To continue with our hallway door curtain …
Just to refresh, hanging this curtain has involved some wall paper removal, some plaster repair, some wall repair and stabilization and some floor beam repairs and replacement.
I managed to finish making my concrete block piers in the basement – these will hold the new floor beams. It seems almost a crime to remove oak beams and replace them with a cheaper epicea (pine) product. However, since the basement ceiling is not something I look at all the time, I thought that replacing oak with oak would just be an expense not worthwhile. The epicea is functional, treated for insects and humidity and is an economical cost for an effective replacement. Once I start replacing beams in the upper rooms where I might actually leave them exposed I will go the extra cost for oak.
Taking out the old beams was very difficult. One does not pull nails out of an old oak beam. The beam either likes you and gives you the nail or it doesn’t like you and you end up breaking something like your elbow along with the nail. The best practice is to either cut them with a metal saw or just twist and hope they break – you will not pull them out. I read somewhere that the chemical composition of green oak (these beams would have been put in “green”) actually eats nails unless they are brass.
When I started to remove the floor boards, conservation was key. Some of these boards were damaged, but could be useful elsewhere as shorter versions. All the boards are also tongue and groove which makes removal difficult. A handy hint – a long flexible metal blade and a reciprocating saw made removal without damage a piece of cake (aside from the fact that the nail head and a portion of the nail is still in the board – a minor problem).
On removal of the oak beams I realized that although the worm damage looked bad and felt bad (as the worm poo dusted my head, eyes, ears, clothes, tools), the actual damage was minimal. Based on the weight of these beams I estimated that at least 80% of the beam was still there. Someone told me that the worms only eat the outside of the beam, not the heartwood which is the strongest part of the beam.
Anyway, on arrival in the basement, looking up at the hallway ceiling was almost cathedral-like. I tried to convince Elizabeth to leave the hallway like this, but we would soon tire of warning people of that first step.
Actual placement of the new floor joists and sub-floor did not take long. I was pleased with the results of my block piers – the picture with the level shows the result – no shimming required, just a little extra time while laying the blocks and a little help from a laser level.
So, now that it is January and Christmas has past, I have started more block piers in the basement and will continue on with a new floor. Then wall repairs, some electrical enhancements and then the curtain.
For part 1 of our curtain saga click HERE