Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    c flaherty's Avatar
    c flaherty Guest

    Default 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking of putting an offer in on a 2 story house built in 1900. It has no foundation, what it does have is concrete post and beams to support the structure (bear with me I have no idea if I'm using the right terminology).

    The crawl space varies in height from about a foot deep to 3.5 feet. It's entirely exposed, but seems dry. Insulation has been added to the frame to retain heat and insulate pipes. I know nothing about this kind of thing, but my gut says to be concerned about these things:

    heat escaping/cold floors
    excess moisture
    frozen pipes (it's located near the Berkshires in western MA)
    premature rotting

    The house appears to be structurally sound, and it's survived over 100 New England winters already....but what I want to know is this something I should just walk away from? I am not interested in going through the hassle/expense of putting in a real foundation down the road.

    Thanks for any and all advice/experience/etc!


    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Orlando, FL

    Default Re: 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??

    Any house over 100 years old will be a potential "minefield" of issues, deferred maintenance, handyman upgrades, safety concerns, etc.

    Repairing some older homes can be fun and rewarding for some homeowners, while for others it can nerve-racking and expensive.

    Obviously, you can hire a local inspector to consult with prior to your purchase, however, if youíre a bit squeamish about taking on the inherent risks of older homes, then trust your instincts and donít buy it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Caledon, Ontario

    Default Re: 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??

    Guaranteed mouse infestation given all those gaps and loose insulation.
    How about the base of those columns, wood in contact with soil - rot?
    See at least one column out of plumb.
    Floors will be cold given the gaps in the floor insulation.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  4. #4
    c flaherty's Avatar
    c flaherty Guest

    Default Re: 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??

    Thanks for the advice. You've both got some great points.
    It was built to be a summer cottage and winterized in a shoddy way, to make this a primary residence, without doing a lot of work up front, seems foolish at this point.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    New York

    Default Re: 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??


    Any home you are considering should be inspected by a competant Home Inspector. All of the tings mentioned could exist, plus so much more.

    Whether or not you should purchase the home or walk away is based on a few things: The price of the home. How much do you like this house. Are you able to (financially or mentally) make the necessary repairs.

    If the deal is a good deal, you love the home (for whatever reason(s)), and eventually you can upgrade it... why not?

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Southern Vancouver Island

    Default Re: 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??

    Number one, I would recommend a pest inspection for termites especially, but also rodents and other vermin. Where the wall is in contact with the ground, pic 1, needs to be checked for sure.
    Any rotten wood needs to be replaced.
    Straighten posts and add diagonal bracing - maybe 1 man day.
    Remove the sharpest rocks and lay down a tight poly vapor barrier - 1-2 man days.
    Pour a concrete perimeter wall to support skirting. Keep wood 6' min above the soil level. Several more mandays. Total cost would depends on how you want to build the skirting.
    You could use wood siding, cedar shingles on plywood, concrete blocks, or solid poured concrete.
    Concrete would require a deep footing in Maine, but that would give you the best result.
    The crawlspace with skirting needs vents on several sides that can be closed and a good access door.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455

  7. #7
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: 1900 cottage with NO foundation - a risk??

    I inspected a 1892 house (per the tax records) that had a tapered concrete foundation and tapered concrete piers poured. I did not see them do it but it looked great. Here is a picture of one of the piers. I know there are other issues but this about the piers.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts