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GTT Folk-

The Mrs. and I just returned from the farm. A great mowing session yesterday after helping the BIL rebuild his deck. My Mrs. also met with the contractor who will begin the remodel of the house next Monday.

The house was built in the late 1970's as the retirement home of my late in-laws on land that my late FIL began acquiring in the late 1930's after high school and before WW2 . The lower level was blasted/dug into a hillside, was blocked on three sides above a concrete slab, then a frame home built above. Building it into the hill gives any with great imagination the illusion of a geothermal effect; the reality, however, has been much different, as the blocks were never properly sealed and we've battled moisture issuesthroughout the years.

After my wife and I purchased the home and some land from the estate three years ago, we've debated ways to modify it to make it our home. This will allow us to vacate the concrete jungle and experience full time country living. First up will be to install a sliding door in the lower level that will give us a second egress point, as we sleep in the lower level. Next, we'll remove a gigantic block/brick fireplace to give us more usable living room space without expanding the walls. Third, we'll better seal the block along the west side to keep the water outside; and fourth, we'll upgrade the breaker box with a view of further add-ons. Once this phase is complete, we'll sell out in the city and will relocate.

Down the road, we'll build a better garage/barn closer to the house.

Many photos will follow, and I'll update my profile when we're further along.

Brian
 

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Sounds like comgratulations are in order! Being able to escape said comcrete jungle will be worth it.

I can see how there is a moisture problem. But I'm sure you will get it figured out.

Very happy for you as you embark on your new adventure!
 

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Congrats is it in same general area. I did same thing in 90 and never regretted it. A little farther to work but what piece of mind. :good2::good2::good2:
 

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GTT Folk-

The Mrs. and I just returned from the farm. A great mowing session yesterday after helping the BIL rebuild his deck. My Mrs. also met with the contractor who will begin the remodel of the house next Monday.

The house was built in the late 1970's as the retirement home of my late in-laws on land that my late FIL began acquiring in the late 1930's after high school and before WW2 . The lower level was blasted/dug into a hillside, was blocked on three sides above a concrete slab, then a frame home built above. Building it into the hill gives any with great imagination the illusion of a geothermal effect; the reality, however, has been much different, as the blocks were never properly sealed and we've battled moisture issuesthroughout the years.

After my wife and I purchased the home and some land from the estate three years ago, we've debated ways to modify it to make it our home. This will allow us to vacate the concrete jungle and experience full time country living. First up will be to install a sliding door in the lower level that will give us a second egress point, as we sleep in the lower level. Next, we'll remove a gigantic block/brick fireplace to give us more usable living room space without expanding the walls. Third, we'll better seal the block along the west side to keep the water outside; and fourth, we'll upgrade the breaker box with a view of further add-ons. Once this phase is complete, we'll sell out in the city and will relocate.

Down the road, we'll build a better garage/barn closer to the house.

Many photos will follow, and I'll update my profile when we're further along.

Brian

Brian, Congratulations on your plans and steps to achieve them.:bigthumb:

Make sure to seal as much of the wall as you can, even if that means sealing the blocks on the inside, as water / moisture has a way of always seeking the new path of least resistance once you have sealed the other areas which contained known problems.

Moisture in unwanted areas of any structure can be a real problem and cause tremendous damage in the long haul. There are troublesome problems you can visually see such as black mold. There are also many potential problems you can't see. Since you are going to be sleeping in the lower level, I would have a Radon study of that area of your home completed.

Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in non smoking individuals. I know nothing about your area of the country and how much of an issue Radon is or isn't, but I certainly would spend a couple of dollars to know the definitive answer about your home.

If it does turn out that the Radon measure is higher than acceptable, it's not that big of a deal to remediate. Having a Radon contractor install a remediation system in our area is between $1,500 to $2,500 for most homes which have excessive Radon.

There are maps on the USGS website which show the results of Radon tests in local areas throughout America. That might be a good place to at least start to see if the area of your future primary residence has a history of problems.

But as a warning, our area shows as very low risk on the map and A good friend of mine just bought a home built within the last 5 years. His son plans on sleeping in the basement (likely for the next 40 or 50 years, but that is another story within itself.....:laugh:) and I suggested he have the lower level tested. Despite our area having a "low risk and low occurrence" of radon issues, He found that the home averaged 4 to 5 times the acceptable standards (measured 22 to 25.5 when the upper limit is 5) and for an investment of about $2,300, he was able to bring the average readings down to 3.8.

It's important that the time of the Radon study be consistent with accepted standards as short term tests will always show higher results than will longer term tests. If someone is pitching you the need to take action after a 24 hour study, that may be in large part because most studies are 48 hours or longer. Again, there is some good information on the USGS website about testing and the impact of seasonal weather, access to the house during the test, etc. It's best to test it BEFORE you live there just so the doors and windows aren't being opened and closed and other variables introduced to the testing process.

Good luck on your plans and congratulations on taking the step to abandon the concrete Jungle. Your blood pressure is looking forward to it.....:good2:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Brian, Congratulations on your plans and steps to achieve them.:bigthumb:

Make sure to seal as much of the wall as you can, even if that means sealing the blocks on the inside, as water / moisture has a way of always seeking the new path of least resistance once you have sealed the other areas which contained known problems.

Moisture in unwanted areas of any structure can be a real problem and cause tremendous damage in the long haul. There are troublesome problems you can visually see such as black mold. There are also many potential problems you can't see. Since you are going to be sleeping in the lower level, I would have a Radon study of that area of your home completed.

Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in non smoking individuals. I know nothing about your area of the country and how much of an issue Radon is or isn't, but I certainly would spend a couple of dollars to know the definitive answer about your home.

If it does turn out that the Radon measure is higher than acceptable, it's not that big of a deal to remediate. Having a Radon contractor install a remediation system in our area is between $1,500 to $2,500 for most homes which have excessive Radon.

There are maps on the USGS website which show the results of Radon tests in local areas throughout America. That might be a good place to at least start to see if the area of your future primary residence has a history of problems.

But as a warning, our area shows as very low risk on the map and A good friend of mine just bought a home built within the last 5 years. His son plans on sleeping in the basement (likely for the next 40 or 50 years, but that is another story within itself.....:laugh:) and I suggested he have the lower level tested. Despite our area having a "low risk and low occurrence" of radon issues, He found that the home averaged 4 to 5 times the acceptable standards (measured 22 to 25.5 when the upper limit is 5) and for an investment of about $2,300, he was able to bring the average readings down to 3.8.

It's important that the time of the Radon study be consistent with accepted standards as short term tests will always show higher results than will longer term tests. If someone is pitching you the need to take action after a 24 hour study, that may be in large part because most studies are 48 hours or longer. Again, there is some good information on the USGS website about testing and the impact of seasonal weather, access to the house during the test, etc. It's best to test it BEFORE you live there just so the doors and windows aren't being opened and closed and other variables introduced to the testing process.

Good luck on your plans and congratulations on taking the step to abandon the concrete Jungle. Your blood pressure is looking forward to it.....:good2:
Capt. Sully -

Thanks for your kind words. We dealt with radon twice while departing Colorado in 1989 and again in 2012. Radon appears as granite decomposes; As the Rockies have been eroded and washed to the east, radon problems arose along the front range. The second chief source of radon in the Midwest is a result of glaciation from the Canadian Shield during the last Ice-Age. Both our Colorado homes and the one in the concrete jungle that we hope to be departing soon all had radon pumps. My review of the glaciation maps show no deposits south of the Columbus/Pittsburgh area. Back in the day when the radon trap was hung in your basement, one could wrap the trap with a zip-loc bag and keep the level low. The last test we had in Colorado had a pump that continuously sucked air and had several defeat alarms built into the logic.

I'll take your advice on radon, but my opinion of the hazards of radon exposure don't jibe with yours. I'm probably at a higher risk from outdoor fire pit fumes and choking down second-hand cigarette smoke at the local VFW than from fumes emitting from my basement dug into clay and sandstone rock.

Brian
 

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Congratulations on your pending escape. I would like to be able to do the same thing but I still have a few years before I can replace the asphalt with dirt roads.:thumbup1gif:
 

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Congratulations on getting away! I don't miss city living at all! Hours of your life wasted sitting in traffic or your neighbors so close you could almost share rooms... Fresh air, deer, turkeys and surrounded by trees, thats the life for me! Enjoy! :thumbup1gif:
 

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GTT Folk-

The Mrs. and I just returned from the farm. A great mowing session yesterday after helping the BIL rebuild his deck. My Mrs. also met with the contractor who will begin the remodel of the house next Monday.

The house was built in the late 1970's as the retirement home of my late in-laws on land that my late FIL began acquiring in the late 1930's after high school and before WW2 . The lower level was blasted/dug into a hillside, was blocked on three sides above a concrete slab, then a frame home built above. Building it into the hill gives any with great imagination the illusion of a geothermal effect; the reality, however, has been much different, as the blocks were never properly sealed and we've battled moisture issuesthroughout the years.

After my wife and I purchased the home and some land from the estate three years ago, we've debated ways to modify it to make it our home. This will allow us to vacate the concrete jungle and experience full time country living. First up will be to install a sliding door in the lower level that will give us a second egress point, as we sleep in the lower level. Next, we'll remove a gigantic block/brick fireplace to give us more usable living room space without expanding the walls. Third, we'll better seal the block along the west side to keep the water outside; and fourth, we'll upgrade the breaker box with a view of further add-ons. Once this phase is complete, we'll sell out in the city and will relocate.

Down the road, we'll build a better garage/barn closer to the house.

Many photos will follow, and I'll update my profile when we're further along.

Brian

:munch:
 
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