Thick wall!


Old 09-24-12, 07:33 PM
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Thick wall!

Was working at an old farmhouse the past couple workdays, replacing a very rotten old window. Old 2 1/2 story square farmhouse, hip roof, you probably know the style. Used to have a stucco exterior with exposed aggregate- was probably very attractive in it's day. That exterior has since been strapped with 1x4 furring and steel siding.

But to the point, man were those walls THICK!!! interior plaster- 1 1/8". Interior brick- 4 1/4". center of wall- hollow clay tile bricks- 4 1/4". exterior brick- 4 1/4" exterior stucco- 1 1/8" That's a grand total of just over 15"! Needless to say, the window needed quite the extension jamb!

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Can't believe the whole house was built this way! The place is practically tornado proof! But no insulation- masonry construction- the hollow clay tile block is the dead air space. Anyone else ever run into anything like that?
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Old 09-24-12, 08:00 PM
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Nothing like that, but in an old commercial building where they made stuff for the big war, we were wiring some fire pumps and the maintenance guy ran a piece of 1/2" EMT for us. We chose to just use MC cable so we were going to slide the MC in the pipe, and then pull the pipe out. The boss stuffed in about 10' but none came out the other side. Figuring it is just slightly past the wall I pulled on the pipe and got a coupling. That's 10'. Kept pulling out pipe and got another coupling. That's 20'. Then pulled out the last bit of pipe which was about 5 more feet for a total of 25' think!!
Old 09-24-12, 08:07 PM
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wow, must have been a bomb shelter! that's a lot of concrete!
Old 09-25-12, 03:39 AM
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I've worked on several old houses around here that started out as log cabins but then the inside was furred out for insulation, electrical and drywall. They'd do the same thing on the exterior to hang siding that eventually got covered with aluminum. Not sure how thick that made the walls but the window returns were either drywall or extension jambs made out of plywood.

There is one about 3 miles from me that was built just after the civil war by the grandfather, 2nd story added by the son about 110 yrs ago and then an addition during WWII by the granddaughter and husband. Because war time made materials hard to come by they used a lot of salvaged materials. The windows are double hung, 8 light tops and 12 light bottoms. There wasn't a single window in the house that had a lock. When I painted it the owners where in their 80's. I commented on the nice antique bedroom set and the lady said "those old things, granny got them used as a wedding present"

Down the road from that house is an ugly brick house with a historical marker, it also has a log cabin hid inside..... wonder how thick those walls are
Old 09-25-12, 05:18 AM
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Xsleeper -

I owned and lived in a home very similar (built in 1917). - Exterior stucco, 12" hollow clay tile, full 2x4s, lath, plaster and a "china glaze". It had 9' or 10' ceilings, a "flat exterior roof" (with a 2-3' air space from the ceiling joists that sloped down to interior cast iron roof drains inside the walls. The roofing material was replaced in about 1965 and the replacement roof is still functioning without leaks today.

It had a large 6' wide picture window (probably replacing older small windows). In the living room and sun room every window was out-swinging casement with in-swinging windows (1 set screened and the other glazed) all with brass weatherstripping. If you changed the color of a room, you had to paint both the storms and screens.

Inside, all woodwork was all solid, clear birch and never stained, but just painted. The trim was "Greek" style with all square corners and very ornate, but clean. The trim at the wall/ceiling was 12" high and 6" out on the ceiling with 3/4" x 2" dentals spaced about 1-1/2" apart. Every piece of trim and wood wood had the name of a man (contractor or owner) on the back and the date sawed. The 8' x 10' sun room had 7 casement windows on the 2 exterior sides.

The rooms were large - living room 14x28, dining room 14x16 and master bedroom 14x20 with two walk in closets.

Radiators in all rooms, but under all casement windows the deep radiators were 18" high under the very tall casements. There was a safe (about 1920's vintage that had a 4" thick door) in the full basement . It even had 2 bullet holes next the front door inside the glazed/screen porch with a quarry tile floor from the bootlegging days.

It was probably the oldest home in a fine neighborhood most other homes (English tudor and some Spanish) that were built about 5 or 10 years later. When you went into modernizing it, you never knew what you would find and had to be careful not to destroy anything unless absolutely necessary.

Everyone is right about the strength, stability and sound-proofing. Even with no insulation, it was cheap to heat and amazingly comfortable because of the mass and you never knew if the was a storm or how cold it was.

Old 09-25-12, 05:44 AM
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I believe the thickest I have dealt with was a 12" poured monolith to support a log home. Jamb extensions were a booger. I marvel at the layering of the aggregate type walls you had to deal with, not just one material. Must have been rough getting it all to sit right.

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