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Old 03-07-12, 08:17 PM   #21
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It would be twice as much work considering you'd have to open the exterior and interior sides separately to fill them. If there really is 12" total all around then that's around R40, but then you have to remove the space taken up by the siding, the stuff inside the gap, and the thickness of the wall etc. I'm not sure what's all in there and I don't know if you've had a chance to check it out. Then again an R40 wall might not be cost effective over a very long time anyway. Then again, I did create a 500sq ft house on paper that could be heated with 5000BTU 1500 watt space heater at -14f(-26c) if it could be built with nearly zero infiltration and when it gets that cold the ventilation was turned off. I had too much time on my hands though but the walls were 2x6 filled with cellulose with a 2" XPS R10 sheet outside(R30 walls) and R75 overhead. I guess my point is that it didn't take too much insulation in the walls, so a 12" wall might do quite a bit.

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Old 03-07-12, 08:17 PM   #22
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I'd be giving serious consideration to a tear down.
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Old 03-08-12, 12:24 AM   #23
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I applaud you for tackling this project. It may have "issues" but it is a manageable size and by looking at your other projects, I can tell that you learn by getting your hands on things.

The advice I offer comes from experience ( I own a house built in 1913) and training (I'm an architect.) There is a mechanism that could cause the settling other than compaction of material under the slab/footings - that mechanism is a leaking drain line. The leakage to worry about is not what comes out of the pipe but what can leak into it. Locate the drains from your bath and kitchen and figure the route they take to the septic tank. If the settlement is in the vicinity of these lines and they leak, when the ground is saturated, water can wash soil particles into the waste line, slowly causing a cavity to enlarge above the pipe. The damage can increase slowly for years. Whatever the cause, check it out and deal with it so the rest of your work is, literally, on a firm foundation.

In repairing our house, we have found numerous conditions that the prior owner "fixed" things with cobbled together solutions - furring out the wall inside is one thing, but furring the siding? After a while, we made the previous owner's name a verb - as in "Oh no! Grimmed again!"

Good luck and feel free to ask lots of questions.
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Old 03-08-12, 09:17 AM   #24
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AlanE (and others) advocating for a tear-down: You're absolutely right - it's undoubtedly the cleanest and arguably the simplest way to approach this. But it's not in the cards because it forces an upfront investment in time & money that aren't in the budget.

Also, my style is to ease in to things and poke away at my liesure - thus the name: "Ten Year Project!" I realize I may end up doing more work in the end this way, and am fine with that.

jvanland: thanks for the word of the day - "furring". Also for the idea on what may have caused the settling (drainage). I'm fairly certain the drains run along the other (non-settled) side of the house, but will know more this spring/summer when I get into the kitchen floor.

I did notice what I assumed was just a critter hole along the side that settled. It bears more investigating as a possible water infiltration / washing out site.

Having said that, the house hasn't settled any more since the aluminum siding went on, which must have been 20-30 years ago. The siding was one of the last parts of the house to be "Grimmed" - and it's still plumb.
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Old 03-08-12, 10:59 AM   #25
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I'm picturing this posted on a wall at some point (a crooked wall)...

Anyone here do needlepoint?

Quote:
There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house
Taken literally, the poem works for me! (Just need a cat.)

FYI the historic symbolism of the words: http://www.rhymes.org.uk/there_was_a-crooked_man.htm
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Old 03-08-12, 02:12 PM   #26
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I applaud you for your obvious sense of humor, 'cause only somebody with a sense of humor would buy a house like this with the intentions of repairing it.

When I was a teenager, there was a very run down house about two blocks from where I lived. I walked by it going to school every day. They built a 2 x 4 skeleton of a wall, covered with plastic sheeting about a foot inside of the exterior walls, then removed the entire exterior wall and built new walls. They did this one wall at a time and in less than a summers time, all of the exterior walls had been replaced and sided. It was a nice looking house when completed. IMHO, this is an option worth considering. Of course, I strongly agree with all who said verify or repair the foundation first.

As a side note: I used to tell my girls when they were growing up, I can afford any thing I want if I take my time. Doing it slowly, especially when you have family members or friends who will pitch in, should make this a very affordable and worthwhile project!
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Old 03-08-12, 03:43 PM   #27
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I used to have a place that had an add on which was just posts dug 12" into the dirt holding the roof up. They then added some 2x4's between the posts hung plywood from that and called it finished. I did like gasstingy and build a full supporting wall 12" in from the outside then removed the outside wall, dug and poured footings and a foundation then put 2x6' walls up and anchored the roof down to them. It was a pain but perfectly doable 1 wall at a time. Just don't finish the drywall inside until you're completely done since everything creaks and groans as you put it onto the supporting wall and then back off.
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Old 03-09-12, 09:54 PM   #28
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So, when you are ready to check the slab, here is a simple technique used by structural engineers I know to evaluate parking structure decks for delamination. Get a six foot or so length of heavy chain - think logging chain not swing set chain. Drag the chain in a regular pattern over the surface. Where the slab is solid, the chain will "clink" along with a high-pitched sound. (It helps if the slab has a rough surface. If it is smooth, pick up the chain and drop it along its length.) Where the slab has voids below or delaminations, the sound will abruptly drop in pitch. Work with it for a few minutes and you will hear the difference.

I like the two stories about using shoring (word of the day?) to remove and replace walls. Great technique.
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Old 03-12-12, 04:51 PM   #29
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Default Chuckle of the day: is this door straight or crooked?

This door is the punch line conclusion whenever I give friends/family a tour of Crooked Manor.

This is the "front" door - the one that goes from the living room into the porch. It's dead center in the gable end wall that faces the road.

At first glance, you may not see anything odd about it. The many panes of glass are straight and level after all, and they dominate what the eye is drawn to:




But look closer.... particularly at the outside edges of the door - the distance from the outsides of the panes to the edge...

That's not camera distortion!

They trimmed the door itself to fit inside the crooked opening while leaving the panes level. (And since the panes are still level, that tells me this was among the latest "repairs" they did to address the tilt.)

Always good for a laugh when I point that out.
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Old 03-12-12, 05:42 PM   #30
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That will temporarily conclude my pondering the "crooked issues."

I'm going to focus my attention on the bedroom at the west side/rear of the house. The addition containing this bedroom and the bathroom is level and plumb, set on solid footings directly on bedrock (which is literally just under the grass on that side of the lot).

My rationale for starting here has 2 parts:

1) It's straight & level (easier to deal with).

2) Also, starting with that room means I can then move in because I'll have somewhere nice & clean to sleep and work (I'm self-employed, work on the computer). From there I can branch out to tackle the other parts of the house.

I've already started gutting the bedroom. Water damaged ceiling & old insulation is down, opening up the walls is next on the list.

I have it in my mind that I will double the wall cavity thickness - half of the additional width inside, half outside) to add insulation. (However, I will then likely nullify the increased R-value by installing big windows!)

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