The idea of country living or the dream of owning a farm wouldn’t be the same without the stereotypical old white farmhouse. At least that is the picture that is usually painted for the people looking for the not so modern-day farmhouse living.
I grew up in an old farmhouse and I love living in our 150-year-old farm home, but something that old doesn’t come without its complications. Some don’t know about these complications, but others like me chose to ignore warnings, blinded by the idea of owning a small piece of history.
There are some complications that are more common then others, but each house will offer its own unique set to deal with. These are 7 truths of farmhouse living that I have experienced.
Common Farmhouse Living Complications
- Uneven Ground
Farmhouses are sectioned off uneven structures, overtime the ground shifts and the house shifts with it. No wall or floor in our house level, if you place a ball on the floor it will roll to the center of the house. This problem can be mild or severe depending on the ground it sits on.
- Michigan Basement
You have probably heard the term Michigan Basement before, but for those that have not let me explain. A Michigan Basement is the crawl space of an older home that has been dug out to create a basement. Most of the time you will find dirt, cinder block or stone walls. A lot of times there will be cracks, holes, and water leaks. We lucked out and have all three, holes, cracks and water leaks. In the spring you know where they are all located thanks to the massive amount of water.
Flooding may not be a problem for all old farmhouses it depends on the house’s location. For example, the farmhouse I grew up in didn’t flood because it was built on ground that doesn’t retain water because of all the sand. The one that I live in now floods every spring or when the water table is very high. It is built on a network of tunnels that go to a drain field so when there is to much water it comes back into the basement.
The cracks and holes mentioned earlier are also an ideal entrance for many small pests. All homes have their share of bug invaders, but it seems old farms take it to another level. Spiders, beetles that look like lady bugs, flies, bees and more. Every warm day it seems another swarm of something appears in the windows trying to get outside.
Like the plumbing the wiring in old farmhouses can be unpredictable. If the house hasn’t been updated your looking at a hazardous mess, if it has been updated it still can be a maze of connections. When we moved in our house, we decided to make a room bigger, but before we could start, we had to turn the power off to that section. The breaker box wasn’t labeled, we had to try them one-by-one. When we found the right one, we realized that the power in that wall was connected to the light above the kitchen sink. This is just an example of the odd connects we found in our old home.
If you are lucky you will get a farmhouse that has been remodeled, the pipes have been updated and replaced. If you get a farmhouse old enough you will see that the plumbing is multiple additions. Bathrooms, Dishwashers, sometimes the kitchen sink is part of the additions. We bought a farmhouse where there were new pipes added to old outdated pipes and some pipes that were added have no purpose at all. It can be a confusing mess to figure out.
- Random Surprises
These old houses have character and they also have random surprises. Things forgotten in walls, floors glued on top of other floors or floorboards not attached to the floor at all. At the house I grew up in there was a forgotten septic tank, it was found later when the garage steps caved in with the top of the tank. Expect the unexpected when you live in an old farmhouse. No matter how much you remodel or fix there could always be something else.
The 7 things listed are a few old house complications that I have encountered and heard of. Problems and complications are to be expected when you are dealing with something that was built 150 years ago. You might end up with these problems or some of your own, but you will also get the chance to live in an old house full of character that has its own story.