It was a strange feeling going in to start work on the house, I was almost kind of nervous – it felt like the first day when you get a new job. So the first day was spent getting organized, the workers are going to live in on the property while they are working there for a bit of extra security so I set them up with a couple of old mattresses and a gas stove so they could get comfortable.
Then it was up to the roof, the colonial roofs are made up of wooden beams and slats, then a layer of bricks, cement and another layer of bricks. We needed to save as many of the bricks as possible so we can clean them up and reuse them, so it was a hammer and chisel job!
We had purchased all the wood to be delivered that day for the new beams and slats for the roof. Now the beams in the roof at the moment are solid Caoba – a really heavy and expensive wood. The roof beams were in a bad state and had to come down, its a shame as there is no way I can afford to use Caoba to make the new beams, however I am using wood as I want to keep the place as original as possible.
The bad part about doing the project this way is that I needed to buy most of the tools, luckily last time I was in the states I picked up some power tools so did not have to buy that many. The biggest purchase was the generator, due to the electricity supply being terrible we need to be able to work when the power is out.
So whilst Rudolfo started on making the beams for the roof me and the 3 other workers got up on the roof and started dismantling. It has been blisteringly hot here lately and it was hot, sweaty and dusty work.
The roof had a lot of holes and was actually pretty easy to dismantle. This is what the first 4 days consisted of. We piled up all of the bricks that could be saved on the back roof and dropped the rest of the debris down to the bottom.
One thing I did not take in to account was the amount of trash! I was beginning to think that my 3-week time scale for the roof was a little bit optimistic…
When we actually had the beams down I was a little bit sad as the wood was still solid apart from a foot either end that went in to the wall which was rotten. I would have loved to of kept them up but they were too dangerous to stay up. I am hoping most of the 1st floor beams can be saved as they are not in such bad condition. Although a few of the beams cracked when we were taking the roof beams down which was a shame.
The problem is that they are just so heavy, I want to keep them as its good wood, I am thinking of using them for supports over the doors and maybe even making a few coffee tables.
One of them blocked the door and took the guys about 3 hours to cut through the thing, thinking I might have to purchase a chainsaw to get rid of them. So the roof is off including beams and so are the floor boards. Not bad for the first week, but I honestly think the next is going to be a slow one progress wise. It looks like a tip at the moment, so now it is clean up time. We have about a third of the beams made so I am hoping by the end of the week we have half of the beams up and the rest of them made and waiting to go up.