Decorationarts

Victorian Exterior Wall Detail

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I am creating a model for a 1890 Victorian for a room addition in SF Bay Area. 

Anyone have a CAD detail or cross section drawing for the makeup of a "average" wall thickness? 

 

Thanks! 

 

Eric Breuer

Eric Breuer Designs

Chief X7

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Eric, here in Houston, we do a lot of work in the historical district. Most of those houses have 2x4 walls and ceiling joists @ 24" O.C.. The 2x4s are a full 2x4 thick. They have 1x12 shiplap (thicker than 3/4") on both sides of the studs and below the ceiling joists (sometimes on top too). 1/4" drywall on the inside and wood siding on the exterior. 2x4 rafters at 24" O.C. with 3/4 shiplap. 

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They have 1x12 shiplap (thicker than 3/4")

How do they have ship lap in the interior?

What is thicker then 3/4" ? 

on both sides of the studs

How do they have shiplap in the inside? Should't be Lath and Plaster? 

and below the ceiling joists (sometimes on top too).

Would that be lath and plaster?

1/4" drywall on the inside

Again, lath and plaster? Drywall was later, this is 1890

and wood siding on the exterior.

how thick the wood siding? 

2x4 rafters at 24" O.C. with 3/4 shiplap. 

 

Thanks! 

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Tommy, are you finding that the Historical Districts  do not want the addition to match the existing house so you can tell the difference, per the Dept. of the Interior mandate law now. they are enforcing it around here. They have gone so far as to make me offset the addition from the original house and no trim to match. 

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Tommy is just telling you how they used to build things in his part of Texas. They did use full 1"+ Shiplap Siding on Interior Walls. Very little Lath and Plaster and back at that time drywall was unheard of.

 

In the mid 1900's there was a move away from wood lath to 1/4"-3/8" lath (made like drywall - but used as a base for 1/2" interior plaster.

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Decorationarts,

 

They have 1x12 shiplap (thicker than 3/4")

Yes. in the very old houses here, the old 1x12 ship lap is closer to 7/8" thick.

How do they have ship lap in the interior?

All of the houses here in the Historical district have shiplap on both sides on the interior and exterior walls.

What is thicker then 3/4" ? 

Already answered.

on both sides of the studs

Already answered. Yes.

How do they have shiplap in the inside? Should't be Lath and Plaster? 

No. The only areas that have lath and plaster are areas that have tile like in the bathrooms and some kitchens. Many rooms with wallpaper have a separate cloth backing.

and below the ceiling joists (sometimes on top too).

Would that be lath and plaster?

No lath and plaster. Shiplap like I said. We have seen some houses with shiplap above the ceiling joists too.

1/4" drywall on the inside

Yes.

Again, lath and plaster? Drywall was later, this is 1890

I can't be specific about the years. These houses in the "Heights" were the first houses built in Houston when Houston became a city.

and wood siding on the exterior.

how thick the wood siding?

Slightly over 3/4" but close enough. Cedar was thicker (in most cases).

2x4 rafters at 24" O.C. with 3/4 shiplap

Yes as stated.

 

Perry, we have to match the existing house as close as possible on the exterior. If you're making any additions or renovations in the Historical District, it has to go through the Houston Historical Society (District) review first. They want to maintain the old historical look. They could care less what you do to the interior. When submitting a plan to the Houston Historical Society (District), you have to submit a plan showing the existing house in 3D (or at least elevations) too. There are several different historical districts the greater downtown Houston area and some of them have slightly different rules. A couple of builders we do plans for are mainly doing work in the historical area. These plans take a lot longer to do due to the detailing. The Historical District has commented that some of our plans are the best they have seen. (Thanks Chief). We are very good at doing these kind of houses.

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BTW, many of these houses were built using square nails that are slightly tapered. It's cool to find. I heard that the blacksmiths used to make them. Don't know for sure. These houses are very well built. Also, it's very hard to drive a nail into these shiplap walls with a hammer because wood gets very hard as it ages. I have shiplap walls on all my walls in my house and it's kind hard to drive a nail into them.

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Perry, we have to match the existing house as close as possible on the exterior. If you're making any additions or renovations in the Historical District, it has to go through the Houston Historical Society (District) review first. They want to maintain the old historical look. They could care less what you do to the interior. When submitting a plan to the Houston Historical Society (District), you have to submit a plan showing the existing house in 3D (or at least elevations) too. There are several different historical districts the greater downtown Houston area and some of them have slightly different rules. A couple of builders we do plans for are mainly doing work in the historical area. These plans take a lot longer to do due to the detailing. The Historical District has commented that some of our plans are the best they have seen. (Thanks Chief). We are very good at doing these kind of houses.

 

Tommy, I guess you haven't run into this yet, but it's crazy, and it's nation wide. Historical Districts around here are nuts if you ask me. Don't match the existing house, who would have thought, thank you to our new Secretary of the Interior.

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" Historical Districts around here are nuts if you ask me"

Why the he** can't these people mind their own business???

Don't get me started............

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     I've done many restoration projects here in northeast/central Pennsylvania over the last 40 years. Victorian homes built in the 1890's around here usually had 7/8" sheating (horizontally laid), full 2X4 ballon studding, 3/8" wood lath and 3/8" of plaster. Generally speaking the studs were on 16" centers. There has been a few occasions where the studding was on 18" centers, but around here I've never seen 24" on center wall studding from this time period. I've run into very few cases where the floor joists were not a full 8". Some were only a full 2"x 8" on 24" centers, but in better built homes they used a full 3"x 8" on 16" center. The better built homes had 7/8" to1" floor sheeting with a 13/16 T&G finished floor. Lesser built homes just had one layer of 1"- 1 1/4" T&G boards for the floor. Ceiling joist, with no floor above were usually a full 6" deep.

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Construction obviously varies in different areas as usual.

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Tommy, I guess you haven't run into this yet, but it's crazy, and it's nation wide. Historical Districts around here are nuts if you ask me. Don't match the existing house, who would have thought, thank you to our new Secretary of the Interior.

 

May not be crazy.

 

Especially see (9) and (10) under guidance to new additions (to historic buildings)

 

http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/14-exterior-additions.htm

 

Sounds like an interesting challenge to me

 

For a regular citizen owner, however I can see how this would be unwelcome 

 

Most people I know when thinking about getting historic building designation for their

buildings, usually so they would not have to upgrade so much, would change their

minds when they learned of the control they would loose.

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Jere,

 

This is a great link. The illustrations show how unwitting designers can destroy the character and value of historic structures by trying to match things too closely. Sure, you can match windows and trim pretty closely (seldom exactly) and soon you get a structure that is not faithful to the historical massing and just looks like it was extensively repaired in one area, and then isn't as good as the original.  However, the one example I might question philosophically (and I'm still pondering this) is the one where the original historic design was finally completed, but isn't acceptable because it didn't respect the as-built character.

 

People buy into an historical district because they want the character, and maybe the tax credits, and then complain because they are forced into preserving a subtle character which is what created value in the first place. Boo hoo... 

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When a lot my clients bought their homes , this law wasn't around, so other additions for the last 100 years didn't have this problem, they matched. Their neighbors got to do whatever they wanted, so none of that was preserved. I tell them now they must comply or don't do anything at all. You can imagine what they said to me. I actually have clients suing the city over this. I also have clients selling the home. I tell them I can do something nice but won't match, they throw me out the door and move.

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There are a number of one-story Eichler neighborhoods in the Palo Alto area. Not too long ago, you could legally do a two-story house in these areas, but after some of the Eichlers were torn down to make way for two-story "foreigners," which stood out like sore thumbs, the neighbors got together and got the City to approve one-story "overlay" zones to protect the remaining character of these neighborhoods. The sore thumbs are still there, of course.

 

Now, you can say that this transition "stole" a right that people thought they had when they bought their property to build second-story square footage in the future. Or, you can say that the two-story folks were stealing the character of their neighborhood, as well as some of the privacy of their one-story next door neighbors. Should community values trump individual rights? I guess we all have to decide that for ourselves. In a true democracy, though, community values is likely to prevail, which is always going to anger some people who feel like something has been taken away from them. Which is more "American," community values or individual liberty? I don't think you always can have both.

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In Whittier CA they want any improvements or additions to historical homes to match existing. I myself would never live in a Victorian home but some people like it and I like to drive through the historical areas and enjoy the beauty to the old homes. I personally like the craftsmen style homes.

 

I'm okay with the city's regulating the historical areas but some of the areas in late 30's to early 40's they go a little to far with the regulations. When anyone buys a home they should always find out the city regulations for historical homes before they buy because it can be very costly to improve them. I'm working on a job right now that we are adding square footage and they have spent a lot of un expected money that they don't really have because of it being an historical home. 1941 Is the cut off year and that is the year his house is and the one next door is 1942 and he can do whatever he wants. Too me that's just stupidity at its best. If they are going to regulate they should go by neighbor hood or street in group not just pick on a house in the middle of the neighbor hood. It just doesn't make sense to me.

 

Sorry, went off a little :wacko:

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I agree with the notion that just because it's old, doesn't necessarily make it worth preserving. Also agree that an arbitrary cut-off point is stupid. What if the 1941 building is garbage and the 1942 is a Frank Lloyd Wright house? What Palo Alto did was to create a registry of historically significant houses, in several tiers of significance. If you are in a house that is VERY historically significant, you can modify the exterior less than a house that is in the registry, but less significant. Owners of the houses had a chance to appeal the ratings, as well. But now that it's done, it's done. Any prospective buyer of a house knows how historically significant the house is considered to be.

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Just a note about square nails.  I grew up in an authentic Victorian home, and had quite a few square nails that I kept in my toybox.

 

I later read that many of those nails were made on board sailing ships by the crew after their daily duties were done.  From what I remember they had strips of metal that they would then clip at alternating angles and then straighten the nails out and throw them into kegs.

 

I guess that's how they got those Popeye forearms.  Well, one of the ways.

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In Whittier CA they want any improvements or additions to historical homes to match existing. I myself would never live in a Victorian home but some people like it and I like to drive through the historical areas and enjoy the beauty to the old homes. I personally like the craftsmen style homes.

 

I'm okay with the city's regulating the historical areas but some of the areas in late 30's to early 40's they go a little to far with the regulations. When anyone buys a home they should always find out the city regulations for historical homes before they buy because it can be very costly to improve them. I'm working on a job right now that we are adding square footage and they have spent a lot of un expected money that they don't really have because of it being an historical home. 1941 Is the cut off year and that is the year his house is and the one next door is 1942 and he can do whatever he wants. Too me that's just stupidity at its best. If they are going to regulate they should go by neighbor hood or street in group not just pick on a house in the middle of the neighbor hood. It just doesn't make sense to me.

 

Sorry, went off a little :wacko:

I also did one in Whittier and got to add 2700 s.f. to the house, without a problem but there were historical homes not far away. I'll bet they are mad.

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This conversation has taken an interesting turn.

Just who is the arbiter of good taste in design?

Just who should be empowered to impose their

will and taste upon everyone else?

 

I have a sister who happens to live in one of the

Eichler homes in an exclusively Eichler neighborhood

that Richard references. I find it amusing that these 

tracts that were generally considered by the locals to

be the lower quality houses in less desirable areas are

now considered worthy of protection. I would venture

to say that any new house (foreigner) built in one of

these neighborhoods would stand out like a sore thumb

by exposing the insipid Eichler's for what they are.

 

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

 

A local gal penned this little ditty in the sixty's about

just such a development. How ironic that these "little

boxes" are now deem worthy of historical preservation. 

 

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Rich,

That song by Malvina Reynolds was written about Daly City boxes, not Eichlers. Daly City boxes are still ticky-tacky, and I haven't heard of any preservationists defending them.

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Ok, you got me started!

 

So the home on the right is historical and the home on the left is not. Can anyone tell me the difference? I can, the home owner on the right has to pay out $1200.00 for planning review to tell him that he has to spend a crap load of $$$ to buy expensive wood window sashes because they wont allow him to put vinyl block frames in the existing wood frame like all his other neighbors. Go figure!!!???

 

I think that before escrow closes that the new home owner should be aware that they are buying an historical home and have to sign off on it. I mean, with a home that looks like this would you think it is historical when you  buy it? Most people would not even give it a thought.

post-2478-0-36503400-1432435958_thumb.png

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