So. This morning we went outside to tear away siding and general rubble at the base of the house to get an idea how bad the beams and joists of the bedroom floor were.
The Wandering Monk was hammering and prying away and the bottom of the west wall. I was hammering and prying away at the bottom of the north wall. This wasn’t a particularly tough job because … well, there wasn’t much solid wood to pry at.
That’s the north-wall foundation beam, such as it is, bending, cracking, and diving deep into the earth. Those are floor joists with their rotted ends hanging in mid-air above the beam. The rest is … well, was … some other part of the house’s support system.
I began to wonder how much of a warning — snap, crackle, pop — the back of the house would give before it collapsed on me. Understanding that the same thought was dawning on the Monk at the same instant (and that according to him, by the time we heard the noise it would probably be too late), I called a halt to the operation.
It turns out that a single 4×4 corner post, precariously set on a small slab of 2×6, is all that’s holding up that corner of the house for a span of about six feet in two directions. That corner post was evidently Jim Beam’s or Jack Daniels’ idea of a fix once they realized the foundation and a large part of the wall above it was going completely to hell. Oh, and their other idea was to cover the mess with siding so nobody would see how bad things were.
Plan B: Finish tearing up a 4’x12′ section of bedroom flooring along the back wall and get some jacks and posts under the non-rotted parts of the joists to stabilize the house before returning to mine the rot. Prior to jacking up the northwest corner we’ll have to rebuild the northwest corner. Because there’s nothing there to jack up.
While not a moment of great happiness, it was also no surprise to discover that the bedroom has mainly been held up by air, liquor, insects, and bad judgment for many years.
Nothing on this project is a surprise.
The only thing we’ve discovered that was done right is the two layers of lovely, sturdy flooring under the crappy linoleum in the bedroom.
And the Monk is in the process of ripping that to pieces right now.