Thursday, April 22, 2010


The foundation levelers have completed their task, leaving a plywood subfloor, a sump pump at the lowest point under my house, and a whole new demolition/reconstruction chapter in the life of my World War II-vintage house.

I knew some drywall and ceiling panels would have to be replaced. I did not realize only one wall of drywall would be spared. A very hard-working and conscientious worker, Jose, set upon tearing out everything else, including kitchen cabinets, stove hood, and most ceiling lights.

This pile of debris, not to be confused with the pile of debris of the previous post, is largely drywall and kitchen cabinets...from a 900-square-foot house.

More discarded drywall. I feel guilty sending so much solid waste to the landfill, especially today: Earth Day.

It was almost freaky seeing my house without its walls.

Surprise! No insulation in the south, west, and east walls.

Matilda, the cat, dispassionately surveys the scene. Vapor barrier on south wall was another surprise, this one good.

I sleep in this cozy teardrop trailer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Foundation leveling: pier-and-beam

It's actually happening! My little pier-and-beam house is being leveled, a pretty major undertaking for this type of house, as I mentioned in house ache about 18 months ago. Over the years, the beams supporting the floor have deteriorated and perhaps the concrete piers shifted. Not only were there telltale cracks in the ceiling, but also a perceptible grade in walking front to back, and uneven floors in the kitchen and study.

My original idea was to salvage the gorgeous 60-year-old red oak floor, but after two workers pried off a few slats, I realized such as not to be. Mickey, a friend with a similar house, pried off and salvages his boards, but many of mine were too delicate.

A big surprise was the absence of a plywood subfloor. The hardwood was laid directly on the beams. Another big surprise was the 4- to 6-inches of standing water under the house after this rainy spring.

Anchor Foundation Repair, though, got after it. Within two minutes of arrival, they were pumping out water and sawing out boards.

I arrived home to find my living room like this. A large, powerful fan (yellow cylinder) dried out the spongy ground. The next day, the crew threw in pounds of lime to hasten the drying process. (Note still-intact dining room floor.)

Kitchen, with cabinets torn out.

The pile of rubble composed of what was the floor and some kitchen cabinets.

Some of the lumber to be used to rebuild the floor support.

Cats explore the new playground.

Some concrete bases to support piers.