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Country Discussion Topics
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Renovating a farm house
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sarah    Posted 05-11-2004 at 05:53:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Just hoping for a little advice, my husband an i inherited an old farmhouse and we're wondering how to go about fixing it up. Want to open up some of the rooms, so they aren't so small?

Any advice would be appreciated.


sarah    Posted 05-13-2004 at 06:33:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
thanks for your advice. i'll keep you posted. i don't know exactly when we are going to start, we have a 3 month old daughter that is consuming our time right now.

Thanks everyone,

T D in Tennessee    Posted 05-11-2004 at 12:18:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
your best piece of advice I felt the need to second. If you remove some walls, BE SURE that they aren't load bearing.

buck    Posted 05-11-2004 at 08:11:50       [Reply]  [No Email]

A lot will depend on the type of constructon. Like someone mention the stone construction. On my 1861 frame house I totaly gutted the interior except for the entrace hall an took a lot of time preserving the floors, trim,windows,doors,etc. I put in all new wireing, insulation, dry wall. A late 1945 addition I completely remved and went back with modern area with kitchen,den,2 baths,1 bed room, mud room and 2 car garage. All trim flooring ,doors etc. of the new part was made to match the old as close as possible. Think this is probably something that you will really have to have a love for.

rhouston    Posted 05-11-2004 at 08:10:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
we found that the fire dept. did a very nice renovation job. Seriously ours was too far gone to work with economicaly. torched the old and built it again new.

my only advice with old houses is there are always surprizes when you open up old walls.

Any job that seems simple will cascade into a long drawn out affair with much more repair work than you thought

Stony Jim    Posted 05-11-2004 at 07:51:07       [Reply]  [No Email]

Morning! I have a stone house on 170 acres built about 1805. It has a frame addition built in 1910. I find that you have to be a bit creative running electric and pipes since you can't run those things through the walls! It originally had a slate roof that I had to replace with tin about 10 years ago- slate got so rotten that you fix 1 leak and create 6 more doing it!
If you decide to take out walls, be careful that you don't take out load bearing walls. Things tend to sag if you do.

Hey Stoney-    Posted 05-11-2004 at 08:23:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just out of the paint shop with that Farmall?

Hows about reducing your photo sizes when you post? I had to put an extention on my moniter just to see your place!


Stony Jim OOPS!    Posted 05-11-2004 at 09:09:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Realized I didn't dood that untill after I dood it! The pic is a couple years old, hadn't quite finished when I took it. Now has the decals and weights and air cleaner pipe on it.

mud    Posted 05-11-2004 at 11:59:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
sure is prettier than my oliver. i'd be afraid of scrathin yours. too nice a job. bet you scratched it though, huh? hahaha... you had to, i just know it.


dogbardave    Posted 05-11-2004 at 07:36:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
...check w/your local building dept. re: dealing with lead-based paint, especially if you have "ankle-biters" crawling around. Get a vacuum cleaner w/a hepa filter.

good luck!

mud    Posted 05-11-2004 at 07:14:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
bkeeper has it right. get that electrical panel changed a.s.a.p.

a lot of the old houses still have the original service, these are often 60 amp without a disconnect to shut the power off when you got trouble. the only way to kill the power with these old service panels is to pull out the meter.
sure, you can unscrew a fuse, but that ain't gonna help you it there has been some creative wiring in the place.

when you re- do the plumbing do yourself a favor and put ball valves in instead of gate valves or stem valves. also put these ball valves in as shut off valves to each bathroom, the kitchen, laundry. that way when you get froze pipes or leaks you can shut down that part and not interupt water supply to the rest of the house.

renovating an old house can be dusty and interruptive of your peace if you let it.

plaster dust is like talcum powder. it will find a way into every nook and cranny. use plastic and put up temporary walls to close off the areas you are working in. you'll be glad you did that later...

best advice i can give you is be safe, have fun, and make the place comfortable for you and your kit&kin.

i have done my share of this kind of work over the years as a general contractor and on my place too. don't be afraid to ask questions and get help when you need it.

good luck to you and go for it!


Bkeepr    Posted 05-11-2004 at 06:04:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
We live in a 110 year old farmhouse and love it. What you do depends a lot on your personal taste.

For us, the beauty of the place is all the old "stuff" you don't see anymore, and the quality of the construction. The places we have problems all seem to be related to modern upgrades (8 year old roof on an extension leaked, 100 year old tin roof didn't).

Anyway, I'd suggest the place to invest time and money is first in electrical (we use a lot more appliances nowadays than they did back when), then in plumbing, and finally in HVAC.

We still have a 50 or 60 year old steam heating system in the house that we love. However, the former owners installed a heat pump as backup heat and as air conditioning for the summer time, and frankly that is a great idea that I'd recommend. We don't use much AC (high ceilings, real windows, planned air flow all make for a much cooler house without it) but it is nice to have when things get really hot.

I'm sure others will disagree, and want all the most modern conveniences, but we love our old place pretty much the way it was. We've found the smaller rooms are actually very nice.

Tom A

rhouston    Posted 05-11-2004 at 08:14:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
My house is based on the original 1880's farm house that stood on the site. It's amazing what well placed windows do for the cooling of the house. Those old timers didn't mess around when it came to cross breezes in the house.

sdg    Posted 05-11-2004 at 06:36:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
We live in a old farm house(finished being built in 1900) and the same family had always lived here, so things never really changed. Since moving here, we haven't changed much. the heating is a basement size wood furnace and and oil furnace. We are updating the oil furnace this summer. as bkeeper said electricity needs updated, but i agree with him, i bought an old house just for that..being an old house. I have hard wood floors thru out the house and beautiful wood work also. I couldn't have got this beautiful with no new house. So My opoinion, keep it to the time it was built and you'll not regret it. Keep us updated and maybe so us some pictures. Good Luck!

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