I'm considering purchasing a 125-year old, 2-story Federal style home with an attached 3-story barn in New England which I think might have sill and/or foundation damage. I'm trying to assess the situation prior to purchasing the home so I can then make an educated decision about if I can afford to make the repairs. Unfortunately, the sills and foundation of the home are mostly inaccessible for inspection (i.e., 75% of the house and barn doesn't have a basement or crawl space and the vinyl siding - over asbestos shingles - goes right down to the ground on the outside). In the areas where I can see the sills and foundation, it looks fine to me but that doesn't mean anything because sill damage occurs from the outside in. The sills are 8"x8" beams on a stone foundation. Additionally, another area for concern I have is that there is plenty of water seepage into the basement through the old stone foundation so I'm also concerned there might be dry rot.
I don't own the house yet so I can't peel back siding or lift up flooring to get a better look at the sills/foundation in the parts of the house without a basement. Currently, I'm relying on other visual clues which seem to indicate to me that there is a problem with the sills and/or foundation. The evidence is:
1) Many doors are difficult to open and close
2) The main house roof line is distorted where someone tied in a salt-box style sloping roof to the existing eave.
3) The floor of the breezeway area that connects the house and barn is distorted like a fun house floor
4) The horizontal siding on the outside of the breezeway shows two extra courses of siding on the left side under the eave which, when you follow the eave line, taper away on the right side. In other words the distortion of the wall is two courses deep.
5) In the back of the house, there are ripples and non-straight areas in the intersections of four roofs. The four roofs are the barn, breezeway, main house, and kitchen addition (this is the roof that is mentioned in #2 above).
Any thoughts on what I'm getting into or what else I can look at to assess this situation?
Get Help from Bob Vila
- Give-Aways & Offers
- Monthly Must Do's
- DIY Project Ideas
- Step-by-Step Guides
- Inspirational Photo Galleries