Monday, March 14, 2011

Have Hazmat Suit - Will Insulate

"Have Gun - Will Travel" might just be the best name for a television show, ever. If a camera crew were to follow us around as we create organized chaos at the farmhouse, I believe the show could be called "Have Hazmat Suit - Will Insulate", or at least that could be the title of this weekend's episode. As promised, hazmat suits were donned with the greatest of style as we prepped and insulated two rooms downstairs. The real challenge was simply being able to get to the house...

And to think, I was hoping to see the lawn...

So this is what happens when you leave a house in Vermont unattended for the month of February. We rolled up to the house at 10pm Friday night. It was cold and foggy, making visibility low on this already streetlamp-free road. As the cars flew by one after another, we realized it would be near suicide to attempt to dig out a parking spot for the van at that hour. Standing on the side of a road with fast-moving cars and poor visibility, throwing piles of ice into the roadway just didn't seem like a great idea. Call us crazy. So we waited until the next morning and were greeted by a pile of frozen snow and ice that laughed in the faces of our plastic snow shovels. After an hour of struggling and little progress, we threw in the towel and Tony drove back into town, finding a guy at the local deli with a snow plow. His full name happened to be only one letter off from a rather famous Star Wars character, and this brought us a great amount of amusement. Morning struggles aside, things seemed to be on the up and up. 

Saturday proved to be a great amount of unsavory and physically demanding work, but it needed to get done nonetheless. We finished demoing the front room, including the removal of the old ceiling. This process was a joy, as we were literally showered with the remains of countless dead mice and lady bugs, tile after tile after tile. Pictures are available in this week's slideshow, if you have the stomach for it. I expected us to be insulating the rooms by late afternoon, but as with most renovations, things always take longer than planned. Instead, the afternoon found us digging out the fallen plaster and wood from behind the baseboards. According to my schedule, the Shop Vac should have sucked all of that up within 10 minutes. According to the Shop Vac, it did not have the sucking power to pick up the plaster or wood so we spent over an hour digging everything out by hand. Why I even bother attempting to make a schedule at this point is beyond me. We finished off the evening by putting down a cardboard floor over the wood floors to protect them from insulation and whatever else lies ahead during renovations. We also cut the plastic for covering the windows. Bed time was well earned that night.

Tony surveying his flooring craftsmanship

Sunday brought blue skies and some sunshine, which was a great help in powering us through the day. We got to work early, hanging the plastic over the windows in both the front room and kitchen. We prepped the kitchen area by moving everything away from the walls and throwing tarps over the more valuable items, since we'd heard some horror stories of spray insulation floating its way across the room and gently raining down on everything of value. We laid down a temporary cardboard floor in the kitchen, and suited up!

Despite all of the awful stories of people having to shave their hair off or throw out their possessions, spray insulation was actually a snap! Once Tony got the rhythm down, things really sped up. We were able to spray the front room and the entire kitchen, with insulation to spare. It was a somewhat fun challenge, as you can't go more than 30 seconds without spraying the insulation, or risk the hose clogging up and becoming useless. We found ourselves scurrying about in hazmat suits with goggles and respirator masks, lugging 20 lb tanks of chemicals from spot to spot so Tony could cover the entire room quickly. The end result: a smashing success! We now know we need not fear spray insulation, and CAN do things that people would normally pay professionals thousands of dollars for. Cheers to the do-it-yourselfers! 

Motivated from our demo and insulation success, we are currently trying to lure Steven "the Demolisher" Lowe back to the farmhouse in 2 weeks. We hope to give Steve his own room to demo, as he is faster than a wrecking ball, while Tony and I tackle another. Will we be able to demo two rooms in one day, and insulate them in another???? Only time will tell!

Coming soon: another episode of "Have Hazmat Suit - Will Insulate". Stay tuned!
- Melissa

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