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JasonFontaine

Historic Home Renovation HELP

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I live in League City in the old part of town. My home was built in 1922. It's a little over 1900 sf. I'm currently raising 5 small children in it. It needs piers for sure. When the kids walk or run upstairs - it shakes and the windows rattle downstairs. The windows probably all need to be redone - the wind goes right through them. No insulation. The tile in the downstairs bathroom has fallen out and I'm pretty sure I'm getting a good case of mold in the upstairs bathroom. Lots of work to be done.

But, it's our home. We asked the kids if they wanted to leave and the boys said no. We're happy here - but c'mon....I need some help!

WHO or HOW would I go about getting someone to come out here and do projects on this? I will have to sell if I cannot find someone willing to take on these projects.

I could refinance and get everything done at once - but not sure I want to do this. I'd rather look at getting it fixed one step at a time - piers/joists/windows/etc...etc...

ANY recommendations would be sure beneficial. I'm sure there are still those who like working on the older homes and would like to take on extra projects for extra money.

Thanks all - this is my first post - it's a doozy - maybe I can find some success here and we'll post before/after photos! I'm willing to do anything to just get it fixed.

JARF34405@aol.com

email me if you're interested or have a reputable contact who might be interested....

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Man, you pretty much threw it all out there! Where to start? You can begin by digging through the Houston Construction, Home Repair and Improvement section of this forum. Most of the issues you describe have been discussed there. Many of the referrals are for Heights area contractors, but most of them will travel. You should also look into Galveston area contractors, given the large number of old homes on the island.

Piecemeal renovation is doable if you and your family have a tolerance for dust and disarray. I've been redoing my house for 6 years now. I only had to leave when the kitchen cabinets were primed and painted, and when the floors were redone. Of course, one morning it was 38 degrees inside when I woke up without my heaters due to the installation of central heat and AC.

A note on the piers. All old houses shake when you run through them. It is just the way they are. Only mess with the piers if there is a noticeable lean to the floors, or cracks in the walls. Mine are not entirely level, but leveling the house perfectly would cause more problems than it fixes. And, as for those uninsulated walls, be VERY careful before you fill them with insulation. They were built that way on purpose...to allow air flow up the wall cavity to cool the house in the summer. This is the exact opposite of today's airtight energy efficient construction. To put in insulation, you will also need to seal up the top and bottom of the wall cavities, lest the insulation get soggy and moldy, and rot the studs. After much research and cost estimating, I think that the best solution may be to put in a radiant barrier in the attic, vent it well, and blow in 12-18 inches of insulation on the attic floor. Instead of insulating the walls, seal them completely from the inside, and refurbish all windows and doors so that they are sealed. You might also seal the electrical outlets, though they don't cause too much problem. If you feel you must insulate the walls, consider putting hard foam panels on top of your old siding and residing the house. Very expensive, but so is that spray foam that may cause rot.

Welcome to the forum. As you get into this project, come back and visit.

By the way, depending on the project, many of us can refer you to people.

Edited by RedScare

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Thanks so much. I will check out the Houston Construction section - and will let you know. I definitely will post before and after pics if I ever get to that point!

Again - thanks so much. It's been very difficult finding anyone who will even speak to me regarding this~ Will let you know! THANKS!!!!

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For the bathroom molds you can scrub off them using a household bleach. Keep moisture low, bathroom does get lot of moisture but after you use the bathroom keep it open for some time. For the entire home renovation you will have to call up a professional. Its very obvious for kids that they do not want to leave their house this even happens with us. We do not want to leave our house where we are brought up and have enjoyed our childhood.

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Don't be afraid to renovate as you go. I'm doing that right now with my 1950's house. You just tape off a section of the house and make it "off limits". Our living room became our kitchen while our real kitchen was gutted.

 

Just prioritize your items from most to least important, hire a contractor to do the most important (or big) thing, then watch what he does and learn his techniques, preferred brands, etc. I learned a ton doing that and now have continued doing work myself when I have some free time.

 

Most importantly, don't be intimidated by the work. I used to look at a house as some magical work of art that somehow all fit together like a fragile puzzle. Through this process, I've learned that it's just a bunch of wood, tile, pipe, and drywall... and anything can be fixed. Just stay away from electrical work and hire a professional for that... that's still magic.

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