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View Diary: Bricks, or the Damnedest Clues in the Damnedest Places (152 comments)

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  •  umm, yeah, workers salvaging materials for their (4+ / 0-)

    own homes... we live in one of those.

    that is, based on the evidence, the builder of our property was one of the crew building the whole subdivision. he was NOT a (very) skilled workman when he started!

    we have discerned several hands at work in both of the chimneys (fireplace in the LR and oil heater chimney in the central hall)

    the hardwood floors in the LR and both bedrooms are 90% short-stick oak, but the other 10%? yee-haw! mixed hardwoods of maybe a dozen types, that my DH could identify as he was sanding for the last floor refinish.

    our ceilings (throughout) are ... 93.5 inches, or 2.5 inches shy of 8 feet! we had to cut down ALL of our bookcases, which had been built to normal 8' height! (maybe 10 of them?)

    and the original drywall is close to 2 inches thick, belt & suspenders because they were switching to the new, unknown drywall stuff... so we have 1x4 or 1x8 foot HORIZONTAL drywall panels, with regular plaster on top. which we figured out about when we insulated the exterior walls.

    floor doesn't squeak though! the first 6 mo we were here, me and teh kiddo (age 3?) went under the house to string the satellite wire from one end to the other. He was running around upright in the bays! we have maybe 18 inch pier blocks flat on the (DRY) ground; on those run the... 12x18 inch? beams full length of the house. then on top of those are the subfloor of 4x8? double-tongue-and-groove. and then the oak short-sticks. the perimeter concrete foundation has a couple of small cracks, but the flooring ain't goin' NO-WHERE!

    don't ASK about what they did to the rafters in the garage, or about their leaving the roof off all one summer (birds nest in the soffit!), or about the wiring! at least it isn't aluminum!

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 04:21:25 PM PST

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    •  I think I know that guy. Sry but I'm in stiches (1+ / 0-)
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      over that. Sry, the short ceilings would drive me nuts.

      he was NOT a (very) skilled workman when he started!
      I do a lot of "can you finish what this other guy started" work. Sometimes the other guy is the homeowner, sometimes just a crank.  

      I especially like it when they ask me to finish a job they rejected my bid on in the first place.

      Uh, sure, I take my coffee with cream and sugar, thanks.

      Is it an old house? With plaster it must be. Did they stack the drywall to plumb it up with the existing plaster? You'll see that after rewiring or ductwork. Sometimes the'll fir strip over a cracked up plaster ceiling with 2x4s. (Because how in the world can you find a joist behind plaster? or repair plaster for that matter).  So you might have a 2 1/2 dropped ceiling.

      My last job I had to remove a lot of that kind of thing and start over. Most times its best to just leave it alone instead of going backward with crappy repairs.  And that god awful popcorn coating that's supposed hide cracks!

      I met a guy who tried to extol the virtues of his broom technique with joint compound on ceilings. It was his art. Just smear joint compound all over a cracked plaster ceiling with a floor broom and put a swirl pattern in it. 20 gallons of mud later, you can't notice the damage because the entire ceiling looks like crap. :)

      •  I can name that tune in 3 notes, fisheye! (1+ / 0-)
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        It's unbelievable what some people will try to get away with....and all too often succeed.

        We had offers from similarly-skilled individuals to come and "help."  It's been easy to say "no, thanks."  And other people who have seen what we've done here have asked to hire me for repointing, usually for about $1 an hour.  It's been easy to say "no, thanks" to them, too.

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 05:16:03 AM PST

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        •  As soon as you started talking about (0+ / 0-)

          lime mortar, I knew you cared.

          There's little that bother's me more than seeing type S repairs destroying historic masonry. And an eyesore to boot.

          I really appreciate this diary.

          I was removing oilskin canvas plaster covering from a 100 year old house last month and found cartoon sketches penciled all over the bare plaster underneath. No doubt by the original carpenters. Really spectacular house built by a retail mogul in Detroit's hey day.
          They were getting drunk after work, and drawing cartoons about it on the walls. Pretty impressive art work actually. The homeowner wanted me to just paint over it, so I recovered it with modern paintable wall covering so maybe it will be revealed again someday.

      •  partial reply to fisheye -- hey, glad it was (0+ / 0-)

        good for a laugh, 8-)

        when we bucked-up the insulation? we started in teh boy's room, drilling from the inside instead of the outside. that meant patching the existing surface, which was textured. that was SUCH a mess, only my husband's stubbornness and skill resulted in anything like an acceptable finish and he's still not really happy with it. (managed to get bat insul. into the bottom 2/3s of the walls)

        when we moved on to our bedroom, we just took all the walls down and replaced with modern drywall. actually MUCH easier!

        Kitchen & LR CEILINGS had cracks, from, I swear, where they started plastering and then wandered off for long enough for the open frame to get rained on! that's what we deduced anyway. so DH sanded and about went crazy AGAIN trying to match the blinkety blank texture on the ceiling. he's artistic, stubborn (as I mentioned) and VERY good with his hands, so these ceiling repairs came out in the category of "he can still see them, but probably only a construction pro of pro plaster-man would be able to"

        He did a masterful job of replacing the floor where the oil heater had been (hardwood short-stick, oak), but then he's a woodworker. The ceiling repair, where the oil burner had been, was our first try and it's bumpy enough that I can see it, but he's not going to re-do it at this point (we're almost out of here).

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 02:06:07 PM PST

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    •  The old houses in New England (1+ / 0-)
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      often had very short ceilings, some less than 7 ft with 6ft doors. People were shorter back then and frugal ones used less materials. The lower the ceiling the easier to heat. An old world example is PBSs Doc Martin taking place in cornwall England. In almost every episode he bangs his head in the doorway of his practice.

      music- the universal language

      by daveygodigaditch on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 09:11:34 PM PST

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    •  Despite the annoyance of eccentricity (0+ / 0-)

      you have a house with a great story, and I'm sure you love it in ways that the builder never did.

      And, at the very least, he knew how to put in a foundation....

      "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

      by DrLori on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 05:17:22 AM PST

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