Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Insulation

The shower is completely tiled, and while the grout is curing, I've been working on other things. Yesterday I used my newly revamped ladder to paint under the eaves above the back windows. Still a pain in the back to paint over your head (how did Michelangelo do the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?), but much easier with the ladder levelers and stabilizer making the whole thing easier to position (it now goes around windows!) and much, much more stable.

Today I went and picked up some free drywall (I love!), and rented a jackhammer to remove the old front porch, which will be enclosed and become part of the kitchen. It was covered in flat pieces of sandstone with bricks around the inside edges. I figured it was a good day to do it because Katarina was at work, and our neighbors on that side of the house were out of town today.

I'd had some (very) vague hopes that I'd be able to remove the front of the step that sticks out beyond the foundation, and then just build the floor over the rest of the porch. But those hopes were quickly dashed when I discovered the wood behind and under the porch was rotted (with some clear signs of termites, too -- ugh). So I took out all the stone, cement and bricks. The front of the step was an odd (well, not odd by the standards parts of this house were built by) collection of concrete, sandstone, sand, bricks and wood. So the front part of the step took me 2 1/2 hours to remove, alternating between the jackhammer, and stopping to remove bits of stone, concrete, brick, insulation, wood, dead rat, and...wait...what? Yes, I found the tomb of legendary pharaoh, King Ratsrkhamun.

He was entombed in a space in the porch, with no obvious entrance (and clearly for him, no exit.) What was more odd (though not as startling a discovery) was that the space also had some insulation in it. Not the 1940s-era cellulose stuff that was near the main DWV vent stack, but some more modern fiberglass batt insulation. Besides the weird cellulose stuff, and some incorrectly installed stuff under the living room floor, the house had zero insulation when I moved in. So what the heck were they doing insulating the front porch??

Anyways, after slow progress on the front of it, the rest went quickly. It was two layers of concrete, and a layer of sandstone or brick on top. Between the multiple layers and the flex of the wood underneath, it came out pretty quickly. I've still got a lot of work to do to remove and replace the rotted wood, but I was able to get the jackhammer back in under 4 hours. Yay!


Jayne said...

Michaelangelo supposedly painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling laying on his back atop scaffolding. Now there's an idea. And your neighbors won't look at you funny, either. :)

Katarina said...

I am humbled to think that the lost tomb of King Ratsrkhamun turned out to be under our front porch, and that every day we walked past the great one's final resting place.

Well okay, his second-to-final resting place.

tomas said...

It took Michelangelos aides four years to paint the Sistine Chapel. M himself probably added the final touch. Nice work, however ;-)

What is the recycling plan for the late King Ratsrkhamun ?

Gene said...

With the utmost respect due a rodent of his stature, I threw him into a garbage bag along with the bits of rotted wood that came lose.

tomas said...

May the Force be with him...