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House Demolition - Aussie style

Discussion in 'Demolition' started by RocksnRoses, May 12, 2009.

  1. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    The other day I had to demolish this old stone home and cart it away, so that a base could be built for a new re-locatable home, to be put there on the same spot. The roof and floors had been removed for recycling, so it was relatively easy. I shifted a little over 400 tonnes all up. The tele-handler belongs to the owner of the property and he decided perhaps that was a better way to bring the chimneys down, which it was.

    A few pics.
     

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  2. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    A few more pics of the progress and removing the stove. I also had to fill in an in ground tank.
     

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  3. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    The end of another piece of history, the stockpile which we will crush later on and the base for the new home.

    Rn'R.
     

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  4. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton Senior Member

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    Man, i have a thing for stone houses. Why did they want the house knocked down? It looks like it was in really good condition, but hopefully i'm missing something.
     
  5. Wolf

    Wolf Senior Member

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    Demo Oz Style

    Nice job, man. How old was that house--looks pretty old from the interior shots?

    It must have been fun to push over those two brick chimneys. Bet they crashed down in a pretty good shower of bricks. :D

    Was that your first time to demo a house? Nice equipment you got there. :drinkup

    Hvy 1 ton--I guess this is progress. Says they are putting a re-locatable home on the foundation. I guess that is some sort of manufactured home or trailer. Must be progress. :beatsme
     
  6. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    The house had some cracks in it, but I have seen worse houses renovated. In this instance the house had not been lived in for years, the pidgeons had moved in and the estimates they had to fix it up, came to way more than buying a re-locatable and putting there. This is a rural property and the electricity, water and telephone connections are all still there, plus the site is slightly elevated and quite a nice spot for a house.
    Re-locatable or transportable houses here, are timber frame houses that are usually built in the city and transported by truck to the site. Most of them are mounted off the ground on small stumps.
    One of these houses became available on another property about 25 kilometres away, so we had to prepare the site, because the contractors were ready to move it.

    Thanks Wolf. The chimneys certainly did crash down and just left a pile of bricks. We would have demolished and in a lot of cases, crushed around fifty of these old stone homes over the years. As you have possibly seen in my other posts, our business is crushing limestone and this area has plenty of it. Nearly all of the original homes were built out of limestone. I am not sure of the age of this house, but I would guess it would have been built in the 1920's or 30's.

    Rn'R.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  7. Wolf

    Wolf Senior Member

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    Does anyone out there ever preserve or renovate these limestone houses?

    They seem pretty unusual, but it seems like people just want to get rid of them out there--old fashioned and obsolete. So you have crushed up 50 of them. Pretty soon they will be a rarity and then a thing of the past.

    Can't stop progress, especially if nobody values that kind of limestone house.
     
  8. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    Wolf, through southern and western Australia limestone is prevalent and the the early settlers used it everywhere. Many building where built by convicts. There are literally thousands of limestone buildings still in existence and many of the them classified by our national trust.

    However, if you look at RnR's pics you will see the stone has almost been covered by mortar. This is a result of repeated re-pointing and repairs. Unfortunatley the modern practice has been to use high strength modern cement mortars. This sounds the death knell for the stonework.

    Limestone, and the old fashioned lime based mortars where soft, friable and allowed moisture to come and go from the surface exposed to the weather. Cement mortars hold the moisture in and when the hot sun comes of the day the mortar will fracture away or break the stone. Eventually a type of cancer will set in breaking down the stone and causing fractures. The dunderclunkems them come along and add more mortar to try and repair when this is what is causing the problem.

    Also, because the mortar joints are not raked out properly the mortar ends up flush with the surface of the stone spoiling the appearance and also the mortar is more exposed to the rain and the heat....its a downward spiral from there. I am often asked to repair these building and unfortunatley, because of bad practices of the last 30 odd years it is often not economical nor safe. Because the walls of these buildings are not designed for resistance to the weather, once the old roof has gone deterioration is more rapid.

    here's a pic of a lime built wall from Ireland (Derry) built in the 1600's...no modern cements or concrete footings here.
     

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  9. Wolf

    Wolf Senior Member

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    Great and intelligent explanation, Squizzy. You really know your stuff. Thank you for educating me in such a good way.

    That Irish limestone wall is mighty impressive.
     
  10. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    Wolf, yes people do renovate these limstone houses, but while we have crushed or demolished 50 or more of them, nearly all of them were past the point of repairing.
    Here is a link to a similar discussion I had last year about demolishing and renovating old stone buildings.
    https://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=7186&page=2 Post #17

    As Squizzy said, there are still thousands of stone houses all built around the same time, being lived in and maintained and will be for many years to come. In our area they certainly are not a rarity, because of the abundant supply of limestone, the same as timber houses are common in areas where there are forrests. Perhaps what is more of a rarity, are people like Squizzy, who have stone mason skills to repair these buildings.

    Rn'R.
     
  11. Wolf

    Wolf Senior Member

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    Rocks:

    It's up to you whether you tear them down or not, but Aussie Nick makes some interesting points about fretting.

    The same thing goes on here in California---"earthquake damage," whether real or not is the most convenient excuse to destroy some old building. It usually works as an excuse to bring in the demo crew and make way for some new condos.
     
  12. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    Wolf, I think you might be missing the point of my posts. These old buildings are on remote rural properties and farms, owned in most cases by the people whose ancestors built them in the first place, or the smaller properties have been sold and bought up by larger holdings. Over the years, these buildings have fallen in to a state of disrepair, to the point that they become an eyesore, they harbor vermin, they maybe blocking access for today's larger farm machinery and the old walls become unstable, making them dangerous if there are young children playing around them. As much as Aussie Nick might accuse me of using "fretting" as an excuse to demolish these old buildings, rising salt damp is the biggest single problem in maintaining them and is very expensive to fix, in fact, there is no complete fix for rising salt damp. Nearly all of these old houses have no foundations, they were built on top of the ground and because of our dry climate and the clays contracting, some of them also suffered major cracking problems. There comes a point where the cost of renovating them becomes prohibitive and it is a case of throwing good money after bad.
    We have the equipment to demolish them, clean up the site and crush them in to a usable material for spreading on drives, around yards and sheds or whatever. As I explained to Aussie Nick, if a client asks us to demolish an old stone building and we take the moral high ground and refuse because it may have some historical value, we might as well sell all of our equipment and go on Government benefits, because we would not have a business for very long.
    Here are just a few examples of limestone fretting through rising salt damp and if you or Aussie Nick have any ideas on how to stop it, I am sure that a lot of people in this area would like to hear about them. In the first picture, the original wall was concreted for the first five feet to try and stop the fretting, but it kept on going above the concrete. The second picture shows how the small wall is virtually reduced to sand by the rising salt damp and the other two are just more examples of the destruction rising salt damp can cause.

    Rn'R.
     

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  13. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    The efflourescence (as its called) is no more foriegn to Calciferous Limestone than the processes which made the limestone somewhere between 300,000 and 3 Billion years ago. What has changed is two things. First we cleared the land, the water table rose and brought with it the salt. Well...its a factor...but if you wander over to the nearest naturally occuring limestone outcrop you will see some of the same but no where near the devestation (in a relatively short period) that you see in RnR's pics.

    So the other factor is cement/concrete. Limestone will survive the salt attack, more or less, provided there is not continuous moisture with which to make the acids. The beauty of limestone is that it breathes. Moisture goes nearly as fast as it comes. But if you build limestone on damp concrete slabs (with a rising water table), or coat all over the face with hard concrete you retain the moisture and accelerate the effect of the efflourescence. Effectively you stop the limestone breathing and then you are screwed.

    The solution....:Banghead...is to remove all the well meaningly applied cement render and pointing (is meaningly a word), gouge out the joints by hand (no power tools allowed:nono) and use lime based mortar (with various secret stonemasons aggregates). Point the joints up to but not more than 1" of the face of the stone so the stone can breathe and moisture will travel through the mortar as well as it will the stone.

    If you look to recommendations for Portland Cement you will see that they increase the quantity of cement for proximity to the sea...in other words, to make the cement stronger. I say, go to the land of the Leprechaun, Guinness and the Bearlager na Saor (the old language of the masons) and see 12th century castles built from Carboniferous Limestone and Lime mortar...standing on the edge of the North Sea....and then make you decisions about how to repair natural stone buildings.

    Sorry for the side track, but you can imagine in a world where concrete, steel, strength etc is the engineering norm...I cop a bit of a beating on the subject. Sometimes, you need to look backwards in order to go forwards.

    The simple solution to most efflourescence is to remove the moisture depending on the chemical constitutents. RnR, if somebody wants to pay me a hundred grand a year to fix your old building I'd gladly do it for the rest of my life......and not have to worry about skid steers and trucks and excavators and...and...and
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  14. bill onthehill

    bill onthehill Senior Member

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    Perhaps what is more of a rarity, are people like Squizzy, :D
     
  15. Sled Puller

    Sled Puller Well-Known Member

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    Re-locatable-- hehehe, translated, modular, trailer house, or mobile home in the states, lol:)
     
  16. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    That perhaps was a poor choice of wording on my part, Sled Puller, modular holiday cabins here are also called re-locatables. A better description for the house they are putting there is 'transportable', you may have another name for them in the US.

    Rn'R.
     
  17. Sled Puller

    Sled Puller Well-Known Member

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    How wide are you allowed to haul on the roads down there?
     
  18. Tex3406

    Tex3406 Active Member

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    Great pictures and story as usual Rn'R, keep 'em coming.

    Looks like you are still getting enough work to keep you busy, hope it continues.
     
  19. RocksnRoses

    RocksnRoses Senior Member

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    I had to look that one up, Sled Puller, transportable homes are allowed 8 metres (26 feet) to the eaves.

    Thanks, Tom. We are busy and are pretty well set for the rest of the year now, so we certainly are not complaining.

    Rn'R.
     
  20. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    Definetly not a trailer home Sled Puller. He means an actual house, usually steel framed that can be carried on trucks in one or two (or three pieces). A trailer home would mean a "caravan" in the Down Under ie. it has wheels.