Saturday, January 30th at exactly 8:43 AM the jackhammering began. We had already planned to be at the beach most of the day to watch the Sailing Festival but the noise and activity was a great impetus to get up and out early.
The living room floor is about 8 inches higher than the patio floor so as we move the wall to shorten the living room space, we need to lower the remaining floor to match the patio floor. The living room floor is tiled and underneath the tile is a water cistern that captures rain off the roof and stores it. Therefore, we need to jackhammer the tiles free, remove and then replace the “ceiling” of the cistern in order to lay down a new floor.
As expected, the jack hammering ends up being an all-day process. There’s thick tile to cut through, heavy cement holding the tile in place, plus a cement floor underneath (or ceiling above, depending on your perspective) and lots of rebar. When I left a short while into the demolition, a medium sized hole had been created. This cut off the access to the second master bedroom and started to cut off access to the patio from the house.
Since we spend most of our time on the patio, having no access would seriously cramp our lifestyle. The workers promised to build us a bridge to provide access to the patio while they work on recreating a new floor.
There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to accommodate this “small change” of moving the living room wall. We expect it will take 2 to 3 days to remove all the rebar and cement rubble that now resides at the bottom of the cistern. Then they need to put in new rebar that will reinforce the new floor, build a temporary wooden cistern “ceiling” under the rebar so they have a foundation on which to pour a new floor. The new cement floor will take 21 days to cure.
In the meantime, we have a “bridge” to the patio that is made out of the large rafters that were saved when the living room ceiling was removed. And if this doesn’t feel like I am walking the plank to get to the patio, I don’t know what would. The rafters are pretty solid, but it is a fairly long opening and remember the two floors are at different heights so there is a fair amount of flexing as I walk the plank. Doable, but you definitely want to be paying attention because each plank flexes independently!
We’ve made a lot of progress this last week. Demolition is great because it’s so fast. Construction on the other hand can look almost the same, day to day, as internal infrastructure is created or shored up before new work is visible. The front wall has been completed – the ring beam has been poured, with lots of buckets of cement hoisted up to the peak filling in the concrete block, plus a mold has been poured to make the roofline look nicely finished. The back wall ring beam has also been poured and is curing.
Now most of the focus is on building the infrastructure to pour the floor. This is the critical path since there is a long curing period. While the floor cures, work will resume on the roof. And I’m hopeful that we will at least have the wooden ceiling in place by next week.
~ So long to the moonlit living room, hello to shelter.