Monday, March 23, 2009

The Beam is In

Well, the beam is up! Here it is being held in place by a scissor-lift type thing - they used that to lift the 1200 lb., 32' beam into place.

One end of the beam was originally supposed to be supported by the masonry on the edge of the fireplace but we ended up having a problem. We always knew that the fireplace was made of a crappy pumice block - but it had holes in it that could be filled like concrete block and they had just planned on filling them with pillars of concrete which would provide the needed structural support. However, on closer inspection, it was discovered that when they built the house, it looked like junk had been thrown down into these holes that needed to be filled with concrete. For example, there was a chunk of concrete wedged about halfway down one of the columns that needed to be filled. So, we decided that this end of the masonry would just have to be removed completely and a post inserted for support. So they sawed out the masonry and then fitted the beam in.

Here's another shot where you can see the steel plate in the slab that was added to spread out the weight of the post/ beam over a broader area of the stem wall.

And here's how it looks with the post in place.

Another thing that had to be done before the beam went into place was that each and every rafter had to be fitted to sit correctly and snugly on the beam.

Now the beam is in and it looks terrific. All of the support posts for all of the rafters are now out and we have one big space. The support post in front of the kitchen is where the kitchen island will be.

So, to recap - the wall used to be right down the center of this space, under where the beam is now. Our plans call for a smaller entry (and door to be moved to the left). You can see the clothes dryer - that was in a weird hallway space outside of the laundry area. New laundry and pantry will be expanded towards entry area. However, pantry and laundry area won't even protrude as far into entry as currently shown because weird hallway dryer was in is gone. Entry closet that was behind dryer, facing door, is also gone (to be moved to wall on left).

Here's the current door situation. Where new windows will go is in blue tape!

The contractor is on vacation now for spring break with the family but he is basically done with this phase of the remodel. When he gets back, he will custom fabricate some metal brackets to anchor the rafters firmly to the beam. In the meantime, we're ready for the second contractor to come and start doing what he can. We still have details to iron out on the final plan but things are starting to finally come together. Don't know how long this project will take, we will have that discussion with the second contractor next visit. I am guessing it'll be a 2 to 3 month project based on other remodeling work we've had done. Hoping to have it finished so we can enjoy our new space this summer.

A few other random notes-

>Had a scary electrical situation uncovered in the kitchen wall last week. Sparks flying, short circuits, that sort of thing. Very happy to be redoing the electrical.

>We took out the carpet in the hallway and the guest bath (shag carpet in the bath is kinda creepy imho). Removed all flooring in the living room, kitchen, laundry, and pantry as well. Uncovered many old types of flooring including lots of old linoleum. The house has a strange echo-y quality now, especially the bathroom. Even though some of the old linoleum is kinda cool, most is not, and every room had a different color and pattern. Crazy.

>The coolest tool in the world is a laser level. John is now saying he has to have one. You can get a self leveling laser level at Sears for something like 89 bucks that projects a true horizontal beam as well as a true vertical beam - very handy in this remodel involving posts and beams.

>It's freaky seeing them dig a trench in my living room- they concrete-sawed through the slab in order to run a heating duct into our new entryway. Then they dug down a bit through the dirt underneath. Mind-blowing to see wheelbarrows of dirt being dug out of your former living space.

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