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House fix up opinions?(8 posts)

House fix up opinions?mr_spin
Jan 7, 2002 8:52 AM
I bought a house recently, a 1931 English Tudor "cottage," and I'm in the process of fixing it up. Along with a lot of minor projects, there are some major things that I want to do:

1. Rip out all the galvanized pipes and cast iron drains, replace pipes with copper. The water is "dirty" with rust, and the pressure is low. Still, it's high enough to live with for a while. The drains show rust spots, however, and a sewage spill would not be pleasant.

2. Replace all the windows with double-pane, probably vinyl. The current windows are original, and on the weather side, they are in bad shape. A lot of them don't work (the old pulley and weight system was crap!). Some have been damaged by an inept sprinkler system that soaked them every day. I'm not sure if double pane is really worth it, however.

The windows will probably be at least twice as much as doing the plumbing. I only have the money to do one of these projects right now. The other I will do next year.

Any opinions on which one I should do now?

FYI, regarding the windows: I live in San Jose (Willow Glen), so double-pane may be an overkill compared to Minnesota or Maine. But it does get cold in winter and gas costs money, plus, I am close to the airport flight path and want to eliminate some of that noise. It also gets fairly hot in the summer. But I am much more concerned with the structure than the glass.
re: House fix up opinions?Starliner
Jan 7, 2002 9:25 AM
Why not do the plumbing first? Good water flow is important to your well-being. Plus, being less expensive as per what you say, your cash flow situation wouldn't have to rebound so much, meaning you should get into the second project faster than if you started on the windows first.

Windows are important too, but I'd wait until the weather warms up before knocking out the old windows. As you stated, dbl-panes are better for winter warmth & noise insulation, but don't forget about their summertime advantages as well - they help keep the hot temps outside the living space.
re: House fix up opinions?morey
Jan 7, 2002 9:36 AM
I would do the plumbing first. It will be a mess but well worth it. I would do double Pane Glass-the insulating quality and noise reduction are well worth the expense.
I'm with everybody else--pipes firstcory
Jan 7, 2002 12:42 PM
Actually I was going to go the other way until I read where you live--I grew up in that area, then moved to Reno, where it's in the teens all winter. The last four years I lived in San Jose, I kept the thermostat at 65 and the heater came on just a few times a year. That sort of limits the benefits from the windows, though they're worth the expense if you plan to stay in the house.
If you do decide to sell, people are likely to notice the water pressure more readily than they do the windows. Plus living with a trickle is a pain...I'm doing it now, in the back of the house, trying to work up the energy to go under there and fix it.
re: House fix up opinions?jrm
Jan 7, 2002 3:57 PM
1 what about using PVC? there cheaper. And should there be another "big one" in the bay area they can be easily replaced. You might find that the further you get into it, that you may have replace tubs, sinks, and showers in the process. Using PVC could ofset this additional cost.

I see alot of folks that replace beautiful OE windows with those vinyl things. granted, some dont have a choice in the matter, but then again replacement windows deviate from the designers over all asthetic/functionm goal. I say that if you can make um work..use um.

Also double pane windows would be a good idea in San Jose. Heck just look at the average temperature during the summer months. They will keep the place cool as long as the framing stays cool. What about a solar system? now that would be the shIt. You could produce your own power, refract sunlight off the roof, and have enough to run some AC 24/7 while your on the trainer when its to hot to ride?
re: House fix up opinions?mr_spin
Jan 7, 2002 4:53 PM
I'm not sure if PVC meets California code for supply lines, but it will work for the drains. I'm not sure what the cost differential is. I'd like to keep using cast iron, at least in some key places, mainly because it is quiet.

As for the windows, there are two rooms that have some nice decorative windows that I want to preserve, most of them are just ordinary off the rack double-hung windows. Nothing special, so nothing really to worry about preserving. I was actually thinking about upgrading the front bedroom windows to divided lites to improve the appearence.

Solar won't work for me. This is a Tudor, so the roof is high and steep and curving, plus there is no south face. So nowhere to mount the panels to keep them out of sight.

I don't have A/C. Don't want it. Don't need it.
re: House fix up opinions?DINOSAUR
Jan 7, 2002 5:52 PM
I'd do the plumbing first. I lived in San Jose for 17 years, and it really doesn't get that cold there. We relocated to the Sierra Nevada foothills in 1990 and we eventually had our windows replaced with dual pane vinyl. It made a big difference, not only in the winter, but the house stays cooler in the summer and it cuts back on the outside noise. We just returned from a trip to Redwood City to visit my wifes 87 year old mother (those Italian's know how to live). I was envious of the bay area weather, almost balmy compared to up here in the hinter land. I can imagine a guy could even ride in the rain if he had an old beater bike and good rain gear. I didn't enjoy the bay area traffic though...
strap the foundationgtx
Jan 8, 2002 10:48 AM
it's not too difficult or expensive and worth it in earthquake country. But yeah, I'd do the plumbing. You can probably salvage some of the windows and the ones that are trashed can just be painted shut. My $02.