« PreviousContinue »
frequently caused in chimneys in the L's of buildings, because the chimneys are not built sufficiently high. Air in motion has the peculiarity of clinging to surfaces over which it passes, and in following down the pitch of a roof, if the chimney flue is in the descending current, a down draft will be caused. Often down drafts may be prevented by covering the top of the chimney with a semicylindrical cap of brick, or similar device, having its axis at right angles with the direction of the downward current so that the chimney gases can issue from the ends of the cap.
SECTION THROUGH CHIMNEY.
A chimney should not be built with a wall less than 8 inches (two courses of brick) thick and cement mortar should be used up to the first floor and above the roof line. The walls of the chimney, from 12 inches above the roof to the top, may be only 4 inches thick if the bricks are carefully bonded together with cement or fireproof inortar. All chimneys should be large enough to give a separate flue for each fire, using fire-clay or terra-cotta linings at least 1 inch thick. Two connections to a single flue may result in fire from one connection communicating to the opening of the other, and thousands of fires are said to have originated in this manner. Where flue linings are not provided all joints on the inside should be struck smooth and projections of brick or mortar should not be allowed, nor should the inside of the flue be plastered.
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR FINISH.
Emphasis is laid on the necessity of making the floors of plastered houses less vibrant than was the practice when the houses were ceiled with wood. A number of companies are now plastering their houses, and unless the floor is well braced the plastering will crack, and an excellent sanitary improvement will be unjustly discredited. The floor joists should be spaced sufficiently close and should be stiffened by bridging to prevent vibration.
A house with cold floors is especially uncomfortable. It is earnestly recommended that the floors of all miners' houses be made of two layers of boards, and it is a good plan to place heavy paper between the layers. The lower layer may be made of rough boards of irregular width and three-fourths to seven-eighths of an inch thick, laid diagonally. The upper layer should be made of narrow boards, preferably matched, one-half to five-eighths of an inch thick, laid perpendicularly to the floor joists and blind-nailed to the joists only. If the two were laid in the same direction, the shrinkage of the wide boards underneath would tend to pull two or three of the
narrow finished boards together, thereby leaving open joints, corresponding roughly to the widths of the boards below.
The matched floor should be given a coat of filler paint and a finishing coat of floor stain or of varnish. If the floor is to be painted, the paint should contain a large proportion of hard oleoresinous varnish and should be heavily charged with dryer. Numerous hard, quick-drying paints, especially adapted for floors, are on the market. With a view to discouraging the nailing of carpets to the floor, which is an insanitary arrangement and is not necessary if the house be warmly built, a border should be painted around the edges of the floor.
Plastered houses are being built in a number of the new mining towns. Plaster makes a warm, clean, interior finish and is said to be less expensive than ceiling with wood. As a plastered house is warmer than one ceiled with wood, greater window area may be allowed and the house made more lightsome. If plaster is used, consistent construction should be followed in other respects. Attention is again called to the necessity of good foundations and rigid floors; otherwise big sheets of plaster may fall off and expensive repairs and unsightly walls result. Good material should be used and the laths should be laid one-fourth to three-eighths of an inch apart, so that the plaster will form a good clinch on the back of the laths. The laths on a wall should all be laid in the same direction ; the shrinkage of laths that are placed at right angles to one another often causes plaster to crack.
Plaster boards of various compositions are used in place of lath and plaster. This construction is said to be cheaper, more resistant to fire, and to furnish better protection against extremes in weather.
Although wall paper at first may furnish an artistic charm, it soon fades, becomes dirty, and gets torn, and makes anything but a pleasing appearance. Perhaps the danger of arsenic poisoning from the green coloring matter in wall paper has been overexaggerated, but this and other coloring may give off odors which are unpleasant if not dangerous. The flour paste which is used in hanging the paper will slowly putrefy, which helps to cause the musty smell characteristic of houses that have been closed for some time. This flour paste also furnishes food for vermin, and when these get concealed under the paper it is difficult to destroy them. With a view to preventing this, an insecticidal solution is sometimes mixed
with the paste. The fibrous pores of the wall paper may harbor germs if the house has been occupied by a person suffering from a contagious disease. Because of the expense of removing old paper when a room is repapered, the dirty, greasy paper is often covered over with the new paper, and this, of course, intensifies the evils heretofore mentioned.
If wall paper is to be used, a good way to insure proper hanging of the paper, one practiced by several companies, is to have the tenant furnish the paper and to have a representative of the company hang it. This is much better than the reverse arrangement, which is adopted at some places.
INTERIOR PAINTING AND KALSOMINING.
The substitutes for wall paper are painting, kalsomining, and tinting. · New plaster does not take paint well, because of its alkaline character, and newly plastered walls are best allowed to remain unpainted for at least a year. Various and attractive tints may be applied whose charm and interest last much longer than many of the gaudy designs seen in cheap wall paper. Oftentimes figures may be stenciled around the border, which will improve appearance and add contrast.
All the interior woodwork, as baseboards, window and door frames, moldings, and stair rails, should be plain and without such ornamentation as flutings, ogee curves, beadings, and filigree designs. None of the woodwork should be installed until the plaster has dried. It is best to keep the woodwork out of the house while plastering, so that it will not absorb the moisture given off by the plaster. The ledges should be beveled and the intersections between floors and walls should be filleted with a triangular piece, instead of the quarter round that is used so extensively. Picture molding should not be used, but knobs should be screwed into the walls at places where pictures might be hung to good advantage. Attention to these little details will reduce the number of dust pockets and crevices, which are difficult to clean, and will lessen rather than increase the cost of the house.
MODEL FURNISHED HOUSE.
It is not desirable for the company to dictate the methods of furnishing houses. Even if conditions are not up to the desired standard of sanitary perfection the evils arising from interfering in the home might incur graver consequences. It is none the less true that some discreet method of showing good and bad interior arrangements would cause desirable information to be diffused in the min. ing town. Such information reaches the miner's house slowly
unless special efforts are made to disseminate it. The isolation and homogeneity of a mining population, the great number of nonEnglish-speaking people, their recent advent into this country, the absence of libraries and lectures, and the scarcity of newspapers and magazines make some such effort desirable.
On this account, in addition to the regular educational channels, as the schools, some companies have employed visiting nurses and social workers whose duties are to render assistance along such lines as furnishing the house, cooking, modern methods of taking care of the baby, etc. In addition to special training and experience, great tact must be exercised by the person or persons employed in this work if permanent good is to be accomplished.
One progressive company has successfully and tactfully met this problem by setting aside a cottage and furnishing it in a clean, modest, up-to-date manner and throwing it open to the public for exhibition. The cost of each piece of furniture is plainly marked and the total cost of furnishing each room is conspicuously printed on a placard. This feature also thwarted another local evil, namely, the imposition of unscrupulous furniture dealers who sold furniture on the installment plan at exorbitant prices.
The educational feature of the exhibition house might be carried further to advantage. A placard on the bedstead might call attention to the position of the bed relative to the windows, another may explain that an iron bedstead is not broken so easily as a wooden one, affords better ventilation, and is more easily kept free of vermin. Attention should be called to the bedclothes and to the advantage of sleeping between sheets in order that heavy blankets will not have to be washed so frequently. The sleeping room should be free from unnecessary furniture, pictures, trinkets, drapings, canopies around the bed, fancy table coverings whereby a lamp might be upset by a child, mantel decorations, etc. There should be no carpet nailed on the floor and the windows should not have lace draperies. An appropriate placard could state that lace curtains, carpets, and draperies offer collecting places for dust and germs and make the living rooms less healthful. The windows should be screened, and the necessity of opening the window from the top and bottom should be suggested.
The above suggestions will serve to indicate how inroads may be made into local customs or fetishes without causing friction.
IMPORTANCE OF THE VERANDA.
One of the most important health features of a house is the veranda. It is sometimes called a piazza, a porch, or a gallery, and is an invaluable asset in seasonable weather. No house should ever
be built without at least one veranda. The veranda also serves to add beauty and variety to the house.
FOUNDATIONS OF VERANDA.
The foundations of the veranda should be strong and stable. If piers are used they should be inclosed by latticework, especially those of the front veranda. A variety of designs may be used on the latticework; broad horizontal bars reduce the “up in the air" appearance of a high veranda, and vertical bars relieve the “squattiness“ of a low one.
FLOOR OF VERANDA. The veranda, especially the one in the rear, should be built with the thought that it is frequently to be used as a playroom for children and as an airing place for babies. It should be so arranged that the child can be left with safety while the mother performs the household duties. Sometimes the floor of the veranda is laid with a -inch crack between the boards, chiefly for the purpose of shedding water. Such a floor is uncomfortable to walk upon, especially for children with bare feet, and money or trinkets may be dropped through the cracks. A better method is to put in a tight floor with a pitch of one-fourth inch per foot. The boards of the floor should be laid perpendicular to the side of the house so that if they warp up at the edges the channels formed will be in the direction of the flow. The floor should be made of quarter-sawed wood so that it will not sliver. The level of the veranda floor should be a few inches below the level of the main floors of the house.
BALUSTRADE OF VERANDA.
The railing or balustrade should be designed with a view to simplicity, safety, and, above all, durability. It must be kept in mind that the balustrade may be frequently used as a footrest or seat. The top and bottom rails should be beveled to shed water and the bottom rail should be a few inches above the floor. Frail, fancy-turned vertical pieces should not be used; plain rectangular pieces, closely spaced, are better. If the floor of a front veranda is near the ground the balustrade may be omitted if the yard has a front fence, but if the front fence is omitted (see "Fences”) the balustrade adds a needed touch of privacy. A pleasing and inexpensive column may be built by using two 2-inch by 4-inch scantlings separated a few inches and interlaced with narrow strips. The scantling should be dressed on all sides and the sharp corners chamfered.
VERANDAS WITH AND WITHOUT ROOFS.
At times it may prove advisable to omit the roof of the veranda, as this is frequently the cause of dark, sunless rooms. Frequently