Friday, April 18, 2008


We researched extensively on home restoration. We read other blogs, heard others' tales of misery and woe. Our house wouldn't be like that-- it would be easy. The same family had lived there for 5o years. They bought it when their first son was a month old, and went on to raise four children in it's 1100 square feet. It had been loved, not abused. Yes there were problems, but they all seemed straightforward, like cracked plaster and an ugly kitchen. Things we could easily fix.

We've grown a lot since then.

Picture us, two young twenty-somethings and their mixed-breed dog, turning the key in the lock of their very first home. We go inside, dance around, open every cupboard, window, door and appliance. The dog runs in circles, creating dangerous levels of static electricity from the carpet. The carpet. That was our first project. There were hardwood floors underneath, which meant it had to go. We pulled up a corner in the foyer. Guess what we found?

That would be vinyl flooring. Covering the entire main floor of our house. The hardwood floors were under it. Now, what gives this particular event a major twist is the fact that most vinyl flooring from that era contained asbestos. Because we're cheap, we didn't pay to get it tested, but because we're cautious, treated it like it was hazardous. This meant quarintine. We bought respirators, sealed off the rest of the house, sealed off the vents, turned off the heat, and started working.

The Minnesota Department of Health has a great website on do-it-yourself asbestos removal. The key is a lot of water, because it's only dangerous when particles float into the air. To get water, we had to decontaminate (strip down to nothing) in the back porch and trudge into the basement to fill 5 gallon pails. It was below zero, so we had to work until the flooring was gone so we could turn on the heat. It took thirteen hours. Want to see the floors we found underneath?

Like I said, we've grown a lot.

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