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BUILDING RESTORATION ADVICE

Is it possible or practical to tear down an old stone house and rebuild it at a different site?

Yes, it is possible to take down a stone house and rebuild on another site. Is it practical? Probably not. You can undertake this mammoth task yourself, along with some "very dear" friends and save yourself lots of money. If you pay someone to do it, you'd better have a "rock solid" contract with the person willing to do this.

The stone walls in these houses usually range from 20" to 24" in thickness and are laid up with clay & lime mortar. Most of the time and depending on where this place is, there are large corner stones that must be kept in a separate pile while dismantling one of these houses. The stones in the "field" of the wall can be neatly stacked on pallets or skids and loaded on a flat bed truck for transport. You'll want to reuse the corner stones in the same manner as they were used before. You'll note how the stones interweave from one direction and toward another, with each successive course.

You will encounter a great deal of mortar accumulating in piles as you take apart the walls. Be careful not to weaken the walls by removing any of the wood structure from the house prematurely, as a large section of wall could come down unexpectedly. Believe me, you don't want thousands of pounds of stone heading in your direction.

I've described a little of what you'll encounter should you decide on undertaking this task. Should you decide to "go for it", wear some tough leather gloves and thick pants, a dust mask and goggles. Never work alone and eat your Wheaties and be very patient. You won't accomplish this in a short order. This task is time consuming, fatiguing and dirty. However, if you know how to lay stone, the results will be worth it. And if you don't know how to lay stone, learn how the masons laid up this house in the first place, you'll learn a lot about stone masonry by the time you have this place taken down.

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