Spray foam insulation and chimney repointing

Spray foam insulation is considered superior to old fashioned fiberglass batt insulation. Since our vaulted master bedroom ceiling and low roof is a challenge to insulate, we decided to pay the premium for closed cell spray foam insulation.

We also hired a mason to repair (repoint) the old brick chimney upstairs. This feature was originally covered by plaster and would not have been exposed originally. While I have long argued to cover it back up, I lost that argument. So, the brick needed to be repaired.

Here is a “before” photo. The dark spots are Portland Cement (not mortar).

Someone just slopped in some concrete between the bricks in an attempt to repair them. The challenge with that is that these bricks are over 100 years old and are quite soft – the original lime mortar would have had high lime content and would also have been soft, and it must be repaired with the correct mortar so that the bricks are not damaged by a much harder concrete joint that can cause them to crack.

Below is a photo showing the joints between the bricks partially ground out. The left side of the photo below shows how the bricks looked before grinding, while the right side shows the grinding underway. It is already a remarkable improvement.

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Structural challenges and scope changes

Our house has a balcony above the old kitchen. It’s a small but cool feature that we hoped to make use of one day. The roof of our house is supported by its walls, and in this case, the outside wall lands in the middle of what was our old kitchen.

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Floor plan of 2nd floor discovered

Thanks to the efforts of professor Paul Kruty and his students, an original floor plan of our house was made in 1992. Paul published the main floor plan in his book Walter Burley Griffin in America, but the floor plan for the second floor has eluded me for years. Today, that mystery is solved.

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