Tuesday, May 29, 2018

House Remodel Update #1

If you are new to the blog and unaware of the huge remodel of the house we have been doing since 2012,  you can find many of the posts here.   They're not in chronological order, but at least you'll get a taste for what it's been like here.

I don't even remember when I posted last about the house, and things have been slowly moving along.   The front addition is in, enclosed, with subfloor, windows and insulation, but no drywall yet.  We'll be using that new area as storage for the stuff we have to take out of the old back addition of the house so we can rip it off and put the new one on.  That will happen by the end of this year.  Yee-Haw!

The big news last weekend was the tackling of the entryway, which is a hub of the new design.   It involves:

  1. ripping out all the crap inside the old roof over the entryway so we can
  2. rip off the old ceiling of the entryway.
  3. rip up 6 layers of old flooring in the entryway
  4. knocking out the old wall of the entryway.
  5. laying new joists over the old basement stairs so we can
  6. build beams for under the new stairway up so we can
  7. build the new stairway up so we can
  8. build the new stairway down to the basement
  9. move the front door 12 inches out to the new wall on the new foundation and up over where the new floor will be [12 inches higher]
Eric tackled the first two things last month.  Done.

On Saturday we did numbers 2-4.  

This is what it looked like when we started.    Notice the old entry hall wall.  The ceiling is already down.  Notice how low that ceiling was compared to second floor.   Notice those crazy steep stairs. 

These are the layers of floor we ripped up.   From the top:
  • laminate [easy]
  • plastic pad [really easy]
  • particle board [pain in the butt]
  • pine tongue and groove  [serious pain in the butt]
  • tar paper  [easy]
  • diagonal pine/poplar subfloor [huge pain in the butt]
You can see that the level of difficulty of removal increased as we got lower.  That wasn't just because we were tired.   

The laminate was the non-glued floaty kind.   Best. Stuff. Ever.  I'm a huge fan of it for many reasons.  

The particle board had to be pried out and it fell apart as we worked.  No fun. We used long crowbars with teeth on the ends so we could pry out the remaining nails without bending over.   These are my favorite tools ever.  They're heavy, but useful in so many ways.  We've used them during every part of demolition here. 

The tongue and groove was nailed in with a reasonable number of nails, but it had to be pried out.  It didn't fall apart, but it took a lot of effort to lift.   We worked in tandem to get under the boards and pry them up with the nails.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes not so much.

The final bottom layer of subfloor was a huge pain.  This area of the house had been a screened in porch and had taken water damage.   These boards spanned the spaces between the joists and were nailed to them.  They did not come out willingly and many of them were in bad shape and cracked under the pressure, leaving most of the nails.  Once this layer was out, the floor was open down to the basement.   It took some planning to make sure that there were no missteps in the spaces between the joists.   Joists were 24 inches apart [as opposed to the 16 inches that is code today.]  I'm not comfortable with open spaces like that, so I stayed away and Eric demolished and handed me the debris to bag.   We took a lot of breaks to vacuum the dust and crap so it didn't fall down into the basement area.   

By the end of the night, all the floor was up and a few sheets of plywood was tacked in place so we could walk safely in case of emergency.   

Next up:  A frame around the new basement entrance and new joists.  Stay tuned.  


  1. Wow! That is a lot of work! We are in the process of sprucing up the outside by removing overgrown plants, repairing a trellis, replacing deck, etc. there is always something that needs doing with home ownership!

  2. You're right! Always something. It'll be nice when we're down to sprucing instead of major structural destruction/construction.


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