Safety doesn’t happen by accident

Our story so far: Despite what people might have assumed about the recklessness of a pair of 50-somethings in purchasing a 126-year-old building to turn into a home, Tyler was a businessman who’d heard too many horrific insurance claims to pursue a daredevil approach to construction.

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The hazards of remodeling a building as old as the church were many, and we were warned by many well-intended bystanders.

nails and tin
That’s a pile of tin ceiling on the pile of scrap wood.
one million nails
You think I’m kidding about removing a million nails.

Long before we’d closed, Tyler had already made investments in face masks and safety glasses, purchased in bulk. These came in handy as we removed millions of nails from trim and crown molding (I might be exaggerating about the volume of nails, but not much). Tyler also bought work gloves for the hired man and for me. One of the pairs for me were Level 5 cut-resistant rated; I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but I was grateful for them as we loaded and unloaded scrap metal into the pickup. All this safety equipment was de rigueur when Tyler and St. Johnny removed the tin ceiling in the basement. Since we hoped to reuse the material again, someone standing on a ladder had to peel off each piece of sharp-edged, dust-covered tin, sheet by sheet. The basement was already expansive in square footage, but it gained space in our minds as they spent hours on this task. And I was amazed at the debris that must have fallen from the ceiling (and elsewhere) as I went through Tyler’s jacket pockets on laundry days.

As one might expect of a building constructed only twelve years after the invention of the electric light bulb, the wiring Tyler discovered in the church was like a trip through time. Cloth-wrapped 12-gauge copper wire in conduit and ArmorFlex wiring was mingled with current code-approved Romex wiring. With an abundance of caution (we certainly didn’t want all of our hard work to burn to ashes), all of it would be replaced. And the existing 100-amp circuit breaker box? It would be exchanged for 200-amp service (Tyler confided he could reuse the 100-amp box in the garage).

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Tomorrow: Do they have a test for that? Read it here.

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