It’s About to Get Interesting (I Hope)


Yes, yes. I know there are still a few staples and strings of carpet in the corners.

After almost two months of tear-out, I’m about ready to start putting things back together in the front hall. That’s good…because with an open 12′ drop from the second floor, I suspect I’m just asking for trouble (as a result, I’ve had to limit the bourbon intake; so very sad).

I have all but a few areas of rock lath removed from atop the original plaster and lath on the staircase and closet, all the carpet is rolled up and ready for tomorrow’s trash pickup and I have the hall cleaned up (if moving most of the detritus to the front porch counts as cleanup) to the point where there’s enough room make a new mess.

The carpet was nasty…but even nastier was the surprise I got when I pulled it and the terrifying padding up from the doorway. Underneath was a layer of some kind of tile.

Likely asbestos-laden...but gone now.

Likely asbestos-laden…but gone now.

I had the same thing happen at the old place…and what was underneath was not good (so I covered it up with cork). But here, I was pleasantly surprised. What I uncovered seems perfectly salvageable (though I have to tooth in boards to close up the now superfluous HVAC service and returns vents). And the stair treads, while scratched to hell and back again, are solid.


But before that, I need to reroute some electric and run new wires (I’m thinking copper grounds would be an improvement…as would spider-web removal).

Really? In the HVAC return?

Really? In the HVAC return?

Then, it’s time to get serious. The last three steps are coming out, and I’ll rebuild the landing that ought to be (and once was) there, then turn the last two steps 90° to descend  to the hall floor.

Where the plaster and lath ends is where the landing will go.

Where the plaster and lath ends is where the landing will go.

But this weekend, I’m going to get the railing and spindles reinstalled in the second-floor hall. Woodworking in America is in two weeks…I could use a drink…possibly two.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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13 Responses to It’s About to Get Interesting (I Hope)

  1. Megan, you’re getting it done in fine fashion! Just keep plugging. And, I’m quite sure that WWIA will take care of itself as you’ve put it together with an auto-pilot.

  2. Kinderhook88 says:

    If those tiles measured 9″ x 9″ they were asbestos. As long as you weren’t sanding/cutting with power tools, you’re good. You may already know this – just don’t get the dust airborne.

    • fitz says:

      Yup. But they broke free easily as I pulled up the underlayment and I was, of course, wearing a respirator.

      • Steve says:

        A HEPA respirator of course. Asbestosis and/or mesothelioma usually doesn’t show up for twenty years or so. You’ll have completely forgotten about that tile by then. And that white fabric stuff you probably have on your ductwork…guess what that is? It’s the dust that gets us. Enjoy your project.

  3. tombuhl says:

    some girls just wanna have fun

  4. Brian Clites says:

    I’ll buy you a drink at WWIA. 😀

  5. Paul McGee says:

    “I’ve had to limit the bourbon intake” … to the ground floor … :p

  6. nateharold says:

    Great progress! For the landing, are you planning to try and match the existing aged, dark finish (yikes)? Or refinish the whole set of stairs & trim (double yikes)?

    • fitz says:

      All the wood floors throughout the house, as well as the front and back stairs, need sanding and refinishing — so the floor and stair color are TBD. But on the trimwork, yep…because I like making myself crazy 🙂

  7. BLZeebub says:

    I envy your progress. Well, maybe not. Also, I don’t have to worry about second floors, I live in a ranch style and only have to worry about making it to the carpeted area before passing out. Porcelain tile everywhere else with THROW rugs! Dastardly things earn their name. Oww!

  8. cstandley2014 says:

    I’d love to see how you handle the electrical in detail as I will be facing the same issues in my fixer upper. Love your blog; it gives me inspiration!

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