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House of Vacuums, Part 2 "#DemoMonth"


Will King, Adam Kelley, and Josue Rivas discuss the plans at the House of Vacuums

So even though we left off Part 1 on demo, that really wasn't the end of the demo story. Boy would Chip Gaines have had a blast in this building because there's been about 3 weeks of demo days (and counting), haha. When we bought the building, our original plan was to leave as much of it undisturbed as possible; we wanted to preserve as much of the original materials as we could. But unfortunately that has been difficult. After removal of the trash, temporary walls, plumbing, electrical and anything else that wasn't attached, we began to be able to see the structure underneath. Our first order of business was removing the plaster from the walls. You can see below how easily it was falling off.

It took about 5-7 days to get the plaster down from the 4 spaces it was in. But the brick underneath is beautiful! We did find a few bad places, specifically in the corners, and a few door ways that had been plastered over that we didn't know were there. Otherwise, we were very glad we decided to take down all of the plaster.

Brick underneath the plaster at the House of Vacuums, East Florence AL, Sweetwater District
House of Vacuums, East Florence AL, Sweetwater District

After the plaster was removed, we knew we had to address the floors. The floors in this building are pine. Old pine. It was difficult initially to tell what they were or what shape they were in because of all the dust and temporary walls. We did know there were several areas with damage; holes, rot and what appeared to be a fire at some point, but we were hoping to salvage the floors and refinish them. However, it became apparent that if our end goal was to bring people back into this space, the floors would be a safety hazard. We planned to remove the floors, create a subfloor underneath, and lay them back in place, but as the boards came up, they were in much, much worse shape than we thought. Even though it's a more tedious process, Josue, Sam and Adam lifted the boards up as gently as they could so that we can reuse the good boards for something, even if it's not back on the floor. (Ideas are still in progress for repurposing the pine planks).

Sam Martin and Josue Rivas try to preserve the floors at the House of Vaccums, East Florence, AL Sweetwater District