On the Level (Reno Part 2)

Part 2:  On the Level  (or Is It Supposed To Slant Like That?)


Momentum is on our side!  No wait, I’m tired.

Eileen!  Of course you do, your left leg is shorter than your right.  Eileen would be right at home in the farmhouse.  There was a definitive dip from the living room to the middle of the kitchen.  You could totally do the Mad About You episode of “whoooa” sliding across the floor.  “Let’s start by seeing what’s going on under there” master carpenter Gary quips.

Of course to get “under there” one must remove everything “above there”.  It seemed like a simple task of pulling out carpet, and padding, and subfloor.  But, oh look!  The subfloor heights didn’t originally match up!  So someone used multiple layers of paneling to even it out.  Paneling that when wet from leaks, fragments into nano sized pieces.  A week of chipping away at shredded cheese sized paneling – in the living room alone.


Note the faux brick disappearance early on

Once we got down to the subfloor itself, another discovery. 60 year old white oak.  Dense like concrete but beautiful. (If you can get the nails out.  Square head nails that are rusted through and break in half when you pull them with a hammer.  Swear meter of 6-7). But valued at $6/board foot, we carefully extracted every last board and stacked them for reuse.  Me + Pinterest =reclaimed wood heaven.  Keep pulling those nails.

Little did I know that we would spend a month at this sawing, prying, nail pulling.  S-N-A-I-L-S pace.  And once complete?  Bizarre, rocky, stinky discoveries:

  • small animal skeletons (possum?)
  • food wrappers & Boost bottles (construction debris or geriatric animal buffet?)
  • random large bones  (grandma?)
  • defunct oil furnace (home to the wild animal kingdom)
  • piles of raccoon poop
  • piles of rock (like Stonehenge exploded)


Oil furnace playing peek a boo.  Note high quality bricks & 2×4 “footing”

“We should clean this out.”  Paul sawed a steel tooth rake handle in half to accommodate the 2- 3′ clearance under the floor joists. Then we strapped on dust masks to tackle the  rock poop graveyard.  Days later it took 4 guys to wrestle the oil furnace out.  (Level 4 of 5 on the swear meter).  1 dumpster filled, 5 sawsall blades broken, and 2 utility knives lost.  Found: 1 diaper pin, a 1956 penny, 1 old school Pepsi can, and a leaky shower drain.    Winner.

All I wanted for Christmas was some subfloor.  After a month of pulling level tapes, we have a floor.  A nice solid, sturdy, LEVEL floor.  Yippee!  That was easy.


Fancy level floors from Santa

Next up?  Walls & ceilings..  That should be easy…right?



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