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kitchens have only one side exposed, and if the windows on this side are shadowed by the veranda roof that much-used room is made cheerless. If the veranda is on the north side of the house the roof might be omitted with advantage or if the house has two verandas the roof might be omitted from one. It is undesirable to darken the verandas with vines, but the use of flower boxes should be encouraged. If the roof of the veranda is built flat or with a slight pitch, it may be developed into an out-of-door sleeping porch by the tenant. It appears an unnecessary expenditure to box in underneath the veranda roof; this makes a more finished interior appearance, but does not add to the general appearance of the veranda. This boxed-in space slightly increases the fire hazard.
The built-in " veranda should seldom be used on miners' houses, because of its expensiveness. This type of veranda robs the interior rooms of valuable space and is not so open, well ventilated, or breezy, and does not furnish such a variety of outlook as does the "built-on " veranda.
The steps are a part of the miner's house that are frequently out of repair. This is generally due to cheap and thoughtless construction, and not to abuse. Although the steps are not designed as cantilevers, they frequently become such in usage by the washing away of ground support. The part of the steps in contact with the ground should rest on a permanent, unmovable, substantial foundation. The stringers should be of 2-inch stock, spaced about 16 or 20 inches apart. The treads should be made of 13-inch stock, and should be slightly pitched to shed rain. The risers should be made of -inch stock, but should always be boarded up for safety. The appearance of the steps is improved by latticing the sides.
The angle of the flight of steps often depends upon the height of the veranda, but should never be steeper than 45o. The following rules are frequently used: The sum of the rise and run should be equal to 17 to 174 inches. The sum of twice the rise plus the run should not be less than 24 nor more than 25 inches—for example, 71inch rise and 10-inch tread. The product of the rise and run should not be less than 70 nor more than 75. Handrails should always be added on high, steep steps. When it only requires one or two steps to mount, these can be advantageously made from concrete.
As formerly stated, appearances can at times be improved by having front steps sidewise to rather than facing the street, and at times a combination of both directions may be used to advantage, particularly on verandas that are rather high. It is economical to
have the steps of a front veranda lead up from the footwalk, which runs from the front to the back of the house. This does away with the necessity of two front gates and the front footwalk, and does not cut up the front yard. The indirectness of the approach by having the steps at the side (see fig. 4) is of small consequence.
One of the predominant characteristics of mining towns has been the sameness of all the houses, which has been largely caused by the houses being painted the same color. The appearance of a town is greatly improved by various combinations of harmonious colors.
It is claimed that more durable results are obtained when tinted rather than white paints are applied. “ Permanent coloring materials which have been ground by machine into a high-grade whitepaint base have the effect of preventing ‘chalking' and 'checking.' two defects that are often observed when white paints are used.” a
In painting new houses the priming coat should contain a large proportion of oil, since much oil is absorbed by the new wood. It is considered good practice to add about a half gallon of raw linseed oil to every gallon of paint used as a priming coat. This makes the paint for priming cheaper and better adapted for its purpose.
Very often blisters form in paint applied over woodwork which has not thoroughly dried. As the paint film is comparatively impervious, the water underneath, not being able to escape, expands and forms a blister. To avoid blistering it is recommended by some to apply only two coats of paint to a new house. The thinness of the two coats will allow the moisture to evaporate, and when the house is a few years old and thoroughly dried a third coat may be added with good effect. Better results are claimed for this method than by adding the three coats at one time.
USE OF CREOSOTE STAINS.
Creosote stains are being used to a large extent as a substitute for paint. Creosote has numerous advantages. It is cheaper, both in cost of material and cost of application; it permits the evaporation of moisture contained in the wood and has valuable preserving qualities. Paint may be added after the wood has been stained with creosote, if later a greater variety in color is desired.
TYPES OF FOUNDATIONS. The foundation of the house will be discussed both as regards healthfulness and stability. The heated house acts like a chimney and much of the air that enters the rooms is sucked up from the cellar. It is consequently important to see that this air is not vitiated, or the value of other ventilating precautions is greatly lessened.
a Institute of Industrial Research, Circular 2, December, 1911.
The air that comes up from under the house may be a combination of atmospheric air and ground air, the relative quantities of each depending to some extent upon the type of foundation. The amount of ground air entering the rooms is larger in houses having unventilated cellars without cement floors than in houses resting on piers. However, unless the openings between the piers are inclosed with boards, local nuisances may arise which will cause the air to become foul before it enters the rooms. The effect of the closed foundations on the warmth and comfort of the house must be given proper consideration.
It is important to see that the space underneath the house is kept dry and free from dampness. If the soil is damp it will increase the moisture content of air entering the house and will promote disagreeable fungus growths.
The ground air is the atmospheric air that has penetrated into the interstices of the soil and has taken part in the various chemical changes in connection with vegetable growth and decay. When decay is going on the carbon dioxide content increases and the oxygen content decreases. Many of the views formerly held on the danger of breathing ground air per se are being changed. Breathing in small quantities the air affected by such natural changes may do no great harm; if, however, the ground immediately surrounding the house is polluted with kitchen slops and leachings from defective drains, choked cesspools, privy vaults, pigpens, and stables, aside from the direct dangers of infection, these conditions doubtless exercise an unwholesome influence on the air breathed.
ADVANTAGES OF FOUNDATION WALLS.
Walls or piers of masonry or timber posts may be used as foundations for the miner's house. Although the choice of these depends largely upon local conditions, the use of the wall in preference to posts is urgently advised. The wall is necessary for a masonry house and is essential in extremely cold climates, but even where these conditions do not apply, the foundation wall has many advantages.
Building a house on widely spaced, inadequately braced wooden posts or imperfectly laid masonry piers, which rest on cheaply improvised footings is false economy. Frost action, weathering, and
a For discussion on significance of ground air, see Rohe, George H., and Robin, Albert, Textbook on hygiene, 1908, p. 161.
surface washes weaken the supports; the house timbers settle and sag; leaking roofs, unclosable doors, and sticking windows result; patches and repairs are constantly needed; tenants are always complaining. Moreover, a greater number of plastered houses are being erected now than formerly, because they are warm, cheap, and clean. These require a much better support than the old type wooden-ceiled house, as a settling that can occur with impunity in the latter will cause expensive damages to the plastered house.
CONSTRUCTION OF WALLS. Concrete, artificial stone, brick, terra cotta, and rubble may be used for walls, but usually concrete will be least expensive, especially where a large number of houses are to be erected.
On a level lot a wall is not an expensive foundation. If the drainage of the town site has been improved there is no necessity of having the walls 3 or 4 feet high merely to have the house “ off the ground, a wall 12 inches above sidewalk level serves the purpose. It would be better to place the extra concrete below the surface, so that the bottom of the foundation will extend below the frost line. It is not necessary to have the entire wall extend below the frost line; columns every 8 or 10 feet are sufficient.
If care is taken with the subsurface wall the exposed part need not be more than 10 inches thick. Metal forms, which may be used over and over again, should be considered if much concrete is to be laid. The exposed part should have ventilating holes, the openings of which should not be large enough to permit entrance of rats. Castiron gratings are sold which serve the purpose, or narrow vertical slits may be left which do not require any grating and may also be effective as expansion joints. Before the floor system is laid all shrubs, chips, and trash should be removed from the inclosure. Walls permit the use of smaller sills and also do away with the necessity of diagonal bracing and of boarding up the inclosure.
On sloping lots a stepped foundation wall should be built. On a very steep hillside lot the ordinary masonry foundation wall is very expensive and it may be more economical not to use some lots for a dwelling. Under some circumstances it may be feasible to build a foundation wall consisting of concrete piers to carry the main load and have these connected by a thin curtain wall.
A small cellar about 8 feet square should be excavated under the corner of the house. The cellar should be walled up and the entrance should be from the outside. Such a small basement makes
a cool place to keep milk and butter, as ice is not available in most mining towns, and furnishes a storage place for vegetables for use during the winter.
In a warm climate, if a frame house is to be erected, piers that are properly designed and adequately spaced and braced make a satisfactory and economical foundation. Wooden, concrete, and brick piers are used, but the best pier requires a combination of these materials. In any pier the footing is the most important part. The footing should have a good bearing surface and be permanently fixed so that it is not affected by weathering, surface washing, or frost action. Brick laid in mortar does not make a satisfactory or economical footing; concrete is preferable. The material of the pier necessarily depends upon circumstances. In a low pier 10 or 12 inches high, a wooden post is not satisfactory, because of lightness and liability of splitting; masonry should be used. For a high foundation, brick or concrete piers are difficult to brace; wooden posts on a concrete footing are better. The footing should extend a few inches above the ground and be mixed wet and be puddled to a smooth surface to furnish a good bearing and to prevent water from collecting underneath the post. Plastering the footing with cement after the concrete has set is not effective.
NECESSITY OF CLOSING UP THE SPACE UNDERNEATH THE HOUSE.
If the openings between the piers are not boarded up experience has shown that this shelter will be used in ways injurious to health. Cows, hogs, geese, hens, dogs, cats, or rabbits may get under the house and fleas, vermin, and lice may gain entrance to the house in this way. In winter the warm house acts as a chimney and the unhealthful odors caused by these animals are sucked up into the rooms. The opportunity for children to play underneath the house should not be permitted, as the atmosphere there is impregnated with organic dust which may cause injury to the child's lungs. This space if accessible might be used as a storeroom for old broken furniture, which furnishes breeding places for vermin and increases the fire hazard. Leaving the foundation open exposes the floor to the winds and makes the house uncomfortable in cold winter months. The additional money spent in boarding up between the piers will be well invested.
When a large number of houses is to be framed there may be economy in adopting a system of construction similar to that used in the
a For detailed information on the construction of a house, see Cyclopedia of architecture, carpentry, and building, vol. 2, 1908, pp. 27-118; Kidder, F. E., Building construction and superintendence, pt. 2, 1899, pp. 46–106.