both said the best thing to do was sell the house . . . which we had a problem with since a) we love the house and the area (after all it's only five minutes from the Unity House of Pizza) and b) it wouldn't be ethical to sell a house that could potentially fall down.

    This Spring the ever resilient Heidi decided that at the very least we needed to fix a small section of the sill that was rotten and ants had made a nice home in . . . unfortunately that project soon spread to fixing some bad floor stringers . . . and to make a long story short that project eventually expanded to the point where I ripped down all of the wall covering (a luan-like wallboard) and drywall in the bedroom, bathroom, foyer and part of the living room. That's the bad news.

    The good news is that with the "bones" of the house exposed one of the contractors came back and said the house could be saved and would be a much easier job than he expected. Of course, the solution would not be something we could do as it involves jacking and removing the entire front wall of the house and putting in a new stronger wall and connecting the roof rafters to the wall in a better fashion.

    Currently we're in middle of the project which means that we're basically living in one upstairs bedroom on a full (read "way too small") bed . . . although I should back up and say that I'm spending more of my time sleeping on the couch since Heidi wants me to guard against "burglars" (maybe my snoring will scare them away.)

    Some highlights thus far:

    -- Pre Construction Phase . . . Heidi and I lifted a 12 foot long 6 x 6 timber underneath in our crawl space to help prop up a section of the floor (this was before we called in the experts) . . . and unfortunately the beam fell hitting Heidi in the chest (she now has a nasty bruise).

    -- On Day 1 (or rather Night 1) Heidi moved from the bedroom bed to the den's couch and then finally to the back seat of the 4Runner parked in the garage since she heard "creaking" (no doubt from the house settling) and became convinced that the house was going to collapse (meanwhile I slept inside happily snoring away.)

    -- On Day 1 (and every day so far) our five cats cower in fear all day long and hide from the workers . . . and then proceed to go nuts with all of their pent up energy when they leave so all night long they run around the house, exploring new spaces and leaping up and down from the newly created void spaces.

    -- On Day 2 the crew had an entirely new wall in place. To keep out bugs and animals they temporarily attached clear plastic along the entire front wall . . . it kind of reminded me of the saying about living in glass houses . . . well, plastic houses at least. Again, I pulled guard duty since a would-be burglar would have only needed to bring a sharp steak knife to get inside.

    -- On Day 3 (yesterday) the crew had attached plywood to the front and had started working on the inside which meant some plumbing in the soon-to-be remodeled bathroom was cut and plumbing re-plumbed. Unfortunately, in their haste the cold and hot water lines running upstairs were switched. This morning Heidi and I didn't realize this so she ended up washing her hair in the kitchen sink while I took an ice cold shower (I can personally vouch that the water coming up out of my well is ice cold and very refreshing . . . especially at 6:30 in the morning.)

    -- Day 3 . . . the crew found a cache of old toys that apparently was hidden in one of the inside walls. Since this house was built in the 70s I was hoping that maybe there would be some mint condition Star Wars toys or something valuable . . . but alas the collection consisted of a smashed up Hotwheels truck, plastic bear missing its tail and some other worthless trash/toys.

    Oh well . . . just got to keep focusing on the end goal . . . that and go geocaching tomorrow!
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Solon, Maine
    Posts
    5,940

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjake
    I just thought I would share my recent experiences with you folks since some of you might appreciate what I am going through.
    WE KNOW! WE KNOW! LOL!

    Someday we'll have to post pictures sof what our house looked like when we first bought it. Almost falling in. No running water, outhouse off the back, only heat was a big cast iron stove in the cellar.

    But 20 years later, it's ALMOST a place we can be proud of.

    Believe me, when you get done, you'll look back at your efforts with laughs and tears!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    abbot me
    Posts
    754

    Talking Remodeling

    During the almost forty years I have been in the building buisness I thought I had seen it all.I've built new homes all over southern Me.and done countless remodels.Own my own masonery contracting buisness for awhile doing fire places and chimneys.Expanded that into house jacking and foundation work.This buisness I sold to my brother in W.Newfield and he in turn built it into Dennis Morin Building Movers.Now I just help my son Paul,who has his own building buisness here in Abbot.

    The job he has gotten us into right now is by far the worst I have ever seen.This house has been remodeled countless times over the last century,and no one ever had a clue of what they were doing.Every morning when we head for work,we hope it burnt during the night.So far no such luck.

    Jake if you and Hiedi get discouraged come up and take a look at this place.You'll be glad you have what you do.

    The home that Cheryl and I now own here in down town Abbot was built in 1842.It is one of the oldest homes in town and it looks it!!We are currantly in the process of moving the house back from the road and putting it on a foundation.(When I say "in the process" that means we are thinking about it) all we need is money and ambition.

    Living in a old home is a wonderful experience.You get to know the temp outside without even going out.Its the same on the inside!!You can tell when its raining,because you can hear the water running through thre cellar.When the curtains blow out into the room,you know the wind is blowing.

    People who live in nice new homes have no idea what Maine living is suppose to be like.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Jay and Houlton, Maine
    Posts
    175

    Default

    People who live in nice new homes have no idea what Maine living is suppose to be like.
    Nice new homes can have big problems too, especially if the buyer doesn't "disclose" the problems. I bought a little 4 year old ranch house only to have no water the day after I moved in (I was single with my son in college, so no money). I should have seen the warning signs when the owers did all they could to prevent me from looking to closely at the house. I didn't have a drilled well as they said, (I should have read the real estate ad a little closer), but a hand-dug well, but I probably wouldn't even have realized what a dug well meant... being a woman! After 100's of dollars later trying to get the water system to work, I gave up and had a well drilled. Within a couple months I started having electrical problems and after hiring an electrician to fix the problem I found out that ALL the wiring in the house was used from Foster's Manufacturing! Oh, and the house was heated with a 30 year old furnace that I had to replace two years after moving into that nightmare home! I never did figure out what was wrong or how to fix the smell in the bathroom! It smelled like urine no matter how hard I tried scrubbing it down and my Dad said I needed to tear up the floor and replace it. When I complained about the problems in the house, I was told "buyer beware"! I wanted that house to burn flat so badly, but I didn't want to go to jail so I sold the miserable place. A few months later I heard that the back wall of the house all most caved in and luckily the new owner noticed it before it happened and had the wall braced up and then repaired. That happened because whoever built that dump house didn't put the deck on right so all the water run off, ran into the wall and rotted it. And here I thought the deck was the only good thing about that house. Don't get discourage Jake and Heidi...new is not all it is cracked up to be either!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
    Posts
    3,866

    Default

    Well my house certainly isn't as old as VicBiker's or as "new" as Hiker Twins. In fact, it was built in the mid-70s by the home owner who apparently knew just enough to do things half-way right . . . the good news is that it appears that between ourselves and the contractor we can get this house to be all the way right.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  6. #6

    Default

    he crew found a cache of old toys that apparently was hidden in one of the inside walls. Since this house was built in the 70s I was hoping that maybe there would be some mint condition Star Wars toys or something valuable . . . but alas the collection consisted of a smashed up Hotwheels truck, plastic bear missing its tail and some other worthless trash/toys.
    In other words (at least to some people)... trade items.

    Wow! Look! A brand new GPS! Cool! What do I have to trade? Hmmm.. A bear, missing its tail, and... hey a couple of smashed up Hotwheels. Perfect!

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