Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Houston, we have a problem

So it would appear that our living room ceiling...the one that we thought needed cosmetic repairs from the great water cave-in of 2006...needs STRUCTURAL repairs.

Do you have any idea how much money is involved anytime my contractor says the word STRUCTURAL? And STRUCTUAL REPAIRS...well...that's just not a phrase you want to hear anytime in your life.

Oh.My.Freaking.Heck.

It would seem that one of the hand-hewn beams that form the structure for the living room ceiling is cracked...broken...busted. Half of it was apparently cut away at some point in history (that part of the house was built in 1840), in order to install something round (we're thinking a pipe chimney), substantially weakening the structure. Then, at some point, the damn thing broke all the way through and someone reinforced it with a piece of steel. Nice attempt, but not completely efficient...resulting in massive cracks in our ceiling plaster. We thought they were cosmetic and were willing to replace them at some time in the future. The waterfall episode moved up our timetable. Then...when the contractor went to remove the old fireplace yesterday, he was met by serious creaking and threatened collapse. It seems the fireplace may have been installed in an effort to lend some support to the sagging beam in the ceiling. Nice.

So...we now have a support column in the middle of our living room. And I'm waiting for the call about the price of this latest turn of events.

On a plus side, behind the old fireplace was, as suspected, a much larger living room doorway. It really opens up the room and changes the whole feel of the downstairs living areas. Plus, I will now be able to freely move furniture from one room to the other without having to remove doorframes in order to fit the larger pieces through. I LOVE it...as long as it doesn't cave in.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Been there, done that, have the pictures. That particular incident was related to (the cause of) the top right-hand exterior wall falling out. Bricks all over the place. There was a nice big hole in my house...and i would say that was the worst moment of the renovation, for me -- when i drove down the street and saw that. It was worse than the sewer pipe incident.

On the other hand, you *could* always just put a decorative column around that beam support and be done with it...

Laura said...

Oh Jeebus. I don't have any been there done that stories, since we're new to this homeowner thing, but man, yikes. How cool is it that you found a secret door, though? (You have to say that in a spooky voice--seeeeeeecret doooor.)

AJW5403 said...

WOW that stinks, I hope it does not cost to mucn to make the repair. I have done home repairs in the past but nothing the size of what you are doing. Cool about the door though.

sarahbobeara said...

so can you decorate the support column, make it more festive? (part of the fake it til you make it movement?)

i'm glad your house is still standing. that would be a real pisser if the whole thing fell in! hope it's good news from the contractor *crossfingers*

Mommies Esq1 said...

I was watching the Class the other night and so my immediate thought was "Stripper pole."

It would tie in nicely with your earlier post in which you recieved very helpful suggestions regarding what to do next.....

delphi said...

You should be able to avoid said column by reinforcing with steel (properly engineered this time, of course). Yes, it will probably be expensive, but better than the column (though I like the stripper pole idea).

Make sure to post pictures of the before and afters - since there are a dozen different ways to solve this problem, I am quite interested to see what choice your contractor/engineer comes up with.