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Toby
1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

Hi,

Just recently bought an 1837 farmhouse and although handy I have not much experience with this age house. Previous owners have cemented the inside of two of the exterior walls of the kitchen from floor to ceiling and used sheathing and paneling to cover. I am gutting the kitchen and doing a complete makeover and concerned about the insulation factor. I am thinking I should leave the concrete, stud out the walls, then insulation and drywall. Does anyone think any different? Should there be a vapor barrier? Is it vital to remove the concrete? Any other suggestions? Any help will be much appreciated.

MLB Construction
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

it's hard to say without looking at it but the very least i would do would be to remove a section of the concrete, maybe a 2' or 3' square to see what's going on in the walls behind the cement. take some pictures and let us know what you found.

Toby
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

Before I start cracking I must say I'm a little leery about busting out concrete. Can you tell me what concerns there are? My guess as to why is that there was a long window which had to be replaced with a shorter window to accommodate the countertops/sink etc. On the other cemented wall there they had to blow out a new door to connect an addition. I wasn't thinking there might be trouble behind I mostly was concerned with how best to go about rebuilding and what a pro would do. Not sure if I should stud it out and do some kind of vapor barrier and insulation or what. Amateur here. I really need the advice...however bad it sounds. I'll gladly provide pics pre-concrete destruction if it would help.

MLB Construction
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

well, i'm a pro and this is what i would do.

i would make a hole to see how thick it is. then determine how best to remove it. i would NOT leave it on the wall. the structure is certainly strong enough to hold it up, there's no way that the cement can be a structural element. i would strip it all off the walls, assess the condition of the framing, make any repairs needed, insulate, then blueboard and plaster. it would also be a good time to add any electrical that you might need. adding framing to the inside then another wall is definitely not the route to take.

back in the 1940's through the 1960's, especially in bathrooms, wire lath covered with a cement based product then skim coated with plaster was pretty popular in the north east. the downside to it was that any remodeling, updating, adding a light fixture, fixing some plumbing was all a major difficulty. even something as simple as banging a nail in to hang a picture would be very difficult or it would blast a chunk of the wall out.

MLB Construction
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

just to add one more side note to my previous post. if you read through this forum and see the answers to many questions, just about all of the pros here agree on one topic. and that is, don't take the easy simple route, it's best to do things right the first time. most important is to repair any problems that you can't see. think about it this way, why pay $1,000 now to do it your way only to find out that something major went wrong and you'll have to pay $3,000 to tear your work apart and redo it correctly when you can do it the first time for $2,500. i'd rather pay $2,500 now than $4,000 over the course of the next year or two.

Toby
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

Thank you so much for your expertise. Could you please let me and others know why you would take the effort to remove the concrete? Will it cause problems if it hasn't already? Does this pose a real insulation problem as is? Or is it just losing the additional space if studded out?

function
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls
TobyinPA wrote:

Could you please let me and others know why you would take the effort to remove the concrete? Will it cause problems if it hasn't already?

Reread the first post from MLB, he pretty clearly answers those two questions.

More layers on a wall are a fire hazard, and a loss of square footage.

Mastercarpentry
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls
function wrote:

Reread the first post from MLB, he pretty clearly answers those two questions.

Ditto this- it's called doing the job the right way instead of covering up the problem.

Phil

Toby
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls

Comments removed because poster is insulting, not really seeking an answer, and only interesting is reaffirming a wrong course of action that the poster has already decided on. Pity the next buyer of the property.

MLB Construction
Re: 1837 Farmhouse with cemented interior walls
TobyinPA wrote:

Thank you so much for your expertise. Could you please let me and others know why you would take the effort to remove the concrete? Will it cause problems if it hasn't already? Does this pose a real insulation problem as is? Or is it just losing the additional space if studded out?

to answer your question. the reasons are as follows.

1. the concrete should not be on the wall
2. to determine why the concrete is on the wall
3. to determine if it is covering any problems structural or otherwise
4. this is a good reason to demo the wall and update anything that might need any updating, plumbing, electrical, structural
5. the wall can be properly insulated
6. it possibly could cause problems if the wall wasn't designed to handle that kind of weght
7. the only insulation problem is wasting money on heating or cooling, cold concrete can have condensation form on it which will ruin a paint job
8. losing additional space is a personal decision

would love to know what you find once you get a peek behind there, hopefully nothing but i'm curious anyways

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