Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stabilization of the West Wing - Part 4

Although the walls and roof were technically stabilized at this point, there was still work to be done before winter set in. The next step was closing up the opening for the winter. We had originally planned to install a semi-permanent wall. Semi-permanent because it would stay in place until the final remodel work was done on the West Wing. While we still plan to do this, we needed something in place more quickly for the winter.

Bob was really worried about making sure we met the requirements for a roof in Indiana for “snow loads”. Given our typical winters, the house needed to be prepared for at least a foot of snow.

Our solution? Plywood and a big blue tarp. They boxed in the opening and put in studs. Then they put up plywood for a temporary wall. This was all covered with our big blue tarp. There are a few holes on the sides, especially at the roof line, but it’s mostly filled in. While it isn’t beautiful, it is a step in the right direction.

Behind the tarp, the collapsed floors remain. Since Bill and Bob have not been able to access and inspect the cellar in the West Wing, they wanted the lower floor (and all the rubble) left intact. The floor joists appear to be lodged at an angle between the opening and the far cellar wall. If they would be removed and not replaced, this could cause a partial or full collapse of the cellar. A collapse of the cellar walls could result in a domino effect causing the collapse of the walls of the West Wing. Needless to say, this is exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

So the rubble will stay in the cellar until we are ready to put in new floor joists. Then the plywood will be removed to gain better access. The removal of all the  debris will take place in a very controlled manner. The new floor joists will be installed, the plywood can then be reinstalled. When the surrounding brickwork is completed, then the temporary wall of brick will be put in place. Of course, this plan is subject to change. If we have determine what the final layout will be, we may not choose to put up the faux brick wall if we are going to put on an addition to the west. There is evidence that there was something out there at one time that we may choose to rebuild.

Further work will have to wait until the weather is a little warmer. In the meantime, the beam should keep the roof and walls from deteriorating any further in the snow and ice. We do have to keep reminding ourselves of several important things. The house didn’t get in this condition overnight. We won’t be able to reverse the damage as quickly as we would like. And not everything can be our first priority.

This repair also gives us more time to define what all needs to be done to finish weather proofing the West Wing and make it safe enough to work in next spring. Not only do we need to address walls, roof and windows, but we need to figure out the best materials to use. And we further have to define & plan what will get its final finish and what can have a temporary fix applied as we continue to determine long term, permanent solutions, finishes and the next priority.

Thankfully it’s been a mild winter thus far. We’re hoping for a relatively dry spring and the funds to make some serious progress.

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