1849 Home Remodel Week 2: Leveling The Floors
Last week was all about demolition. This week for our home remodel we got to work on leveling the floors. It feels good to get to started building after spending the last two weeks removing about fifty cubic yards of rubble from the home. We also got started removing the siding on the outside of the house to determine our course of action for the exterior remodel.
Most houses will sag and settle over time, and our 1849 house is no different. In some rooms we had floors that sloped over three inches in multiple directions. The main cause was a crumbling brick wall in the basement under a primary support beam. Additionally, the foundation itself gave way in a couple of places. The brick wall likely began to fail when a large hole was cut out of the wall to allow for a heating duct to pass through. After removing the subfloor upstairs, we discovered the joists running into that beam were notched and irregular, causing additional problems beyond the floor simply sagging where the beam sat.
Leveling Floors With Irregular Joists
Often times when we level a floor we are able to put a single temporary beam under all the joists and jack them up together. Because these joists were irregular, we had to set each joist individually. We set up a temporary beam and with part of the crew upstairs, and part in the basement, we got to work. Each joist was lifted and blocking was placed on top of our temporary beam to hold the joist in place. This was done for each joist on both sides of the beam.
With the weight of the joists sitting on our temporary beams, we repaired the crumbling brick wall. Once all the joists were in the correct position, we attached them to the original beam using joist hangers. Finally, we removed our temporary beams. With everything complete, we were able to get the entire first floor within 3/4 of an inch. Considering some rooms varied by as much as three inches when we started this home remodel, we will count that as a major success.
We began leveling the second floor once the first floor was complete. First, we put in two beams to support the outer walls. Next week we will be adding more beams to support the middle of the second floor.
Exterior Remodel Work Begins
We began assessing the work that will need to be done on the exterior of the house. After removing the vinyl siding, we discovered gaps big enough that you can see inside the house through them.
Because of gaps like this, we will remove all the siding, wrap the house in a weather resistant barrier and finally add spray-foam insulation. Spray-foam has the added benefit of providing some much-needed rigidity to the exterior walls.
1849 Home Remodel Next Steps
We still have a long way to go on this big home remodel. After removing the siding and wrapping the house we will be replacing the windows. Additionally, we will frame the new layout upstairs and downstairs which will include two new staircases. The roof will be repaired, and the walls insulated. By that point I think we will be about halfway done. Lastly, no new updates on W.A.P. Morris, but by next week I will (hopefully) have some pictures of a few artifacts the home owner found.