Farmhouse makeover

Discussion in 'Home, Auto, Hobby and Computer Tech' started by crosscreekcooter, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. crosscreekcooter

    crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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    This was my friend's great great grandfather's farmhouse in rural Georgia near Augusta. About 300 acres, it used to be part of a much larger piece of land, now having been divided among 3 brothers and 3 sisters. The land is in both pasture and pines and home to a small herd of about 60 Angus cows. The oldest brother who inherited this piece raised horses and cattle here with some gardening before his death and this parcel is now owned by his son. All of the lumber for the buildings that were on this site came from pine timber cut and sawn from the property. The homestead used to include a couple of barns for horses, mules, and hay storage. Only the largest barn remains and it is falling down having lost the front wall to high winds 2 weeks ago.

    The home has not been occupied for over 20 years and was in very rough shape, although the brother had a new roof installed to keep it dry about 5 years ago. When I found out the son was planning to restore the home, I asked if I could help in some way.

    This is a picture taken about 5 years ago and from a distance everything looks pretty normal, but that's because the son had vinyl siding applied at the same time the roof was put on to dress the home up for a wedding held there. The siding has now been removed. Screenshot 2018-05-16 at 9.53.43 PM.png

    Prior to my involvement, the son hired an architectural firm to provide drawings and he used a couple of laborers to demo the the house. The drawings they provided are not a full working set with engineering, so all problems encountered have to be worked out in the field. I actually enjoy this kind of stuff. They have removed all of the MEPs, wall finishes, and floor framing which basically exposed the 6x8 wood girders and wall framing perched on rock piers. The piers settled over time causing the girders which set the basis for the frame to settle as much as 10 inches in some places. They had also formed and poured a series of concrete strip footings under the girders.

    Good intentions but the footings were 3 or 4 inches out of level. They temporarily supported the roof over hang with posts and miscellaneous timbers, all of which needed to be reset in a level condition and out of the way of the next step. My first step would be to jack the house up and attempt to level the girders temporarily until I could hire a mason to set new concrete block piers in place of the rock. Keep in mind wherever the girder settles, the roof line will follow. One of my fears was that after sitting in this unfounded position for so long, these old pine timbers will develop a memory and might be impossible to straighten. As it worked out, I was able to use 2 twenty ton hydraulic jacks and got the beams back up to within 1/4" tolerance all around which amazed me. I didn't mention the termites that lived in and ate up a lot of the timbers in different parts of the house. Although no longer active, there are many timbers that will need to be replaced.
    Here are a few pictures taken when I first began.
    DSC03825.JPG
    This is Harold, my 63 year old helper boring holes for vertical re-bar that wasn't installed when the footings were poured. Harold has worked for the family for a long time. He cuts grass and takes care of the cows. When I'm there he works for me. Two rods in each pier, poured the cells and installed a concrete anchor to strap the girder to the foundation. Dude works his ass off. You can see some of the original rock piers under the girders.
     
    #1 crosscreekcooter, Jun 23, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
    • crosscreekcooter

      crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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      Here is what things looked like when I first arrived.
      DSC03822.JPG
      From this distance and perspective things seem ok.

      DSC03823.JPG
      Then you look closer at the alignment of the front girder and the termite damage at the front corner. The corner post is eaien up as well.

      DSC03820.JPG The crease in the roof line where the low gable ties into the roof at the high gable is caused by 10" of settlement and rotation of the two out side corners. I have since raised it to it's proper position, however the crease may remain.


      DSC03813.JPG
      Yikes

      DSC03817.JPG
      Nothing in this picture meets any code. Anywhere.
       
      #2 crosscreekcooter, Jun 23, 2018
      Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
      • Zambo

        Zambo Poo Flinger
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        Very cool coot. Not sure where the point is when it just makes more sense to mow the whole house down and start from scratch.

        I have a house south of Nashville that looks similar. It’s about 100 years old. Seems to be in good shape but I’m sure if I really started measuring things I’d want to hurl.
         
        • crosscreekcooter

          crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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          The first day I decided it would be a good idea to meet the the building inspector to get a feeling for his expectations. Turns out he's from Minnesota. We immediately got off on the wrong foot regarding my plans for the foundation. After arguing for about 10 minutes he called his boss and his boss agreed with me. He was muttering something about how they do things different in the land of the Blue Ox. Take that you yankee basturd.

          Tommy the Mason arrives.
          I set line and grade for Tommy and he began fitting the piers under the girders. The girders will be supported by 16x16 reinforced block piers filled and strapped to the girders. The porches which wrap around most of the house will have solid block foundation walls and later get a brick face, essentially closing off the crawl space.

          DSC03835.JPG
          DSC03833.JPG DSC03880.JPG Front porch foundation

          Next week will begin framing the new floor joist system and hopefully engaging a plumber.
           
          #4 crosscreekcooter, Jun 23, 2018
          Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
          • Detroitgator

            Detroitgator General Factotum
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            • crosscreekcooter

              crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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              The whole house has moved up and down over the years but the front right corner post is out of plumb by 2 1/2 inches. My plan was to fasten a come-a-long at both the front and rear top plates and to the old oak at the front and the pecan tree at the rear so I could regulate the amount of force applied and pull the front of the house forward into its proper position, however the chimney engages the roof at the gable and I don't want to take the chance of toppling it. That thing one day will hopefully be burning again. The home had two singles and one double face fireplaces, however one side of the double is lost to make room for the new master bathroom shower.
              All of the fireboxes are very similar to a Thomas Rumsford design, (look Rumsford up, is interesting history) which is tall narrow and shallow but very efficient in heat produced. A true Rumsford has a specific height to width ratio as well as a specific back wall angle in the firebox as well as a peculiar smoke throat shelf design. Jefferson built Rumsford fireplaces at Monticello.
              As to the out of plumb condition, it actually runs from the corner to the center of the front door. Rather than dealing with it structurally, it will be better to do it cosmetically.

              DSC03879.JPG
               
              #6 crosscreekcooter, Jun 23, 2018
              Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
              • Swamp Donkey

                Swamp Donkey Ox is a Poor Man's JBoss
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                Racist land owners. Probably a former plantation.
                 
              • NVGator

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                I agree with Zambo, why not raze it?

                Along with Donkey, are you having to rebuild the slave house too?

                Finally, I hope you are building a smoke house on that 300 acres as well.
                 
                • Pablos Tunnel

                  Pablos Tunnel Well-Known Member
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                  Very gratifying work. Good for you. When a man is planted in the geound he is judged by what he left, not by what he took. Yes razing it would have been easier. But saving the history is rewarding.
                   
                  • CGgater

                    CGgater Gainesville Native

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                    If the inspector ever brings up the topic again, you should point out that it’s not a matter of who’s “right” or “wrong.” Rather, what’s the right foundation for that local area? Does he believe a MN foundation is best for a Beach house in Daytona? The Rockies? Arizona? I’ll bet house foundations on the Mississippi River will differ between Arkansas (with elevation) and Louisiana (at/below sea level). Climates (especially if a frost line is involved), soil type, flood zone and plenty of other factors are involved.

                    If he thinks Minnesota is so perfect, maybe he should go back there. If he can’t understand basic regional differences that affect construction techniques, he needs remedial training or a different occupation. <Maybe this paragraph shouldn’t be said aloud until AFTER the final inspection is approved.>

                    Good luck and have fun! I hope to have some fun projects like that after the CG is done moving me around every few years.
                     
                    • Detroitgator

                      Detroitgator General Factotum
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                      This project needs Bud Light Platinum... Harold would approve.
                       
                      • crosscreekcooter

                        crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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                        No slave house but there was a smoke house years ago that went away. No plans to build a new one.
                        Racial strife seems non-existent in this small town. You see black and white people eating together in the small restaurants around town and greeting each in a warm manner in the hardware store and it's genuine. The mason I originally tried to hire, Jessie, is a black man whose son was an all-state DE at Lincoln County High who later played at UGA and then with the Vikings. Jessie is known for his skill as a mason and the hash he makes. Hash in SC and Ga is a popular side dish and every barbecue joint has their own secret recipe. When I tried to hire him I told him I heard about his hash and he invited me to his home where he gave me about a quart out of the freezer in his barbecue shack to bring back to Florida. To say it's good is an understatement. When he turned me down for work, he recommended Tommy who is white. There is something to be said for small country towns.
                         
                        • crosscreekcooter

                          crosscreekcooter Cunning Linguist
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                          Harold told me he likes good shine.
                           
                          • MidwestChomp

                            MidwestChomp Fun was the goal and we hit the bullseye
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                            Who needs This Old House. We have This Old Cooter. Great stuff Coot!
                             
                            • CGgater

                              CGgater Gainesville Native

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                              I like the DIY channel and would absolutely watch This Old Cooter! Sounds like 1/4 Bob Villa, 1/4 Tim Taylor, 1/4 Duck Dynasty and 1/4 moonshine. Episode 1: “Hold my beer.” Ratings would be through the ROOF!
                               
                              • MidwestChomp

                                MidwestChomp Fun was the goal and we hit the bullseye
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                                As long as I could host, I'm in.
                                 
                                • cover2

                                  cover2 I've grown old
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                                  [​IMG]

                                  Midwest Norm
                                   
                                  • MidwestChomp

                                    MidwestChomp Fun was the goal and we hit the bullseye
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                                    Norm is a personal hero. I love New Yankee Workshop, but I'm a huge Roy Underhill fan too. My wife makes fun of me for watching Roy.
                                     
                                    • cover2

                                      cover2 I've grown old
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                                      I enjoyed Norm as well. Not a master finish carpenter by any means, but I learned a lot just watching This Old House and New Yankee Workshop.
                                       
                                      • MidwestChomp

                                        MidwestChomp Fun was the goal and we hit the bullseye
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                                        I am a DIY hack away at it carpenter. But I have dreams!
                                         

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