1842 Homestead

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ohiosteve, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Ohiosteve

    Ohiosteve Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    Just had the opportunity of a lifetime fall into my lap. I have "inherited" my
    parents farm. :) This is an original farmstead. The house was built in 1842 and the
    barn shortly after that. The problem is that the house needs much work. The biggest short term problem is that the brick needs re pointed. I'm hoping to complete this by winter. I'm looking for ideas and suggestions on this project.
    For example I discovered that modern mortar may not be compatable with the
    mortar of the 19th century. Is there a website that could be of help in restoring a peice of history like this? Ideally it would be best hired out but that is out of the question right now for $$ reasons.
    Structurally this house appears to be very sound. No rotted sills or beams so
    I have caught it in time, however, a few more years in its present condition and it will be gone.
    BTW next spring My present homestead will be for sale. I will be selling house,
    32x48 pole barn,pond,greenhouse,windmill and ten hilltop acres in east central
    Ohio.
     
  2. Scott SW Ohio

    Scott SW Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,802
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Location:
    Southwest Ohio
    Sounds like you need to use lime putty mortar. Have a look at www.usheritage.com for info.

    Good that you thought of this. Most folks patch old brick masonry with portland cement-based mortar, which is about all you can buy at most lumber yards. Problem is, modern mortar is too hard and will spall soft antique brick in time. I made that mistake on my parent's 1850's Greek Revival farmhouse in Michigan.

    Good luck with your project.
     

  3. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    Congratulations Steve! My suggestion would be to restore it as closely as posible and live in it for awhile before adding air conditioning if it doesn't already have it. Many old houses will be quite livable by just opening the windows at night to cool out and closing the windows during the day to keep out the heat. It worked fine with my house until I got married.
     
  4. Thatch

    Thatch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    I absolutely agree with what Scott posted. DO NOT USE MODERN MORTER! Modern morter and concrete renders have destroyed untold numbers of older properties. You must use a lime mortar to repoint with to protect your structure. I'm affriad i don't have any info on stateside lime mortar suppliers, but the link Scott provided looks like a good starting point.

    Good luck to you and congrats,

    Joe
     
  5. savingup

    savingup Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Congrats, on the inheritance! That is wonderful and I can only imagine how excited you are. Kepp me posted on the sale next year! We're looking in Ohio, currently in Indiana.
     
  6. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,511
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    You are exactly right.....using current mortars that are on the market will damage the bricks. The problem is that todays mortar is harder than the old brick, which was'nt always fired to the standards we have today. The old mortars are also more elastic than the new mortars we have today. If you use a new mortar, fully expect to have spalling or crushed brick within the wall. Spalling is when the face of the brick pops off.
    BTW, the old mortars "breathe" much better than the new mortars. They will wick away moisture and allow it to dry. This is important year round, but even more important in the late fall or very early spring, when you get rainfall and freezing temperatures. This is important to the life of the brick, which needs to be dry and stable. Moisture and freezing temps will cause the brick to heave or move in the wall, and also to spall. The elasticity of the old mortars help keep the brick from heaving too much, and if it does, can move somewhat in the soft old mortar. Not true with the new hard mortars, which will case the brick to break and then crumble.

    I can look up the recipe if you want.

    While you are at it, you might as well treat the window sills. This is easily done. Just scrape the old loose paint. Then, use BOILED (not raw) Linseed oil and turpentine in a 50/50 mix, and brush it on the bare wood. This is supposed to be done every year. Allow it to dry, and put a second coat on. You are now ready for paint. This treatment will seal the wood, and keep moisture out.

    clove
     
  7. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Lexington Texas area
    Congratulations on your new place! I have the family farm too. My grandchild makes the fifth generation to have been here. It's not as old as yours. It was bought by my paternal grandparents in 1920, but all four of my grandparents were born in this area, and the two that bought this land were born within walking distance. My Dad was born here. It's great to walk on land that has such history. When you put your hands into that earth, it is a remarkable connection.
     
  8. evilbunny

    evilbunny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    131
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    WOW Steve

    Are you single?? LOL :haha: Just kidding... unless you are!!

    OK, OK

    I bought the acreage that belonged to the farm of my families. My grandparents lived here before I was born, moved out when my older sister was born and my folks moved in.

    If I can pay it off and get it fixed up, my son will live here also.

    There are so many memories here. Not a spot doesnt give me a fond thought of my younger years. A lot of people think I am nuts to want to rebuild the barn since it caught on fire 10 years ago. Its mainly a shell, but the frame is good and I loved that old barn.

    The house is a major fixer upper, window sills are shot, an entire wall is rotted due to water running into the window sill and down it. I am finally finishing the painting outside and hope to start work on repairing the windows. Like you, money is the biggest hold back. I dont have very much money and am single.

    Some things are very hard to deal with. My mom has never moved all her stuff and she is always wanting me to bring her one more thing that is stored someplace here. I have to remind myself that to her this is always her place and that I just have to find someplace to store her stuff.

    Last year she sent all her friends over to pick "her" apples!!! I was so upset. I hope she got my hints about that. She is welcome to them but I'm not supplying all the world. I had planned on making stuff with those apples.

    In all though, I would do anything to stay here. No matter how much fixing up I need to do or how many times I have to deal with the "not my place" issues.

    :D

    My grand parents always called this place poverty ridge because they had to go in debt so far to buy it and build the house.

    I have renamed it Ancestor Acres.
     
  9. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Lexington Texas area
    Evilbunny, that sounds like the farmhouse here that I am forever working on. When i moved out here. I was single with 4 school aged children. We lived in the pitiful, but "soulful" farmhouse with no a/c for awhile, BAD in Texas and no heating except the old handmade fireplace (okay in Texas). Parts of the house were crumbling, termites had damaged parts and there were leaks. BUT, it was basically firm and sound. Plus my Dad had built this house in 1944 while on leave from the Air Force out of the original farmhouse that was very old and he knows where every nail is.

    One morning I woke up with the place full of black smoke and was horrified! Come to find out, it was some ballast on some old light fixture. Scared me so bad though because the house had old wiring from who knows when. By then i was with a new man and he decided he didn't like the farm house as much as I did and he bought a new doublewide to put out here. It is nice and tight and clean and cool (I don't find snakes and wild animals in it), but it is not what i wanted in the first place. We live in central Texas, tornado alley, and a mobile home of any size makes me a bit nervous. We now have four bedrooms and two baths and all the kids are off to college. I long to redo the farmhouse. I had it fixed up so cute once and it had taken so much ummph to do it. Now it is going down hill again. It's vine covered and quaint. I love it. If I could just get a new roof on it......
     
  10. Congratulations and what a privilege to be able to keep the property in the family and to restore the buildings.

    We are caretakers on a property in Virginia that was built in the 1840's. We just recently has a company out to look at repairing the plaster ceilings. We learned a lot from them about using the right plaster and also the right paints for older buildings. The company is called Virginia Lime Works and website is virginialimeworks.com. They also make their own lime products for brick and masonry work. I am sure they could recommend the proper products to use and where to find them if not thru them. They can also recommend the proper paints to use. Using modern paints over old lime mortars will cause the mortar to disentigrate which is another problem they are having with the buildings on this property. New paints also cause the old plaster to crumble which is what has happened here.

    Good luck on your restoration.
     
  11. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    Messages:
    28,248
    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    SE Missouri
    The 'old family farm'! That's great!

    Anybody contemplating a straw bale home should find the info on lime plasters and paints to be an asset; as those are much better to use with bales than the modern counterparts.
     
  12. Ohiosteve

    Ohiosteve Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks for all of the encouragement and positive feedback folks! I've been away from the computer for a couple of days as I am putting in some 16 hr. days taking care of both places. I am the kind of bone tired that feels very good. I'm sure you know the feeling. I am going to work on becoming capable of posting pics so I can share this odyssey with you all.
    I have been closely examining the house and what amazing shape the basic structure is in. There is one small part of the house that is not over a basement.
    When I shined a light into the crawlspace it looked like it had been just built.
    Imagine 160 year old beams that still look new.
    Clovis- yes I would appreciate in sharing the recipe for appropriate mortar.
    I plan on taking my time and doing my homework before each step.
    Thanks!