When Wood Kisses The Earth

Sounds kind of poetic, don’t you think? Well it’s never a good thing when it involves an 82 year old house.

Warning: Some of the images below may be disturbing to some viewers.

I must say none of this will be that hard to fix –  It’s to be expected in old houses. This one was pretty ravaged by termites, so I’ve replaced many floor joists in this old girl already – they’ll be a topic of a future post.

The plan is to remove the concrete slab and front steps to allow for a proper foundation and crawl space storage for the new sunroom.

OK, not good already. The dirt was brought up to the sill level and cinder fill was placed on top to support the concrete slab floor and steps. The concrete was poured right up to the wood. I’m counting the dollars in my head as  I’m anticipating quite a lot of termite and wood rot issues.

As more is uncovered I can see some other potential problems with the front foundation.

So we have exposed the side wall. Looks like I’m going to have the privilege of showing you how to replace sills and floor joists.

Let’s take a closer look. You can see the sill is rotted away under the front door foundation. Someone tried to make a wood fill and caulking repair. Was that Stacey or Victoria? They are the ‘caulking queens” after all.

The sills (supposed to be wood – looks like dirt here) sit atop the brick foundation. The floor joists perch on the sill. The joists are rotted as well. No wonder there was a slope to the floor at the front door.

Outside corner of the step foundation looking pretty interesting. May look terrible to you, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward fix. – You’ll see. But that brick foundation has got to go.

Shawn Thomas concrete & masonry dude

One thing I would like to say if you are a homeowner and want to attempt any renovation – whether it’s DIY or you have a general contractor.  Learn as much as you can about what you want to build or remodel. Know the best practices of construction – it’s all out there on the web.  Knowledge is power – and it’s your Home we’re talking about here. Then find a good contractor to support the parts you can’t do yourself. I have this guy and I have to admit – he’s pretty darn good at what he does. He has the work ethic and knowledge to do it right. I think you can tell by now that I’m very demanding in quality – and so far he’s delivered. Here’s his site if you need some concrete or masonry work in our neck of the woods. Shawn Thomas Concrete and Masonry Service. Gee, I hope he gives me a discount for this testimonial.

Stay tuned fearless warriors – things will be looking up soon.

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8 thoughts on “When Wood Kisses The Earth

  1. It was Victoria…

    (that was hilarious!) And also completely crazy. I wondered at some point if you regretted doing this, as you know what happens anytime you tear something up… you find things that won’t make you happy. Then I remembered who I was commenting to. Of course you’re happy you did it… because it will allow you to fix it and do it right. It’s also fun to watch…. and we don’t have to pay for it. (laughing) Just kidding, Curt. I sympathize… but also very impressed. Good work here and I’m sure there’s more to come. Seriously, who would caulk something like that?

    • Hi Stacey – you’re right – I have no regrets. I guess you can tell this is not a DIY to save money. It is done for the love of the challenge and to bring a charmng 82 year old house back to embrace our lives and hopefully many generations to follow. Everything will be rebuilt or replaced. Costs will be about double for a new house build – but that’s OK if the final home is what I envision. My favorite part is the final stages – but you have to build it right to get there. I think the caulk and wood was put there to stop the breeze :). It’s a fun project, although a long one.

    • A kindred spirit. Mine’s just a baby compared to yours. I try not to get to detailed in my posts, but if you need some insight on anything, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m no expert – well, I was a union carpenter many years ago… so I know a couple of things about building. Good luck – I’ll be watching.

  2. I understand old house I grew up in them. Spent many a summer with my Aunt jacking up houses and fixing crawl space, slabs, or basements. Good luck.

  3. That was a scary post. I always find it nice when I tear something up and find hardly any damage. It confirms i have a solid house. Usually when I tear something apart I hold my breath hoping I don’t find snake skins or dead rats and stuff like that. I almost had a heart attack when I found those rotten floor boards the other day. LOL and now I feel kind of guilty that I didn’t tear it out and fix it but I know this is beyond my budget and skill set.
    What I don’t understand about your post is what is that hole Shawn is standing in? Is that where your steps were? and where does that hole on the left side go to?
    And Shawn…if you are reading this….give him a good deal just for being a handy guy.

    • You are quite perceptive. That picture of Shawn is a little later (like this past Friday). That hole he is standing in is the new crawlspace that goes under the sunroom. It is located where the concrete slab for the porch was located. The hole to the left will be a large footing of solid concrete to support the corner of the building. This excavation will show up in a couple of posts.

  4. Pingback: Veneer Stone #3 Getting it on the Wall | Adventures in Remodeling

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