No-Maintenance Results

Ever wonder what happens when you don't maintain the house you live in? The following photos document the results.

First, the front corner of the house:

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You can see why our front doors are out of square: the big beam has easily dropped by an eighth of an inch. Our best guess is that the roof above the front porch was directing water into the house, which ran down the inside of the wall to the point pictured above. Instead of fixing the cause of the problem, the previous owners lowered the ceiling in the hallway by a foot and a half (presumably to cover up the water damage -- we'll know for sure when we tackle the hallway) and covered the walls in some spackle-ish texture (or maybe it's just the 30th layer of paint over plaster and 3 variations of wallpaper).

Second, the corner near the side porch:

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Water pools on the porch during the winter months due to the fact that it is canted toward, rather than away from, the house. The previous owners clearly knew about the water problem. At some point in the recent past, they reinforced the porch with some new 2x8's below and slapped a sheet of 3/8" OSB atop the rotting tongue-in-groove flooring. We know we're going to have to rebuild that porch entirely. It may be sooner than later, though, because the foundation contractor may need access to the beam supporting the house.

Third, on the other side of the house at the intersection of the two- and one-story sections of the house:

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Amazing what they can get water to do these days, isn't it? The roof for the one-story section of the house abuts the vertical back wall of the two-story section. That kind of joint is hard to keep sealed even when it's being actively maintained. Without maintenance, you can see how water might leak in, down, and exit at the picture above.

Fourth, termites:

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This is at the midpoint between the two windows on the two-story section of the house. This spot was kept nice and moist for many years, due to the fact that the gutter above had rotted away and was directing water into the house.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that we've seen everything that there is to see -- there are no more surprises as far as rot is concerned.

posted by noel on 02/03/05

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