Week 1 Journal: Getting Ready for Demolition

Curbly House Week 1 Video Journal - Preparation for Demolition
I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally start real work on the Curbly House. Even if the first week was just me spending a few hours a day over there getting protection down on the floors, walls, and windows, it felt great to actually be doing something.

Week 1 was about getting ready for week 2. We decided to tear out the first floor ceilings; they were covered in foam tile and the plaster under that was crumbling. Plus, taking the ceilings out makes rewiring the whole house a lot easier (the electrician will be able to access all the walls more easily). 

Old plaster ceilings were in bad shape

But tearing down a plaster ceiling (a plaster anything, really) is messy, dangerous work. Especially dangerous if your hardwoods floors have just been refinished, like ours. One good-sized chunk of plaster can weight 10 or 20 pounds; if it falls from nine feet onto your hardwood, you can bet it’s going to leave a mark.

More views of the plaster ceiling at the Curbly House

And even a small piece of plaster can cause trouble if it gets under your protective covering. Think of it like a little pebble stuck in your shoe, grinding away at the floor every time someone walks over it. 

So I covered the floors in several layers. First, brown craft paper (instead of rosin paper … to avoid any red staining) held down with ScotchBlue painter’s tape. Then I put down temporary floor covering called RamBoard (thick cardboard-like stuff that rolls out flat).

Covering floors in brown craft paper to protect the finish

Finally, I grabbed 15 sheets of 4×8 plywood (by grabbed, I mean, threw out my back horrendously). These are the top layer on the floors, and also get set up against the walls to protect windows and trim work. You can drop anything on plywood. 

 Plywood covering the floors

Then I put up 4mm thick plastic sheeting to isolate rooms from each other. Once the demo starts, the mess is going to get everywhere; hopefully the plaster will keep things somewhat more contained.

So, the house is ready for demolition to start. I’ll have a few helpers with me, and hopefully we can get all the first floor ceilings torn down to the joists in three or four days.

This is a post in the Curbly House series! Follow along as we document every step of our complete home makeover, from gutting the walls to putting up the finishing touches. And don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments!