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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
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    7,362

    Default Farm house tear down... anyone done it?

    My husband and I looked at a property this weekend that is perfect... except the house has not been maintained all that well. It is 100 years old and has had a few (bad) additions over the years. I'm most worried about the electrical... but the layout is so odd (there is really only one bedroom) that I dunno if it would be worth it to rip it down to the studs, redo electric, drywall etc.
    Hubby thinks we should just tear it down and start over.

    Anyone done that? What's involved? Cost?
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2004
    Location
    Catonsville, MD
    Posts
    6,905

    Default

    I have not, but I say blow it away. Fixing old crap is always harder than doing new. And it doesn't sound like there's any particularly redeeming qualities to this one.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2010
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    Depends. You may have to do some sort of salvage permit or new construction permit to do it with your county. Such permits can run 10-15-20k.If you renovate, you may not have to...

    In our case, it would have been 14k$.
    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
    http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2002
    Posts
    2,864

    Default

    We redid our old house and it would have been FAR cheaper to tear it down. But I wanted an old house, not a new one. Remodeling is always expensive, just add 50% to what you think it is going to cost. But you can't get the old floors, old moldings, fireplaces, old banister, and the character and charm I wanted in a new home.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2004
    Location
    Catonsville, MD
    Posts
    6,905

    Default

    My house is only 30 years old and I want to knock it down about 1x a week. I can't imagine the infrastructure work in a badly maintained 100 yr. old house. It would have to be an architectural gem to be worth it. You can always salvage the floor boards or mantelpieces or stair woodwork if it's actually nice, which it isn't necessarily, just cuz it's old.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    The Prairie
    Posts
    5,454

    Default

    Can it be burned? We bought a farm a few years ago; the house was, imo, uninhabitable (except apparently for the 80 plus year old bachelor farmer whose estate we bought it from...he survived sans indoor toilet...during Canadian winters )

    There was also a big, falling down old barn filled to the rafters with old hay. We contacted the local fire department about burning them and they offered to burn both for free as a training exercise. I think they realized that if we tried to burn it down ourselves...they would be coming out anyway.

    They did both the old barn and house for us on days when the burning conditions were good and wind was right etc. In fact, they appeared to rather enjoy themselves. The barn was easy but an absolute inferno. The house was a bit trickier as there were hydro wires nearby and they had to keep the fire away from the wires.

    Both fires burned so hot there was very little cleanup afterwards, hired a guy with a front end loader and he took care of the rest in about half a day.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2010
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    "impact fees"; that's the phrase I was looking for...
    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
    http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    18,666

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    A friend did. They had Habit come in and take anything usable out first, then had the fire department use it for practice.

    They now have a beautiful, new, well designed house.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    41,604

    Default

    We had two old farm houses not worth keeping.
    We put an ad and someone came and hauled them away.

    One was made into a weekend retreat and the other a carpentry shop.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2011
    Posts
    1,203

    Default

    We had an old farm house knocked down then burned. What little that remained got buried on the property.

    Apparently the EPA has been putting in limitations on burns. You have to certify the house has no asbestos or lead in it before burning. So when we asked the local fire department if they wanted to burn it, they declined and said the paperwork was a headache. They did tell us to let them know when we were going to burn it so that they wouldn't send a truck up to put it out.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,800

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    The first thing is to talk to the county, and see what the regs are on rebuilding, vs. new, vs using the old foundation and replacing the house from the foundation up.

    In one county here building in the same footprint is easier for permits, but then qualifies as a new build, and that means the higher property taxes the new builds are charged.

    And when friends rebuilt from the ground up (tornado came through, an F-5) they had the previous slab taken out too, and built an entirely different house. I think the easiest and cheapest way is find out the different permit rules, pick a contractor, and have them demolish the old house, if that's the plan you select. Most contractors have stock plans, and you can select the best fit for you, and they have an architect mod it. I think it's easier to build from the ground up, instead of having to fit a new plan on an old footprint.
    Last edited by JanM; Aug. 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 25, 2008
    Posts
    2,233

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    My house is only 30 years old and I want to knock it down about 1x a week. I can't imagine the infrastructure work in a badly maintained 100 yr. old house. It would have to be an architectural gem to be worth it. You can always salvage the floor boards or mantelpieces or stair woodwork if it's actually nice, which it isn't necessarily, just cuz it's old.
    Oh, I don't know about that... Our house is 100+ years old, and while I wouldn't exactly call it an architectural gem, as the saying goes, "they don't make 'em like they used to." There's a degree of craftsmanship that I think just doesn't exist anymore... Our walls are horsehair plaster and there is no insulation to speak of, BUT the house was so well-made that it holds heat like nobody's business in the winter-- our heating costs are a fraction of what a lot of our new-home-owning friends pay. And while plaster is a major PITA to do any secondary work (like adding outlets), it's quite soundproof too.

    While there are certainly upkeep aspects to an old house, I'd take my oldie over most of the shoddily-built new ones any day.
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
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    5,833

    Default

    Maybe a dumb question, but if you are going to burn a barn (or house) and it is wired for electricity (live) and you want to protect that at the entry level because you are rebuilding there or tying in there for your next building, what do you do?
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
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    We did it on this property - but lived in old house (no heat or air conditioning) while building new house. Also - older houses can have antiquated electric (aluminum) which is dangerous if not replaced. Once new house was built we tore down old house ourselves - got several LARGE trash bins and a couple of sledgehammers. Couldn't burn it as it was located under 3 VERY lerge oak trees.

    New house is energy efficient, brick (i.e. low maintenance outside) so cost a bit (more) to build than "average" house but has saved us tons of money over the years with the energy efficiency (electric bills are < $100/month on a 2100 sq ft house that is all electric).

    Worth it - especially if you don't mind doing some of it yourself. Construction costs are also down a bit lately as competition is fierce for the little work out there.
    Sandy in Fla.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Location
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    7,019

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by monalisa View Post
    We redid our old house and it would have been FAR cheaper to tear it down.
    Us too. And ours has no redeeming characteristics. We kick ourselves at least weekly because every room is too small. Every door is a trial wether you are planning on replacing the sofa or the washing machine. We have far too much money in it to do any serious remodels for another 10-15 years or so.

    My DH renovated it with the idea that he would make a rental property out of it. Had we intended to live in it ourselves for the next 20 years we would have done everything differently, but it's a little late to turn back now.
    The more perfect our happiness,
    the more nagging and wretched
    do our unsolved problems seem.
    ~ Gordon Grand



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    12,453

    Default

    One of the most difficult parts about demo now days is the hazardous materials issues. Like someone else mentioned, the asbestos and lead can mean stuff has to be dealt with differently. Keep that in mind.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,800

    Default

    Trot-the electrician or electric company will just disconnect the electric line, and meter if there is one, and pull the wires back. Many times they use the same line on a temporary pole during construction, then permanently attach to the main structure again. I only know because of a house fire I had a few years ago.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,470

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
    Maybe a dumb question, but if you are going to burn a barn (or house) and it is wired for electricity (live) and you want to protect that at the entry level because you are rebuilding there or tying in there for your next building, what do you do?
    Ok I have never demo'd a house but I've been there for somebody else's and this house was put up on the site of the old farmhouse.
    Firstly, empty out the house of things you don't want around, like glassware? I have just oodles of glass shards all over up here and every day catches me emptying out my pockets into the trash.
    Secondly, about the power, you need to have the power company come out and relocate your meter to a pole or other suitable location, then you cut off the house and trash it. I've done new construction before and it's the reverse - meter goes to pole gets turned on while you build and then you relocate the meter or you had it in a suitable location to begin with so you just run the wiring from the house to it and voila. More money and more permits though.
    Depending on where you are you might have to keep the old house because codes have changed - so for an example your house is close to the property line, say 45 feet, and that's a really good place so you want to rebuild there, but you can't do a knockdown then, you have to renovate because federal code, which is sort of the last resort code if a county has no building code, (which some don't), says 50 feet for rural property.

    It's almost harder to do a teardown but sometimes what you get for the property is sooo worth the headache.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    5,833

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    So when people burn down all these old houses and barns what happens to the lead in the paint? Is it still in the ashes? I assume the ground is "contaminated" or ??

    I know people do this all the time. Or they just tip them over and bury them.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
    So when people burn down all these old houses and barns what happens to the lead in the paint? Is it still in the ashes? I assume the ground is "contaminated" or ??

    I know people do this all the time. Or they just tip them over and bury them.
    Don't ask me about the heap at the bottom of the hill, OK? There's at least two vintage farm trucks crushed under that, with oil and tranny fliud and whatever else, and half the old barn and God knows what all else, and I have to fence it off because of all that. Contaminated plus instant leg breaking sinkholes - lovely
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



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