Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Finishing up the kichen floor

We are getting prepared to install the tile in the kitchen and bath.  The bathroom floor was completely demoed by Nick D and his crew, but the kitchen floor was only partially removed for access to the plumbing, and to take out the old pipes and hearth.  The brass pipes we expected to remove, but the discovery of a hearth below the floorboards was unexpected.  
Removing the retrofitted floor boards reveled a hearth

Interestingly, the wood below the brick layers was barrel staves used as support

There were three layers of brick under the floorboards—which were installed over the old hearth base in 1935.  We know this from the shreds of newspaper we discovered when excavating the old hearth’s substrate.

Like an urban archeologist... 

Here is what we suspect.  Given the age of the house, built in 1910, and the discovery of original cold-water lead piping to the second floor, we are betting on this having originally been what was known as a “cold water flat.”     The hearth and stove would have served a dual purpose—heat as well as cooking.  Also, there are three chimneys in the house, each with remnants of a cast-iron mantel shelf about 5’ or so off the floor.   

This brings us to our “dig.”  While clearing out the rubble of the substrate, I discovered shredded newspaper—from age, the crumpled newsprint had disintegrated.  However, with some careful searching we found some dates on the papers--  September 14th and 15th in 1935.  

Given this piece of the house’s history puzzle, we concluded that there was a conversion to central heat at that time—the installation of hot-water radiators heated by a coal-fired boiler.  (the old coal bin wall is still present in the basement).
Another speculation is that the parquetry floors were also installed at this time. 
The original tongue-and-groove sub-floor was installed with iron “cut-nails”—as was the house’s framing.  Cut nails had their heyday from about 1820 (development of the Type B nail) to 1910, the advent of the wire nail.
The pieces of parquetry we pulled up were installed with wire nails, not cut nails, adding to our theory about the retrofit.
1935 was also about the time when the house was sold to the owners’ family we purchased from.  So, was it retrofitted to sell, or after purchase?

I finished framing out the floor joists on Sunday, and the floor itself on Monday.

I had to make a "cross" of the 2"X6" joists to give the framing plate something to nail to.  Then I cut the plate to fit around the pipes. 

Finished sub-floor

Additional repairs to sub-floor.
Now onto the bathroom floor.

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