Pulling it down

Our structural engineer came to look at the basement today, and pronounce on whether the foundation looked sound or not.

There’s various decisions to be made, like whether we lay fresh concrete on top of the existing slab, or excavate and pour a new layer. What I hadn’t believed when our contractor recommended it was removing the chimney.

In the UK, houses are made of brick, or more recently cinder blocks clad in brick. In Seattle, houses are mostly timber, and this struck me as unreasonably flimsy. But then the UK isn’t an earthquake zone, and wood probably flexes more.

But stacks of bricks aren’t flexible, so in the event of seismic activity, with a chimney that weighs a third of the house, the chimney is a liability, and it’s also not a structural support to the rest of the house, so we could remove it.

That then gives us more space upstairs (although with the disruption of having to demolish some walls to access it, and, more importantly for us, the potential to create a laundry chute in the centre of the house (as the washing machine is relocating to the basement). So that’s exciting.

After talking about raising the house (it now seems like my architect wants a twelve foot, cathedral style ceiling in the basement) I was too emotionally exhausted to consider much else, so I passed the rest of the evening on the sofa, drinking cider.

Oh, there was a 30 minute run there too. Maybe that’s why I’m so sleepy now …

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