Week 5 Journal: Figuring Out Framing

Week 5 Curbly House Journal
Whew. We took a bit of a breather on the Curbly House this week, stopping to evaluate how to reinforce several framing issues we discovered during demolition. Read on to watch my weekly video journal and read my latest update on our progress. 

With most of the ceilings demolished in the house, we can now get a clear look at what’s happening with the framing of the house. Unfortunately, things don’t look that great. 

The ceiling joists in the upstairs bedrooms were in terrible shape. At least two were cracked (badly), and all of them were sagging (two and three inches in the lowest spots). These joists were only 2×4″s; way undersized according to today’s standards.

Downstairs, there were more cracked joists in the living room. These are big 2×8″s, so it’s kind of scary that they cracked. You can see the crack marked in orange in this picture:

Cracked joists

And then there’s the ‘music room’, a little porch-ish addition some previous owners created by knocking through an exterior wall of the house. It’s a cool room, but when they built it, they left the ceiling totally unsupported in one crucial spot. So the joists are just floating, with no support at all beneath them; they’re just held up by the nails between them and the upstairs subfloor.

So this week, Bill Herschbach (our fearless contractor) has been spending some time measuring loads and spans, figuring out how the home’s weight is distributed through its support system, and deciding what needs to be fixed (and how).

This week I also spent a few hours taking out the built-ins in the dining room. Now, preservationists, hold your fire; these things probably weren’t original anyway (judging by the type of wood and construction, we guessed they were built in the thirties). They were ugly and pretty poorly built (not a masterpiece of carpentry by any stretch). Plus, we want to knock down a wall where one of them sits, so they had to go.

Finally, I started taking apart the music room window bench this week, ’cause I had a hunch there were some issues back in that wall. Sadly, I was right. Lots of signs of water damage (like, decades of water damage) under that bench. We’ll definitely need address that later on.

That’s it for this week, make sure to check back next week as we start repairing the Curbly House’s old and broken skeleton!


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!