Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The two words I don't want to ever hear again

We have lived in the same house for 32 years, and have made some improvements along the way. A particular door in the kitchen has bugged Paula for a long time, and for the last, I dunno, ten years she has suggested replacing it with a sliding pocket door to get it out of the way.
Not suspecting a thing, in March my brother-in-law and I took the wall apart during his visit, and quickly realized that a load-bearing post had been jury-rigged into it during some work 27 years ago.
OK, so we'd have to put in a 'header' above to take the load. After considering a steel beam, or putting the wall back together and bailing on the project, we settled on a double-thick 11-inch laminated beam to take the load. The guy at the lumber yard that helped me put it on top of the Odyssey kind of sneered when he said, "Kinda heavy for that kinda car, huh?" I muttered under my breath as I got back in the pilot's seat, "Real men drive minivans, buddy."
I jacked up the ceiling, a friend helped me cut and place the beam, and we got to wield sledge hammers and other real-guy tools.
However, with the load of the upstairs hallway now distributed differently, the minimal sag in the floor on either side looked a little more pronounced, so...
After two days in the 30" crawl space with a hand trowel, about 50 buckets of dirt dragged out and 40 buckets of wet cement and rebar dragged in,
 I had made four good footings,
on to which were then placed four beefy house jacks.
I then got the local steel supply space to cut me two seven-foot lengths of five-inch steel I-beam, which my beautiful assistant and I dragged under the house ("One, two, three, lift!").
and finally hoisted up on the jacks.
After a month to cure the concrete to maximum strength, I jacked the floor level,
and could finally hang the pocket door hardware, and then the door itself, a big ol' 36-inch solid core thing, which weirdly had been made in Chile.
A man's got to know his limitations, so Edgar The Sheet Rock Guy came over and did the honors.
After that, it was a couple days of trim and paint and thresholds, and then insetting the pulls.
So, after only four months, untold blood, sweat and tears, and I-don't-really-want-to-know-how-much-money, the project was finally done.
I now have authority to advise any and all that if your wife utters the words, "pocket door," it's time to feign sudden deafness, break your own arm, or call a good divorce lawyer.
I hope that your home-improvement projects are less complicated and of shorter torture duration.


WMDEEZ said...

Ha ha ha!! This is the best post I've seen!! I would have just moved!! You guys are such great examples.

Patti said...

That was an impressive project. I would not have even known where to start, and would have said, Close her back up! Well done!!