Sunday, March 1, 2009

Let the Crowbar Swing

Now we begin. The dirty, exhausting work has started. Remember safety first. Your respirator is your friend.

The pictures are of the chute and of my brother Stu, the architect, checking things out on a visit.

The square footage of the area we gutted is approximately 1050 square feet and that's without the kitchen, 1/2 bath and the family room. Our entire house is approximately 1550 square feet. So that also gives you an idea of what we are currently living in during this remodel-about 500 square feet.

The first few swings of the crowbar are exhilarating and you can't wait to throw them. Then it becomes difficult, hard work. Be prepared. There were times we considered hiring someone just to keep up with the debris. It seemed like we had to stop SO frequently to clean up and get stuff in the dumpster. We also grossly underestimated the time to it would take for us to gut the house. We figured two weeks of work would do it. It took us two months but we were also working full-time at our paying jobs which made it more difficult.

1. We originally just pulled down walls and ceilings in the south-facing bedroom and everything came down together. We tried to put the debris in big garbage pails and then drag the buckets to the chute where we shot it down the chute to the dumpster. It went into a tangled wad at the bottom of the chute and the dumpster. Dave had to get into the dumpster to sort it. Do not do it this way.
2. When we started gutting our bedroom, the front bedroom, we separated lathe from plaster as we went. We smacked the wall and ceiling plaster with a crowbar to get it to crack and tried to take that down first and pulled the lathe separately and threw it into another part of the room. The plaster (without lathe and nails) flew down the chute. We next bundled the lathe together and sent that down the chute when we were ready. Eventually Dave had to climb in the dumpster and reorient some debris to provide more dumpster room. This gutting scenario worked really well. You might think bundling was stupid but we were able to stack it in the house until we were ready to deal with it and I think it made for a safer work site.
3. Consider offering the bundled lathe as kindling for campers.
4. Consider placing a large piece of old carpeting on the floor to protect floors from debris.
5. Consider starting your gutting as early in the spring (or even winter) as you can. We got a late start and found ourselves starting on July 4 so we had really hot and humid weather to contend with, as well.

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