Horse Hair and Sand! by stegaliu
November 20, 2008, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So earlier you caught a glimpse of the water damaged wall.  Here’s another look at what we found when we started poking around.


Basically the previous owner didn’t bother getting a nice, shiny new front porch or coat of waterproofing paint and water got in through spauling (crumbly holes) in the exterior stucco.  So, many years worth of moisture was trapped in the wall until Dad went at it with a putty knife.  (Yes, a single putty knife did all of this).

We always knew the house was a very old stucco over stone construction, but we never understood what that really meant.  The stuff that holds together the stones that hold up our house is an ancient mixture of horse hair and sand.  Let me repeat that: horse hair….  and sand.


Needless to say I coated the exposed equine mortar with a concrete adhesive to make it solid and un-sandy and something like modern concrete.  The contractor who was working on our front porch helped out by sending his guys in with a bucket of hydraulic cement to shore things up for another 200 years.


Now all we lack is a good sanding, a skim coat of spackle, a slab of sheetrock for below the chair rail, and a paint job.  Hmm.  Paint…. Maybe something like this:


The finished (flooring aside) dining room.  Many thanks to Dad, Mom, and Drew for the help.

Earlier in the post I mentioned the contractors working on replacing our front porch roof, which used to look like this:


And here’s the finished product from the front…


It looks great, which is a testament to our carpenters’ patience and skill.  A stucco/stone wall doesn’t keep square as it settles for 200 years or so, and that means that all of the cross members and rafters had to be custom cut.  And that’s a lot of rafters…


Pudgy jolly carpenter John with the deep deep tan claims that if you laid the far left rafter against the far right one, they would differ by 4-5 inches.  Sheesh.

One last fix-up we handled with Dad here was the side deck off of our utility room.  It needed new treads, new rail caps, new spindles, lag bolts, a power washing, bleach, and water seal.  Turns out you have to have more than 48 consecutive hours above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in order to apply the water seal.  Maybe in the spring.


Bonus!  I totally mowed the lawn.  It took two different cuts, adding up to over three hours of pushing. Uncle-in-law John Nolan’s mower is NOT self-propelled, a feature worth looking into if you care about your lower back.  And on that note I’ll be heading to bed.


3 Comments so far
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THANKS for the pictures. The dining room looks great. So does the porch roof and deck. AND you have made great progress on the LR wall issue. Can’t wait to see that paint as well, after it goes up.

Hope lawn mowing is over for you until spring. Look for a self-propelled mower with a long extension on the handle–save that back!

Comment by Helen

Yay pictures! Yay details! The dining room looks great. Now we just need more pictures. and maybe a floor plan? Or a video of you walking us through the house? More, more, more, please!

Comment by elizabeth

[…] of joyous discoveries of things that had not been checked up on, previously chronicled here and here.  Additionally, the various gardens and plots and not been tended too and Patrick and I, not being […]

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