Obviously, the photos in the post below tell but part of the tale when Eric gutted the downstairs in 2001.
What you don't see is the magnitude of bad. Can we all say "condemned", boys and girls?
Here's a photo of the repair-in-progress:
Here's a view once the pink bead-board (shown in my earlier post) was torn down. Eric rebuilt all of the outside walls using 2"x3" studs, insulated using fibreglass pink insulation and used polyethylene sheeting as a vapour barrier. The main structure of the house is comprised of 3"x12" Eastern Hemlock beams that are joined by tongue-and-grooves horizontally. The inside of the house was clad in vertical boards, many of which had rotted over the years, hence the repairs above. Note the old newspapers, which date from January 1899, most probably used to cut the wind. Since our house dates from the 1850's, and the newspapers from nearly 50 years later, they were probably glued to the walls during one of the many renovation attempts over the past 160-odd years.
You can also see the ceiling a bit better in the above photo. Eric added every second ceiling joist. Walking upstairs was so spongy, previous owners were scared to put any furniture up there. Given the fact the upstairs was virtually uninhabitable 4 months of the year because of the fierce cold, they were on to something, and from a structural stand-point, they were rightfully cautious. The house was far from being up to code, and structurally unsound to boot. The ceiling joists are 2.5" x 7", and in doubling them up, the finished structure now has them spaced every 20" instead of 40". Eric added sound attenuation batting (Roxul Safe'n'Sound) between the joists, and finished everything up with 5/8" fire-code drywall, but not before sanding and varnishing each and every one of the joists to a shine you can see yourself in. Eric has a way with varnish. Friends joke he can work as a piano varnisher if his day job doesn't work out!
As for my plywood floors: well, with renovations still underway upstairs, we'd rather deal with plywood downstairs than finished floors. It's relatively easy maintenance, save for the odd pet accident (Schatzie, I'm lookin' at you, girlfriend!), yet even the most offending stains can be readily sanded out. It's washable, scrubbable and affords me the option of keeping my cleaning standards enviably low. As long as everything is organized, I can deal with the dust buffalo, as I affectionately call the wafts of dog and cat hair that abound...