Sandstone house repair


Bought an old sandstone rock house built in the late '20's. Over the years its been added on to, walls covered, roof structure compromised, etc. Oddest structure I've ever come across. 

Walls are stacked sandstone mortared together. Inside a board runs at the top of the wall and another at the bottom horizontally. Connecting the two are 12" wide boards running from floor to ceiling. The roof joists tie to the top board, the floor joists tie to the bottom board. No cavity or insulation.

At some point the walls were covered with cardboard boxes and newspapers ... then wall paper ( multiple layers ) ... then drywall ... then paneling (Ooh-la-la). The newspapers have been a fascinating read from 1938 to 1956, but that's another story.

Our problem is that part of one wall is leaning outward. The rest of the walls don't have a crack anywhere not even over windows or doors. There is a window in the middle of the part that's leaning that we planned to repurpose as a doorway leading into an addition. But I need to fix the wall and I have zero experience in working with sandstone masonry walls.

Our options, as I see it, are to 1) buttress the wall and leave the lean knowing it won't further lean, 2) build the new room using the structure of it to buttress the rock walls on either end of the lean and remove the leaning portion, 3) possibly use an earthen/cob plaster technique to stabilize the wall, 4) ????

We are in the country so we aren't constrained by any city or county codes other than elevation of floor level for flood plain. Our design essentially builds a new structure surrounding the existing structure so no new loads will be placed on the stone walls. 

Anyone with experience willing to chime in?

Jan 14, 19 1:42 pm
Non Sequitur

"We are in the country so we aren't constrained by any city or county codes "

This is incorrect.  Hire a structural p.eng.  

Jan 14, 19 1:50 pm

It's quite correct. State codes, on the other hand...

Non Sequitur

^probably right.


in other words, where I'm building the only people coming to inspect it are the tax assessors

Non Sequitur

Still does not absolve you of building codes.


Sounds a-ok to me. Maybe add some newspaper to see if that helps?

Jan 14, 19 10:33 pm

Yeah, a few more couldn't hurt. Maybe the more current ones full of the fibrous bull**** we have to read nowadays will help stabilize everything ...


Would love to see some pictures.

Jan 15, 19 4:07 am

working on figuring out how to upload some


got some photos? how far out does it lean?

with a solid structure inside you could tie the wall back like in the good old days?

ok but seriously - are you going to insulate it? where do you live?

Jan 15, 19 3:27 pm

The lean isn't too bad and is only in a six foot section. We aren't going to directly insulate this wall as the entire rock house will be enclosed inside the new structure... which will be insulated. If this was a double wall with a cavity in it I'd be looking at filling the cavity with foam insulation which would not only insulate but stabilize I believe, but, alas, no cavity to fill.


Oh, I'm in central Oklahoma ...


you can always insulate on the interior with clay plaster and wood fibre insulation boards - then you could retain the exterior as is


Or, put a simple glass house over it:


hahaha, typical dutch...guy probably owns a glasshouse company


^ Here ya go, some rod end plates from Charleston, SC, buildings repaired after the 1836 earthquake. I like the center one especially.

Jan 16, 19 11:22 am

seems like fun

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