According to our schedule, by the end of Saturday, by the end of week 5 of this renovation, we should have accomplished the following:
- Reinforce the ceiling joists with floor joists
- Support the new floor joists with one ginormous beam
- Rerun the existing electrical
- Support the ginormous beam with posts and rip down the living room wall.
A little further explanation: in conjunction with this attic renovation, we planned to take a wall down on our main floor. Technically, our bungalow is a 2 bedroom, but, since we put a set of stairs in one of the bedrooms, it wasn’t exactly useful space anymore. Logical solution? Rip down the wall and open it up to the living room. This was especially logical since we will still have a two bedroom house what with the beautiful attic suite we’re going to end up with.
The problem with all this is that the wall we wanted to rip down is, surprise, surprise, a supporting wall. You’re not exactly supposed to rip down supporting walls. Good thing I married a structural engineer. Hence, all that reinforcing we have worked into our reno plans.
On Saturday, when we woke up, we had half the attic floor to reinforce, the beam to build and the wall to rip down. And, unlike previous weeks when we had help from family, it was just the Husband and I. Saturday morning, I told the Husband I didn’t want to go to bed until that wall was down.
The start of our beam. In the end, it was five 2x8s wide.
We worked hard. I became deft with the drill, finding any and all tasks that needed to be done but didn’t necessarily require the strength of my Husband’s arms or the use of power tools that have blades.* I hammered and drilled, wedged fresh wood into place, and nailed joist hangers, one after another. At 2 pm, we started on the posts downstairs. At 3 pm, we took the sawz-all to the wall.
We didn’t finish cleaning up the dust until 10 pm.
But! The wall is down, and the long hours and the hard work was all so worth it. As our space emerged from the dust, it became clear just how worth it the change was. We should have done this a year ago, attic or no attic, second floor or no second floor. Suddenly, our house feels like a proper sized home. It doesn’t feel abnormally small anymore. Sure, it’s still small, but it doesn’t feel tiny, doesn’t feel cramped.
(Despite the swirls of dust that are going to take weeks to eradicate.)
* I cannot and never will be one of those women who approaches power tools that could take your hand off with confidence. Blades make me anxious. That said, I did pick up the sawz-all a time or two during the day. Even that was a nerve-wracking experience. It may not be very liberated of me, but if the husband wants to run the power tools, he’s welcome too.
I can handle a drill well enough though.