Moneypit Owners Club - anyone want to join me?(133 Posts)
So we recently moved into my dream house - original Victorian floor tiles, towering ceilings, original fireplaces etc etc. And I'm freaking out. I just keep seeing more cracks, missing tiles and the mountains of dust I'm going to have to spend hours every week vacuuming! I think it's a natural wobble now that the excitement of moving in has worn off (and we found out yesterday that the basement is not 'converted' as we thought and would better serve as a paddling pool). But I've seen lots of interesting threads on here with people dealing with similar issues and I wondered if there was a way of bringing some of us together to swap tips/nightmares etc.
So my first question if anyone is reading this:
Do you just learn to ignore the cracks? And the dust? Or do you spend your life constantly repainting and dusting??
Hi there Daisy I think our house is along the same lines, but we love it and it's unique, having been built for someone. We have original windows with beautiful glass, oak bannisters and lots of fireplaces.
We joke that ours is a 25 year project everytime we feel overwhelmed by it all!
Ours isn’t Victorian but it’s still a money pit! And it’s big so everything costs so much. I think once you have settled in, the priorities change a bit; once we’d decorated the main rooms we saw the reality of it. I found it quite terrifying at first. My other problem is that Dh simply doesn’t see it, and certainly not with cosmetic things. Our list of things we need to do, never mind want to do, is overwhelming sometimes.
I think in old houses cracks, dust etc is part of the character. I tell myself that anyway!
Our house is also unique, having been built for someone. Fortunately most of the original features remain plus the most incredible history of the previous owners (we are the poor relations in comparison). I have a box full of letters/photos/old deeds and a few other items that came with the house, including a couple of busts of previous owners.
Could you get a pump for the basement?
We have lots to do but very little time to do it. Our guttering needs replacing first but our house is so tall (3 storeys all with high ceilings) and our access is very difficult. My husband will do the work himself but it is having the time to do it.
I don't have a straight wall / floor in my little cottage.
We've been in 2 years in Nov.
So far....we have repaired roof, replaced all windows to laminated double glazed sash, new kitchen, woodburner, new doors, repaired floors & joists, decorated bathroom (although a new one would be preferable), living room, DC room....
At the end of the month the builder is coming in to replace the cracked stone lintel (sp?) in the roof space, remove all knackered plaster in hallway & skim through, remove a redundant door frame from landing...oh yes and add support to underneath the house (undercroft) where the stone support has also cracked (we live on a steep hill)
I keep having inspiration about our small garden / courtyard, but reckon we have enough to be getting on with!
Ours is an old farmhouse from the 1830sits somewhere I never wanted to live ( which doesn’t help at all !)
It’s part of a business we wanted to buy , and we agreed 10 years max in the house ( it’s been 6 looooong years )
Some of the renovations were done in the 1980s and done really badly so we’ve spent a lot of time and money sorting these out
When people say .. oh you’re so lucky living in that beautiful house
I just smile and nod , and think idiot , if only you knew !
It’s much better now , but still lots to do ( and throwing the crap away that we keep finding ) we’ve got old letters and photos too , but I don’t want them . Not my history , I’m not interested
Love the idea of your moneypit owners club, but have to admit mine has been a real labour of love.
Unless the cracks are really serious (as in, could this be structural?) ignore them or pay to get the plaster skimmed before painting.
As for the dust. Unless you are referring to the mess caused by renovation, where is the dust coming from? My house was built in 1792, renovated about 25 years ago and then I did more work when I bought it 10 years ago. I don't have major dust issues, but did replace the upstairs carpet and lay wooden flooring downstairs.
With all the work I have done, new boiler, unvented cylinder, new flooring, Woodworm treatment, insulation, window repairs, decorating, bathroom upgrade, garden improvement, I have focused where possible on improvement, comfort and reduced running costs.
And this book has proved invaluable on many occassions.
Old House Handbook: A Practical Guide to Care and Repair by Hunt. Roger ( 2008 )
I have 2 money pits (one is a holiday cottage we rent out)
The cottage is very old (1650) so lots of dust and cracks etc. We have salt coming out of the walls because they used sand from the beach in the original plaster. It just all gets hoovered up!
We have spent a lot of money on stuff we didn't forsee. This has meant we haven't been able to do the things we DID forsee! So we still have a very dated bathroom for example.
We tried to borrow money on the mortgage to do the bathroom but the valuation came back as the same we paid for it. This is despite adding a 2nd bathroom and having a beautiful woodburning stove fitted (as well as the stuff that can't be seen- new boiler, rewire, new chimney stack)
It felt quite frustrating. And it really did bring it home to me that we have bought acmoney pit!
We’re 10 years into owning our victorian dream house moneypit.
We’ve learnt to fill and paint over the small cracks, but more appear seasonally, most recently inside the porch. There is always something which costs about £3-5k which needs doing to maintain the building, too.
Despite the cost of upkeep, it is a beautiful, characterful house, and I do appreciate how lucky we are to live here.
I am very much looking forwardsto downsizing in 10-15 years for an easier, cheaper life
I have lowered my cleaning standards - we are lucky that it's big enough that it doesn't seem to get all that dirty, although I vac the carpets regularly.
We have chimney balloons in most of the fireplaces to reduce draughts and muck coming down when it's windy.
We've been here just over two years and finally did some actual gardening at the weekend - as opposed to just hacking things back to keep them under control.
We've done a lot of decorating and last year had a wall removed and the kitchen and dining room redone - that was a big job over several months.
I love our money pit.We've been here nearly two and a half years and in that time replaced the roof (hugely expensive because of glables, valleys etc), replaced windows with painted hardwood double glazed, moved kitchen into a different larger room and replaced, replaced floor joists and boards where necessary, replastered lots of walls with lime based renovating plaster (don't use regular gypsum plaster on old houses as walls need to 'breathe') stripped cupboards and skirting boards back to wood and waxed them, replaced a fireplace in the living room as someone in the 50s had taken the original out and put in one that was current for that time, added a utility room and downstairs wc, just had stairs replaced with oak cut string stairs, and completely changed the look of the garden.
We still have loads to do but we're enjoying doing it and actually doing most of the work ourselves. I learnt to plaster so I could use lime based plaster as we couldn't find a plasterer that would use it.
It's not so much a dusty house now but it is spidery. I think that's partly because we're rural now though.
I'd ignore the cracks unless they look to be structural, just fill and repaint. It's part and parcel of old property and really such a shame to replace the lovely old walls with all of their history and character, with immaculately plastered that look more suitable to a new build. Missing tiles replacements can be sourced as and when and replaced. Find your local salvage yards and have a look around them for replacing period features that may have been removed. Ebay is also surprisingly good for odds and ends like that.
Agatha how did you learn to plaster? Similar situation here, plasterers just want to bung gypsum on top of lime plaster when skimming.
pheobe I went on a week long course locally, run by a very experienced plasterer. I learnt plastering with a base coat and then a top skim, skimming over plasterboard, dry-lining ceilings and skimming them, and how to patch properly. He only teaches two students at a time so lots of advice and support, and lots and lots of hands-on practice. It was really worth the money. We were taught just using gypsum plaster, but then once you can do that you can use whatever medium you want and just do a bit of google type research into drying times etc. I really recommend it.
@AgathaF that is such a useful skill to learn!
My mum's house is a converted 18th century coaching inn and the part of the house that's been the biggest money pit is the bloody 1960s extension on it! Apart from the point where they needed to have an entire side wall of the house rebuilt that is.
Ours is 1920s and is a money pit and a half - have had loads of damp problems, roof needing replacing, plus the interior had been modernized... to the 1980s.
Thanks AgathaF I'm going to look into courses!
Can I join too? We have been in 8 months. Still not finished a room but have almost done 3? I love it but I do really want to have a finished room so I can hide and pretend the rest is done too. Fingers crossed we get the heating in before it gets cold again.
I have bought paint but am waiting til the weather gets cooler and the kids go back to get started. I'm changing one room completely, but there are lots of areas are looking a bit grubby and all need a good repaint.
Great to hear all these stories and pick up some tips already! Although not sure I’m ready for plastering just yet but that I’m very impressed with that. We are both a bit lacking in confidence when it comes to DIY - I’m still high fiving myself for replacing the washer on the washing machine feed pipe after finding a huge puddle yesterday! But AgathaF you have inspired me to look for a general DIY beginners course or similar to get me started.
I was being a bit tongue in cheek re the cracks and dust - cracks are all internal and just a case of replastering and redecorating. Our old house was also Victorian and full of cracks but wasn’t on this scale. Three floors plus the mouldy basement, three boilers, four toilets to scrub We’ve only been in for 2 weeks so still getting settled and recognising that we can’t do everything straight away. But we do feel very lucky, it’s a beautiful house full of history (servants staircase, random built in cupboards everywhere...we’ve have had a few epic games of hide and seek ).
Cellar was a blow as we assumed it had been tanked - it’s carpeted, heating, lighting and was full of furniture when we viewed the house. So something we didn’t budget for as yes it will need lining and a sump pump. First quote was for £50k so needless to say we are getting someone else to take a look...
Has anyone else had experience of converting/tanking a cellar? Would be interested to know what it cost so we are not going in blind.
Sorry about typos...should be in bed I think.
My first question Daisy would be, do you really need the cellar to be habitable?
It sounds like a large house. Could you use the cellar for more cellarish things.
I have issues with a garage built into a hill. It also leaks and definitely needs tanking if it is going to be bone dry. Sometimes it is semi dry, just damp wall, othertimes there is a large pool of water 2-3 inches deep on one side.
I have had numerous builders look at it. The quotes always come in at 20-30k and none are prepared to guarantee to solve the issue. In fact one said the only fool proof way was to knock it down and start again.
I would be really interested to hear if you manage to find a solution.
I agree with that. Do you really need the cellar? They're so useful for storage. We have coal fires so use one room in the cellar for coal storage. We've got the original cold store down there too, with the stone shelves in another room, so we use that as a wine cellar. Been growing the wine collection down there . When we moved in we had a fantasy of turning one of the cellar rooms into a drinks cellar with some seating, bar, music, lighting etc. In reality it's too damp and would be too expensive to tank out just for that. We don't have any power down there at the moment, so that's on our (long) to do list also.
I have a cold store too and it is so useful!
Our house is set into a hill, and our basement has been tanked. That was before we moved in though, although I have the invoices and I'm sure it wasn't that expensive. I'll see if I can find the invoices.
Can I join?! I have a 1923 rebuilt money pit farm with bits of it dating back to the 1400s. I’ve spent this week removing old floorboards upstairs and relaying the floor. I think it’s a 50 year project!
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