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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Historic Homes... quality construction

Great article on the value of purchasing an older home... they are built to withstand what Mother Nature throws at them... much higher quality than what is built with today's material.....

Because the house was .... raised up on brick piers, the surge water hadn’t made it to the high plastered ceilings but had filled the house up with several feet of sea water before finding its way back out through doors and wall openings. Studying the hand-planed, tall single-board trim around the floors and the water mill-sawn framing, it was clear the structure had been built in the very early 19th century. Katrina was clearly not its first hurricane rodeo.

the reality became clear that the best insurance they had was how they were built. The lime-based plaster walls with cypress lathe held up totally intact after an extended period submerged in flood water, compared to homes that had been re-muddled with modern drywall and were covered with wide bands of black mold. The quarter-sawn heart-pine floors were still pristine under a layer of mud, while the modern replacement floor systems were swollen and buckled beyond salvage. The reality that the older homes were built for disasters, decades prior to the introduction of homeowners; insurance in the 1950s, was becoming glaringly obvious. How quickly we forget how and why we should build to withstand the forces of nature. In today’s world, images of neighborhoods demolished by natural disasters are commonplace, but how many people realize that the real reason we see higher and higher damage estimates has largely to do with how substandard so much of what we build today is when subjected to the powerful forces of nature? In truth, building codes were created for the most part to protect mortgage and insurance companies, but why is the bar set so low? As my builder friend John Abrams once said, “When someone says that everything they build meets code, what they are really saying is that if they built it any worse, it would be illegal.”

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