This week we started work on a remodeling project in a 1940’s home. The home is a very solid structure that only had two previous owners in its lifetime. It was well cared for all during that time, but needs some updating of surfaces and modifications to serve the new owners. Our main tasks are renovations in the kitchen and converting a main floor half-bath to a three-quarter bath….starting with demolition. The kitchen work involves making some wider openings into the kitchen from the living room. We installed a laminated veneer support beam to carry the loads from the upper floor.
Upon opening up the walls we discovered that the house was framed using locally sawn lumber. The material is solid and straight but is very rough from the big saw blade marks. All the framing is ‘full size’ in that the 2×4’s are a full 2″ by 4″. We cannot use ungraded locally produced lumber any more as it is prohibited by adopted building codes. But it is nice to see a structure like this standing proud and solid with virtually no interior plaster cracks….all supported by locally produced lumber.
We also discovered that all the heating ducts concealed in the walls are covered with thin sheets of asbestos. The duct work is excellent with sealed joints. I believe the asbestos was installed originally in an effort to act as a layer of insulation and keep the warm air flowing to the rooms. But, as we all know, asbestos is a hazardous substance. Upon discovery of the material we discussed options with the homeowners. Removal by licensed asbestos removal contractors is fairly costly, so the owners decided to leave the ducts alone, not making the living room opening as wide as planned. We discovered another duct over the new shower, but that was easy to leave in place with a lowered ceiling. It is important to train workers to be able to recognize obvious hazardous materials so it can be dealt with properly.