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Old 02-09-2012, 12:30 PM   #1
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I'm going to try do document my remodeling and repairs on a 1930's balloon framed house with two apartments.

The first project was redoing the roof which was leaking anytime we had heavy rain. This was done last year and its been holding up pretty well so far even though the roofer did a pretty ****ty job but I'm not going to get into details.

Next project was remodeling the upstairs apt. The walls were lathe and plaster with no insulation and butchered electric wiring. The plan was to gut room by room and insulate the house properly. I started with the walk in closet at the front of the house and it went surprisingly quick given my lack of proper tools.

Usually once I get started on a project its hard for me to stop and before you know it I was applying for permits. I work full time from sun to Thursday 2-10pm which left me a few hours each day before work to get some stuff done. Within 3 months i had the whole place gutted. For the task of removing the large and plaster I used a hammer, prybar and a floor scraper. I would make a few holes in the wall and using the scraped I would peel off the plaster in big sheets.

After I had the whole room done I would use the prybar to remove all the lathe strips. It was pretty hard and messy work but I'm not one to shy away from good exercise. For a quick breather in between ripping off the plaster I would remove nails and then go right back to the hard stuff.
The pace of the work was dictated by the amount of 5 gallon buckets I had to remove the garbage. The reason I used 5 gallon buckets is because everything had to be carried down a flight of stairs and since i was working by myself it would be too hard for me to use the bigger construction bins. I had about 50 of them and once i would fill everything up I would go to the local home depot, rent a van (20$ for the firat 75 min) and dump the garbage at the local dump.

Each trip cost me about 40 bucks including the cost of dumping the garbage. Total cost of demo was somewhere around 300$. Once the gutting was done I hired an electrician to rewire the whole place which cost me 1600$. I had a really helpful inspector who informed me that the whole place needs to be fireblocked. His instructions were not exactly clear so i did some research and came across the fireblocking topic on this forum which was very informative.

Since its a balloon framed house I needed to fireblock the walls at floor and ceiling level. I work in an apartment building in nyc and we always have some remodeling projects going on so i would take home any new or used 2x4 in sight to use for my fireblocking. The only money I spent on that project was a 35$ for a bundle of roxul insulation to fireblock any walls that had wires running through the ceiling.

Next up was insulation. I don't remember how many rolls I used for the walls but ill try to count up the linear feet later on and get an estimate. I used Owens corning fiberglass for the exterior walls and Johnson manning for all the interior walls with the exception of the bathroom where I'm going to use the left over roxul safe and sound. It has great sound insulation and moisture resistant properties so i figured it would be a good choice there. To be continued...


Last edited by fallrisk; 02-21-2012 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:57 PM   #2
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:01 PM   #3
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http://static.photobucket.com/player...3/Untitled.mp4
After passing my rough inspection for fireblockong, electrical and insulation it was time to put.in an order for drywall. Since the walls are 9 feet tall I went with 54 inch by 10 foot sheets of half inch rock saving me the trouble of mudding an extra seam. For the ceilings I used 4x8 sheets for two reasons. It was easier to hang by myself and the number of seams would be the same wether i used 48 or 54 inch wide sheets. Currently I have 90% of the apt sheetrocked and taped. The only two walls left are one where i first need to figure out what to do with the chimney and the kitchen wall where all the plumbing pipes are. The plumbing is another permit which I didn't get to yet. After i close up the chimney wall I will start looking for a plumber and tackle the bathroom. Idrew out the whole layout of the apt in Google sketchup and ill try to post a pic of that later on tonight.

The chimney thread interior chimney questions
My to do list for the next few weeks:
Point and close up the chimney, pour a chimney cap, shop for bathroom material, finish taping, mudding and sanding all the rooms

Last edited by fallrisk; 02-12-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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here are some drawings i made in sketchup

First one shows the old floor plan. There used to be a narrow hallway used for an entrance to the apt. The bathroom was tiny and i thought the space was useless so i ended up moving some walls around and getting rid of the hallway altogether. The bathroom and living room gained some space and the entrance to the apt is now leading into the living room.

The kitchen layout is a little bit tricky. The fridge is going to be stuck in the corner by the window as there isnt really any other practical place i can put it. Plumbing for the sink is right next to the bathroom so the sink is going to stay there. The cabinet drawings are a little rough just so i can get an idea how to lay the kitchen out. I think with the sink in the corner and the fridge at the other end of the kitchen i will have some decent counter space.

The bathroom is now 6 feet wide. Originally i wanted just a standup shower but down the line it would be harder to rent out the apartment so i decided against it. I was thinking about a 6 foot tub but im going to stick with a 5 footer and frame out some storage space in the bathroom for towels etc

Ill see if i can get some pics of the actual apt tomorrow.

Also there is a bunch of stuff i already did that i missed in the first few posts. Ill try to catch up on that tomorrow
Attached Thumbnails
1930's balloon-old-apt.jpg   1930's balloon-apt3.jpg  

Last edited by fallrisk; 02-12-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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For the ceiling drywall why not rent or even buy a drywall lift. Makes it easy to lift and hold a panel with one person.
When ever we demo a whole house like that we rent a dumpster. One call and it's gone.
Make sure to pull some strings on those old studs. Almost always theres one or more way out that need shimming (we use the old lath as shims)
replacing, or triming down. Once you attach the rock it is late to take a bow out of the wall.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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Didnt want to deal with a dumpster. I had limited time to work in here and didnt want the dumpster sitting in front of the house for months. If i had a month off from work to do the demo all at once i would def get a dumpster.

I also used the old lathe strips to shim out a couple of studs. Some of the ceiling stud were sagging or were twisted. I fixed that by running a long 2 by four perpendicular to the ceiling beams from wall to wall and running a screw through the support beam into each ceiling beam. That pulled them all into line relative to each other. As far as the one wall that i took out, i cut up all the beams and used them for bracing in all the interior walls as there wasn't any bracing there at all.
Tool rental didn't make sense because i only work when i have time and renting a drywall lift for a whole month would be costly. I made myself a T out of a couple beams and that worked out pretty well other than the time one of them landed on my laptop taking out the screen

Last edited by oh'mike; 02-13-2012 at 06:34 AM. Reason: Added spaces
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:34 AM   #7
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Looking good---glad to hear that you are fire blocking the structure!
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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A few questions...

I think the insulation is paying off already because so far this winter I only turned the heat on a few times. I'm assuming all the heat from the downstairs apt is migrating through the ceiling. I know you usually don't insulate floors between upstairs and downstairs but in this case these are two separate apartments. Wouldn't it make sense to insulate so the person downstairs isn't paying to heat the upstairs? Another benefit would be additional ssound insulation.

The beams used to build the house are a little fatter and not as wide as the current 2x4s. The width is 3 inches. With half inch drywall on each side the total thickness of the wall comes to 4 inches. As far as prehund doors go, which come with a 4.5 inch wide jamb, would you rip the casing to fit or center the jamb and lay a quarter inch strip under the moulding on each side?

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Old 02-13-2012, 09:46 PM   #9
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a few shots of the work in progress
and here's what i do on my days off in the summer. im in the middle
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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Finally done pointing. Next time I have to do this the only pointing I'm doing is at the.person thats doing the work.
Before and after shots of the chimney



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Old 02-19-2012, 02:23 PM   #11
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Looking good. I hate pointing too. Its like drywall taping, its not an innate skill of anybody and there is no way to get any better other than with constant sucky repetition.

One question though. Did you do any fireblocking in your walls? Balloon frames go up like matchboxes without fireblocking to slow the spread of fire through the wall and ceiling cavities.
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:42 PM   #12
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I actually enjoy taping and I'd rather work with mud for a month then ever have to do this again. I fireblocked the whole second floor with the exception of the space behind the chimney because I can't get in there.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:56 PM   #13
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Toys---I like that one---

Doors---center them to the wall--add a 1/4 inch trim extender under the outside edge of the casing

Insulated floors--Yes--noise and heat---

Tuck pointing---That's a masons job---I hate it and never can make the work look as good as it should.

Nice work!---Mike---
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #14
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Thanks for the tips Mike. I should get some more work done this week...
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:13 PM   #15
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Keep the pictures coming----that table saw will earn its keep---

Keep a pusher next to the saw---keep the left hand well back of the blade

Use your ears---if the cutting sound changes be aware!

Have fun---Mike----

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