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Old 03-12-2013, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,732,394 times
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a thing about old houses is that glue was not a structural component

as a fun experiment, take a 50-100 year old 2x4 and a modern 2x4. get out a handsaw and cut through each.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
a thing about old houses is that glue was not a structural component

as a fun experiment, take a 50-100 year old 2x4 and a modern 2x4. get out a handsaw and cut through each.
Old 2x4 were usually made from Oak, whereas today they are usually made from Douglas Fir. Of course they are actually 1.5 x 3.5 inches now instead of being 2 x 4.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Beavercreek, OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
a thing about old houses is that glue was not a structural component

as a fun experiment, take a 50-100 year old 2x4 and a modern 2x4. get out a handsaw and cut through each.
Hi progmac--

The only reservation I have about comparing old houses to new ones is that for obvious reasons, the only old houses that survive today are the well-built ones - the poorly built ones have necessarily been torn down in decades past due to shifting foundations, cheap frames, etc.

Meaning that I believe there are both well-built and poorly-built houses today as well, and that as many as a hundred years from now we'll be saying the same stuff we do now - that we don't build things like they used to. Because, then, the only surviving houses built in 2013 will be the well-built ones - and the memories of the cheapo's will be long gone.

Now, does that mean there are lots of cheaply built tract houses? Yep. I can take a drive through a neighborhood where the houses are less than 15 years old and I can see the obvious faults - bowed out siding, cracks, porches that shift, etc. And I would not live in those.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,732,394 times
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Originally Posted by TomJones123 View Post
Old 2x4 were usually made from Oak, whereas today they are usually made from Douglas Fir. Of course they are actually 1.5 x 3.5 inches now instead of being 2 x 4.
i was thinking more of the density of similar woods. my 100 year old house is framed with pine 2x4s that measure just over 1.5 x 3.5. but when i use hand tools i can feel the difference immediately. or if i'm driving a screw. it makes modern wood feel like Styrofoam. i'd be curious the weight difference between an 8 foot (eg) span of old wood versus new.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,374,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
a thing about old houses is that glue was not a structural component

as a fun experiment, take a 50-100 year old 2x4 and a modern 2x4. get out a handsaw and cut through each.
A direct correlation with the fact the lumber is strictly not available today at an affordable price. That old 2x4 was likely not southern yellow swamp pine where the new one likely is. I remember when roofs and exterior walls were covered with tongue and groove sheathing run on the diagonal for strengh. Today the underlayment on exterior walls is particle board. So yes there is a big difference in the quality of materials being used today. But that is a reflection of cost/availability rather than a desire to do shoddy work. The old growth forests are gone and the replacement growth is just not the same.

Also, people today are much more interested in a large media room with a huge widescreen TV, surround sound, and wide reclining theater seating than they are in quality natural wood interior trim.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,832,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by progmac View Post
i was thinking more of the density of similar woods. my 100 year old house is framed with pine 2x4s that measure just over 1.5 x 3.5. but when i use hand tools i can feel the difference immediately. or if i'm driving a screw. it makes modern wood feel like Styrofoam. i'd be curious the weight difference between an 8 foot (eg) span of old wood versus new.
My guess is it's yellow pine, which is hard. Today walls are framed from fir or spruce 2x4 (typically, though I have framed 2x6 walls) and joists and rafters are yellow pine for added strength.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,832,204 times
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Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
Today the underlayment on exterior walls is particle board.
Most roofs are particle board as well, with plywood clips used on the horizontal joint to prevent buckling.

Tamlyn

Floors are tongue and groove plywood, usually 5/8.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:02 AM
 
3,751 posts, read 10,219,757 times
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I agree that well built things (new or old) were well built. And that superior materials are superior materials.

Maybe someday I'll win the lottery and be able to afford the type of house I'd truly enjoy living in (in a location I'd really enjoy) without having to do a cost benefit analysis that says that living in a tract home (granted, its a pretty tract home) is a more rationale financial decision.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,732,394 times
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a "custom home" to me refers largely to finishes and minimally to structure. the custom homes i've seen use the same studs and sheathing as tract homes.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
3,335 posts, read 5,732,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
Also, people today are much more interested in a large media room with a huge widescreen TV, surround sound, and wide reclining theater seating than they are in quality natural wood interior trim.
isn't that the truth. we considered a new home when we were in the market. i asked about natural wood trim and larger baseboards and trimming out the windows. the lady i was working with looked at me like i had a second head.

but if i wanted granite counter tops, she could hook me up for sure (nothing against granite, it is of course an outstanding material).
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