Sunday, July 20, 2014

Basement Teardown

A lot of time has passed since the last update.  The summer and fall we're busy and updating the blog took a back seat.  I lost hundreds of photos, too, which we're destined for this space, so all in all I lost the desire to take all new shots to post - the spirit had left me.  Oh, well.

During that time, however, the reality of the basement was looming in the near future and we knew that it was a matter of time before we would finally have to break ground on the gutting process.  The basement project consists of gutting it to its bare limestone foundation and poured concrete floors to its open ceiling joists.  Only then will we be able to level the floor upstairs, install radiant heat under the floor, fix the upstairs bathroom, etc.  The state of the limestone foundation is of concern, as well.  The entire foundation needs to re-tuck pointed and a new coat of mortar applied.  There are tunnels throughout where mice and other things freely enter the house.  Having the basement bare I will be able to begin forming a plan for supporting the ceiling, addressing our heating needs, and everything else that needs to happen in order to solidify the integrity of the house.

Eventually, the foundation will be new, smooth, and painted.  All surfaces will be easy to clean.  The basement will be a wonderful environment to grow my shitakes and oysters!

The last remnants of flooring remain in the photo.  This used to be the kitchen and the floor was tiled in linoleum.  Very curious what was done here.  If you look closely, you can see that the wooden floor is really a deck that has been sitting over the top of this concrete floor.  The concrete underneath is highly irregular, so the deck-floor is supported with blocks of wood of various heights.   

Once the remainder of the decking was removed we can see evidence of the operations that we're once part of the old Rock Hill Cheese Company.  We have often puzzled about the small concrete stub wall that you can see in the far center of this shot.  Now, with the floor-decking removed you can see that there was what was a tub and the stub wall is all that remains of it.  They kept it, I guess, for its inherit aesthetic qualities.  It formed the base of some shelf space when the kitchen was here.

The concrete down here is all sloped toward the front of the house where I discovered an old drain.  The low end of the tub has a large slice in the bottom of it that is angled toward the drain.  I would be curious to know what the exact function of this structure was in the cheese making process.  My guess is that this is where the cheese was finally pressed to remove excess moisture.  Any takers on this one?

It is clear that we can remove the rest of the stub wall.  The wall is built from bricks that are hollow inside, so it should come down easily.

This shot is taken from near the back of the basement toward the front, looking past what was once the laundry area, past the bathroom and the kitchen.

Next steps are to clean up the ceiling, removing and tidying up electrical, spider webs, any old ducting that may still be up there.  There are a few issue with the floor as well, places where some concrete forms we're poured that need to go.  Pretty soon I'll be setting up my shots to put in new beams and support posts and eventually a new heating system so we can stop freezing our asses in the winter.  Yay!

The end goal is also to make this area inhabitable for growing edible gourmet mushrooms.  Once it's all clean, re-tuck pointed and smooth, cleanable, this area should make a fine base environment.