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Since I'm having such a hard time keeping warm tonight, and since I've cleaned out the living room enough to get to the fireplace, I figured I'd build a fire.

Building the fire was fine, though I've noticed that the chimney liner is in pretty bad shape and I really need to sleeve the chimney.

While I was over there, I decided to take some measurements of the nooks by the fireplace. I noticed that there seemed to be more detritus on the floor that had fallen down from the ceiling, so I went up and pulled away a bit of the hanging-down paint/wallpaper shards. You can see the discoloration of the plaster where I had pulled off the old wallpaper and paint; it's mostly the color of the old wallpaper paste and leaching wood, and is normal.


Okay, so some of the plaster came down with it. I knew that the prior water damage had separated some of the plaster, so no big surprise.

Except that the lath that was still in place was wet.


On the inside wall of the fireplace, I found this loveliness:

No, that's not mold. That's where the previous owner had "fixed" the wall damage with vinyl spackling without actually finding the source of the water. It had actually bubbled up the surface and trapped the moisture behind it, deteriorating the old plaster and leaching efflorescent crystals to the surface.

So I spent the next hour and a half with the shop vac and a utility scraper going after the damaged plaster. I uncovered even more bad news: the trapped moisture had actually rotted the lath on the wall where the window is located. You can see the difference in coloration, and some of the rotted pieces here.

I gave up for the night. The whole wall where that window is is going to have to be taken down to the studs-- and it's an exterior wall, so it's gonna be not warm. The thing is, I can see now where the previous owner tried to "fix" this with mismatched pieces of something-or-other, so it's been around for quite a while. I'm a little frightened as to what I might find behind this wall.

The ceiling is going to have to be cut away to where the black line is in this picture

and all the plaster and lath will have to come out. Upstairs, I'm going to have to get into the eave crawlspace, find, and fix the leak. I have a pretty good idea where to look, but it's still gonna be a freaking mess.

This doesn't even begin to approach the ceiling in the dining room, which needs to go through a similar fixing process.

I suspect that my spring timeline may fall by the wayside. I can't really do a lot while it's still winter-cold outside. I suppose that on the good side, I'll be able to insulate that wall much better while I've got all the plaster and lath off.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:50 am (UTC)
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
but i'm like your other buddy.

i can't believe how much shit you know.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
I can't believe how much shit I don't know.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
we have a half full/half empty thing going.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
At least you a) know how to fix it, & b) have the ability (i.e., tools, etc.) to do it. Just need the fundage to get supplies, I'm sure. Freaking bummer of a discovery!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
It could be worse, I suppose. It just pisses me off that the previous owner just covered it up without actually fixing the problem; now I have probably 20 or more years worth of damage to contend with.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
Be cautious on the fireplace. When was the last time the chimney was swept?
Feb. 23rd, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
Probably 1954 or so.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
Creosote buildup isn't the issue as much as the chimney liner crapping out.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
You are such a damn hero to me.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Aw, shucks.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
everytime you turn around.

I bet your next house will built after
Feb. 23rd, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)
after 1950
Feb. 23rd, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Or I'll build the damn thing myself.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)

I am so impressed that you know how to fix this.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
+Everybody has their set of skills and knowledge. I love working on the house, but I hate working on it because I HAVE to.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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