Cellar Basement Project part 2

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The French Drain- There was some digging and breaking up the concrete floor. A trench was dug inside for the outer walls and a trench going down the middle.In the front there was water. The guys said it was mud. My guess was the trench was about a foot or more deep and there was a pool of water in it, on a dry day. The rear trench remained dry. Hopefully the french drain and maybe a new sump pump (planned for this summer when I hope it's dry) will take care of part of the water problems.  The other problem is humidity. I measured this morning and it's 71% percent humidity in the cellar. We just need to hook up the dehumidifier tonight to take care of that. So it will never (unless the water table drops) become a full basement or even a basement apartment.

Pipes and things- Another cost was moving pipes. One of the more expensive pipe relocations, was moving the interior gas line for $1K. It seems that over time, with this and other pipes, the previous owners just capped it off and put in more pipe. Imagine a pipe that comes in from the outside near the center of the house. In the inside it is about 3-5 inches below the ceiling. From the center it goes diagonally to the far right of the house, where there is a cap, an extention, and another pipe that travels to the far left of the house to get to the (currently non-functioning) furnace. Something was on the right, maybe a meter, who knows. Anyway, this pipe, was right over where the washer and dryer were to go, and to box it in would have lowered the ceiling. There were other pipes too. Pipes that went nowhere. Water pipes to non-existant washers or removed outdoor faucets or something that needed water abounded. So a part of the project was cleaning up all the leftover stuff from 100 years of modernization.

Oil pipe- It later got covered over but there was an opening on the exterior facing wall for a oil pipe, for I gather when there was an oil furnace. I'm guessing.

The ceiling- As I wrote, we weren't digging down, but we did have the option of taking off some of the beams. As some of y'all remember I gutted the 1st and 2nd floors in 2007. The floor joists had new boards/beams sistered to them to make them level, because over 130 some odd years they got saggy (good bones my ass*). These sistered beams allowed for a couple of inches to be taken off the bottom. Besides they were kinda big anyway. As a result we can raise our hands a little higher than before, but there are only a few places a 6' 4" man can stand up straight.

In conclusion- This house was built around 1874, as rental housing. For most of the 19th and 20th century it was nothing but rental housing. The best of my knowledge and research none of the landlords, not even the great Dr. E. L. Haynes**, invested this much into this structure as I have in my 10 years. Dealing with all the little structural issues at once and to make it more than livable is too much to ask of a landlord. The house is not complete. The first renovation in the kitchen, 9 years ago, put off a number of structural things. If that is tackled the logical move is to add another floor, as many others on the block have done with their kitchens. But it's still too soon to even think about that right now.

Any questions?

*A common line you'll hear about old houses is that they have good bones. You don't know what kind of bones a house has until you tear that sucker down to the joists and frame. What you may find is termite and water damage, sandy mortar, all sorts of crap. Walls and floors hide all sorts of sins.

** My house was one of many in her investment portfolio. She never lived in my house. Repeat, never, ever, never, ever lived here. 

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