January 2009

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9 January 2009 — Bathroom Demo

I removed the bathroom vanity and started tearing up the floor today. We are certain to not miss the beautiful vinyl.

The tile under the vinyl was not much better looking.

Unfortunately, the vinyl was securely glued to the tile. It took some effort to remove. Then I chipped up the tile. In some places it popped up easily, but in others there seemed to be no way to remove it without breaking it up. I don't suppose it is any great loss (well, not to me anyway). Saving it wouldn't have worked very well as there was at least one large damaged spot out in the middle of the floor that would have needed some kind of repair. And where would you find tile like this now? And if you could find it, would you want it?

I already knew there was some kind of concrete or mortar bed under the tile, so uncovering this was no big surprise. I was hoping that it would be in good enough shape to save, but that was not to be. So we removed the toilet and started pulling out the mortar.

It seems that the mortar was poured in two stages. The first pour filled in the well between the joists. The second added another inch or so above that. They separated pretty easily and came out in big chunks, which helped. It was still heavy and messy, but we eventually cleaned it all up.

Here's a close up shot of the way they rounded over the tops of the floor joists. I'm guessing the idea was to minimize the area where the mortar bed was thin. Hmm.

10 January 2009 — More Bathroom Demo

Today I removed the tile from the bathtub, and unfortunately a fair amount of plaster. The top coat at the back of the shower was just peeling off, so I didn't have to work very hard at that part.

Some of the glue is so firmly stuck to the plaster, I guess it will be staying. And since the plaster on the back and side of the tub is on top of the clay tile exterior walls of the house, it's not really possible to remove it, or put backer board over it, or anything else nice, so I guess we'll be leveling it out as best we can and then hanging new tile directly on top of it.

Here's a close up shot of the lead pipe bath drain showing the nice notching job they did on the floor joists. These are 2x8s and they only span about 8 feet, but there was several hundred pounds of mortar and tile on top of them, plus the cast iron bathtub. So notching them like this doesn't seem like the best plan. But, hey, I guess it worked fine for more than sixty years.

And here's a close up shot of the most badly broken joist I've seen yet. Yikes.

11 January 2009 — Winter and more Tub Demo

It's looking like winter. You can also see how the insulation in the attic is incomplete. Next year will be better.

2 The plaster at the front of the tub was in bad shape, so I decided to remove it. Note the fine plumbing. The shower control isn't mounted on anything, so it was just hanging on the plaster and tile. Classic.

17 January 2009 — Say Goodbye to the Tub

It took a few good whacks with a big hammer, but it broke up in pieces that were small enough for me to carry out.

All clean.

No more subfloor.

Here is an example of some brilliant framing in the kitchen. The duct that runs up into the bathroom runs directly through a doubled header. The wall below the header was not supposed to be weight bearing, but now it is. The only problem is that there is no weight bearing wall below it. There is another doubled header below, but it is offset about 16 inches from this one. The wall does rest on some subflooring that extends beyond the doubled header, and there is a single joist below as well, but it is also cut in half, for the little closet in the stairwell. I'm confident that the duct work is orignal to the house and not added later. Did carpenters smoke a lot of crack back in the forties? What else could explain this?

Shortly after doing all the demo, I started hearing popping sounds in the house at night. I was pretty sure it wasn't ghosts. Then when I realized how this wall was framed, I thought maybe it was sinking. Then I realized that since we had removed a lot of weight off of this floor, the opposite was more likely. I think we are going to have to find a way to support this wall from below. I don't expect to be able to jack it up much, but it would probably be good to ensure that it can't sink into the basement. On the other hand, it's been this way for more than sixty years and it hasn't fallen completely apart yet.

25 January 2009 — More Sisters and Sandwiches

I cut the rest of the plumbing out of the floor and sistered all the floor joists above the kitchen this weekend. I sandwiched the ones that were broken or notched the worst. Since this span was just less than 8 feet, I would have used plywood for this job except that the tops of the original joists were rounded over and I wanted to provide a nice surface for nailing the subfloor down.

I used some joist hangers since some of these were pulling out about a quarter of an inch from the header.

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