[The House (English)] [The Work (English)] [Die Feiern (under construction) (Deutsch)] [Chronologisch (Deutsch)] [Back (English)]

The Work

[The demolition] [With a little help...]

The demolition

The first couple of weeks (and, as far as the house is concerned, until now) we seem to have spend most of our time tearing down walls and demolishing things. So far we have rented (and filled) 2 containers holding 6 cubic meters of solid waste each, as well as one cubic metre of hazardous waste, and maybe another 4-6 cubic metres of wood (that's going to be a nice fire next easter).

We started work on Thursday, the 1st of June 2000, tearing down an old reservoir which was once part of the original central heating, as well as a wooden wall covering the original brick one.

The reservoir proved rather more robust then what we had hoped for, and when we finally had it opened it turned out that the walls were completely filled with peat, which had been used as insulation. And not only was the space between inner and outer wall filled with peat (which, by the way, was dusty as hell, which is reflected in the quality of some of the images), but the space between reservoir and the walls of the house had additionally been insulated using cork, glued together with tar - the hazardous waste mentioned above. It's not really hazardous, of course, but it's not simple waste either...

While Gabi and I were having a go at the reservoir, my mum started tearing down a wooden wall build in front of a brick one. Here too was the space between the two walls was filled with peat - why, I don't know, as the part of the wall in question was an inner wall.

Both the wooden wall as well as the brick one were originally covered by wallpaper, under which we found old newspapers - dating back to 1931 on the wooden wall, and 1896 on the brick one (which has us somewhat baffled, as the house is reported to date from 1908).

We continued work on Saturday, the 3rd of June 2000. There was still quite a bit of the reservoir left - the inner walls mostly - and we also started work on another room, reportedly an old indoor smokehouse. Two friends, Peter and Maike, proved invaluable on this day. Thank you very much!

Knocking down the remaining walls of the reservoir was a matter of minutes only, but removing the tar-bound cork from the wall was another matter entirely. Peter finally suggested cutting the cork into smallish tiles and removing it tile by tile, which worked quite well.

We needed to remove the old plaster (on straw-mats) which was covering the roof and ceiling - a horribly dusty work. We also found that the wood behind the plaster was in rather dire condition too. It really is a small wonder that the roof hasn't collapsed yet...

On Sunday, the 4th of June 2000 we finally finished work on the reservoir. Separating the tar/cork insulation from the other waste proved rather time consuming too.

We also started to remove the plaster from the ceiling in that room, and my mum started to tear down another wall.

We continued work around Whitsun, on Sunday the 11th and Monday the 12th of June. This time, a friend of my mother also came to help, as did my sister and her (then) friend. And even Maike and Peter showed up again - we were nearly running out of tools.

Maike was tearing down a wooden wall in the old (Western) part of the house. Basically just more of the same, with plaster on straw on wood, heavy work and lots of dust.

Gerd agreed with me that it would really be better to remove all the rotten wood forming the ceiling, both to see what awaited us behind, and to get rid of the rot. And so Peter and Gerd set out to remove the entire ceiling in the new (Eastern) part of the house. Not an entirely save occupation, judging from the look of the beam that supports (or doesn't, as it is) most of Peter's weight on some of the photos.

Of course, with all these people creating all that ruble, you also need people who get rid of it again, and on this series you can see my mum throwing all sorts of things out of the window. The wood goes onto a seperate pile, as we were creating far more waste than would fit into that 6 cubic metres container we rented, and we therefore decided to stack the wood seperately (and burn it next Eastern, the only day when it would be legal).

While most of us where busy tearing down (parts of) the house, my sister Stefie and Lars were tearing up carpets and linoleum, to allow us a look at the planks below. Most still seem to be in pretty good condition, nice pitch pine. In one room the planks turned out to be tiles, quite to our surprise.

We finally had to stop work, not because we had run out of work, but out of storage space in the container - in fact, we didn't even manage to fit all the rubble we had produced into the container, so some was left lying aroung in what will one day be my bedroom.

The good thing about laying open the roofs construction is that now we at leastknow for sure that we need a new truss, rather then repairing the old one, as we initially hoped (and were told by two carpenters and a civil engineer) would be possible. Certainty, of sorts...

We also found that some parts we thought could easily be removed were indeed sustaining part of the roof. Such is live.

With a little help...

Of course, all this would not have been possible without the help of friends and family: My mum Christl, her friend Gerd, my sister Steffie as well as her (then) boy-friend Lars, Peter and Maike.

Back to Curslacker Deich 170

Valid HTML 4.0! last modified: 28-Mar-2005
Sven Utcke