Following the demolition and the unexpected plumbing, I got to work cleaning up the first floor in preparation the first floor framing activities, including replacing the load bearing wall, closing up the remaining window on the North wall, and adding fire blocking to close up the balloon construction walls.

The new dumpster arrived a couple of weeks ago, since the first one had been filled to the brim. I got one twice as large as the first and I’m glad I did. While it wasn’t filled to the top, it was definitely more than would fit in the smaller size.

Second dumpster

Second dumpster

Dean had some stuff he needed to throw out, so he came over during the first weekend and helped me clear most of the leftover debris from demolition. I got the rest of it cleared out over the next couple of days, leaving the first floor clear for the first time.

Empty first floor

Empty first floor

There was still quite a bit more cleanup to do, though. First I pitched the majority of the lumber that had originally framed the basement. Most of it was rotten and rat-eaten, and all of it was too short to be good for much. I had already sorted out the decent boards for use in the basement temporary wall, which I held onto for future use. Next I broke down the cast iron tub and move the other bits of scrap metal down to the pile in the basement.

I also took up the rest of the plywood subfloor in the kitchen and the old furring it was attached to and cleaned up the dirt underneath it. I’m still amazed by how much dirt, dust, and generic crud was buried under the floors along with the old felt paper. Another reason I’m really glad we took up the floors is so that stuff isn’t still hidden in there somewhere.

Wall cavities

Wall cavities

The final cleanup activity was to clean out the walls. The house foundation is brick, and there is a wood sill plate that sits on top of it that the wall studs are attached to. The floor joists are pocketed into the brick and there is an additional course on the inside of the foundation wall, creating a pocket between the studs and joists that goes under the floors. The pockets filled with plaster during demolition, but a lot of them were also literal rats nests, with shredded plastic bags, chicken bones, rat turds, and the occasional rat carcass. I got proficient at emptying these with the shop vac. The biggest challenge was keeping the hose of the shop vac clear. I wound up using a length of pipe to clear out blocks. The other important thing was regularly cleaning the filter so that suction stayed strong.

Cleaned wall

Cleaned wall

While time consuming, this will make running electrical, ducting, and plumbing much easier, allow us to better insulate when we spray foam, and eliminates a source of foul odors. After this was done I spent some time moving the boxes and bins of lath we saved for burning in the fire pit down to the basement. I still need to organize my tools, but the first floor looks amazing in comparison. It’s exciting because it really feels like we can start building instead of tearing out. I’m looking forward to being past the “shovel stage” of this project.

Clean first floor

Clean first floor

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2 Responses to First Floor Cleanup

  1. mike oxlong says:

    Is this Balloon framing lath walls?

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