Brick Foundation


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Old 04-23-08, 07:39 PM
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Brick Foundation

I am looking at a great old house, circa probably 1900, in the original portion of town. It needs work from top to bottom, primarily cosmetic, all of which is fairly easy for me to get done; however, foundation is an area I am not knowledgable in. I hope to get some good ideas here.

The foundation is brick. It appears to be a single layer thick. There are no obviously damaged portions. There is not any outward bulging, except in one portion where a new water main was added last year, and the boys did not regrout the brick that they moved during their digging.

The foundation stands at 3 bricks high, above ground; all the way around the house. There is no obvious signs of settlement inside the house. It appears to be holding fine.

The basement is very small. It is completely dirt, most of it is crawl spaces. The pillars supporting the floor are brick and mortar. They touch down into the dirt. It does not appear to be sinking. The floors appear nominally straight.

I do not believe that the brick has been regrouted in recent memory. Except along the back, some handyman must have decided to leave the bricks, but to grout over them, giving them a conrete appearance. They are completely grouted over on the outside only.

There are no signs of moisture in the basement, including on the portions that are exclusively the brick. The woods on the floors is in about as good a shape as any I have seen from the basement, no signs of mold or damage.

My question is, is this foundation acceptable? What steps should I take to insure that it remains that way? I might be able to round up some pictures, however, I hope I decribed it well enough for some basic advice.

The house is a bargain. The outside has a lot of peeling paint, but the wood siding is largely unbroken and solidly attached. The roof needs new shingles, but the old woods appears to be holding very straight. The inside has been almost entirely sheetrocked. New plumbing was installed a year ago. The electric system is on circuits at 150 amps. It has a 3-4 year old furnace with new duct work. The previous owners even went to the trouble of installing new ducts. The wood might just be original, beautiful oak everywhere, including the floors, that is just begging for some sanding and staining.

The price is $11,000, which is reasonable for the area. It comes with a quarter acre and a single garage the previous owner slapped a new roof and siding on to.

Thoughts, please?
 
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Old 04-23-08, 07:49 PM
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Hello, Mr. Chuck and welcome to the DIY Forums!

May I ask where this property might be located? Just a general area...not a town or street.

I think for a price of $11,000...is that really correct, not a typo?

I'd buy it if it was to fall down tomorrow!

Connie
 
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Old 04-23-08, 08:13 PM
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Lol. It is in Nebraska. It is in a small town, but about 45 minutes from the city, so the prices are very reasonable. The average 3 bed, 1 bath house runs about $50,000, if you want something that isn't work.

$11,000 is correct, no typo. I suppose I could give a few more details about the house proper, if you're interested in that. It is 1,450 square foot. One side of the house is two story, the other is one story and one-half. The attic is open and has enough space that another room and a bathroom could easily be added. The attic is useful for seeing the old slat roof still exists, though there are no signs of leakage, save over a small portion of the kitchen, which has since been patched and the wood long dried (though I still plan to cut it and replace it.) It has an enclosed front porch with glass windows which open inwardly. There is a smallish deck off of the back with a ramp for wheelchairs. The yard is decent. The previous owner went to the trouble of tearing out the dozens of young trees that pop up like weeds around here. There is a pine out front, a few younger trees as well; and an enormous older tree out back.

The house has all the original wood work. This includes the old style thick trim around the floor. The trim all stand about 4 inches high. The rooms have the old heavy oak doors. The trim upstairs has a small wheathead and lines at the bottom of door each doorway trim.

The floors are the hard oak, dirty and scratched to heck, but the scratches are light and there are no broken patches. I do believe it will salvagable!

The kitchen is the worst room. It has a new floor but there is a portion of the drywall on the ceiling that needs patched and the cupboards and counter are both unattractive and worthless.

It comes with a new washer and drier (mainfloor), as well as a fridge and stove. The floors in the kitchen and bathroom are new, but I intend to remodel the rooms otherwise.

An interesting pattern was done in most of the ceiling throughout the house. A swirling pattern, it is very attractive and hides the mistakes of the handyman-drywaller.

An interesting thing is a heavy old bar mirror, not used in the house, but which comes with it. It is a 6 foot beast and very heavy.

Some of the windows need to be replaced, at least the glass, since they are pretty pitted from time; but the wood frames on the outside are gorgeous.

I think it has scared people off due to the amount of cosmetic work it needs done. The bones seem solid to me, save that I don't know much about foundations.

One downside I nearly forgot is that there is no air conditioning, however, the electric system is 150 amp, so I believe it would support one. As I said the heat is all new ducts and vents.

Nothing further occurs to me just now, so if you want to know; just ask.
 
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Old 04-23-08, 08:42 PM
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I have to tell you, I became so enamored of the description I nearly forgot the question!

It will of course, be impossible for me to tell if your foundation is sound, even with your detailed post. You may post photos here, if you like...Use Picasa if you have a Google account, or photobucket works well. You can post the link or insert the picture.

Is it a requirement in Nebraska to have a building inspection prior to sale?

Connie
 
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Old 04-23-08, 08:48 PM
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if the bricks are not settling and cracking they should be good, just keep it dry, Also since the early masons mostly used lime mortar it would be helpfull to check to see what was used on this house. if the mortar appears white and sandy it is lime, if it is grey it should be portland cement. do not patch lime mortar with portland cement. They are not compatable. the key to longevity on this foundation is keeping the soil dry under the house. good luck

Remember Murphy was an optimist
 
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Old 04-30-08, 03:49 PM
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No, there is no inspection requirement in Nebraska. I'll let you guys peruse some of the pictures. It is a good camera and much less forgiving then the eye. It includes some pictures from around the house that primarily highlight problem areas.

Anyway, here you go:
http://s299.photobucket.com/albums/m...=nav_tab_album

 
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Old 04-30-08, 08:29 PM
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after looking at the photos, I would suggest finding someone to inspect the foundation. I think that in order to keep the floors and walls straight you might want to pour a foundation inside the existing one or remove the foundations one side at a time and replace them. I like the old house but it will take a lot of work to make it good looking.
life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies.
 
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Old 04-30-08, 08:41 PM
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That looks like a thousand dollar house on a 10,000 dollar lot.
 
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Old 05-01-08, 07:25 PM
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Did you see something majorly wrong with it?

Originally Posted by Tscarborough
That looks like a thousand dollar house on a 10,000 dollar lot.
 
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Old 05-01-08, 08:56 PM
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Majorly like structural, not really. Majorly like what you will have to spend to make it nice, if not inhabitable.
 
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Old 05-02-08, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tscarborough
Majorly like structural, not really. Majorly like what you will have to spend to make it nice, if not inhabitable.
Believe it or not, it was occupied right up untill they put it on the market. Which is pretty amazing, really. I sure as beans wouldn't move into it at this point, but I do intend to work it as much as possible and I don't believe it will take more then a year to get the interior passable.

The foundation was my biggest concern. I'm glad you don't see any major issues. For the bricks that were bulged out when the water main was installed, what do you recommend to repair that portion before it causes problems?
 
 

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