I want to make a really big ‘space’ part II

In part one I showed you some pics of the ‘space’ we were creating after a handy man had previously helped us take the wall out and leave minimal structural support. You can see in the pics below we have removed the 2-2×4’s that were the only support under the floor joists and also removed the upstairs toilets waste pipe. During the whole process we supported the joists in various places and relieved the pressure uniformly with a variety of 4×4 posts on 2×10’s and 2/8 tonne jacks. We then in one location put in a double 2×10 beam and in our problem spot put in a triple 2×12 beam. All seems to have gone pretty well so far and we were able to take alot of the belly in the joists out of the ceiling without incurring any damage to the walls up stairs.

The beam also has a dual function, one is obviously support, the other is to carry the new plumbing and ducting (the ducting previously terminated and thus rendering a bedroom without heat). The plumbing and ducting will run alongside the beam and then down the wall  – this is all then encased within the trim.


As you can see from the above picture things have changed quite drastically – yes, the kitchen has gone. In part I the vertical plumbing and electrical was still in place. Now, obviously it has gone and our load bearing beam is in place. Within the plywood (which is giving our final dimensions) is the heating ducting and toilet waste pipe.

Looking in reverse in the picture below you can see another beam. This is a load bearing steel I beam. We also wanted to remove this so we have a continuous ceiling with no visual breaks. The only way to do this was to remove the beam (keeping everything supported of course) cut the joists so as to accomodate a laminate beam and give a flush ceiling. The final result is below.


The New Furnace Part II

Just a quick update on the furnace project. We found (after quite an intrusive investigation) a complete lack of logic in the way the existing ducting was run. Some obvious ones were dampers completely closed (and no way to open them  – they were drywalled in) and some supply ducts terminated because of alterations upstairs leaving some rooms without heating completely. There’s no easy way to do it – so we pulled the basement apart to accomodate a new ducting plan. Whilst we were at it we decided to do some layout alterations to the basement suite – but that’s another story.

The basement before

basement kitchen before

basement kitchen before

and now the fun begins

basement kitchen during

basement kitchen during

basement kitchen during

there is no avoiding it, if you want to do it right just like Mike says ‘bring it all down’! This also allows us to eliminate all asbestos taping and insulation. We found that the basement was inadequately heated aswell and we found alot of supply vents located at ceiling level contradicting the basic rule of heating – hot air rises! During the assessment we were (well the funace/ducting subcontractors) vigilante to incorporate adequate return air.

I’ll update you when all the ducting is in place.

Time for a new furnace? Ya think?

We called in our plumbing/heating/gas fitting self proclaimed god for our present renovation. Upon his expert inspection it came apparent that the furnace was original – 1941 vintage, and apparently back in those days the home owner could fit them. The furnace was probably running at 40% efficiency. Couple that with 3mm single pane windows and some poor insulation you’ve got yourself a hell of a hydro bill. We also brought in a ducting subcontractor and well to put it mildly he’s mystified. He’s going to have to spend some time figuring it all out, what is supply and what is cold air return by playing a radio at one end and hopefully hearing it at the other end. There could be a chance that in the present set up there isn’t enough cold air return points in the system. We’ll come back  to this post when we know more.


She’s a big un eh?

Removing a chimney

Our present project is a 1941 house. We’re doing various reno’s around the house. We decided to remove the central brick chimney stack which vents the equally as old furnace (that’ll be another story). By doing this we can then utilise the space where the chimney stack once was on three floors. This space will be added to the upstairs bathroom, the family room on the main floor and into the kitchen in the basement suite. True to our form of being recyclers the bricks are being saved for a potential patio (they’re a solid terracotta brick). If we don’t use them somebody will and of course we’ll be posting them on here. For the removal we brought in a subcontractor as he also had the roofing skills to seal up the hole up top. (with matching T lock shingles  – which are incidentally discontinued in small orders) We were going to run the new flu up the existing route (using a ‘b’ section – a double walled flu pipe). We then later decided that we would fit a high efficiency furnace (even higher than normal – which equates to 90%) which is then vented out the side wall thus allowing us to completely utilise the void left by the chimney. The removal took a day.

From the picture below you can see the exposed lath indicates how much we have regained in space in the family room and which also allows us to open up the doorway.


Like wise below we can see the extra space we will take back in the upstairs bathroom and also a cupboard on the landing.


…..and consequently in the basement (which is a tenanted suite) we can now take back the space next to the furnace where the chimney was.