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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted yesterday asking about the cesspool in a house we're considering buying.

New day, new problem. Next, I'd like to know if anyone has ever raised a ceiling.

This house has ceilings that are about 6'3" or so, in the second floor. A full-size, walk-up attic above. House built in 1910, wood frame. Plaster walls and ceilings. Some know & tube wiring is still visible in the attic, I do not know if it's live or not. The house has been rewired with romex at some point. I want to believe that the k&t is dead.

I thought that raising the ceiling would be impossible, but my brother in law said, why don't you just build a new set of joists for the attic a foot above the ones that are there, build the walls a foot higher, and then cut out the old, low joists? Sounds pretty simple on paper. You would just end up with a sloped ceiling the last foot or so, closest to the wall.

I'm seriously thinking this through, and realizing that to build the walls a foot higher, it would probably be better to completely re-frame the bedroom walls, so I don't end up with a kink in the walls for the top foot. Plus that would give me a reason to tear out the plaster and put drywall upstairs. So, now I'm completely re-building the second floor of this house from the floor up. Oh, and while I'm at it, why don't I change some walls around, add a few closets.....

Now, I was seriously thinking about re-wiring the place anyhow. And probably changing from electric baseboard heaters and putting in hot water baseboard heat, with an oil burner in the basement. Tearing out the walls would make those projects a whole lot easier.

I consider myself pretty handy with a tool belt. I've worked on some remodeling framing and wiring on my brother in law's house. Rewired the upstairs of my house. Have sweated a few pipes together. Granted, these projects I have in mind are orders of magnitude bigger than what I've done before. I know this will be different also because I will be working around a toddler and a newborn, which I'm concerned about. Leaving half of the house unoccupiable for an extended period of time will be a hard sell to the wife.

I think I know what the practical minds here are going to tell me.

Now, hear me out. This house is on the market for $75,000. Other similar houses in the area, which all have their own problems, sell for $100-115,000. If we're going to spend $30,000 fixing problems in these houses, I'd rather start with at $75,000 one than a $115,000 one. All of these houses could use replacement windows, a good coat of exterior paint at the very least, insulation wherever I can stuff it, etc. Typical stuff for a hundred-year-old house. Granted, this house may have more issues than others, but the lower cost is really sucking me in. This house has been on the market for 5 months already, that should be a warning to me also that others have passed on this 'great deal'. But the area is so nice, the property is decent and has a big garage/barn that we could park 3 cars in if we wanted.

Well, what do you think?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's problem with this house. Here's a teaser - water....

Thanks for your input.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, the idea of living in the house may get to be a problem. One possible solution would be to relocate the family to the family room. The man in the house right now is ill and it's hard for him to get up the stairs, and has converted the family room into a bedroom. Even set up a shower stall outside the half-bath down there. Maybe we could ask him to leave it.

I've heard that plaster isn't inherently bad. I have a hard time believing it. Maybe I have a bitter taste in my mouth because my 1947 house has the following, from the studs out:
(inside of wall cavity)
sheet of what looks like drywall. about 3/8 to half inch thick. Brown paper on both sides.
half to maybe 3/4 of an inch of concrete. Not plaster, this looks like honest-to-goodness portland cement concrete, with sand only (no coarse aggregate). Yes, it's that thick. Dark grey color. Dulls drill bits and saw blades like nobody's business.
skim coat of white plaster. maximum 1/8" thick
paint.

I keep a chunk of this that I cut out for an outlet box to show people.

I'd prefer working with drywall, fiberglass joint tape, joint compound and the stupid 'hollow wall anchors' any day over this concrete stuff that spalls an inch and a half diameter area if you try to drive or screw into the wall. URGH! :mad:

John
 
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