Kuppersmith Home Renovation Project 2: Foundation

We’re tackling interior demolition along with building a good foundation in our extensive renovation of this 1926, Tudor-style home.

After we remodel the Kuppersmith Project, the house will be a beautiful and practical home any family would love to call their own.

This episode focuses on:

  • Plaster Removal: The old cracked plaster and wood lath is removed from the house.
  • Foundation: The concrete slab for the garage and footing for the master bedroom addition are poured.
  • Framing Repair: The framing in the existing house is repaired and reinforced. Several interior doorways are repositioned, and part of the second-floor stair landing is removed.
  • Windows and Siding Removal: The old, leaky windows and deteriorating cedar shake siding are taken off.
  • Garage Framing: The walls and roof for the two-story garage are framed up

Workers removing plaster at The Kuppersmith House in Mobile, Alabama during a taping of Today's Homeowner.
A worker removes the old plaster and lath from the Kuppersmith home.

Demolition

With the demolition work on the outside of the house completed, we begin gutting the interior of the house so we can start our remodeling with a clean slate.

I hope to preserve as much of the unique character of the house as possible, so the heart pine floors and stone mantel are covered to protect them from damage during renovation.

Since the paint inside the house contains lead, precautions have to be taken to protect the workers and dispose of the potentially hazardous material properly.

This includes wearing protective clothing and respirators as well as encasing lead-contaminated material in plastic before disposal.

In addition to removing the old doors and windows, the wood lath plaster walls are taken out to allow for installation of new insulation, wiring and plumbing.


Concrete foundation, under construction, at the Kuppersmith house in Mobile, Alabama
Workers pour the concrete foundation for the Kuppersmith garage.

Foundation

The first step in the rebuilding process is to lay out the foundation for the new garage and the master bedroom addition. Trenches are dug for the poured concrete footing that will support the raised foundation on the addition.

The garage foundation has a monolithic slab construction with the footing around the perimeter — which supports the weight of the walls — and the slab for the floor poured at the same time.

With concrete for the new foundation poured, the next step is to check the floor in the existing house with a transit to see if it is flat and level.

Several low spots need to be jacked up and repaired, and rotten wood from moisture damage under a window replaced.


"Today's Homeowner" host Danny Lipford, pictured while framing walls at the Kuppersmith house in Mobile, Alabama.
Workers have framed the Kuppersmith house’s interior walls.

Interior Framing

With a solid foundation under the floor, we turn our attention to the interior framing of the house including:

  • Reinforcing the headers over doors.
  • Replacing the floor joists under the upstairs bathroom.
  • Enlarging the doorway into the kitchen.
  • Adding framing upstairs for closets.
  • Reconfiguring the location of bedroom doors.
  • Removing part of the staircase landing floor.

Siding and Window Removal

The house’s exterior walls are next on the list, with removal of the old cedar shakes and leaky wood windows. The sheathing on the outside walls of the house is covered with housewrap to prevent moisture and air infiltration, which can cause rot and heat loss.

Garage Construction

The new garage is framed up using 2×6 studs, due to the height of the garage walls. Laminated wood veneer I-beams are used as joists to eliminate the need for supporting columns inside the garage.

The plywood subfloor on the second-floor room above the garage is glued and nailed to the joists to prevent squeaks and provide added strength.

The roof on the garage is framed with steeply pitched rafters to match the look of the main house.


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