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Old 08-06-2014, 02:00 PM
 
Location: On the Chesapeake
40,907 posts, read 53,102,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Schwabe View Post
Surprises happen in new and old houses. This is (or should be) obvious, but it seems like it's worth restating.

Yes, but I believe, with reason, that you're more likely to find surprises in old houses due to the modern idea of construction inspections (and what's the definition of "old"? I've seen people on this site state pre-2000 is old. I say pre-1940. People where I live have 200 year old houses (with some in the southern part of the County dating to the mid-1700's). We had a house in PA built in 1848.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,351 posts, read 114,770,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Yes, but I believe, with reason, that you're more likely to find surprises in old houses due to the modern idea of construction inspections (and what's the definition of "old"? I've seen people on this site state pre-2000 is old. I say pre-1940. People where I live have 200 year old houses (with some in the southern part of the County dating to the mid-1700's). We had a house in PA built in 1848.
I would agree with this. I also say pre-1940 is old. There's a big difference between the pre-war homes and post-war homes. My mom liked to say that in old homes, they took whatever space was left over and called it the kitchen. When I did some research on kitchens one time, I found out she was right. During WW II the concept of the work triangle in the kitchen was developed. Prior to that, there was no template. Many older kitchens have/had virtually NO counter-top space, nor much cupboard space.
Kitchen work triangle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
1,519 posts, read 2,534,810 times
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I don't know, a friend of mine once used painter's tape to mark locations of all of the issues in her new house prior to the contractor coming over to meet with her about them. There was a heck of a lot of blue all over the place.

That said, all houses can have issues, whether they are old or new. I like my 1920s house. It was well cared for prior to my buying it, I've lived there almost 7 years and I've not had anything major that I didn't know about prior to purchase to deal with. A good home inspector is worth his (or her) weight in gold.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
618 posts, read 645,009 times
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I agree with the pre-1940 definition. Yes, surprises will happen in new and old houses. The question in a new house is how quickly before the shoddy build/fixture/appliance quality rears its ugly head? All contingent upon the build quality, but do you really think prefab houses with brick veneer on the front and vinyl siding wrapped around the back are going to give you more than a few problem free years? Not that the builder's warranties are strong (they are not) but beyond the term of those warranties, you're stuck with potential plumbing, electrical, and foundation (settling) problems just like any other house. If a house has been standing solidly for over a hundred years, I think I'm ok with maintaining it to go another hundred.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
618 posts, read 645,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinare View Post
It was well cared for prior to my buying it, I've lived there almost 7 years and I've not had anything major that I didn't know about prior to purchase to deal with. A good home inspector is worth his (or her) weight in gold.
I couldn't agree with this more. Ours identified each and every issue we have experienced to this point.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:34 PM
 
6,494 posts, read 8,207,268 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Oh, baloney! Building codes are constantly being tightened up. Nothing gets ruined in these old basements b/c no one keeps anything that could get ruined in them. At least, that was the case in my parents' TOH. My in-laws put a dehumidifier in their basement b/c they kept so much crap in it. (Omaha, NE)

I'm not a building professional, but that doesn't sound right to me. And insulation is good, not bad. After the "energy crisis" of the 70s, my dad was always trying to improve the insulation on his house, often to no avail no matter what he did.

Not all old houses have hardwood and/or tile (ceramic) floors. My parents' house didn't. That's why "wall to wall" carpet was so popular until recently. There haven't been any old growth forests in PA since about 1900, at the latest. Most old houses don't have slate roofs, though my parents' did.
Hardwood floors are extremely common in old homes in the Pittsburgh region. Slate roofs are not as universal, but they aren't exactly rare here. There are plenty of hardwood floors in the Pittsburgh area that are/were covered with wall to wall carpet. In old Pittsburgh homes wall to wall carpeting was more likely a design choice than a necessity.

Yes building codes are constantly getting revised. Don't you think some of those revisions might include "Hey Bob, we've been building these things ten times stronger and long lasting than they need to be, let's cut back a bit on that."

I did not mean to imply that insulation is bad, but that wet insulation is bad. If I have water leaking in a wall I'd much rather it be inside a 4 inch gap between brick and lathe, where it might slowly evaporate/drain, than to be soaked up by insulation and drywall. Not to mention that brick + air gap + lathe + plaster is a decent insulator anyway. Doubly so if it's a row house.

I'm not sure what your point about old growth forests in PA being gone by 1900 is -- hardwood floors don't have to be from locally sourced lumber. Some old homes here are pre-1900 anyway. Most lumber in the US came from virgin forests until the first tree farms started to pop-up in the 1940s.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:36 PM
 
39 posts, read 50,850 times
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What is the deal with these ugly new homes in Wilkinsburg on Peebles and South? Are these rentals, section 8? Did one person own all of these? They certainly look like very cheap construction, I am surprised they are not falling apart already.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,351 posts, read 114,770,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferraris View Post
Hardwood floors are extremely common in old homes in the Pittsburgh region. Slate roofs are not as universal, but they aren't exactly rare here. There are plenty of hardwood floors in the Pittsburgh area that are/were covered with wall to wall carpet. In old Pittsburgh homes wall to wall carpeting was more likely a design choice than a necessity.

Yes building codes are constantly getting revised. Don't you think some of those revisions might include "Hey Bob, we've been building these things ten times stronger and long lasting than they need to be, let's cut back a bit on that."

I did not mean to imply that insulation is bad, but that wet insulation is bad. If I have water leaking in a wall I'd much rather it be inside a 4 inch gap between brick and lathe, where it might slowly evaporate/drain, than to be soaked up by insulation and drywall. Not to mention that brick + air gap + lathe + plaster is a decent insulator anyway. Doubly so if it's a row house.

I'm not sure what your point about old growth forests in PA being gone by 1900 is -- hardwood floors don't have to be from locally sourced lumber. Some old homes here are pre-1900 anyway. Most lumber in the US came from virgin forests until the first tree farms started to pop-up in the 1940s.
No.
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
13,917 posts, read 15,203,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferraris View Post
Hardwood floors are extremely common in old homes in the Pittsburgh region. Slate roofs are not as universal, but they aren't exactly rare here. There are plenty of hardwood floors in the Pittsburgh area that are/were covered with wall to wall carpet. In old Pittsburgh homes wall to wall carpeting was more likely a design choice than a necessity.
It depends upon what you mean by old. I've looked at many houses over the last year and a half, and in my experience virtually none of the 19th century homes had hardwood floors - even in some of the grander houses. They tend to have pine floors, although they are often "heart pine" - which is from the center of very mature pine trees we no longer see much today, and behaved more like a hardwood in terms of durability.

True hardwood floors, in my experience, are most common in houses built from around 1920 to 1960 or so. Older, but not really old.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Brookline
3,057 posts, read 2,629,650 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
It depends upon what you mean by old. I've looked at many houses over the last year and a half, and in my experience virtually none of the 19th century homes had hardwood floors - even in some of the grander houses. They tend to have pine floors, although they are often "heart pine" - which is from the center of very mature pine trees we no longer see much today, and behaved more like a hardwood in terms of durability.

True hardwood floors, in my experience, are most common in houses built from around 1920 to 1960 or so. Older, but not really old.
I believe they were not even thinking about it at that level, but simply between carpet and wood (of any type) floors.
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