Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Yukky Necessary Stuff

If you're tuning in for pretty photos of inspiration, this post won't be for you.  If you're looking for support and information about restoring an old house, read on.

I think if we're spending money on the house, it should include pretty furniture or bedding, some new curtains or fresh paint.  How about some fab new lighting, or a new appliance.  Just give me something that I can admire when it's finished.
Most assuredly we will have many of those projects in our future with the Farmhouse on Main, but this is not one of those times.  Nope, instead we're pumping money money money into glamorous foundation repair.  Doesn't that get your pulse racing?

I went back and forth on even posting about this repair.  But, here's the thought that propelled me to share it.

How can I share what it's like to own an old home without sharing what it's like to own an old home.

Not sure how many of you have ever restored, or are living in, a vintage home.  If you are, then your home is most likely on pier and beam.  I adore pier and beam homes, in fact it's all that we have lived in throughout our marriage.  But, they sure do tend to settle, particularly here in Texas. 
These are the original timbers that were used in the foundation of the house.  The centers are rotten and hollowed out so they all had to be replaced. 

As such, we've been through foundation repair, or what we refer to as "leveling" numerous times.  It's a stressful process for me, not only because of the great expense that typically accompanies it, but more so because of the damage it causes to the house. 

The back of our little farmhouse slopes significantly from the front, many of the rooms have the feeling of running downhill, and the floor is "bouncy" in some places so this project was an absolute must.

It's always, among the first repairs we do because leveling a house can cause damage to sheet rock, windows, wallpaper, wood, etc.  Sometimes significant damage.  The level of damage is relational to the amount the house has to be raised or lowered to make it level. 

Since our sweet farmhouse needed significant leveling on the backside of the house, the damage is significant too.
Isn't it lovely?
But, even amidst the damage pretty things can be found.

Look at the original beadboard walls peeking out from behind the broken sheetrock.

I was telling hubster last night, it's almost comical.  You pay foundation repair companies good money to perform a repair that you know is going to cause damage and create more work.  It's not intentional mind you, it just comes with the territory. 
I still remember the shock I felt after having our first vintage home leveled, I was unprepared for the damage it caused.  Now, I know what to expect and the damage still unnerves me.  But, unless you are content with the unlevel rooms, it has to be. 

This is definitely not something you want to do after you've spent time and money painting or wallpapering.  We made that mistake with the first vintage home we purchased.  And, although we did paint one bedroom that is located on the front of the house because we knew it would be unaffected by the foundation repair.....everything else has had to wait.

Foundation repairs can be quite costly, usually deep into the thousands, and are best left to the professionals. If you are facing this situation, do your homework.  Ask around, check the Better Business Bureau, and don't just go with an estimate because it's the cheapest.  Good companies stand behind their work and usually offer warranties. And, you typically have to wait for them because they are busy.  We've been waiting for 3 months.

These are just a few of the tidbits that we have learned in our years of restoration, I'm hoping it might benefit some of the newbie vintage homeowners. 

At the end of the day, I did have something to admire.  A kitchen, hall and dining room that I can stand in that no longer have sloping or bouncy floors.  And, the most beautiful thing of all.....the knowledge that we can now officially begin to work on our sweet place!

Now, it's time to get busy with wall repairs and get rolling on our lil Farmhouse!!  My heart is singing, get ready for lots of updates!  :-))

But first, it's almost time for the Mistletoe & Magic show that takes place November 16-19 at the Harvey Convention Center in Tyler, Texas!  We're ready and so excited!


Lori Lucas said...

That was a great post for all of us that are old house lovers/owners. I can't wait to see what you do with the (new-found) old beadboard. Lori L

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

How awesome that y'all found that beadboard...looking forward to seeing how this room turns out!!! Best of luck at the show:)


joanne said...

It's exciting to see what goes on from start to finish including the stuff that's not so pretty. Thanks for taking us on the ride with you, I'm looking forward to see things come together!

Sueann said...

I am very familiar with "leveling" the house. Not that I have been through the process but that my husband is a geotechnical engineer and does foundation exams and repair all the time! So I hear of some real horror stories!!
Glad yours is finished and everything is now on track. Tis good that you knew to do this first as well. Some (many) do not!

Dawn said...

I know how it goes, one repair leads to a whole new can of worms. I think doing the foundation is the right move, even when it is not the most rewarding of projects. Just think it is the foundation to all those beautiful things that will be going on soon.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the truthful comments! I am facing this very situtation and it is nice to know what lies ahead!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Thanks for sharing. We are in our second old home, and are enjoying the "love-hate" relationship that comes with the territory. I would love to replace our living room furniture, but our 90 year old heating system is demanding attention. NOW.

But, at the end of the day, there is just something about an old house you can't recreate. I look forward to seeing your progress unfold.

Jenny said...

We had a 100 yr old Craftsman in Southern Cal and had the rock and mortar foundation reinforced. The mortar was dust. Not good in earthquake country. I remember thinking how hard it is to spend so much money on something you can't even see. But the peace of mind was worth it. Although it did make it through a lot of earthquakes just fine in the past 100 yrs. It's true, they just don't make em like they used to.

Anonymous said...

We move into a 100-yr-old farmhouse rental next month. I'm currently doing cosmetic renovations prior to move-in.

I just love the beadboard you discovered behind the sheetrock. Your home is beautiful!

Ellie's Bungalow said...

I love your blog and love to see all the beautiful photos, but this information is valuable. We need to have this done to our house and were trying to decide where to place it on the project list because it costs so much. After reading this we are moving it to the top of the list. Thanks so much for sharing this Laurie Anna! Your blog has become one of my favorites!

Deserae said...

Oh yes! We had to rebuild the entire back wall of our stone house. To say it was a nightmare would be an understatement! LOL..Actually the whole renovation process has been pretty much a nightmare but we love the old house....most of the time anyways! Love those beadboard walls peeking thru the broken drywall :o) What a great find!!! Can't wait to see how it all comes together!!!

Debby said...

Such an important issue that I would not have thought was possible. It is a shame that it causes damage but what a relief to know that it is done right. I am like you, I want to see where my money went.....and for it to be exciting, hah. Life is not always sweet.

Unknown said...

I know...I try to do a home improvement project each year and the last 2 years have been non decorative things...I hate that, but it has to be done! Can't wait to see the finished product...and I am sure you can't either.
Love ya,

❁Velma ~Down Our Country Road❁ said...

Good advice LA! I remember the old house my inlaws had...clay tile sewer lines!!! Every once in a while, those babies would crack and break and had to be patched. Now, THAT was a mess to contend with, too!

Fishtail Cottage said...

love the charm pealing from underneath. loving your old house! xoxo

Brooke said...

Thank you so much for posting this!! You've got me completely lustful over vintage homes and planning my life around getting my hands on one! I knew it would have these hard things about it but it was a great reality check to see in detail. You see my "Hubster" is more of an "accountantster" so I'm the tool handler around here :) You are so awesome and inspiring! have a blessed day.
Gainesville Florida

Andrea at Opulent Cottage said...

Oh my gosh, don't we know it! We are pretty much on all clay soil here in the M Streets in Dallas, so our leveling is an ongoing thing. During our last foundation work, they raised the west side of our house 11 inches! I sure wish I would have found some of that pretty beadboard under our sheetrock, just shiplap. I'm envious! Can't wait to see that room!
xo, Andrea