After 3 weeks of non stop big jobs, it’s back to the small ones. After we did the living room, the Irishman told me we’d bang out the kitchen the following weeknend. I was ready to shriek “NO!!” But he saw for himself how many loose ends needed to be tied up. So I worked with my dad Saturday and Sunday, and by myself Monday. Great use of vacation time, no? And now the kitchen is just about ready to be drywalled. So what needed to be done?
The oak flooring in the upstairs hall is now all gone. The gorgeous pine underneath has been de-nailed. But we had a few damaged spots that needed to be removed and patched. And then I rounded up every scrap of plywood in the house to glue patches underneath and make it stop creaking. It was bad right at the top of the stairs, the only section of flooring over the kitchen that stayed in place.
Then we added shear blocking between the joists where two were notched from the old bathroom. That’s those short pieces of old wood running between the joists. That wood is from Philadelphia Salvage, not original to the house. Ironically, I don’t think these are doing anything because after we tore out the old bathroom the joists weren’t even sitting on the beam at this end. But you can’t be too careful. Also, they’ll make it look better. You’ll see why when the drywall goes up.
Then there’s the insulation. I rounded up all the rigid foam left over from the bedrooms and it was enough to finish the walls around the dining room window and the patio door!
I should talk a little about my strategy here one last time. You see, it’s apparently bad for old fashioned clay and lime based masonry to get cold. Moist air from the inside will travel into the brick, then the water in the air will freeze, expand, and start to break the brick apart from the inside. Insulating the inside of the house makes this worse by leaving the brick colder in the winter. The best way to avoid this from what I read is to use foam insulation instead of batts because it’s airtight, use lots of glue in serpentine beads so no air can circulate behind the insulation, and then use canned spray foam to fill in the gaps between foam boards. My plaster straight on brick walls are ideally suited for this. But where the plaster was missing I could have a weak point. My solution was to stab the rigid foam with a screwdriver every 6 inches or so, stick the wand of the spray foam can through the hole, and pump it till it hurts. Now the foam board feels really solidly attached to the wall. The foam between the joints needs some touchup.
Then there’s the professionally applied spray foam in the stud wall where cabinets are going. They didn’t trim it flush with the studs, so I had to. And I decided I need an outlet out back. In went the box tonight.
And one last odd job. The insulation people blasted the gaps around the front door with spray foam but didn’t coat the wall. I filled in the gap they missed with rigid foam board and more Great Stuff spray foam. Not because the vestibule needs to happen now, but I really want all the insulation finished this week and all the small scraps of foam board out of my house forever.
So there we are. It looks like the kitchen will be drywalled Saturday! This means that every small bit of insulation, framing, and drywall is on its way to being done, and all the left over materials can get out of my house! My new rule is that trash moves towards the front door, never away.