Sunday, July 18, 2010

What to do with a free weekend?

Ted and I have been contemplating for some time about taking out one of our fireplaces. We actually had 3 of them and we really could only use one at a time. There wasn't enough air draw in the house to use more than one. Anyway, after much thought, we decided that the western most fireplace would go, and we would keep the one in the living room.

This is the living room fireplace. We took out the existing cover and planned to put a new, more efficient insert in this one.

This is the west fireplace that was slated for the chopping block. Ted removed the old insert... that's what's sitting in front of it.

Next step was to put up plastic to try and keep some of the dust from infiltrating the rest of the house (nice thought anyway).

We put plywood down on the floor to keep any accidental drops from marring the wood floor.

Bye bye fireplace! I have no room for you in my life anymore!

Initial destruction was quite interesting.

What the heck??? Was that seriously what was inside my chimney?
One thing that we learned was that the bricks were not simply a facade. They were actually lode bearing walls. Yikes! Time to shore things up...quick...
Another thing we learned was that the 3 flues that ran up inside the chimney were all leaning. There were also char marks from chimney fires over the years. Our construction guy said it was lucky that our house hadn't burned down. Upon recommendation from our two "structural experts," we decided to take down the entire structure. All 3 fireplaces!

Bye bye fireplaces!

Yes, that would be a hole in my roof!

This was one of the fireboxes. Just a bit scary, huh?

I'm really glad our homeowners insurance guy couldn't see this.


That pile of rubble is all that was left at the end of Saturday.

Sunday morning, we had this to deal with.

Just one flue going to the basement fireplace to plug.

My job was to chip mortar off of good bricks, and unload the skid steer every time the bucket got full. I would then dump it onto the truck behind.

This is our neighbor, Bryson. He's a pretty good goober...completely full of himself...but a good kid. I enjoy having him around. I need someone to make fun of, and I need his strong back!

We managed to salvage 7 pallets of usable brick.

Ted tidied up the roof, no doubt very glad to be on it rather than in it as he was all day.
Did I mention that we did this on two extremely hot days. The temps were in the 90's. The heat index was over 105. Due to dust and a very large hole in the roof, we had to turn the air conditioning off. Egads!
Ted and I both knocked off around 4:30 in the afternoon. (Both days we started between 6 and 7 to try and get a jump on the heat.) Ted is spending the evening catching up on some spraying that he needs to do, and I will be spending the rest of the evening cleaning. After Ted gets home tonight, he will run the wires for electrical boxes and a TV cable. While he's at it, he intends to run a 220 out to the garage since we've never had one out there.
Doesn't that sound like a great way to spend the weekend?
All in all, we accomplished a lot in two days.
A special thanks to Pete, CJ, our two hired high school boys, and our two girls who all put in a lot of effort and were a tremendous help. Thank you!
Post script: We have so many flies in our house that I'm paying the kids 20 cents a body! Callie is up to $5.40.


  1. Haha! I was doing my best to not think. I'm happy to say that the initial feeling of "I think I'm going to be sick" has long passed. :)