The time I fell through the floor
Welcome to Shiawassee Street (Part 3)
So the majority of the demo in the Shiawassee Street house had been done as you may have read in the previous post. (If you haven't checked out the previous posts, check them out here: Part 1 and Part 2.) It was long and hard but overall uneventful. I was getting the bathroom ready to start putting back together again. The only full bathroom for the house was located upstairs with the bedrooms and was basically a giant square. It made the most sense to keep the bathroom with the same layout as it was before to keep plumbing in the same location. I also planned to reuse the cast iron slide in tub as the base of the shower and reglaze it to save on cost (and trying to move it out because, holy crap did it weigh a lot)!
The half wall that enclosed the tub/shower on one side seemed to be barely attached at the floor and I felt like it could be pushed over at any moment so I ended up taking it out with the rest of the bathroom demo. Under this wall I found out that there was some water damage to the subfloor from likely a previous leak by the tub and needed to be replaced.
One evening I swung by the house after work to check on things while my electrician wrapped up some of the wiring. I decided that this particular evening would be the perfect time to fix the subfloor in the bathroom because I had the materials and had to be there anyway so... why not? Although I wouldn't recommend doing any renovation projects in your dress clothes for work, but I didn't live there yet so it was all I had.
I cut out the damaged plywood and everything under where the tub would go to replace it as one piece of OSB. Under the shower plumbing between the two floor joists, there were 1x bracing pieces of wood. I’m not sure if these were to brace the plumbing or used to stand on when doing the plumbing the last time the bathroom was remodeled. Either way, I tested them with my weight and they seemed to hold me up so it was a convenient place I could stand when measuring for the size of the piece of OSB to cut to replace the subfloor I had just removed.
And this all would have been good and fine had I stood between the joists that actually had the bracing and not the space to the left… which only had the drywall for the kitchen ceiling. I stood on the drywall space for approximately 1.5 seconds before I fell through, first hitting the back of my thighs on the floor joists and then continuing down and catching myself by my armpits on the joists.
I hung there while I tried to assess what happened and if I was just bruised or actually hurt. Tears came to my eyes but I told myself to suck it up and I would be just fine. Then I remembered that my electrician was outside on the rooftop deck cutting something so I called out “Ramon” a couple of times… but no luck because he had a saw running. Still hanging by my armpits and the backs of my legs throbbing, I decided I was going to have to hoist my whole 6’1” tall body out of there myself. I had just wriggled my way back up to the safe part of the bathroom floor (in my dress clothes, mind you) when Ramon finally came back in. He was bewildered at the sight of me and of course felt horrible that he did not hear me when I was hanging.
After the sting of the floor joists started to die down, I went down to see the damage. Sure enough, a giant chunk of my purple kitchen ceiling was missing!! Remember last post when I said that I was waiting to demo the kitchen so I could have a working kitchen for a portion of this renovation? Well, that plan went out the window! It was ironic that every other ceiling I took down in that house had lathe and plaster on the ceiling but at some point the kitchen ceiling had been redone (probably when they did the bathroom to access the plumbing) and had only drywall. While lathe and plaster likely wouldn't have held my weight either but may have given me a warning creak to alert me and a little more time before I went crashing down!
I finished what I planned on doing (despite legs throbbing from where the floor joists smacked them). I cut the sheet of OSB with a hole for the plumbing and screwed it in. Although I was proud of my finished work, I was also seriously embarrassed that I fell through the floor. (Insert face palm emoji here). I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing until that happened - I was second guessing myself a little more now!
I cleaned up the kitchen debris and saw what had fallen down. While originally I didn't have any plans to take down the kitchen ceiling, I saw the drywall that had been under the tub. There was mold all over it that I couldn't see from my view from the bathroom! I guess the silver lining was that I found out what actually was hiding under there to give me the opportunity to replace it!
"you haven't really done a renovation
until you fall through the floor"
I called my dad to tell him what had happened. He obviously first asked if I was alright, but then laughed and said, "Well you haven't really done a renovation until you fall through your floor!" So I guess now I have that badge of honor, however, I hope to never get it again!!
I went finally got in my car to go home that night, but it was painful to sit on the backs of my thighs. I checked out the damage when I got home and there was a floor joist-shaped welt on the backs of my legs. Several bruises and scratches up and down my legs were added to the already many existing from other projects. The joist bruise lasted for several weeks as a reminder to double check where I was standing!
While I definitely could have gotten injured much worse than bruising, hopefully this helps some of you take the renovation plunge if you are thinking about adding some sweat equity into your home! Obviously if you do not feel comfortable doing something, always contact a professional. And ALWAYS look where you are stepping if you are opening up any kind of floors!!
Since the kitchen ceiling was already half down, I figured I might as well demo the rest and start making a design plan for the kitchen along with everything else! Stay tuned for next week to see the design plan and kitchen demo. Walls start coming down!!!