Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Step 10 - The Demolition Phase (Serious Fun)

The demolition phase is one of my favorites.  It's the moment when dark areas get reintroduced to natural light and the openness I'm after begins to feel more tangible.  If there's been a fire, it's always great to get smoke covered drywall and charred framing outside and into the dumpster.  If there's been a mold issue, that stinks too, and I want all that nastiness off site sooner than later.  As I described in Step 5 - Clean the House Out, removing the carpet helps rid the property of noticeable odors.  If getting rid of the floor coverings is the beginning of the end of foul smells in the house, then the demolition phase has the project heading down the final stretch as far as the issue of stank is concerned.

As I mentioned before (see Step 9 - Know Your Limitations) you need to exercise some restraint as you unload on the walls because of plumbing, electrical, and gas lines hidden within.  And as I also stated before, you don't want to get too carried away and take down a wall that's supporting the structure above you.  Also, make an effort to protect elements of the home that have significance and are worth protecting.  It's easy to overlook the value of old flooring when it's covered with a thick layer of dust, but give some consideration to covering the floors before you begin bombarding them with potentially damaging debris from eight or ten feet above.  This same advice goes for special cabinetry, fixtures, trim and anything else that's in danger of being damaged while you're demoing around it.  Haste makes waste and you don't want to find yourself tearing out items in your home that were valuable assets until you trashed them to uselessness.       

If you're dealing with a house that has been condemned as a result of some catastrophic event or a home that's been neglected and slowly deteriorated, than you have to get the rotten material out.  As a rule, you'll be demoing to the sound, solid stuff and then going a little further.  I'm not sure I can explain this as adequately as I'd like.  Each dilapidated house I've done has been markedly different, so they've each come with their own unique challenges regarding demolition (as well as everything else).  I love construction (building and remodeling) and when I found myself in the dentist's chair getting a filling, I realized that dealing with a cavity has similarities to dealing with rot and decay in an old, run-down home. (Stay with me.)  My last filling was back in the 90's, but I was asking so many questions about the procedure that the staff brought in a mini-camera and a television monitor for my benefit so I could watch.  I was totally into it and concluded that it was very much like construction, but just on a more finite scale.  Seriously.  The tooth man dealt with the cavity by getting rid of what was rotten, and as he explained (comparatively to what I wrote above), they went just a little bit past the point of all the decay to be certain they had removed all the bad part of my tooth.  Then, they started filling the crater in my molar back in with new/solid material.  It was white and looked almost like an unaltered tooth and you could hardly tell that I'd been such a bad brusher.  If you're dealing with a house with some rotten parts, think about my cavity story and go just a little past the rotten area, further into the salvageable parts of the structure, demo to that point, and get ready to rebuild from there. 

I think demolition is a really fun part of every project, but be careful, and don't hurt yourself (or someone else).

The Hurricane House before Demolition began - This is the rotten roof above the Master Bedroom. 
The Hurricane House After Demo. - Taken from where the old
M.Bdrm. was & where the new MB would be.
Hurr. Hse. - Looking from the kitchen, through both future baths,
to the back wall of the Master Bedroom. 

More on The Hurricane House

Demolition Footnotes  May 9, 2012

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