This Old Country House

The rickety old well house.  It lists from plumb 3-inches from the left to right in this image.

The rickety old well house. It lists from plumb 3-inches from the left to right in this image.

My brother and I have been working on a project that has been needed to be done at our folks place in the country.  Living out here, you do not have public utilities like sewer and water, so you have wells and septic systems.  The project he and I are working on is to fix the well house, which is currently out of square.  Since we have much of it torn apart, I decided this would be a great opportunity to fix other fundamental issues.  The well house is 40-years old, and during that time tons of organic material has piled up against it and subsequently decomposed.  It left a layer of material about 4-inches deep that I’ve dug away so that air can circulate under the structure once we’re done with it, or so I thought.

I was out finishing the excavation portion of the project this morning, and discovered that the issue with the well house is different than we originally thought.  We thought one side of it had sunk on its foundation about 3-inches, which is only partially right since it sank 1-inch.  The problem is the reason the building is out of square is because it is literally falling over at a slow rate.  I checked it and the floor is nearly level, but the building lists about 3-inches top to bottom out of square.

I don’t know how we’re going to fix it, but I wish they had gone with my original suggestion to build a new well house/motorcycle garage.  This would have taken care of two-issues with one, larger project.  We could have a place to store the motorcycles, and there would be additional storage for the well equipment and yard tools.

Nope, we have to fix this rickety old shack instead.  *ugh*

Let’s hope it can be saved.  Anyone have suggestions?


5 Responses to “This Old Country House”

  1. I think you need to come and visit for a long weekend. Help me with my housing needs. You’re so handy!!!!!

  2. Let’s not store the bikes near the potable water sourse, I mean, the exhaust fumes contain lead and several other hazardous materials. A new shed possibley made of blocks is in order. You’re welcome. old ed.

  3. @Ed: Oddly it would probably be better to store them next to this tank, which is a closed system, than to store them in the yard where anything coming out of them could seep to the well below. 😉

  4. Did you fix this yet? Squaring up a wall usually requires a top to bottom cross brace. Just one, on each wall. The old days a piece of wood was used. Now there are metal strips you can use.

    It should be attached to the top plate, then screwed into each joist on the way to sill, upper corner to lower corner.

    Good luck.

  5. @Mikki: Actually, I have not fixed this yet, but I was preparing to do just as you suggested. We’re going to take the siding off the one end (it’s cedar plywood), square the shed, cross brace it, then re-fasten the plywood outside along with screwing all the studs and other pieces together, instead of nailing. The wood used to construct the building is still sound, so it seems it’s the nails working loose that is causing most of the issue.

    After I’m done, hopefully it will withstand anything I may throw at it. 🙂

    Thanks for the suggestion.

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