On to purchasing…
I have the last inspector scheduled to look at the house I’m considering tomorrow. The foundation man came today and said that the foundation of the main home is in excellent shape “for it’s age”. Considering that the house is 112 years old, I’m not sure exactly how to take that, but since he also said there wasn’t really any foundation work needed, I’d say it’s a good sign.
BUT he also said that the addition to the house, an enclosed porch area on the back, has sunken four inches. He recommended removing it. I’d considered that anyway. The problem? The bathroom, heater, water heater, and laundry are all on that porch! Looking at the house today, I’m hesitant. The main floor area is roughly 22×20. Kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom-with each room approximately the same size, 10×11. There is a built in cabinet in the way in the dining room, the living room is farthest from the pipes, and the bedroom is the one room I’d prefer not to shrink in this house.
I’m considering what he suggested, removing (or very deeply renovating-with new foundation, joists and floor) the bath area, and making a larger floating deck where the old enclosed porch has been. Or simply removing the whole thing and then adding a bathroom/laundry back on. I have a feeling this is going to be a rather long process. I should learn a lot from it if I undertake it though.
I already learned two things: 1) if the floor seems to tilt somewhat, check the toilet bowl water and see how it sits in the bowl, and 2) a 100 year old house is not meant to have insulation in a crawl space, no matter what insulation experts say. The lack of insulation won’t significantly increase my utility bill or comfort, and is probably part of the reason the foundation is in such good shape. (If anyone ever reads this who has a very old house, one thing I did wonder about was installing radiant heating of some sort under the floor instead. I don’t know if it would work, but it might be an option.)
I get a week’s vacation this fall. If I buy this house, I’m going to need it. But I’ll also learn a lot about building, plumbing, old houses, and recycled materials. I want to talk to a couple locals and get some estimates on the work, though; I’d love to try the work on my own, but living without a bathroom in town isn’t an option.