Could you remove 6 tons of material from your home? Well, as you know, the initial demolition of King Street was a mad frenzy of ripping and tearing over the course of 10 days. We managed to fill a 30 yard dumpster with just over 6 tons of debris! (see prior post – “Let the demolition begin.”). Initially, it was pretty easy to decide what to tear out – collapsing ceilings, paneling of assorted hideous colors, cracked plaster walls, old flooring, warped cabinets, and all the windows.
However, as the obvious stuff was demolished and shoveled into buckets, or directly out the window, I had to start thinking. On the one hand, some restraint was necessary. Most everything that is torn out will have to be replaced, requiring additional labor and money. On the other hand, there
was a huge dumpster available, the labor of my nephew, and the more old that is torn out would make room for more new. With a house this dilapidated, the more new, the better. So I erred on tearing out more than less, filling the dumpster, and worrying about the rebuild later. As such, out went the cast iron tub and tile enclosure, goodbye kitchen cabinets and counters, etc. If in doubt, it was torn out.
Tearing out the lathe and plaster walls was another concern. Not only is it unpleasant work, but tearing out all the walls would require an awful lot of sheetrock and spackle to replace, and spackling isn’t really in my skill set. One idea was to tear out all the exterior walls. This would allow for ease of electrical wiring, and much needed insulation. Oddly, there were no outlets on the exterior walls, and obviously lots were going to be needed. However, once we got the ceilings out and started on the walls, we came upon an interesting discovery. A hammer blow to the wall resulted in an unyeilding dull thud. This was not lathe and crumbly plaster.
Amazingly, inside the exterior walls of this timber frame house, where one would usually find insulation (or a void needing it), they are instead filled with brick and stone! No wonder there are no electrical outlets! Further examination revealed that the house is ‘post and beam’ construction, like an old, very old, barn. This house is older than I thought.
On the first floor the walls are filled with stone, and on the second floor, brick. Amazing. And why? A rudimentary insulation? To stop arrows from Indian raids penetrating? So much for electrical wiring and insulation! This will require some thought. The walls obviously stay.
When the dust cleared, a partially gutted house, in all its (gory) glory, appeared. Oddly, after such great demolition work, the renovation project became more daunting! This house, after weeks of hard work, is probably worth LESS than when I bought it. Even more troubling, I now see there is even more demolition needed. The dumpster may be full and gone, but it certainly doesn’t mean the tearing out is over.
Tearing out walls, floors, cabinets, counters and fixtures has exposed more things that should probably be torn out. What is going to be difficult for me is that I want to do things right, and I don’t want to rashly leave behind something that may be ‘good enough’ or ‘okay for now.’ The time to clear out the old is now, which means digging deeper. However, this new round of demolition will have to proceed more slowly since it involves more structural aspects of the building.
The new wave of demo started with the kitchen floor. I was told by the home inspector that a couple of the floor joists seemed to have prior insect damage. Here is an example of me not doing a quick fix, and instead doing it thoroughly while I am there. As opposed to replacing a couple of joists (which would leave the rest looking even older), I decided I should remove and replace the floor and all the joists. The rationale is that a prospective buyer will appreciate all new. After all, it is simply a matter of more labor, and a bit more lumber, right? Famous last words.