Posts tagged Demolition
Ready... Set... GONE!

Ten years ago we bought our property because it was perfect. The small acreage was close to town and at the edge of the small business district. It was on a busy road (desired) and best of all it had an adequate house on the property that was livable for the short term. The house wasn't so nice that we wanted to keep it for the long term. We painted the inside, put some carpet in areas that needed it, upgraded the wiring as required by code, and made lots of small repairs (including half of a new roof) to keep the house habitable.

I being the eternal optimist promised Janis that I would build her our dream house in two - five years. Janis, the realist, figured five - seven years was a little more realistic. As usual she was right. 

It was eight and a half years before I finally applied for a building permit for the new house. The city officials wouldn't give me one unless I took out a demolition permit for the old one at the same time. I choked a bit on the fee but was happy to oblige.

Three days ago everything was finally out of the old house. We and all of our family, neighbors and friends had salvaged everything we could. A lot of other things went out to the road with a giant free sign. It all disappeared - including the free sign. We moved fences to allow room to get at the large piles of soil that would fill the hole afterwards. Our friend Len, brought his giant excavator to the property and the long awaited destruction of the house was set to begin. On Tuesday mornng neighbors, family and crew gathered to watch at a safe distance.

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With the new house so close (the roofs actually overlapped) it called for destruction with a plan. Len peeled layer after layer off the back of the house and then toppled the last remaining walls and roof into the pile. The old house was down without even a scratch to the new one.

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In less than an hour nothing of the old house was left standing. It was just a huge pile of rubble. The bits were then loaded into a series of large bins and hauled away to a sorting yard for salvage, recycling and chipping. The foundation was next. Because there was no rebar in the old house foundation, the concrete was taken to a gravel pit for grinding and recycling as well. Seven hours after we started nothing was left of the old house except the hole which had to stay empty until the inspection by the city officials the next day. For the first time since the building project was begun we could see the new house from the rear.

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Yesterday it was time to begin the backfill and shaping of the yard. Aother twenty truckloads were hauled in to make sure there was enough fill to get the contours we wanted. The new house was four feet higher than the original grade. Our plan was to literally build a giant hill around the new house so it looked like it grew there instead of poking way out of the ground. Once the grading was done it was obvious our plan had worked our pretty well. 

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Were we sad to see the old house go? NOT A BIT! In a few days it will be hard to remember it was ever there and we are OK with that!

-grampa dan

The shortest way to the new house

With the tile finished in the kitchen and dining room today was moving day for the kitchen - at long last. We considered all options for the move but the thing was the doors in the old house were very narrow. To get the stove and fridge out we had to remove all of the handles and do some pretty heavy lifting, over counters, down stairways and then up a gravel driveway to the new house. Thankfully we also had a second option - a much shorter path to the new house. 

I loaded up the tools in the shop and then set to work. By removing one window in the old dining room and then cutting a door into the wall it was an easy twenty-five foot level push to the new house. It didn't take long with the right tools...

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After suffering through many cold winters in the old house we discovered what we had long suspected. The old house had single pane windows and no insulation or vapor barrier. There were three layers of siding however as the house had been renovated at least that many times in the eighty years it had been there.

With the large new door in the side of the old house the move of the kitchen appliances, fixtures and supplies went smoothly.

-grampa dan

The first step is a BIG one!

The last couple of days we've been busy on the house project. More meetings to narrow down the final choices for roofing material and contractor. We also scooped a whole lot more soild out of the excavation. Tomorrow should finish that task. The first step out of the old house is a doozy now!

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I created the routing files for the window and door bucks (forms for the openings). The first of the house materials arrived onsite today making the whole process a lot more real at last. Much of it will be used to make the bucks. 

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Tomorrow we start cutting and putting together the pieces.

-grampa dan

Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better

Today was a big day. The worksite went from fairly neat and organized to total chaos in about an hour. Sometimes things have to get a lot worse before they get better. Today was one of those days.

The gas company arrived to dig across the road and put in the new gas lines to the shop and the new relocated meter for the house. Our gas guy was present to run a line from the new meter to the old house and a line to the new house as well. And our excavator guy was present to dig the ditches on our property as well as do some more work on the excavation for the house. While the driveway was all torn up with multiple ditches we took the opportunity to install the electrical, cable, telephone and secutiry conduits needed for the new construction. It way mahem and pandemonium for a while but by suppertime the pipes and conduits were all in place and the ditches filled in once more. I spent an hour or so on our little tractor after everyone had gone home to spread a little gravel and make the driveway almost normal.

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The big pile of broken concrete in the foreground are the remains of the front steps of the old house.

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Tomorrow will be another big day. The excavator, buldozer and large dump truck will be busy hauling out the last of the non-buildable soil from the excavation. Then it is time for the soils engineer to have his say. With his blessing the filling back in with engineered gravel will begin. The surveyor will also visit in the next couple of days to exactly locate the house and survey the property for the officials. We are now days away from starting to place the footing forms at last.

It was a crazy, crazy day but exciting just the same. Tomorrow it begins once again.

-grampa dan

Tearing down and digging holes

The new house is to be built in front of our old one, within a few feet to make it fit. This meant the old porch had to come off the old house in prepartion of the new build. We used the sabre saw and skill saw to cut through the soffits and then the headers. We tied a rope to the porch and then my son Peter climbed up on the roof with the skillsaw.

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I jumped on the tractor ahd kept the rope tight.

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As Peter finished the cuts, the porch wobbled and then fell forward, missing the house and landed in a heap on the ground.

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While I moved on to other things Peter patched the gaping hole to keep the rain and squirrels at bay. Then it was on to digging the giant hole for the new house. Phoebe got her turn at the controls - which she thought was pretty cool!

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My friend Len did a great job and moved a whole lot of dirt from the excavation. We managed to locate the gas line without incident. The water line didn't fare quite as well, but a quick trip to the store netted the parts we needed for the repair. I moved it well out of the way so we won't have to mess with it again.

It was a fun day in Yarrow!

-grampa dan