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Jun 5, 2020
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Does the reno of a shitty house fit here? House is about 50 years old and is all kinds of fucked up. Previous owner cobbled a bunch of junk together. Floors are out of level, but the foundations are ok except where he punched holes in it for HVAC and such. Mainly the floor joists are a bit over-spanned and the crawl space hasn’t been properly vented, so it was moist.
I tried to find someone to do the work, but the contractors around here are too fat and happy with their pricing. I did consider teardown and rebuild but I really didn’t want to spend $400k to $500k to get there. Good news is I bought the property for basically land value, so I have some room to spend some cash on the reno. It is near impossible to find 12 acres this close to town and the property is great; 40x80 shop, big detached garage we made into a guest house for my folks, 30x90 barn, pool, etc.
Plan so far:
  • Go tiny, move into garage side of the house.
  • Completely gut remainder of house.
  • Remove subfloor in 6 phases while sistering and blocking floor joists.
  • Fix mechanical, plumbing and electrical while I am in there (electrical is a mess; junction boxes hid in walls without covers even, a switch hid in a wall, half the house on one circuit, live wires just hanging out in the open in the attic, crawlspace and walls, etc.).
  • Re-frame interior.
  • Seal and insulate crawlspace.
  • Close cell foam the exterior walls (it is let-in bracing without structural sheathing, so I am looking to stiffen the walls up).
  • Move back into the renovated part of the house and do the same with the other side.
  • Fix exterior up (windows, doors, metal roof, gutters, soffit, facia).
I got some half-assed plans I put together with the wife that I am working from. We will see how this goes. Hopefully I can get time to get this done in a reasonable timeframe but right now I am working about 70 hrs a week so it might take a minute.

first floor.JPG
second floor.JPG
All demo’d out now. Got to put the load bearing wall back where it should be. Dumb ass PO moved it over about 4’ and didn’t provide any support below. I will have to jack the ceiling back level. He made a home brew built up beam that he hung the ceiling joist by where they overlap. He took (3) 2x6 and made a U then put that over the ceiling joists and screwed the joist into his built up beam. I mean that should be OK, the damn thing was only spanning 16’. Just for good measure he then put two layers of drywall on the ceiling just to make it good and heavy.


I was getting pretty excited at the speed we were getting it done but then I encountered some pretty significant termite damage. It appears the wood gnawing assholes had been having a field day at some point in the past. The main beam in the house is a triple 2x10. I thought the main beam was in good shape but upon removal of the floor I found what I thought was minor termite damage.


Turns out they ate it through. I am actually pretty shocked cause the main beam was still straight and true.


Good news is I design stuff to underpin and jack up buildings for a living. Bad news is I am a fat ass and it is a lot easier to design this stuff then to crawl around in a crawl space and build it. Fat ass aside; I got all the ducts, plumbing and electrical out of the way and made beams and jacked it back into place. If you do this a good tip is to make hangers that are hung from the floor joists so that you can bring your lumber into the crawl space in pieces and build the beam on the hangers. Just leave a 1” gap so you have room to work. The simple hanger is near the end of the shovel.


Underpinning piers and beam all installed. The double 2x8 is small but this is temporary just to jack up the joists and keep the floor joists from falling in when I replace the main beam.

Got the old beam out and the main one in.


Now I am going to get all the floor joists and subfloor replaced on this section of floor.
Slow going but I got almost all the floor joists and subfloor replaced. Waiting on HVAC guys to come put a new system in. I just couldn’t fit a package unit without moving it to the front of the house. PO decided it was a good idea to put a package unit on the back and bust the foundation CMU block out to about 18” below grade outside. Fucking water just pours in when it rains.

I am leaving 8’ of floor out to get all the old shit out of the crawl space. Got a good start on the wall framing, enough for HVAC guys to get return in where I want it.

a bit of electrical WTF. This is a 50 amp circuit that feeds the sub panel in the pool house. Wire nuts what, no junction box. This was just chilling out in the crawl space waiting to catch fire. Got this shit out and a solid line in conduit and all run to pool house now.

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