Monday, March 19, 2012

Matt and Andrew's House of Misfit Materials

The East side being especially littered with houses that haven't been touched in decades, abandoned houses have become one of our main sources of building materials. Many of these houses are in perfectly good order, and so our actions have thus far been timid - in fear that the removal of any more organs might end them for good. Our recent encounter with the demolition list however keys us into what is doomed for landfills. Released from those pressures, we're able to harvest a little more liberally.

Tub, couch, pair of lounge chairs, planter, or something else?

Dodging can collectors, late-night saunterers, motion-activated lights, and the occasional cat - we make our way into a vacant house down the street, which has just been tagged for demolition in the past week.

The house is in far better shape than our own; Without knowing it was doomed anyway, we wouldn't morally be able to rip into as we do. Here, we largely seek the house's bits of drywall. The mudded and painted over screws generally don't let the pieces come off cleanly - but memories of plaster and lath sedate any frustrations.

Fireproofing in the attic which has been opened up and converted to a living space is long overdue - especially considering our implemented heating system. Despite much effort in finding alternative fireproofing materials and systems, there are few between masonry, drywall, and plaster. Masonry, though plentiful, is difficult to attach to the sloped ceilings, and plaster is unavailable without making purchases. But we see opportunity in these scraps of drywall. Trimming their edges we begin to collage, setting in the larger pieces first and gradually infilling the gaps.

The seams (as with standard application of drywall) are still problematic; Fire can pass through these to ignite structural members, which is why such care is usually given with several coats of spackle.


Our solution? Silica packets. Stay tuned.

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