Saturday, December 19, 2009

a better photo of the opening

Steel structural work complete


Here's the new steel beam on the first floor. I know it's hard to tell with all the wood studs in the photo, but the living room and dining area opened up to the large hallway looks incredible!! This rehab is really taking off! From what I can tell, Benito's crew did this job pretty close to the architect plans, which were very detailed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

City of Big Shoulders



Benito and crew really went to it today putting in the steel posts and beams today! It was really scary watching them lift these 500+ pound (maybe more?) pieces of metal.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Black Pipe Crosses your Path (bad luck!)

These are the radiator pipes going from the basement to the 2nd floor. They orginally (back in 1896) cut a chunk out of the wood beam to fit the pipes in. Since we're removing the wood beam, and putting in a larger W-8 steel beam, the pipes will even be more in the way. This is yet another reason taking the entire h0t water boiler heating system out is a good idea.

Nine Inch Nails


Nathan came by Sunday while I was doing laundry to pull thousands of plaster/lath nails. Great work for a 19-year old listening to their iPod! He might have discovered a new look for his death metal band.

Peoples Gas workin' hard


Peoples Gas has been out 3 times already to shut off the gas outside the house. The first time they came, they said they didn't know where the shutoff was (buried) and my pipe is connected to my neighbors, so they couldn't shut it off anyway. Then they came back a 2nd time, with my neighbor present, and even with some effort looking for the shutoff, they couldn't find it. Once the weather turned a bit warmer again (it was almost 0 degrees earlier in the week), a crew came out with a back-hoe and did their big dig. It ended up the shut off was under the neighbors parkway sidewalk! The crew said the city of Chicago likely removed the access pipe when they poured a new sidewalk. So they pulled out a jackhammer and put in a new access pipe. I hope they'll come back on Monday to finally shut off the gas, and cap the pipe inside so we can get the steel posts and beam in. The footings have been curing for over a week now.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New post footings and temporary supports


Benito's crew came in today to saw cut the 4'x4' concrete post footings. I thought they were just going to work around the existing posts, but it ended up they thought removing the existing posts would make the job go more smoothly. So, they put up the temporary supports, saw cut the floor, and started digging! We were concerned the center drain pipe would interfere with the 18" deep hole, but it looks like we've cleared it. One less dollar to the plumber. :)
I still have LOTS of radiator pipe to remove.

Gas Pipe Woes

OK, we're what, two days into the construction, and already a major problem is encountered. This is something I would have never guessed before I started all this. The existing gas supply comes in the front of the house, and goes all the way to the back where the two gas meters are. There's no shutoff available to me before the gas meters.
The new steel W-8 beam that will be going in place of the old wood beam will not fit nicely with the existing gas pipe. Also, having a gas pipe on the south side of the center wall will force us to put in a small soffit on that side. So, the best idea is call the gas company, have them shut off the gas from the outside, and move the pipe to a better location.
The gas company came out this morning, and said "your incoming pipe is also connected to the neighboring building. We can't just turn it off!"
Crap. So, i'm trying to work this out with the gas company. stay tuned.

Goodbye Stairs!


I was hoping to keep the existing stairs to the lower level. I thought they were in pretty good shape, but it ended up there was termite damage at the bottom of the stairs. I spent an hour on Wednesday evening cutting the stairs up with a Craftsman circular saw and DeWalt reciprocating saw (MVP of demolition!). They look sort of ghostly just hanging there, don't they?
Also, the existing stair were not up to code in many ways: tread height and depth (too narrow, too tall), and there wasn't enough headroom at the last step. If I'm not too careful, i would have been bumping my head anyway. goodbye!