Happy New Year! I think this postcard says it all. I am excited about proceeding on Sparta now that the holidays are behind me. I would imaging you are also relieved that I might actually start talking about Spartan restoration rather than bloviating on about the state of the world. But first, I would be remiss if I didn’t express a little gratitude here. Last month I vacationed in Verona, Italy to visit my son, DIL and beautiful grandson. I routed through Instanbul, Turkey for a brief layover and ultimately landed in Milan, Italy where I caught the train to Verona. Both of those pass-through cities have been in the news due to recent acts of terrorism. Milan is where the German truck murderer was gunned-down and Instanbul was the site of the night club bombing still being investigated. ISIS probably had a hand in both atrocities. I am grateful that our country, while still vulnerable to isolated acts of extremism, seems to have done a good job at containing acts of terroism since 9/11. Thanks to all the men and women in law-enforcement/security who keep us safe. Also, I am grateful that my Italian offspring appear to be thriving in their new home.
So, at long last I am tearing into the floor. Because I have found nothing online to illustrate exactly what I am getting into here, I am proceeding with caution. Yesterday I began “peeling the onion”. You will see pictured below my incremental approach to pulling up rotted sections of the subfloor.
As I have discovered, Sparta’s underside consists of a steel frame along the perimeter with steel trusses running side-to-side every 16″ or so (still not sure about spacing). Unfortunately, there is no center beam running the length of the chassis. The cross-members actually sit slightly below the perimeter frame, so during construction, 1/2″ wood strips were affixed to these to bring them flush with the perimeter. Because there is nothing on the web to diagram this, I have decided to draw this out for the benefit of those contemplating such a project.
So, this exploratory surgery has revealed several problems with both the construction of the steel chassis and the realities of time and rust. First, as my crudely drawn frame schematic shows, there is no central beam running the length of the chassis. This is a problem especially because I am not replacing the entire subfloor but, rather, am patching it. (see earlier post “Fast floorward”). With no center support to bridge some of these spans, it will be more difficult to cut and patch and my final floor could prove spongy. Secondly, The long perimeter bolts, which are spaced every two feet or so and affix the aluminum frame to the subfloor and chassis, are rusted over. When I attempt to loosen them with a 90 degree ratchet, most of them are free-spinning. As I crank, the hex-nut just turns with the bolt. Damn! The recessed bolts, though not affixed with a nut, are so rusted over that I cannot get a phillips head driver to budge them. This complicates the removal of damaged subfloor and requires that I cut the bolts or, as I did yesterday, bash them until they break.
As you can see from the final photo where an L-shaped section of floor was removed, the underlying steel trusses are rusted, but not too badly. A slam of the hammer upon the steel cross-beams issues a reassuring “clang”. Whew!
Tomorrow, I will cut more sections of unusable flooring out and will have more to report.