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Have you ever had to tear down an old house?

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Have you ever had to tear down an old house?

Postby Mrs. Bloomfield » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:02 pm

If you look closely, you can see a part of the old house in these two photos.

The house is to the left in this photo.
Image

The house is in the background of this photo.
Image

We bought the old, falling down house next door. Last week, it officially became ours as we got the deed in the mail.

What joy! We are now the proud owners of a huge pile of crap! :lol:

The lady, Henrietta, who used to live there moved out in 1991. She moved to another house in town, which was smaller.

In January of this year, she passed away. She had no children, so her 70+ year old niece & nephew were in charge of her estate.

The short story of it is: Henrietta died in January. Niece & Nephew must clean out house to hold Estate Sale. It took them a month to clean out the small house Henrietta was living in. It took them five months to clean out the house next door. EVERYDAY they worked. They hired young people to help them sometimes. 49 grain truck loads of trash hauled away & $85,000 found all over the house, and they were done.

This was a woman who threw nothing away. NOTHING. She wasn't just eccentric. She was crazy as a dang loon. She had to move out the house next door, because she physically couldn't walk from room to room anymore. Junk was piled from floor to ceiling. She had to dig pathways throughout the house.

When she moved into her new home, she did the same damn thing.

Now the house next door is ours and we must tear it down. There are three sheds to be torn down too. All plum-full of junk. In a 30 second run-through, I found a pair of very old little girl boots. Probably from the early 20th century. I found a very old camera. I'm curious to see if there are photos to be developed in it.

Anyway, my father-in-law and husband are in charge of this project. Father-in-law has a huge loader, a huge graintruck, and they plan on having a week of destruction sometime in October.

They're going to tear down the house, tear down the sheds, make a big pile, and then start loading it up and hauling it away.

Point of the story being?

I just want to know if any of you had to tear down an old house? If so, can you describe your experience? Let us know what we're getting ourselves into?

By the way, it used to be a gorgeous home. It was built in 1907. It's such a pity & a shame.
Last edited by Mrs. Bloomfield on Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Schag » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:59 pm

Why do you have to tear it down?
It looks real nice.
I don't understand.
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Postby Mrs. Bloomfield » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:05 pm

Are you looking at my house, or the falling down one in the background?

If you could see the falling down one, you would understand why it needs torn down!
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Postby Schag » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:11 pm

I guess I was looking at your house.
I love your porch. Wish I had one. :(
Can you post pics of the one to be torn down?
Is it not salvagable at all?
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Postby Mrs. Bloomfield » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:28 pm

Schag wrote:I guess I was looking at your house.
I love your porch. Wish I had one. :(
Can you post pics of the one to be torn down?
Is it not salvagable at all?


Thanks! I love my porch too. That was one of the first things that propelled me to this house, was the porch.

My digital camera & software are at my office, which is seven miles away. I don't have a camera here at home with me.

No, this house is not salvageable in any way, shape, or form. I really wish I could say that is was. But it's not.

It makes me so dang angry to think that the house next door is only three years older than my house, and that it's in the condition it's in.

It's sad. At one time, I'm willing to bet the house next door was one of the most beautiful homes in town. It's a perfect example to show people what happens to their homes when they're not taken care of.

Here our house sits, built in 1910, wonderful condition; perfectly livable. Her that house sits, built in 1907, rotten condition; falling down, condemned.

Such a pity. I never thought I would ever be resonsible for the destruction of an old home. But as it is, it's for the best.

We're going to turn the yard into a lovely rose garden. At least something beautiful will come from all of this ugliness.
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Postby Schag » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:36 pm

There are salvage companies that will pay you to salvage what they can and they'll haul off the rest.
Be sure that they have proof of insurance and you get a good contract.
Other that that, I have nothing more to offer.
I wish I could tear down my neighbors 60's ranch and build a large garden. I am very envious. :wink:
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Postby lrkrgrrl » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:37 pm

Since you have until October, you might want to make some inqiries and see if anyone will buy salvage rights. That way, you save dumping fees and labor, since the salvage folks will come and deconstruct any materials that are salvagable. AND you could make a few bucks back. In my town, the non-profit job training organization has a deconstruction program in partnership with a building trades training program. (no better way to learn how things are put together than taking them apart!) I don't think they pay, but they do the deconstruction and hauling, and not paying dumping fees could save a lot of money. They then sell the salvage at their store. I'm sure you have considered offering it for a dollar to someone who could move it.

$85,000!!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: No wonder the niece and nephew were so slow and diligent about cleaning the place out! I can just picture forty years worth of newspapers and magazines and having to go through every page for five and ten dollar bills, having to check every chair and mattress for hidden seams, knocking on all the panels and drawers for hidden compartments. :roll:

And, I know, I know, everyone is sick to death of hearing this, but if there are asbestos materials, they need to be removed properly and dumped properly. :wink:

Check with your local and state folks as far as any permits you need, and start asking about dumping fees. Could run a hell of a lot of money to put a whole house in the dump! If it is too expensive, sometimes fire departments will use a place for training burns, but I don't think I'd like that option if I lived next door! :?

Good luck. It's always sad to see a place go to splinters, but sometimes it really is the only option.

OH! and before I forget, with copper prices what they are: pull that and sell it as scrap! :wink:
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Postby Mrs. Bloomfield » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:26 pm

Oh, the $85,000 was just what they found in the house next door!

They found $43,000 in the other house.

Not to mention ALL of the old antiques.

In the house next door, they found an old trunk that belonged to Henrietta's grandparents. Her grandparents were newlyweds when they crossed the ocean to get here. Inside the trunk, still wrapped in all of its original packing, was their wedding china which had never been used!!!

Henrietta was 94 when she died, so you can imagine how long ago it was when her grandparents came to America.

We bought the house and land for $1,000. The other house sold for $5,000. At the Estate Auction, which was a three-day event, they brought in over $70,000.

So, all in all, I would say that Henrietta's niece & nephew definitely got reimbursed for all of their hard work!

Also, we bid on the house and got it; but someone else bid on the stuff in the basement and the sheds. They paid $250 for that. He also paid us an extra $150 to take the porch posts, scroll work, etc. They had thirty days in which to get everything they wanted.

We won't have to pay for any dumping fees, because we are going to dump it on my father-in-law's property. They have lots of huge pastures and he'll let us dump the house there.

I think the only thing we'll have to pay for is gas.
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Postby Crash » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:39 pm

The adage is: "They're not making any more old wood." so if you dust it away, there's certainly a strong possiblity that your dusting away some worthwhile materials.

The roof rafters will likely be long rough-sawn 2x4s with a high reuasbility factor. It's very easy to cut sections of the roof and lift them off (4 - 10 rafters wide) if you have the equipment (crane). It's real easy to dismantle the rafters from the roof on the ground.

The top plate beams are also likely to be heavy wood, if the plates are in good shape, they are certainly worth saving. (note: build a shed from reused materials to put the rest of the stuff you'll get.)

The siding is debatable, if it's absestos, all bets are off, but if it's wood, I'd try to save it.

Any interior woodwork is someone else's treasure. Same goes for joists, studs.doors and frames, windows and frames, railings, floors, and trim. I'm sure there's someone in the neighborhood that'd like to have replacement parts for their period materials.

The framing beams may also be worthwhile if they're not pulverised by rot. Espeicallly significant are the sill beams underneath. Last date I saw pegged beams around here is 1904, but you may have some joinery and pegs in the bottom beams that make them notably worth saving.

What's left, chimney's? They're good to give to anyone who'd want to take down and clean bricks. I wouldn't suggest it since it's the height of tedium.

Oh yeah, if you collect any copper (including wires) in a seperate pile, it'll be worth it at the salvage yard.

Old sinks and lavs are sometimes popular, if they're not, donate them to a tax deductible non-profit for monetary gains. Figure lighting and plumbing fixtures that'll have value to someone.

I'd be unusual if the house is too rotten to glean anything from, but if that's the way your leaning, wear protective gear, especially eye glasses.

Also: take pictures. There's likely someone in the future who'll like to know what was there and how it was.
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