The thing about old houses is that sometimes they contain hazardous materials. Asbestos, lead, you get the picture. In our case, we had the pleasure of vermiculite insulation. Vermiculite insulation was frequently used in older homes because it was a naturally occurring material and according to Green Building Advisors, “vermiculite is a mineral that when heated, expands like popcorn. It’s lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless; [and has an R-Value of 2].” What’s not to love, right? Well, the challenge is that it often contains asbestos which is linked to cancer. Bummer. Thankfully, we knew about this issue beforehand and were able to negotiate with the seller and take advantage of some grants available in Massachusetts for vermiculite abatement, so it wasn’t a dollar sign surprise.
After 187 years of sitting on the same sills and foundation, the cottage had started to get quite comfortable with her surroundings. Sinking into it here, restraining herself and staying level over there. She and gravity were getting friendly. With all of that settling in going on, you can imagine the impact that it had on the floors and overall structural integrity of the building. That’s a long way of saying, she was really wonky and it felt like a funhouse in there when walking around.
After the initial demo work in the two front rooms, we moved out way to the some of the smaller spaces in the center and back of the house. It’s tricky to get the proper wind-up on a crowbar when demolishing a closet, but what we may have lacked in finesse, we made up for in repetition and, on my part at least, brute strength. Kidding, kidding.
Once our family assumed ownership of the house (and once I’d had a chance to take some “before” pictures), the crowbars were unleashed.