Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome to our parlor...

Before we begin living sustainably (more on that later), we have a few home improvement issues to deal with. Yeah, just a few. This is our parlor right now. It was home to five motorcycles before we bought the house, and one plunged through the 90-year-old heart pine floors. Though we knew there was termite damage to the home, we didn't realize the extent to which those naughty creatures had eaten away at those tasty old studs (vertical members in the walls), joists (horizontal pieces that hold up the floors), and beams (large old timbers which support the joists and walls). After pulling up the plywood that temporarily replaced the damaged floors, I went catatonic for about forty-five minutes, ate a handful of chocolate chips, and started sketching. Time to harness those latent architecture skills.

Before I go on, let me describe the house. The original home, which is where most of the structural damage is concentrated, has a simple layout: entrance hall in the middle with stairs going to the second floor, and a room on either side of the hall on both stories. The one-story 1980s addition is at the back of the house.

Anyway, after tearing down some drywall in the parlor and avoiding large spiders during my army-crawl through the 12" deep crawl space, I determined that we need to replace approximately 21' of a saggy, baggy structural beam across the front of the house, which incorporates the parlor and entrance hall. I was elated that the damage did not appear to extend to the dining room.

There are also studs and a corner support that aren't touching anything. Nada. Thankfully, they are not on a bearing wall, but they are structural and are only being laterally (horizontally) supported at the moment by some siding and the gimpy drywall.

So here's the plan: Byron and I will tear up more of the drywall to determine the extend of the damage to the studs, as well as the damaged flooring. We are actually planing on removing all of the heart pine floors to allow contractors better access to the structure in the crawl space. When we've fixed the structure, we'll then remove the loft of the barn, which is made of the same flooring, refinish it, and re-install the reclaimed floors throughout the first floor of the home. We've never done anything like that before, but are going to give it a shot with some intense research and probably a YouTube video or two. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. And look for a coming post on the source of this damage: moisture in and around the home that has provided a breeding ground for termites.


  1. Oh! What FUN! Shane has refinished lots of hardwood and made beautiful floors out of horrible messes (I helped!) so let him know if you'd like him to finish your floors when you get to that phase.

  2. You were only catatonic for 45 minutes? I'm impressed. I'd still be curled in the fetal position.

    Have fun! Post lots of pics ... in your spare time. :)

  3. Just added you to my favorites :) I like the catatonic description. Quite vivid. I suppose this means that fiction composing has taken a back-seat to journaling your very non-fiction life. And I suppose you're wishing that parts such as termite-damaged beams could be fictitious!

  4. Carmen, I'll let you know if we get into a pinch and need some help! Thanks! I think the chocolate helped slap me back to will the estimate we're going to get from the contractor within the next few days. And yes, this will be my writing outlet for a while!

  5. Hello from Heinrich, Donna, & Anna. We are thrilled that the Green Farm is back in the family and will be excited to see what you uncover during the renovation. Heinrich has many fond childhood memories of the farm. We'd love to visit soon and show Anna the farm. Take care and keep in touch.

  6. Donna - I saw your comment on my other post and responded there as well...I'm still getting the hang of this! We're so happy you're excited for us and you must come visit!