Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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tinadev1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:15 pm

Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by tinadev1 »

Hey y'all. I'm new here, but I've been reading your posts for a looooong time. It's just that now I finally need a little help, if anyone can offer it!

Ok, back story: We've been the very proud owners of our home for only 3 years now. Our South Carolina cottage was built in 1870, according to the owners next door, who are the first non-descent owners of "the big house". We have the only remaining small house on the property, and is allegidly the carriage house. It is extremely simple, with no fanciness whatsoever. Entirely beadboard, except the living room, where a preacher covered it with original plaster board (the much heavier sheet rock) when it first came out. It stays quite cool in the summer... but very cold in the winter. Oh yes, and it is also one of those houses, and the name escapes me, darn it, that has the two matching front doors. I would LOVE to know about those too, but that's for another post!

Here's the wierdness.... we were having terrible drafty coldness coming from the baseboards, so we pried off the baseboards to see how much insulation we had back there. HA! Insulation, yeah right. MUCH to our amazement we found that the flooring stops just beyond the baseboards, and there is absolutely nothing from there to the clapboards of the house, about 5 inches away. Just a big empty space! Nothing but looking down a few feet to dirt, and nothing but looking up into an empty wall cavity. This was an exterior wall, so we checked another exterior wall, and there it was again. The flooring has not been replaced, nor has it been cut off in any way. It appears to be totally original.

Sooooo, (1)Is this normal??? If so, (2) WHY is it like this? and (3) Can we stop it up? and finally (4) If not, why not?

Has anyone EVER experienced this? Thanks in advance.... T
Image
1870 Workers Cottage - Summerville, SC
Our home, featured in Azalea Magazine, The Caretaker's Cottage
http://issuu.com/azaleamagazine/docs/az ... 09/6967922

Don M
Posts: 6965
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:35 am
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by Don M »

It sounds like house construction where the stud spaces are open all the way to the attic---now I've forgotten the construction term for that! A lot of houses constructed after timber framing fell out of favor are built that way. It allows for good air circulation but also acts like a chimney in case of fire---not good---oh yes this is called balloon framing :mrgreen: .
To counter the chimney effect fire stops are installed to block extreme air circulation & potential rapid spread of fire. Don
1840 Limestone Farmhouse
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Danno
Posts: 2549
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 4:25 pm
Location: Hamilton, IL

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by Danno »

balloon framing.
1858 Italianate and Gothic Inspired thingamabob
HappyInHartwood: "You can't make something 'more' ruined."

Skuce
Posts: 213
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:34 am
Location: Paris, Ontario, Canada

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by Skuce »

Balloon Frame.

That air space is probably the only reason why your house still exists. If you fill that void solid with insulation....you will be breeding a rot problem very soon.

Installing fire stops between the outer studs at ever floor will stop the chimney effect.
After that. Spend a good $300 in a high grade caulking (ie: 35 year or 55 year rated Alex Plus from DAP)
Then caulk the building in balance. NOT sealing the house perfectly tight. You need the house to be able to dry out moisture.

Read "Edifice: Old Home Magazine" issue #8 regarding Fire Stops on Balloon Frame construction. Also read issue #7 in regards to Balanced caulking procedures to make your old house warm and not draughty.

Good information that you're not going to find at Home Dep*t



Whatever you do. DO NOT have a contractor come and put in ANY kind of insulation. It will destroy the house....just not right off the bat. Closer to a slow painful death.
Drew Skuce
Paradigm Shift Customs - Heritage Building Restoration
44 Holme St. Suite #100 Brantford ON Canada N3T 4Z7
http://www.ParadigmShiftCustoms.com

kat
Posts: 383
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 2:35 pm

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by kat »

Hello Skuce,

I found the magazine very interesting and think I am going to subscibe need to look at it closer since your in Canada...is there an online version?

Tell me a short run down on the caulking idea...I have been on a caulking mission this winter..coldes winter here in NE North Carolina in a long time.....

I started caulking the inside around the baseboards all the way around the parlor and kitchen....I use to suck at caulking, getting pretty good at it now....

any tips or tricks, do or dont's you can give a short run down on?

Skuce
Posts: 213
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:34 am
Location: Paris, Ontario, Canada

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by Skuce »

I'll try and expalin it when I have a min. Just on my way out right now.

As for the Magazine. There isn't an online version. Just a Physical copy. But you can order back-issues right off the website easily.
Drew Skuce
Paradigm Shift Customs - Heritage Building Restoration
44 Holme St. Suite #100 Brantford ON Canada N3T 4Z7
http://www.ParadigmShiftCustoms.com

tinadev1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:15 pm

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by tinadev1 »

To all: THANKS for the excellent information! It IS a balloon framed house! I got up in there with a flashligh the best I could, and tah-dah! There's even Mortise and Tenon joints with the treenails in the corner joints. So, no batting-type insulation, huh? What about some of that Foam-in-a-can for the really wide gaps after we put the fire stops in? I'm particularily fond of that stuff here in South Carolina. Bugs can't get through, it's cheap, and it'll last way way longer than caulk. Only thing is - you can only use it where it won't be seen. Bright yellow, and there's no way to make it pretty! What's your thoughts?
Image
1870 Workers Cottage - Summerville, SC
Our home, featured in Azalea Magazine, The Caretaker's Cottage
http://issuu.com/azaleamagazine/docs/az ... 09/6967922

tinadev1
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:15 pm

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by tinadev1 »

Oh yeah! And I DID order the two back order magazines you mentioned! 11 bucks a piece, but worth it! THANKS!
Image
1870 Workers Cottage - Summerville, SC
Our home, featured in Azalea Magazine, The Caretaker's Cottage
http://issuu.com/azaleamagazine/docs/az ... 09/6967922

pqtex
Posts: 1319
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:03 pm
Location: Beaumont, Texas

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by pqtex »

So, how does one figure out if the construction is balloon framing without removing exterior (asbestos siding over clapboard) or the interior walls (12" wide pine shiplap, except kitchen, which is beadboard). My husband wants to insulate the walls, and after reading this thread, I want to be careful not to create a moisture problem. I know positively there has never been any insulation in this house except in the attic. Jill
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My great-grandparents' 1913 farmhouse

Too bad the spam got so bad. Some of us have been spending time at the new community for folks with a love of old houses at wavyglass.org

Skuce
Posts: 213
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:34 am
Location: Paris, Ontario, Canada

Re: Normal? Flooring stops 4" from clapboards.

Post by Skuce »

I'm not sure I follow with the "can only use it where it can't be seen" issue? The fire stops are inside the wall...so you can't see them anyways?

The Foam-in-a-can stuff has a lot of issues. There are lots of insects that love to eat that stuff. Especially carpenter ants.

If you are going to go for "fixing" the fire stop blocks in there. Try a tube of "PL Premium" or "Gorilla Glue". They are both Urethane adhesives that expand slightly/cure with contact to moisture (ie: air humidity)
Drew Skuce
Paradigm Shift Customs - Heritage Building Restoration
44 Holme St. Suite #100 Brantford ON Canada N3T 4Z7
http://www.ParadigmShiftCustoms.com

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