So it goes without saying that the March opening didn’t happen. Once the work actually started it was like peeling an onion: removing one layer exposed another, and another after that. Removing flooring in the break room and bathroom exposed rot to the floor joists. Replacing the floor joists meant rearranging heat and plumbing so it wouldn’t affect the structural integrity of the new joists. Moving the radiators and plumbing meant reviewing fixture placement for ADA compliance, which meant altering the new joist layout. Here are before and after photos to the right. Repairing windows in third floor exposed water damaged rafters. Replacing or sistering the rafters affects the knee wall below the windows. Accessing the knee wall means removing several rows of slate shingles, which has to be done gingerly so the originals can be replaced. If not, we would have to get Historic Preservation Committee approval of the replacement material.
But, I think we’re over the crest. We’re now putting back instead of tearing out. Fitzgerald’s Heavy Timber Construction has been doing a phenomenal job with the structural repairs. They manufacture their own beams and joists so they can “replace in kind”, putting in a replacement that is the same material and design as the original lumber. Their masonry work is meticulous. A few brick walls needed new mortar and repointing, and the joints needed to be cleaned beforehand. The mortar has to have enough lime in it to keep the mortar softer than the old bricks. If not, as the building expands and contracts with the seasons the harder mortar would cause the bricks to crack and crumble – something we’re very keen to avoid.