Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Operation West Wall

Operation East Wall moved along quickly because we had Papa, John, and Seth working on it full time for two weeks.  Now John and Papa have both gone back to their other work, and Seth is back at school, so progress on the west wall is slower.  However, we have continued to make progress, bit by bit.

First off, a before picture:

In addition to the structural issues with the brick that I mentioned in this post, this side of the house has suffered from foundation issues.  We've known for a while that the giant brick chimney on this side was at least a factor in the problems we've had, so that was yet another reason to take it all off.  Once we were in the middle of removing the chimney, we could tell that it had been added later, which only confirmed our suspicions.  You simply can't tack a solid brick chimney onto a foundation that wasn't engineered for it and not have problems!

Whereas the brick veneer on the wall was practically falling off, the solid brick chimney was still holding together quite nicely and therefore had to be taken apart one brick at a time with a hammer and chisel.  Seth diligently chipped away at the job, though, and our giant chimney was gradually converted into a giant pile of bricks.

In case you were wondering whether or not the brick was really in bad shape, note the plants that were growing out of the mortar!

Pulling off the wall brick.

Once the wall brick and some of the rotten sheathing had been removed, Seth and Papa decided to frame the opening for a window that we are widening.  They removed the old window and the sheathing around it, and they found this:

Pipes!  This window goes in the kitchenette for the apartment in our house.  On one side of the window was the cold water supply for the sink, and the sink drain vent.  On the other side was the hot water supply and a gas line for a range.

That kitchenette needs to be gutted eventually, so we knew that the plumbing in that wall was going to need redoing at some point.  We just hadn't planned on doing it now.  Ever in pursuit of the critical path in a project, we opened up the wall inside, cut the pipes back, and capped them off.  We'll run new lines at some later time, since we don't need that space to be functional right now.

Area for the window opening... sans pipes.

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