Restoring Victorian Buildings

Ted

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 26, 2004
Messages
6,475
Location
Bourton on Dunsmore
Car
Lexus RC300h F-Sport, Yamaha XVS 1100, Jeep Renegade
I've not seen a purlin bend to such an extent!!
It was a lot smaller than the others for some reason, and was almost certainly supporting an original slate roof.
The roofer said that it hadn’t actually failed, and had bent as much as it was ever going to.
The ceiling was original lath and plaster which had totally collapsed, but all looking better now 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
 

Attachments

  • 32CF195B-634F-438D-A2E8-FD1384850842.jpeg
    32CF195B-634F-438D-A2E8-FD1384850842.jpeg
    233.4 KB · Views: 20
  • 9450F584-4119-4C9C-9F4E-A99ED52673BC.jpeg
    9450F584-4119-4C9C-9F4E-A99ED52673BC.jpeg
    87 KB · Views: 20
  • 6D97A009-FFC3-4D65-B205-B0C4C041FFF3.jpeg
    6D97A009-FFC3-4D65-B205-B0C4C041FFF3.jpeg
    333.1 KB · Views: 20
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
One of the things that became apparent when I started inspecting buildings was the fact that refurbishment costs can become quickly out of hand if you are not familiar with building construction. Mike's approach of using a structural surveyor as a project manager, by using a bill of quantities, is the best way. This prevents contractors from overstepping the mark - "sorry guv I thought you wanted the whole roof replacing that's why we stripped it". If you are talking about tens of thousands in repair costs, it's a false economy not to employ a suitably qualified project manager, although some contractors don't like it for obvious reasons. Depends on your experience in this type of thing.
Thank you for replying - some interesting insights. Yes controlling costs and knowing when tradespeople are overstepping the line is a concern.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
It's not just the mortar on the outside of the walls, but also what have the insides been rendered with - sand/cement and gypsum plaster ? - that's not going to breath much either.

If water has been getting in then you can guarantee that any floor boards or wall plates any where near the stone work will also be rotten.
Good point. Internally it has been converted into a home and was only done a few years ago. Unfortunately they focused on the inside and not the fabric of the building. I need to check the surveyors report but I think the inside of the external walls are dry lined.
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
Can’t help regarding Derbyshire but can offer that your experience is similar to mine 30 years ago when I bought the 1860 Wandsworth vicarage which had been maintained to a very low budget post-war.

Surveyors thought it was repairable / modernisable at much lower costs than the initial tradesmen estimates that came in.

The modernisation was brought in on a modest budget by finding builders by recommendation and by using a structural surveyor as the project manager. (Someone with real experience of the sector and my geographic area, not just a bossy spreadsheet jockey.)

Good luck with it.
Thank you for your good wishes. That’s just the kind of person I need. Or maybe an old school retired builder who can do what’s required and retain what’s not, ie not have the “must replace everything or it’s not worth my while” mindset which some tradespeople seem to have.
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
Following up on the internal breathability theme:

- modern paints are often not very breathable, especially satin or these wipe clean or kitchen and bathroom paints. Original paints in old buildings were some form of chalky distemper, that would allow the walls to breathe much better. They are unpopular because by their nature, they transfer on to stuff (you) if you brush against them.

- If there is a suspended floor, check the air bricks are clear and in good condition and see what accumulated tradesman rubbish has been thrown under the floorboards so they don't have to dispose of it correctly. In my 1930s modest 3 bed house, I dragged out about 20 rubble sacks full of rubbish left by builders over the previous 90 years. This will retain moisture and not help airflow under the property.

Good luck. Pics please when in a position to post them 👍
Tha kbyou for replying and for you good wishes. The surveyor said it’s suspended floor and just one air brick has been blocked up, which is where there was previously an extension which has since been demolished. Taking up the floor to see what’s beneath may be a challenge as the internals are all recently done.
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
I’ve done a couple of old properties up and have found the roof timbers to be solid. If there’s felt underneath the tiles it’s definitely been replaced at some point. The biggest bugbear to look out for is if someone has put a concrete floor in, this causes no end of problems. The majority of damp is caused from above, roof or gutters. Good luck with the project and even better luck with the paint stripping 🥴🥴🥴
Thank you for replying and for your best wishes.

Yes there’s felt although the way it’s been laid suggests 1950s or 1960s according to the Surveyor.

Thankfully the it has a suspended floor still. Gutters are all new (3y), but in some places are falling in the wrong direction!
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
We had a lot of work done on the roof and attic done a couple of years ago. Cottage built in 1859, and one of the purlins had bowed (it was quite a bit smaller than the others) - we had a steel put in and new trusses installed.
just stating a couple of probably obvious things but..
There will be additional costs for unforeseen problems and also improvements that you may not have thought about. We had the balustrades rebuilt and proper coping stones rather than the blue brick coping as the roofers were in and scaffolding was up. Lots of other stuff too like bigger windows, giving us a proper room up in the attic with large windows and a knock through to the other part of the attic with a fireproof door etc.
The builder and subbys were fantastic - kept us updated weekly and asked us about any changes/additional work needed. They also billed us on a regular basis so costs never went out of control.
Despite the builders clearing the rubble there will be lots of dust and debris up there. It’s really messy.
You will need to be able to accommodate all of the vans and cars for the workers.
There will be disruption to the neighbours too- ours were very understanding.
We had an understanding that all work would be done from the outside/attic to stop people traipsing through the house. I didn’t think this would be possible but they kept to their word.
Lot’s of tea and biscuits went down well.
They will probably mess up your drive/garden with all on the coming and goings and material movement.
Thanks for your detailed rent, it’s much appreciated.

Parking won’t be an issue however the amount of dust and the potential duration would be an issue for us and for neighbours if the whole building must be repointed. The estimate we have received so far suggested 3 months for repointing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ted
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
My last house was a large Victorian villa completed in 1873.

Over the 27 years we were in the house we did various renovations and refurbishments.

The house was repointed in the '90s with sand and cement...and never suffered one iota for having been done this way.

The greater part of the roof is the original to this day, though some was stripped and reinstated with new "felt" and battens.

Generally the reception rooms of victorian houses will be lathe and plaster to the external walls and some (but not all) will have a three brick deep solid wall.

The lesser rooms, ie kitchens and sculleries etc will be 9 inch wals and plastered directly on to the wall...these, invariably will be damp. They also liked to place wood wall plates in the solid walls at about every 10 courses or so...these will be rotten and should be replaced. You might consider dry lining for these walls.

Patches of damp caused by external sources are easily remedied when the source is rectified.

Spalled bricks can be easily replaced by a good bricklayer and you will not see the join.

The victorian house I was born in is still in the family after more than 65 years...and is vastly better than it was in 1957...modern techniques and materials can improve buildings. The next house we moved to as a family, also late victorian, is also still in the family and again brought up to an as new state of repair.

Without knowing your house specifically, the only cause for concern would be the roof replaced in the '50s when they really didn't know what they were doing.

Good luck with the project and above all...enjoy the process.
Thank you for your insights and well wishes. Sounds like you got it right 👍🏻
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
Bobby. I can't help directly but I can give you my interpretation of how some of the Trades think , well at least down my way.

For reasons I have yet to fathom out all of my 'pub mates' - some I have known for over 30 years - are tradespersons. Plumbers , Roofers , Painter & Decorators , Carpet fitters , Carpenters , Stone masons , Dry stone wall builders, Tilers ,bricklayers and general builders are amongst this Motley Crew . Here is what I know about them and how they 'operate' ,

None of them want to carry out what they call 'Hospital' job's anymore , meaning 'all or nothing' .

They are in such demand many will not pop round to fix a leaky gutter but will happily replace the whole system , my plumber mate basically fits new boilers and carries out services , leaky tap ? need a radiator moved ? call someone else.

The self employed carpet fitter is so fed up of what he calls the 'Christmas rush' in December he is leaving the country on the 6th December and back on the 6th January, Just last night in the pub he told be of the great deal he got his business class flights.

None of them will work off ladders these days , always scaffolding/cherry pickers etc. Again , these are just self employed guy's that I know who are all 'well sorted' so can afford to skip the small stuff, but if they wanted to work 24/7 they could . They have work coming out of their ears.

Hopefully different up your way . Best of luck.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified electrician . But I don't do 'house bashing' I found a more lucrative angle a long while back.

PS . On my own 122 year old house every single one of the damp issues was caused by something other than the actual building itself . Everything from the gas box fitted (probably in the 1960's) flat against the brickwork trapping moisture to poorly fitted windows to name just a few. The house itself (slate damp proof course) is solid.
Thank you for relying. All or nothing approach is how I’m seeing this. I hope they’re not trying to “rip me off” however fo make it worth their while they make it a big job. Lead times for the roof and repointing are 12 months plus so they’re busy and I suspect that they’re being choosey.
 

renault12ts

MB Club Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
16,634
Car
2005 W215 CL500.
Thanks for your detailed rent, it’s much appreciated.

Parking won’t be an issue however the amount of dust and the potential duration would be an issue for us and for neighbours if the whole building must be repointed. The estimate we have received so far suggested 3 months for repointing!
More like 3 weeks, if that. 3 months!!!
 

Londonscottish

MB Enthusiast
SUPPORTER
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
4,728
Location
London
Car
E500 & Fiat 500
Thanks for your detailed rent, it’s much appreciated.

Parking won’t be an issue however the amount of dust and the potential duration would be an issue for us and for neighbours if the whole building must be repointed. The estimate we have received so far suggested 3 months for repointing!

I can't see how it could take 3 months. At the end of the day they need to chip out the old stuff and replace it. If they don't want to chip it out by hand they can always angle grind it out (as one of my neighbour's builder recently did) but that needs scaffolding covers/water as the dust is immense.

Another neighbour had hers done recently. A bloke came round at evenings and weekends for a few weeks and did the whole thing solo.

I had the front elevation on mine done. It took a few days and that involved an acid clean and some minor repairs - it took a few days.

Regarding the roof my very rough rule of thumb when buying is that a roof has a life of around 50 years. Much older than that I get a bit twitchy.
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
More like 3 weeks, if that. 3 months!!!
Yes he said 3 months. If doing the whole building then there is quite a lot of brickwork, my very quick estimate would be around 400 m2 after deducting windows - but even then 3 months still seems a very long time!.does that sound right?
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
I can't see how it could take 3 months. At the end of the day they need to chip out the old stuff and replace it. If they don't want to chip it out by hand they can always angle grind it out (as one of my neighbour's builder recently did) but that needs scaffolding covers/water as the dust is immense.
My very rough estimate is that there is around 400 m2 of brickwork after allowing for windows. My concerns is that it may not all need doing and the job is being made “worthwhile”, ie all or nothing.

Someone doing evenings and weekends - addressing the lower sections only feels worthwhile - and a great way of doing it,but I am not an expert. I may need to get the Surveyor back on site I think.

I was actually thinking of posts on here and the dust from neighbours houses whilst repointing when I first found out it needed to be done!
 

Petrol Pete

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2016
Messages
8,332
Location
Petrol stations ...everywhere
Car
C55 AMG Wagon
Bobby . I forgot to add, the main reason for damp when I bought my place was the fact that the original floor boards were of planed timber (not T&G) so over the years the gaps open up a bit , probably just after the central heating was installed many years ago and 3 of the 4 fireplaces were covered over (no vents installed) , add to that first generation UPVC double glazing (no vents) AND the fact that some Braniac thought it a good idea to lay Lino down and carpet over it turned the house from a living BREATHING thing into one big moisture trap :doh:. Probably all done to stop draughts.

It must have been like this for years , It was a rental property at some point, Long story short. I ended up standing on a dirt floor that had not seen the light of day for over 100 years to replace the rotted sleepers that lay beneath the floorboards.

Thankfully the condition was reflected in the price of the house . And I did nearly all of the work myself.

Best of luck.
 

zipdip

MB Enthusiast
SUPPORTER
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
4,520
Location
Essex
Car
s320
Well as you know it is always work from the top down,you property from victorian times would have had slate on the roof,or in places where I live clay tiles,if your roof has been fitted with concrete tiles in the 50's the main concern would be has the roof timbers been uprated to take the extra weight,also any chimney stacks may need repointing,also given the age of the property and fire places that might be used may well need sleaving,so that smoke from a wood burner or coal fies does not leak into rooms,these jobs are easily done with the scaffold up,on that topic you will find local builders will get a better rate for scaffold than you could,with the repointing of your property,most builders will use small kangoos to remove the old mortar,given that you have 400 sqm to be done I would expect the work to take three weeks.
At the moment getting materials to do any building work is getting difficult,but there are signs that people are now putting off work because of the financial situation in the UK,so my advice would be for the roof to possibly use the slate effect tiles that will give the property the look it had when it was built ,but whatever you choose make certain you have all the materials onsite,to complete the roof,and have the scaffold up before the roofers turn up.
Having done a number of properties over the years I well remember being under prepaired for the trades coming onsite,if you make someone in charge of the build make certain they know what they are doing.
 

Tonye

Active Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
888
Location
Bolton
Car
Sl320 2000
Taking up the floor to see what’s beneath may be a challenge as the internals are all recently done.
Might be worth cutting an lnspection hatch out under the stairs as you may have a cellar under there. Clear all the air bricks and it might be worth putting some extras in. Old Victorian buildings like to breathe, especially in your neck of the woods. When the roofers come ask them to put a couple of ridge vents in as your original Victorian roof didn't have felt so had lots of ventilation originally. Best wishes pal.
 
OP
OP
Bobby Dazzler

Bobby Dazzler

MB Club Veteran
SUPPORTER
Joined
Jan 21, 2005
Messages
22,497
Location
Mittel England
Car
ML AMG-line Black Series
Might be worth cutting an lnspection hatch out under the stairs as you may have a cellar under there. Clear all the air bricks and it might be worth putting some extras in. Old Victorian buildings like to breathe, especially in your neck of the woods. When the roofers come ask them to put a couple of ridge vents in as your original Victorian roof didn't have felt so had lots of ventilation originally. Best wishes pal.
Thank you, some good points there, I appreciate that.
 

Tonye

Active Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
888
Location
Bolton
Car
Sl320 2000
The damp around the windows might just be condensation through lack of ventilation. Don't do anything drastic yet. i rented out a Victorian terraced for a few years, main bedroom window reviel was black on my return, turned out the window was never opened. Get a dehumidifier in there and open the windows during the day,
 

Londonscottish

MB Enthusiast
SUPPORTER
Joined
May 12, 2007
Messages
4,728
Location
London
Car
E500 & Fiat 500
NEW leadwork all round is a must.
Yes. On my current place my builder cut corners on a coupe of valleys that were out of sight from the ground. Guess where I got leaks 2 years later?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom