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19 freakin 81


Jim Katen
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Alright, dammit. What the hell is it with 1981? Every single freaking house that I've inspected that was built in 1981 is freaked up the freaking wazoo. What the blazes was the matter with builders that year? Where they all high? Drunk? Being impersonated by freaking aliens?

What the heck inspired them to do all of the stupid crap that they did?

As of tomorrow, when someone calls for an inspection of a house built in 1981, I swear I'm going to charge them double.

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Ending of Jimmy Carter's time in office - high interest rates - flake-board instead of plywood - experimenting with insulation and vapor barriers - press board on counters with laminate coverings.

I started building my first spec house in 79 and was guided by the agent who was listing the house to build cheap and dress it up for a quick sale. Lucky to get it sold in 80 at 16.5% interest.

Thirty year houses filled and covered with products that were designed to last 20.

Owners with a throw-away mentality; keep the house for 5-7 years and sell.

Life goes on.

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio

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Ezra's about right.......I was building around 1978-85ish too...

New building product stuff being introduced like stuccato, fake tudor was at an all time high, treated wood foundations, weird dry stacked block foundations with fiber reinforced mortar smeared on it, lots of T-111 siding, the new concept of vapor barriers, the first failed experiments with spray foam insulation (oh lord was that stuff bad), and pretty much the complete negation of any respectable traditional building method.

It's when stuff like door pan flashing disappeared, drip caps became superfluous apparently.

Thankfully, I almost never see anything from that era.

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Ezra's about right.......I was building around 1978-85ish too...

New building product stuff being introduced like stuccato, fake tudor was at an all time high, treated wood foundations, weird dry stacked block foundations with fiber reinforced mortar smeared on it, lots of T-111 siding, the new concept of vapor barriers, the first failed experiments with spray foam insulation (oh lord was that stuff bad), and pretty much the complete negation of any respectable traditional building method.

It's when stuff like door pan flashing disappeared, drip caps became superfluous apparently.

Thankfully, I almost never see anything from that era.

Yeah, but it's more than that. All of that stuff started after the first Arab oil embargo and made a mess for the next 20 years or so.

The 1981 syndrome is more as if all the builders just stopped caring all of a sudden. The stuff I'm seeing isn't related to new materials or techniques, it's more like the gas pipe being used as a vehicle barrier thing. It's like the builders' attitudes just tanked all of a sudden and they just didn't give a damn about what they were building, kind of like the Friday at 4:00 pm mentality, but it affected the whole house.

Tomorrow, I'm going to inspect my third (count 'em, 3) 1981 house of the week. It's a geodesic dome. Oh boy. I can hardly control my excitement.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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"The 1981 syndrome is more as if all the builders just stopped caring all of a sudden. The stuff I'm seeing isn't related to new materials or techniques, it's more like the gas pipe being used as a vehicle barrier thing. It's like the builders' attitudes just tanked all of a sudden and they just didn't give a damn about what they were building, kind of like the Friday at 4:00 pm mentality, but it affected the whole house. "

Those were troubling economic times, just imagine what a 2009 house will look like in 30 years[:-bigeyes

Tom

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The 1981 syndrome is more as if all the builders just stopped caring all of a sudden. The stuff I'm seeing isn't related to new materials or techniques, it's more like the gas pipe being used as a vehicle barrier thing. It's like the builders' attitudes just tanked all of a sudden and they just didn't give a damn about what they were building, kind of like the Friday at 4:00 pm mentality, but it affected the whole house.

Tomorrow, I'm going to inspect my third (count 'em, 3) 1981 house of the week. It's a geodesic dome. Oh boy. I can hardly control my excitement.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Sounds about right. Raymond's also just about right......everyone went bankrupt then. Everyone. It was a total meltdown.

Remember US Homes?

Exactly.......

No one did care......except a bunch of us hippies who didn't understand we weren't making any money anyway. We were building early energy efficiency stuff, but the rest of the world was still building idiotic ramblers and edsels.......

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...mentally adds geodesic domes to the list of things I just don't want or need to do (along with mobile homes, etc).

We will need photos Jim!

Inspect them? Jeez, I built a couple. Silliest idea for enclosing habitable space there is.

I forget exactly, but I remember figuring out that even with complicated multi-floor interior staging, we could still only optimize <1/2 of the available cubic volume for habitable purposes.

Making them waterproof is oxymoronic. I'm not sure they can be made waterproof without wrapping the entire thing in 40 mil self adhering ice and water membrane. Anything short of the full prophylactic approach, they leak.

Great for DisneyWorld, bad for concientious housing design.

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. . . I forget exactly, but I remember figuring out that even with complicated multi-floor interior staging, we could still only optimize <1/2 of the available cubic volume for habitable purposes.

Making them waterproof is oxymoronic. I'm not sure they can be made waterproof without wrapping the entire thing in 40 mil self adhering ice and water membrane. Anything short of the full prophylactic approach, they leak.

Great for DisneyWorld, bad for concientious housing design.

Did anyone ever even attempt to ventilate those roofs? Or did they just slap roofing on the top, drywall on the bottom and wait for the mold to grow?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Building Science as we think about it, was not anywhere on the radar. Some of them are foamed with whatever the crap was we used back then and some are filled with fiberglass sandwiched between drywall and roof sheathing.

I can only wonder at the mold farms I've created with geodesic domes. I know at least one of them was torn down years ago, not because it had failed, but because someone wanted the land for their tract lodge.

I bet they found it full of mold because it was fiberglass sandwich.

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In my area a 1981 home has a Federal panel, factory radiant heat in the ceiling and anodized aluminum windows all of which need to be replaced. The walls are covered with some form of masonite siding (with the lower edges moisture damaged) placed over Thermax foam insulation without the proper airspacing and the subfoor is Redex that squeaks covering a poorly vented crawlspace.

quote]Originally posted by Jim Katen

Alright, dammit. What the hell is it with 1981? Every single freaking house that I've inspected that was built in 1981 is freaked up the freaking wazoo. What the blazes was the matter with builders that year? Where they all high? Drunk? Being impersonated by freaking aliens?

What the heck inspired them to do all of the stupid crap that they did?

As of tomorrow, when someone calls for an inspection of a house built in 1981, I swear I'm going to charge them double.

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I never did coke, a whole lotta coffee and top ramen noodles kept me going during sonar watch at night.

the ratio of coke users to non-users was amazingly high --- especially in the sonar shack ---

What was that I heard something did you hear something I know I heard something I wonder what it was did you hear something it was like this pinging sound did you hear it too?

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I never did coke, a whole lotta coffee and top ramen noodles kept me going during sonar watch at night.

the ratio of coke users to non-users was amazingly high --- especially in the sonar shack ---

What was that I heard something did you hear something I know I heard something I wonder what it was did you hear something it was like this pinging sound did you hear it too?

I did a 1981 home yesterday. It didn't seem to be too bad although the original interior finish choices sucked big time.

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I was at Ft. Devens, MA in 1981 running the MPI shop for the PMO. Young Sgt. O's neighbors up in Salerno Circle housing area used to get entertained by listening for the noise level to go up at the O'Handley hooch. Then they'd go stand out on the front porch and wait for married-less-than-two-years Sgt. O'Handley to come rocketing out the door of his quarters in his socks, shoes in hand, with the Korean konnection hot on his heels throwing pots, pans, knives and whatever else she could find at him. Poor Sgt. O, he never was able to explain those dents in the roof and the trunk lid of that government issue Volare or the occasional facial mouse.

29 years married last April, together 31 years last February. She's a good 'ol gal. I think I'll keep her around a couple more weeks.

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I was chasing coke heads in those days. My trick to stay awake all night is to take a swig from a water fountain and then, with the water still in my mouth, empty a packet of MRE coffee directly into my mouth, swish it around and swallow it. If I didn't have MRE coffee I'd use two teaspoons of Folger's instant.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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