I often wonder what the neighbors must think when they drive past our house and see the piles of rubble and dirt, the equipment and the holes in the foundation.
We live on a road that doesn’t get much traffic and I like it that way. If someone does drive by, it’s usually someone who had stopped to go to the bathroom at the end of the road (it happens more than you think) or a neighborhood farmer checking on his crops. Although…there was that time we had a high-speed chase through our yard but that’s a story for another day.
I’m sure at this point those that drive past our house are wondering if we are repairing the house or getting ready to tear it down to build a new one. Some people have suggested to me that may have been a better option than the one I chose. Others thought I should just pour a new foundation and bring in a pre-fabricated house, set it on the foundation and be done with it. And more than just a few thought I should just sell it and move to town.
Not one of those options was appealing to me and quite honestly, none were any less expensive than the option I chose. To build an 1800 square foot house slightly above builder’s grade would have cost about $230,000. A pre-fabricated house may have been slightly cheaper, but I believe you get what you pay for. I also didn’t want anything that looked like a double-wide trailer. My friend’s brother put a modular home up years ago with a new foundation under it. In the end, he didn’t save any money. All he saved was construction time. They just don’t seem to be built to last, either. This house has been standing for 116 years and it can stand for another 116 years and longer if we repair it.
If I would have completely demolished this house and put a new structure in its place, I would have had the additional cost of demolition and disposal. That doesn’t come cheap. It probably would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000. There would have been the additional cost of putting in a new septic system. A new septic would have probably cost another $10,000.
I already told you about my meltdown over the back entryway reduced to a pile of rubble in the yard. Can you imagine the emotions in watching a house be burned to the ground and buried? I would need medication! This house is about the memories made here and the potential we saw all those years ago. I need to see this project through until the end. I owe this to my kids and myself. This house is not just an investment, it really is a labor of love.
In the end, we will have a 2400 square foot home, with an additional 1500 square foot of basement space plus a two-stall garage. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the walk-up attic, which has potential to be a great space someday–hello, big, beautiful closet! I get to keep my existing septic (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!) and I won’t have anything to dispose of, other than the pile of field stones. And even those will probably be repurposed into landscaping. The house already has a new roof and it will have all new plumbing and electrical. After it is completed, it may as well be a new house and it won’t cost me $260,000.
The guys have dug the dirt out on the west side of the house and placed the cribbing under the house. The cribbing will support the steel beams and inside each of the four cribbing supports is a hydraulic jack. The four jacks will be used to raise the house, while the steel beams will support the structure. The jacks really aren’t all that different from a bottle jack used to jack up a car with a flat tire.
This is not fancy new technology. This system of raising a house has been done this way for years by professionals who know what they’re doing. It is a tried and true system. For me, there’s comfort in that.
And comfort is good.
It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe. Proverbs 29:25
Until next time…
Salvaging A Farmhouse is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.