Our main goal for the weekend was to get some weatherizing done. Looking at our financials and places that need it most, we decide that insulating the walls inside the staircase to the basement would be the best place to start given that our basement is almost open to the outdoors. Finishing the basement will take a ton of time and money and it's not conditioned space anyways, so the cheapest way to seal up the upstairs is to seal that not-so-surprisingly porous entrance for cold air.
We pick up some inexpensive rolled insulation to line the walls (and this kiddy-extinguisher to keep it from acting as kindling), along with sweeps and some seals for the door. Installing rolled insulation is easy: cut it to the right length, stick it between the studs, and staple the brown paper to the stud faces. This whole job should only take us a reasonable 2 hours.
Wrong. Where are we installing this insulation again? In the 10-foot-tall walls overlooking the shoddy 10-foot staircase to the basement? Hmm...I guess we need to figure out a way to reach the top of the walls since there is absolutely nowhere we can set up ladder. My brilliant solution: death ladder. Just like the original construction ladder to the attic, I'd just take a couple sturdy scrap boards and screw them into the studs to give me one step and one handle to hold onto, then allowing me to reach out and staple in the insulation.
I liked my solution, Jessie thought it was stupid and dangerous. Her brilliant solution: platform of unspeakable horror. She grabbed some scrap 2x4s riddled with nails and tossed them over the divide. "So now I have a bed of nails to fall onto?" I asked. Then she takes a piece of 3/8" plywood and puts it over the top. "Oh, that's much more secure."
Well, like many things in a good marriage, this is a matter of compromise. Our compromise: use both brilliant solutions. This way, when I fall through the pile of scrap wood and nails I'll be doing so from at least three feet higher up. After that little delay, we're back to work and moving right along, three strips in place. They'll all go in this easy, right?
Wrong! First, we need to remove these several blocks of scrap wood used to support an electrical outlet. Then, we need to figure out what to do with the stove hood that's venting directly into the staircase. Awesome, right? Of course this takes some time because each scrap piece of wood is nailed to the next. Wow, do I hate nails. Now that that's done, we'll reroute the vent......actually, let's not. We'll just cut the power to it, block it off, and just not use it (being that it was use-less before the insulation anyways). Back in business! Funny, some of these strips are just a wee bit tighter than others. Didn't we measure this ahead of time to make sure they're normal construction?
WRONG! I mean, yes. Yes we measured two studs. They were indeed 16"-on-center. Those two. Here are the on-center measurements for the rest of the studs in these walls (in inches):
16 - 15.5 - 19 - 16.5 - 16.25 - 16 - 12.5 / 12.5 - 12.75 - 9.5 / 10 - 12.75 - 14.25 - 14 - 14 - 14.25 - 14 - 4.75 - 16.5 - 17.75
Ugh. What happened in here? I could get the spacing more accurate blindfolded. Maybe not much more accurate, but ignoring the studs on the end, the spacing varies by as much as 6.25" from smallest to biggest gap. So we made it almost halfway around with several gaps to be filled in later. Only took us most of the day with no simple solution to the stunning 1923 building standards.
Task #2: This isn't done yet and it will certainly be another day of work. Scoreboard - House: 2, Tome and Jessie: 0.
We drowned our sorrows in our family favorite: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Optimus was intrigued, but ultimately disappointed.
Currently listening to "Ice Cream Man" by Van Halen