Demo and Framing is in Full Force
Rebuilding a Beautiful, Vacant Historic Detroit Home (Episode 5)
“I am certain Detroit and Detroiters will bring their best game and show the rest of the world what we are capable of achieving. There is no doubt that if we work together and open ourselves up to the creative ideas and exciting opportunities all around us, Detroit will inspire people from within and beyond its borders to transform our city into one of the biggest success stories of the 21st century.”
— Dan Gilbert
Fixing Prior Mistakes
This week we tackled framing of some of the doorway changes we want to make on the first floor. We have 2 new archways to build, and one wall that needs some major work. The Breakfast Nook used to be its own separate room, with walls and a door on either side, but the previous owner decided in the 70s to combine the room with the kitchen. It was a great idea on its own, but unfortunately the demolition and reconstruction of the wall between them wasn’t done correctly. The new header was not thick enough to support the weight of the walls and rooms above, and the spacing of studs and supports was incorrectly calculated, leaving the weight of the top 2 floors to bow and bend the new header and causing the floor to sink on the second floor.
A Hard Pill to Swallow
So the bowing header and sinking 2nd floor were forcing us to replace this wall, but the next problem became how to support the joists on either side so that we could take the weight-supporting wall out safely. With the curved ceilings of the nook on one side, we decided that we’d unfortunately have to remove the plaster in order to fix the problem properly.
Thankfully, this curved ceiling was in our plan to extend farther into the house, so we decided starting fresh would be a better decision long term and garner us the best final result. Rather than trying to mimic exactly what was already there for the second half, we could do it all from scratch at once.
Crank It Up!
So after building weight-supporting “false walls” on either side of the wall we wanted to remove, we could finally jack the floors back into place. With an original Detroit Pewabic tile bathroom directly above, we had to be slow and steady, hoping not to crack the tile floors as we fixed the slope. Using our laser measure, we found that the floor had sunk almost an inch in less than a 3ft span on the second floor, so it had a long way to go up!
Now that the new beam is in place, we can finally remove the false walls that have been holding up the weight! Some final jacking has to be done on one side where there’s still some sinking evident on the second floor. We will double up the joist responsible to strengthen it and remove the bow.
Next time for Episode 6…
We’ll finish up framing of our archways, and start our High Velocity Forced Air Mini Duct install as well as new plumbing and electrical work! Can’t wait to have running water and functioning toilets!