Questions tagged [old-house]

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25
votes
5answers
11k views

What should be done before using a fireplace that has not been used in decades?

We are moving into a house with a fire-place. The current tenants (friends of ours), have been living there just short of 2 decades, and have never used it once. The house is about 90 years old, so it ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

What is this balloon with “eyes” printed on it, hanging from the eave on this house?

I have seen this, or something very similar on various houses in the city I live in. It is rare enough to be remarkable, but common enough to make me think it is a "thing". Any ideas?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

What is this metal bar in my 1950s electrical box?

I recently bought a house and am in the process of replacing all the ungrounded outlets with GFCI outlets. I was able to install one correctly in a bedroom, but there are two others that I wasn't able ...
5
votes
3answers
358 views

Mystery current on neutral wires coming into outlet box

In reworking outlets and switches in our 1960's California home to use AlumiConn connectors + copper pigtails where needed (instead of older wire nuts + Noalox), I came across a duplex wall box in the ...
5
votes
3answers
155 views

Using new lumber in an old wall with larger lumber dimensions

I am trying to widen the doorway to a room in a house that was build in 1905. the framing is 16 on center, however the lumber is wider than a standard 2x4. by about a 1/2 inch. (the actual dimensions ...
5
votes
1answer
142 views

What is this panel in basement wall of 1940s house?

When I removed a cabinet from our basement wall today I discovered the panel in the photo below. The panel is metal, approximately 2 ft wide and 1 ft high. It has five 1.5 inch holes in it, each one ...
4
votes
3answers
731 views

Reasons why a receptacle would fail

A friend has asked for my help to replace a wall receptacle that has stopped working. I asked if it was loose-fitting or otherwise physically worn out. She said that plugs fit tightly and it generally ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I move a door hinge out 1/8“ (door is too tight to the stop molding, makes ”paint popping" noise)?

In an older home, due to layers of paint, I have several doors that close too tight to the stop molding. If left closed the paint binds up and "pops" (it must be left closed for two or three hours ...
4
votes
2answers
294 views

Two way door lock for thin door

I'm converting one of the rooms in my 1840 house into an office. The thing is I have 5 kids and need to be able to lock the door so I can have some level of quiet. I also don't want the kids tinkering ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

Minimum ampacity for circuits in a home from 1964

I’m attempting to fact-check a seemingly very dubious claim from my landlord, but I’m having a great deal of trouble finding useful information on older electrical codes, especially in a form that I ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it OK if the house's roof makes noise

I moved from Europe to the USA(OH). I noticed a couple of things that worry me. Every house in the US that I entered makes cracking or squeaking noise. I never experienced this in Europe buildings. I ...
3
votes
2answers
471 views

1730 House how to make Ceiling Level

We had a fire last year and had to remove our plaster ceilings. We’re left with beams that have all kinds of shims etc. that were used to level the lath. Every drywaller has had a different idea of ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

Is it okay to reuse Alumiconn connectors?

After having redone the aluminum-to-copper pigtails in my house's electrical outlets using AlumiConn connectors, I subsequently had to undo a few to debug a wiring problem. All I did is unscrew the ...
3
votes
4answers
194 views

help with improving HVAC performance on the second floor of an old house

I'm hoping some of you can offer some advice on how best to add a second AC in our home -- or on whether we should look for a different solution. I should say upfront that I've done a lot of reading ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are there shims under my studs?

My house was built in 1928 (in Altadena, CA). My detached garage looks like the same vintage, but I don't know for sure. On at least 2 of the garage walls, there are shims between the sill/mud plate ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Question on toilet mounting; No visible bolts?

OK,In the early 80-81, My Aunt allowed her Husband to build in a dead Attic space over the Foyer that has 15-17 ft ceiling, a rather sizable Laboratory(I'm not quite sure what to call it.). the floor ...
3
votes
1answer
433 views

Internal walls supported by rotten wood

We've an old house from 1890 and are replacing rotten and wood worm eaten beams and floors. But, whilst doing this we've found that the internal walls have been built on top of planks of wood placed ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

New plaster over top of exposed horsehair plaster in Bathroom

I've taken wainscoting off of my bathroom wall that seems to have been around since the house was built (1900). Under one of the walls is an exposed horsehair plaster that was done right up against ...
3
votes
1answer
907 views

Removing old electrical box in ceiling

I have hit an obstacle in my quest to replace my light fixture. The current electrical box in the ceiling is a very old type as shown in the picture I attached. How does one go about removing this? ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

GFCI install in old house

My house was built in the 1940s and only part of the electrical has been upgraded. I am trying to replace an old outlet on my screened in porch with a weather resistant GFCI outlet but cannot get it ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to get rid of old house smell?

Our house is pretty old. It had an old house smell when we bought it. It's not a mold smell, not a sewer, not cat urine. It's a smell of old wooden furniture or books. The house has hardwood floors ...
2
votes
2answers
440 views

Structural cross joists and load-bearing walls (century home)

I have a friend that recently took possession of a century home. Its a 4 plex and He was told it was an old school house (at least at some point in time). We’re experienced weekend warriors but ...
2
votes
1answer
212 views

Safety when modifying old electrical work

I have a relatively old house, built in the 1950s. I am slowly updating it to have smart switches etc., but the existing electrical wiring is fairly haphazard. Just yesterday I replaced a dimmer ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Passing wire down through Exterior Wall

Replacing some old wiring with crumbling insulation. One of the wires passes down through an exterior wall from the attic, to an outlet on the second floor, and continues down to the first floor. I ...
2
votes
2answers
859 views

Kitchen sink draining into catch basin

For a house that I'm in the process of buying, there is what I think is called a "catch basin" in the backyard (under a manhole-looking cover). It seems that the kitchen sink may be draining into this,...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Sealing inside of external brick wall

We've solid brick, external walls, about 10" thick, and have moisture seeping through. We have plaster on the walls which we'd like to take off to seal the walls inside, then replaster. So far our ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Attaching a heavy item to a 'powdery' external wall

I have a house in the UK built circa 1870. The external walls are London brick in Flemish bond I think, and are in a single layer (no cavity wall construction). At some point many tens of years ago, a ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Ceiling fan wiring

How do I wire a new ceiling fan to the wiring in the picture?
2
votes
4answers
208 views

Door Does Not Close Properly

I have a door in my home to one of the bedrooms, that will not "catch" when you close it. If you lift up on the doorknob then it "catches" and will remain shut. I was curious, if I put a "stronger" ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Puzzled installing combination GFCI outlet/switch to replace switch in old house

In brief: in replacing an old light switch in an old house with a GFCI combo switch/outlet, facing existing wiring that doesn't quite match instructions, I get the GFCI outlet working but not the new ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How do you determine the date a house was built?

I was told our house was 18 years old when we bought it. The date it was "built" was listed as 1998. However, the building permit was issued in 1996. What determines the date a house was built, when ...
2
votes
2answers
11k views

Yellow stains on plaster wall patches

I live in an old 1910s house and it turns out my walls aren't drywall. It is constructed of rock or some type of masonry. Over it, there is a really, really old wallpaper, which also have over itself, ...
2
votes
1answer
143 views

Pendant light cord too long

How would you shorten a pendant lamp's electrical cable? It's a USA home from the 1920s. The question has been asked before, but wrapping an electrical cable around a metal caribeaner seems dangerous....
2
votes
2answers
887 views

How can I level and finish a slanted deck that was enclosed?

Hello everyone I am new to this so I apologize if I seem a little slow mentally. I have a 104 yr old home that at one point had a deck that was completely enclosed. my issue is that the floor was ...
2
votes
1answer
205 views

How to repair integrated window screens from a 1930s house?

I'm purchasing a house built in 1937. All the windows and fixtures are original. A fair number of the windows have an integrated screen that pulls down from the top of the window. The tracks are ...
2
votes
3answers
832 views

What hard material is behind the plaster on interior walls in my 1920s apartment?

I moved into an old (c. 1920s) rental apartment building in the northeastern US (Philadelphia) and would like to hang pictures and secure some furniture. I tried putting nails in several places ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

Hardware for a barn/sliding door that cantilevers into free space when open

I've salvaged an old door from a neighbor's demolition to upgrade the door of my small laundry closet. I thought it would be interesting to mount the door as a sliding barn door, both as a visual ...
1
vote
1answer
632 views

Found Lath and Plaster wall under remodel drywall. Is it restorable?

I'm currently in the process of restoring my 1906 home's bathroom. At some point in the last 10-15 years the bathroom was given a cheap remodel. New plumbing and outlets were run and drywall was hung ...
1
vote
2answers
108 views

How to take a house apart in sections to move?

I live in NC and looking for a free house to move and relocate. First, does anyone know of or how to find one within reasonable distance and second, is it possible to move one in smaller sections ...
1
vote
2answers
417 views

Leveling a sinking 1st floor addition that is about 4' off the ground [closed]

First time home buyer looking for good advice about possibly raising a sunken 2 room addition ourselves. Wood frame, the sill is in good shape no rotting. No warping or "cupping" of the rooms. The ...
1
vote
1answer
111 views

What kind of appliance(s) used to be here? [closed]

I'm remodeling a room in a fairly old house (~100 yrs), and I discovered a capped-off gas pipe behind some framing+drywall that had been hastily installed whenever this room had been converted into a ...
1
vote
1answer
442 views

I need to know how to replace a water damaged wood rotten stud in a wall

I just bought a house built in 1930. The previous owners had a crack in the shower. I need to know how to replace the stud that holds up that wall as it is now rotten from water damage. The drywall is ...
1
vote
1answer
299 views

How do I fix metal clad wood casement windows that won't close?

I recently purchased a house that built in 1937. I believe the windows are original, and they are all casement windows. I'm not sure of the correct term, but the windows are clad in metal with a slot, ...
1
vote
3answers
69 views

toilet troubles

I have a brass tube for water coming into a toilet in my very old farmhouse. The shut off valve failed and I had to cut the tube and am now trying to fix it... to no avail. We are three days without ...
1
vote
5answers
157 views

Natural ant/insect repellent [closed]

Please suggest some natural ant/insect repellent that I can use to get rid of the ants/ticks/insects. I started using clorox but I would prefer something natural. Thank you so much
1
vote
2answers
105 views

Is this mold in my bathroom?

Moved into a new house and the bathroom has a foul odour and i suspect it has something to do with he black stuff all over the place. Could it be mold?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

What causes “old smell” in a clean but older house? [closed]

Older homes in warmer climates seem to have a somewhat common smell to them, even after cleaning them. Does someone with experience renovating such homes know what tends to be the cause of these odors?...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is this Radiator handle/valve a replaceable part? Do I need to drain the system first?

Perhaps a stupid question... The ON / OFF valve on one of my 1900s radiators does not turn. Pictures below. The radiator is in a permanent "hot" state. Is the "valve" (handle and "small nut") ...
1
vote
2answers
138 views

Unable to hang things in certain walls

We just bought a house that was built in 1941. The bathroom doesn't have a toilet paper roll holder, so my husband tried to install one. In 4 different areas of the wall he hit something solid and our ...
1
vote
2answers
159 views

Is there an easy way to track where switches go/do?

My Aunt's house is a Frankenstein's Monster. Her late Husband made a number of unique wiring modifications. previous post about the her house: Question on toilet mounting; No visible bolts? 1st, ...