Thursday, February 19, 2009

Library ceiling demolition

Demolition for the library ceiling is proving to be more of a challenge than expected. This house was built like a tank. While I'm sure that the celing in this room has been replaced, I'm unclear as to the age of the crown moulding. It is so firmly attached to the plaster, using metal lathe, that I suspect they were installed at the same time, however, I cannot be sure.

The problem with demolition is that the plaster moulding appears to have been made in place. It has a backing of metal lathe, which is held into the wall with nails and mortar. The plaster is built up on top of that.

The plaster is just about bulletproof. With a hammer and chisel, I'm able to make slow progress. If the moulding was in any better condition, I'd feel guilty about tearing it out. As it is, it's merely an annoyance that slows me down.

I've uncovered all manner of surprises. The plumbing for the two second floor bathrooms was redone at some point in the past, in copper. Most of solder joints are suspect - they all show at least some corrosion.

There is a joist under the tub in the master bath, that cracked and deflected downward about 1.5 inches. When the ceiling was torn out, they just chiseled a chunk off the bottom of it, rather than supporting it and sistering it up. Ack.

The shower pan in the master bath was replaced by the previous owner. Their choice of tile left quite a bit to be desired. The framing under the pan clearly suffered from the leaking water. Further, a significant part of the shower pan that seems to be supported by a piece of plywood held in place by some randomly placed drywall screws. At the very least, I'll be adding some support there.


Why S? said...

Does this mean that this was all just waiting to come crashing down on you? Sounds like the plumbing leak may have been a blessing.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

With the way the ceiling was put together, I doubt it would have come crashing down anytime soon. The Rocklath, which is similar in some ways to drywall, but narrower (16" wide), was held together at the seams with metal lathe. All fo this was covered with a thick layer of plaster.

Am I glad to have it open? Yes. But I'm not sure how much of the plumbing we can afford to address right now. I expect that the repair work on the roof and the insulation of the attic (to prevent the same problems from happening to our roof next year) will be a significant chunk of money.