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Old 01-23-2015, 09:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
Well it may not necessarily be torn down in 50+ years but there is a greater likelihood of encountering significant structural issues in this time for a structure that is already 100 years old. At some point, it will no longer make financial sense to dump significant money into an aging structure when you will be able to achieve a greater cost/benefit ratio by starting over.
I still disagree with this, particularly the wording "significant structural issue". Keep everything well-maintained and keep the water and pests out, and you should be fine structurally, assuming some idiot DIY-er didn't cut through a beam or something in 1950. I own a 1920's house now, and the only part of the structure I would trade for a new house is the basement. I would absolutely exchange my old concrete-block basement for a new cast-in-place concrete basement with proper drain tile and waterproofing.

It's the NON-structural issues that are more common in older houses. Galvanized plumbing. Old wiring that is a fire hazard. I have a friend who just found out that they only had modern wiring in "visible locations", and that it was spliced on to old 80-year-old wiring with cloth insulation that was hidden in the walls. Asbestos is another common issue, from pipe insulation to floor tiles to roofing material to wall texture. A roof that needs replacing. Poor insulation. An attic that isn't properly ventillated. THESE are the issues to worry about with a older house which are much more common than structural problems.

It is nice to have new plumbing and wiring, good water pressure, and the cleanliness that comes with new construction... But with your budget, you could achieve all of these things with a gut rehab. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by knitgirl View Post
How many people buying a home these days plan on living in it for the next 50 years? I have an 1880 house that needs some mechanical work done, but the foundation is fine.
I was just speaking from personal experience since I have every intention of staying in our next house for 50 years god willing I make it to 80!

While the foundation may be fine now, I still contend that the likelihood of you having structural issues with that foundation in the coming years is much higher than a foundation properly constructed today.
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
Trust me I just bought a 80 year old two flat that is all brick with steel reinforced rods that is like a fortress. It will be there long after I am gone. Yes there is maintainance on a building but not "structural failure". Regarding new home building, I"ve talked to a builder recently and you can get a new home like you are asking about in Wheaton for the mid 700's. If you are willing to go out to Geneva past Randall Rd it will be slightly cheaper. From what I see you can't really get a new home in Wheaton for less than this price point. Plenty of nice homes below that though already standing. If you deal with a reputable builder that has experience, you will see how the process works. What is put in the homes is what people expect at that price point. For example, you don't put formica counters in a 700 k home. That would be folly.

Here are a few examples. Some are spec homes. Meaning already built but new.

https://www.redfin.com/IL/Glen-Ellyn.../home/18131699
https://www.redfin.com/IL/Wheaton/41.../home/17548089
https://www.redfin.com/IL/Wheaton/20.../home/18137335
Reinforced concrete will last MUCH longer than unreinforced concrete. However, I do not believe many of the older generation homes were constructed with reinforced concrete foundations. In fact, I think many were built on concrete block (unreinforced). I'm sure LK could shed some light on this.

Regarding cost, I think we have come to understanding that we need to wait a bit longer to save more before we build our "forever" home. From the further discussions I have had on this topic with various people I think the mid 700s price point is on target. Probably closer to mid 800s in Western Springs and Hinsdale.
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
Reinforced concrete will last MUCH longer than unreinforced concrete. However, I do not believe many of the older generation homes were constructed with reinforced concrete foundations. In fact, I think many were built on concrete block (unreinforced). I'm sure LK could shed some light on this.
Concrete block in the 20th Century... Sometimes local stone in the 19th or before World War I! Those old stone foundations scare me a bit, but can be remedied with some expert work. If it hasn't moved anywhere in the last 120 years, it's unlikely to start doing so now without any seismic activity to push it along. Here's a decent article about how to keep them in decent shape:

Stone foundations - cause for concern? | Old House Web
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Old 01-23-2015, 12:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
I still disagree with this, particularly the wording "significant structural issue". Keep everything well-maintained and keep the water and pests out, and you should be fine structurally, assuming some idiot DIY-er didn't cut through a beam or something in 1950. I own a 1920's house now, and the only part of the structure I would trade for a new house is the basement. I would absolutely exchange my old concrete-block basement for a new cast-in-place concrete basement with proper drain tile and waterproofing.

It's the NON-structural issues that are more common in older houses. Galvanized plumbing. Old wiring that is a fire hazard. I have a friend who just found out that they only had modern wiring in "visible locations", and that it was spliced on to old 80-year-old wiring with cloth insulation that was hidden in the walls. Asbestos is another common issue, from pipe insulation to floor tiles to roofing material to wall texture. A roof that needs replacing. Poor insulation. An attic that isn't properly ventillated. THESE are the issues to worry about with a older house which are much more common than structural problems.

It is nice to have new plumbing and wiring, good water pressure, and the cleanliness that comes with new construction... But with your budget, you could achieve all of these things with a gut rehab. That's all I'm saying.
It's not as simple as keep everything well-maintained and keep water/pests out and you should be fine structurally. Of course doing those things will help prolong the life of the foundation but there are other factors at play as mentioned in my previous post that are beyond the control of the homeowner.

I agree about the other issues being large factors and is the primary reason I do not want to undertake a major rehab. Once that permit is pulled and as soon as you touch it generally it needs to be brought up to current code.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Kind Of Town View Post
I was just speaking from personal experience since I have every intention of staying in our next house for 50 years god willing I make it to 80!

While the foundation may be fine now, I still contend that the likelihood of you having structural issues with that foundation in the coming years is much higher than a foundation properly constructed today.

You were saying a house built in the 20's would be likely to have structural problems within 40 years, and my house is 40 + years older than those, so I disagree with that statement. There are definitely maintenance issues with this place that I wouldn't have in a new construction property, including outdated plumbing and electrical. I've got a boiler for heat, so no central air. I think you might change your mind about staying in place for 50 years before you get to 80. I'm in my 50's and I am over having a huge yard. I am planning on selling this spring, but it's due to the other factors and not the foundation. My parents sold their big house when they were in their 60's. But hey, cool if that's what you want to do.

But then again, all those split faced concrete block condos they built on the north side aren't that well constructed either. I've heard of significant problems with them.
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Old 01-23-2015, 02:51 PM
 
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Ive really never heard of people having foundation problems. I am sure they do. Mostly what I have experienced is outdated plumbing and electrical as well as boiler issues. I had to buy a new boiler for 5K but it will last a long time, many years. New or repaired windows is an issue as well as patching plaster in an old building.
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
Ive really never heard of people having foundation problems. I am sure they do. Mostly what I have experienced is outdated plumbing and electrical as well as boiler issues. I had to buy a new boiler for 5K but it will last a long time, many years. New or repaired windows is an issue as well as patching plaster in an old building.
From the Ground Up: Foundations | Exterior | This Old House - 2

take a quick look at the comments and there are MANY people that have issues with foundations on older homes. I also work with a guy that is having significant issues with his foundation right now to the point where some interior walls are warped. His house was built in the 40s
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Old 01-23-2015, 03:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
Ive really never heard of people having foundation problems.
We actually walked away from a deal on a house because of a structural problem with the foundation. And it was fixable, but the current homeowners weren't willing to address it in a manner that we were happy with.

Our current house has some horizontal cracks that we are watching, but without bowing they aren't necessarily a problem. Vertical cracks are normal with block and poured foundations. I've seen them in houses built in the 1990's.

Like I said, I'd swap out my basement in a second if it weren't prohibitively expensive to do so. It is actually something that has been done, however. Nicole Curtis even did it on Rehab Addict. You have to really love the house to do something like that...
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:19 PM
 
858 posts, read 650,451 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knitgirl View Post
You were saying a house built in the 20's would be likely to have structural problems within 40 years, and my house is 40 + years older than those, so I disagree with that statement. There are definitely maintenance issues with this place that I wouldn't have in a new construction property, including outdated plumbing and electrical. I've got a boiler for heat, so no central air. I think you might change your mind about staying in place for 50 years before you get to 80. I'm in my 50's and I am over having a huge yard. I am planning on selling this spring, but it's due to the other factors and not the foundation. My parents sold their big house when they were in their 60's. But hey, cool if that's what you want to do.

But then again, all those split faced concrete block condos they built on the north side aren't that well constructed either. I've heard of significant problems with them.
Just because your house hasn't experienced structural issues that you are aware of and is 100+ years old doesn't mean it is immune to these issues in the near future. Many people with homes that old have experienced issues, mostly related to the foundation itself (cracks, seepage, settlement, deterioration/corrosion, etc). I'm saying that you are at increased risk and more exposed to potential issues due to the age of the structure.

Let me clarify, once structural issues are encountered it is often a good reason to "start over" unless they are easily repairable and other aspects of the home have already been updated. While some issues may be repairable in many of the desirable neighborhoods, structural issues are often the final straw in someone considering a rehab vs. full tear down.
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