My hardest ever day of work (massive kludge content)

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bolophonic, Feb 8, 2014.


  1. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Our farmhouse renovations have been plagued by logistical setbacks since the first polar vortex in January. Weather, day care closings, scheduling problems, etc. the roofers are backed up, so I have started on the final remaining demolition headache: removing six plaster walls from the perimeter of the second story, in order to properly insulate the entire house.

    So the initial demo work was strenuous enough, blowing out solid plaster walls and removing the lath by myself. Today, a friend of mine came by to help me get the debris down to the dumpster at ground level.

    After some brainstorming, I began collecting materials from around the barns: two matching 13' cedar posts, a piece of crumpled, cow-trampled corrugated metal sheet, some old chains, various bolts, washers and hardware. I was able to create a chute that perfectly spanned the upstairs windows to the bed of my truck. We shoveled three full pickup truckfuls into the dumpster. It worked perfectly, falling apart right as we finished the lat batch.
    [​IMG]
  2. PWRL

    PWRL

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Yonder
    You have both my respect and my sympathies. I was faced with a similar task a couple years ago, and due to logistics, wound up just hanging new drywall over the old plaster. That, of course, led to its own series of problems, but don't they all.
    Good improv skills right there.
  3. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    That stuff looks pretty thick, about 3/4"-1".

    Nasty job.

    What's on the ceilings?
  4. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    It varies from 1/2 to 3/4" in places. The ceilings are tongue-and-groove wood (!). I would gladly have covered this up with 1/4" drywall, but taking it all down gives us access to blow insulation down into the first floor. The end result will be great, but I estimate that I personally shoveled 1,000 lbs of rubble today. What problems arose from skinning over plaster with wall board?
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  6. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    The main thing would be all your electrical boxes for recepticles and switches would have to be adjusted. It would also present a challenge (SNAFU) regarding the trim on windows and doors, and baseboard.
  7. PWRL

    PWRL

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Yonder
    Nothing that bad, just a long story. There was a lot of old, very hard wood underneath the lath that made it very difficult to sink in screws, and the house was partially settled on one side, just enough to make it screwy. Some places there was brick, some places a lot of odd interior woodworking that required lots of small, odd pieces and so forth. I was working on my own in a house down in a valley, three hours away either way, with no running water, so that complicated it, too.
    We started by knocking out a bunch of the plaster before we realized we didn't want to go through it. This was all weekend stuff, nothing I was doing on a professional basis. A lot of the problems I encountered were my own amateur-related, self-inflicted variety.
  8. PWRL

    PWRL

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Yonder
    Those, too. I was lucky enough to have wide, heavy baseboards, however. I was able to set the new boards right on top of them and retrofit them in place into the new setup.
  9. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    It's cool you cyphered it out. Remodeling can be a huge PITA, even when things go well.
  10. 1958Bassman

    1958Bassman

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    They make box extenders for jobs like this. Code requires that no combustible material be exposed to sparks coming from inside of the box.
  11. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Not many earthquakes in your parts then.
  12. msact

    msact Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Location:
    Bucks Co, PA
    I remember doing the same thing to our house when I was in my late teens. It was one of those experiences that helped convince me that yes I did want to spend the rest of my life behind a desk sitting on my brains for a living.
  13. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    We will definitely have some configuring to do when we put in the drywall, but the outlets we replaced were run through the baseboards and we will only have to replace a couple of switch boxes. The main reason I was dreading this job was the mess: I don't mind difficult work, but for a dusty mess like this, I was wearing a good dust mask with a bandana over it and then a flannel shirt wrapped around that and tucked into my layers of shirts in order to create a safety tent that I could remove at the end. Doing all that physical labor while smothered under those layers was one of the most claustrophobic experiences of my life. Fortunately, all the demolition work is in my rear view mirror today, and I can focus on finishing up the more rewarding parts of the project.
  14. iamlowsound

    iamlowsound

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Listowel/KW Ontario
    Done that a few times, plaster is tough stuff. Good improv skills.

    lowsound
  15. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC

    How did your house turn out? We had our well pump damaged during the polar vortex, so I have been hauling buckets of water from a second well in the pasture for the last couple of weeks.
  16. PWRL

    PWRL

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Yonder
    It turned out okay. Maybe a little wonky here and there, but it works for what it is. It never did have running water or even indoor plumbing. It's an old house in the middle of a farm my family owns, and really just functions as a cabin. Actually, it was such a wreck when we started, it was quite a transformation.
  17. bolophonic

    bolophonic

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, NC

    You should post photos!
  18. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    Maybe it's just me, but I always thought taking down plaster then cleaning up and leaving the lath was a really cool look for anything but a formal dining or living room.
  19. Gaolee

    Gaolee The Fat Violin Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Kinda hard to insulate, though. Our house had similar plaster on the 2nd floor and still has it on most of the first floor. We have been renovating it for the past 25 years, and we probably won't be done for another ten. Then it's time to start over, I guess. There are earthquakes here, and since our house is over a century old, nothing is level. The crazy part is that everything is still completely plumb and square. There's no telling what house framing does over the years.
  20. GlennW

    GlennW Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    That's impossible. If something is plumb AND square, it has to be level.
  21. iamlowsound

    iamlowsound

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Listowel/KW Ontario

    Plumb, square, true and level all mean different things, you can have plumb, square, and true without something being level.

    lowsound

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