Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Snapshot: Removing the Floor in the Shack

I'm riding this wave of enthusiasm and motivation, as I forge onward toward reclaiming our little outbuilding that we call The Shack.  I am making great progress so far!
Day Three, Ruby kept me company for a while.  (I feel guilty spending so much time working, while she's inside by herself.)   I will be reusing the plywood on the floor, so I took a few minutes to number each piece and to draw a diagram to make it easier to reinstall later.

This 20' lead that Ruby is wearing isn't attached to anything.  It's an off-lead training trick that a friend taught me.  Ruby drags it around while she is outside with me, and it reminds her to listen to me.  She knows that she has to have it in order to leave the gate, and she runs to the gate and sits while I slip the collar over her head.  She knows that 'no collar = no fun with Mom'.

Let's remind you about what I'm doing here and what I've accomplished so far.  Here is The List.

1.  Sort and store (or dispose of) all of the items that are currently inside the building.
2.  Take up the plywood on the floor, evict the varmints and clean up their mess.
3.  Install vapor barrier and insulate the floor.
4.  Reinstall the plywood.
5.  Remove the dropped ceiling and all of its framing.

I had great plans to remove all the screws in the plywood floor ... knowing that this would go quickly and I would have that floor pulled up in no time.  Completion of Item #2 on my list was going to be a cinch ... you probably already suspect that this was not the case.

A nest made of grass, chewed-up foam cushion, and sill sealer.

Turns out, only about 1/3 of the floor was held down with screws.  I remember now that we ran out of screws when we were installing this plywood years ago, and that I had grabbed a box of nails off the shelf and we continued on.  

Nest #2:  grass, roofing felt, sill sealer, foam, and two Home Depot bags.

I also failed to remember that we were very generous with the construction adhesive while we were putting down this floor.  No shoddy work for us ... we wanted this plywood to stay put.  It was not coming back up without a fight.

Nest #3:  similar materials as Nest #2, but with more grass and less foam.

It became obvious very quickly that this was a job for two people, and that Ruby was going to have to go back in the house.  The Husband was available and eager to help, so we formulated a plan and got started.  It took some trial and error at first, but we soon settled on a routine that used a hammer, two sizes of pry bars, and a 6' digging iron to carefully-as-possible pry up each piece of plywood.

Nest #4, sticking out underneath a joist ... haven't removed the plywood on top of this one yet.

By the end of the afternoon, both of us were both pretty spent.  We didn't get ALL of the floor up, but we made great progress.  This is what it looked like when we quit for the day.

The plywood on the right is the stack of what we have removed already.  The piece on the left is still attached.

I was surprised to see how much animal activity had taken place underneath the floor.  All that daylight in the walls, and the places in the floor where we never got around to putting plywood made for easy access for industrious critters.  My underlayment of roofing felt, so carefully laid over the original floor of cracked concrete, is now chewed up and all over the place.  Though I still believe that the bags of potting soil were dug into and scattered by a groundhog, I suspect that the nests we found in the framing were from some other type of varmint. 

All of the nests were really clean and new looking, and none of them appeared to have been recently occupied, thank goodness ... in fact, I haven't seen any kind of critter in here at all, live or dead, while I've been working.  Perhaps this is somehow related to the BIG snake skin that I found while I was sifting through my pot dump that had been in the corner of the building.  You already know that I'm not afraid of snakes, and I thought it was really cool to have had one that big in there at one time.  Snakes go where the food is ... they eat rats, mice, etc., so more snakes = fewer rodents.

In conclusion, I feel really good about how much we accomplished so far ... even though I can't cross Item #2 off the list quite yet.  Later today, for certain.

Happy Sunday, Everyone!


  1. My back, knees and shoulder are on the verge of aching at the thought of that project. That's a lot of nesting under the floor. Home Depot bags....who knew they could be nesting material?

  2. I think you've made great progress!! I am also thinking you'll need do think of a new name for 'the shack' before too long!

    By the way, I admire your courage around snakes--There are fewer things that I'm afraid of more than snakes, but like you, I'm glad when the black ones are around because it means that the mice aren't...I'm a little nervous around them too! :-)

  3. That's a lot of work done already, Connie. My vote is that those are rat nests. Certainly aren't groundhog, nor chipmunk.

  4. Although I fear snakes more than I can even express in words, I am glad when Hubby says he saw a black snake near our property. That means no mice and no rattle snakes either. Did you know that black snakes/racers kill rattlers? Neat!

  5. 4 nests under the floor! I suppose these are nests of rats.

  6. I'm exhausted just looking at all YOUR work. Have you gone and gotten plenty of screws for the replacement of the plywood... just in case you ever have to do this again? Bet you are kicking yourself for those nails about now, huh? I'm going to keep this in mind when we finally get around to finishing the attic flooring... just in case it EVER has to come back up.


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