Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Older as Better?

Is older better? 

The other day was inspecting a 1911 built house in an old historic district in the area. Got into the attic space and saw the old 2X4s supporting the roof structure. 2X4s as rafters?! And not only this but 2X4s that were separated by each other at more than 2 feet!? Yes! 

Back when a 2X4 was a 2 1/4 by 4 1/4 and not the shaved 1 3/4 by 3 1/2 of a so called "2X4" of today!

Not everything older is better. Older human bodies are not better than younger in terms of performance and pain levels. Older electrical service does not mean better. Older plumbing does not mean better. Nor heat. Nor. . . And even older structure does not mean better if built poorly. But when you run into an old structure that has stood the test of time and our rain and storms and that has that old school solid feel (despite all its corresponding "creepiness" and cobwebs and darkness and rodents and the like), this makes an inspector's heart leap with joy!

When I saw these old 2X4s on steroids, I pulled out my tape and measured them and just stood there for a few moments looking with wonder at a real 2X4. . .

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

And for What?

You will build a house, but you will not live in it. 
Moses, 14-13th B.C.E.

The house was striking. It was built in the 19 teens in an historical part of town in the year of the Russian Revolution. Over the years its condition had deteriorated significantly. The person who bought it had money and spent half a million dollars and likely much more to renovate the structure to its original condition. It was to be a place to enjoy with the rest of the family in retirement. New raised foundation. New period specific siding, fixtures, lighting, interior cabinets, walls, trim. Modernized plumbing, electrical, venting. Restored floors. Absolutely a stunning structure. While inspecting, even in the most hidden, out of the way places, I could not believe the attention to detail.

When finished remodeling, the owner contracted an aggressive, terminal illness and died quickly. 

The owner’s shoes sat forgotten in the basement, the house being sold to someone else. . .