Every renovation project involves a push-pull between fixing or replacing building materials. Should you install new windows or fix up the originals? Would it be wise to install a new bathtub or re-glaze the old claw foot? But rarely does this perennial home improvement question play out quite like it has at Blog Cabin 2013, a circa-1892 coastal cottage being remodeled by DIY Network.
Project manager Dylan Eastman knew that to install hurricane strapping, plus new plumbing, wiring and insulation, walls would have to be stripped down to the studs and then refinished with new materials. He didn’t anticipate — until walls were opened up and the building’s structural skeleton revealed — that original wood framing would have to go.
Reasons were numerous. Firstly, the rough-sawn 3x5s that held up much of the building were set, in some spots, two or even three feet apart rather than 16 inches, which is today’s standard. Termite damage, previously undetected in test areas, proved an issue. And lastly, additions to the original one-room building created numerous weak spots. “Where the second-story additions attached to the older spaces below, the new studs were just nailed to the ends of the existing ones,” says Dylan. “And those joints could fold like hinges in a severe coastal windstorm.”
And here’s another twist: By reframing most of the house, the team will be better able to share the home’s history. The interior layout of the building has been re-created to almost exactly match the original floor plan, complete with exposed beams, columns and other quirks. And the crew saved every sound structural component it removed — including longleaf pine tree trunks from the original foundation — for reuse elsewhere in the project. Look for reclaimed wood to find new life as beams, interior moldings, built-in cabinets or even freestanding furniture.
The end result is really a best-of-both-worlds situation. Blog Cabin will be a stronger building, thanks to the new 2x6 exterior wall framing and engineered lumber floor and roof framing, which are all tied together with bolted and nailed metal plates. And instead of being buried in the walls, antique lumber will serve as focal points in the home’s interior design.
Preserving old framing, say Dylan and project contractor Ryan Crosser, would have required so many new support pieces as to render original framing superfluous. The decision to remove all original framing, excluding supports under the first floor, proved a no-brainer: Demolition and reframing knocked about 30 percent off construction costs and two weeks off the construction timeline.
Old building materials will be fashioned into furnishings, decorative accents and more.
Projects by Professionals(at Pro Galleries)
Projects by People Like You (at Rate My Remodel)