Week 2 Journal: Ripping Out the First Floor Ceilings

Always wear your respirator, Luke!
This week we really got into it on the Curbly House. We turned a pretty normal looking old house into a mostly gutted mess in just a few days, and loved every minute of it (well ... except the rats). Read on to watch my week two video journal, and find out all the details.



Ok, if you're just joining us, check out last week's video journal, and Alicia's introduction and house tour first so you get an idea of what we're up to. 

So, I had the house all prepped for demolition. Floors covered, breakable stuff removed, etc. On Monday morning after getting our gigantic dumpster delivered in the back yard, we came in and awkwardly started demolition.

I say awkwardly because the first part of the demo is the weirdest; you're taking something that's whole and functioning and making it ... a disaster. Once you've punched a few holes in the place, continuing on with the destruction is no big deal, but those first few chunks of plaster kind of give you a chill as you pull them down.

Starting the demolition

No turning back now. Sigh.

Anyway, I got a flyer in my mailbox the night before from some college kids looking for work doing odd jobs, so I called them up and had them come by to help out. Over the course of the week David, Steve, Sean and Andy made the demolition process go a lot faster (I couldn't have done it all myself).

We started in the 'music room' (that little window-y room that sticks off the living room) by tearing down the foam ceiling tiles, and then the ceiling itself. The joists up there looked terrible; lots of water damage.

Demolition in the music room. Most of the plaster is gone.

The next day we carefully removed the trim on the beamed ceilings in the living room so we could pull out the plaster without damaging the woodwork. We came up with an awesome numbering system for remembering which trim piece went where, but now I can't remember it at all and I'm kind of panicked. Grimace.

Carefully removing trim.

Number your trim pieces so you know where things go back.

Toward the end of that day, I backed off of a ladder straight down onto an old nail sticking out of a piece of lathe. Sadly my Ben Shermans didn't do much for protection, and the nail went right into the ball of my foot. 

Picture omitted for gross-out-iness reasons.

Not having a clue about the up-to-dateness of my Tenatus shots, I decided we'd done enough for one day and rushed off to my local Target to get a shot. After that, it was straight to the sporting goods store to find a decent pair of shoes with soles that would at least pretend to resist puncture wounds.

We made some fun discoveries, like an old paper wasp nest that I still have nightmares about. And a family of dead rats, or a dead family of rats, or however you want to say it. They were mummified!

Hello. I'm a dead rat that lives in your house

You can tell they're rats 'cause of how huge they are! 

When we took the ceiling off beneath the bathroom floor, I was delighted to find the toilet drain pipe was corroded through; it had a three inch hole in one section. Good thing we caught that now! 

By the time were done, the house was looking completely different:

Dining room after plaster demo.

The things you find under your bathroom floor

Cracked joists in the living room

And we had a gigantic pile of debris to get rid of:

Our ever-growing pile of crap.

But at least - in a roundabout way - we're making progress. 

Check in again next week to find out how much progress we make on the second floor. I promise, no more rat pictures.

This is a post in the Curbly House series! Follow along as we document every step of our complete home makeover, from gutting the walls to putting up the finishing touches. And don't forget to let us know what you think in the comments! 



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alicia on Jun 19, 2012:

@angie - owwwww! Actually I have to admit, I never took a picture of the foot. Mostly it would have been a bloody sock, but I'm glad to have spared everybody that.

@how2home - we'll be replacing all the ceilings with brand new sheetrock (we'll leave the beams)


how2home on Jun 19, 2012:

omgosh...this is a HUGE project! it's looking good though! One step at a time right! How long did the process take to take out the ceiling? What are the future plans for the ceiling?

Angie S on Jun 19, 2012:

I think I would have rather seen your punctured foot over the rat picture!!!

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