I've done this once already but I think my message is floating out in cyber-space somewhere so if I'm duplicating, sorry!
I have a 75-year-old historic house (www.roebucksprings.org/photos.cfm It's the Ryan House) with some "old house" issues. Some of the problems are that the house has never truly been renovated. It's only had "aesthetic" things done to it to keep it looking good. As far as real work, nothing's been done. It eventually needs re-wiring, new roof, new HVAC, repointing, new plumbing, the list goes on and on.
First, I have a side terrace door that the threshold is visibly rotten and the two windows are sagging on that wall. I have some 'handy' friends, but I'm getting conflicting repair plans from them. One wants to take the terrace off (brick and terra cotta) and fix it from the outside. Oh, and jack the house up about six inches! HELLO - plaster walls!! Well, even after taking the terrace off, you've still got a brick wall there. Then he said to replace the whole wall. I cannot live without an exterior wall. That's not even an option. On the other hand, my brother thinks the wall just needs to be shored back up. There's no signs of water damage or water entry into the interior of the house from the wall. My hardwoods are fine, interior window sills/frames are fine, too. When you're down in the cellar, you can see a little wood rot at the threshold, but it only looks like one piece of wood needs to be replaced. Please tell me my brother is the one making the most sense here and that this can be fixed from the cellar and not tearing my wall out.
Second, I have condensation on my windows in the wintertime. I've read several things on here and have a plan of action and just want to run it by someone. I have some exposed dirt in my cellar. Will covering it all with plastic really help? Does the plastic need to be covered with plywood or anything like that? I also need to replace some door seals on other doors. The windows could probably use it, too, but they're all painted shut at this point. If I cover the exposed dirt with plastic and replace door seals and that doesn't help, what's next?
Also, will covering the dirt with plastic help with the "old house" smell as my uncle calls it?