Interior Panorama

Interior Panorama

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Phase 1: Demolition

I really hate throwing items in the trash.  It's not an affliction of being a pack rat, rather it comes from a strong believe that everything should have a potential for recycling.  I view garbage, or rather items with no potential for recycling, as a result of poor design that shows complete disregard for environmental stewardship.  The book "Cradle to Cradle" by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart rocked my world 6 years ago: the book is printed on plastic pages and uses vegetable based glues and ink, all of which can be easily and completely recycled using non-toxic common manufacturing processes.  Smart.

As you can see from the picture on the last post, I took on a major garbage/recycling liability when I took the keys to the property.  It has previously been used for cold storage, presumably for a residential property manager.  The following were either sent to recycling, Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, sold or simply given away:
- 6 refrigerators
- 5 stoves
- 9 bathtubs
- 2 x 2 ton steel bins filled with commercial steel shelving
- at least 25 doors
- 3 commercial coolers
- 2 furnaces
- 1 incinerator
- 2 commercial compressors
- plus hundreds of other random items that had no value beyond recycling

The process of simply clearing out the floor space took about a week of solid work.  My 1st helper, Carey Spicer, burned off a few million calories helping me clear it out.
Step 2 was the actual demolition.  On past projects I've been a bit gun-shy about taking the demolition too far and have learned to be more discerning about what I decide to retain.  On this project, I decided that we were going to take the building right down to the 2x6 studs on the exterior wall and would also expose the ceiling/roof joists.  Because I knew we'd be completely redoing all of the electrical and mechanical systems, the access to the wall cavities would ease the job significantly.  Turns out there wasn't an ounce of insulation in the exterior walls.

I can't begin to explain just how much garbage is produced by removing lath and plaster walls. It is a filthy, back-breaking job creating mounds of plaster that, to the best of my knowledge) has no potential for recycling or reuse.  I did manage to separate out the wood lath which was sent out to my mom's place for their firepit. 

So here's a question: What's the better alternative? Send wood lath to the garbage dump or burn it in a fire pit.  I could not see any other use for this material beyond these two options.  Although maybe it could be used as a wall finish if it was painted. Hmmmmm.......maybe the hallways.
The photo shows the building once we had the walls gutted, but before the ceiling was pulled down.  The demolition was a bit of a slow process for a few reasons: first, I was using a couple of guys who lived across the street (Carey Spicer and Dan Letriel) that showed up on a very irregular basis and secondly, the design was still underway and until that was finished we couldn't start the construction.  

The demolition took about two months and was wrapped up on December 1st, 2007.  That also coincided with us finishing the design drawings that we required for our building permit.  More on that next time....