Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Basement Progress!

About a month ago, we were deep in the thick of basement demolition. Luckily, I've managed to do a bit of cleanup since then!

So we went from this

 to this

to this!

Super exciting, huh? Basically, we cleaned up the mess, and got to the super fun task of doing some of the "behind the walls" work. We're pretty lucky in that our basement stays pretty dry. The far right corner in the images above is one of two that makes me a bit nervous, so I was pleasantly surprised to see zero mold when we pulled up the carpet. I also knew we had one spot on the right wall that wasn't covered by drywall that had some efflorescence (the salt deposits left behind when water comes through the block) but was never wet, and one more was revealed when we removed the drywall. My husband pointed out that the location of those spots is a pretty good match to some large tree stumps we removed from the front yard several years ago, evidence of large trees planted far too close to the house. Those have been down for many years, and the stumps were pretty rotten when we pulled them out, so we think that any water that came through did so a long time ago, and we haven't seen any evidence since. Nevertheless, since we plan to cover all the walls again, we wanted a little insurance.

I washed down all the walls with soap and water, and then rinsed, and rinsed....and rinsed. Oh man it took so many passes to finally get clean walls, but the bottle of Drylok Etch I picked up from Home Depot said it needed to be applied on a clean substrate...so clean I did. After I put that onto all the walls, I filled any of the holes or cracks with Drylok Fast Plug. I planned from the beginning to paint the whole room with Drylok waterproofing paint, so I picked up 5 gallons for the three exterior walls of this roughly 500 square foot space....but then I read the directions and it said that it wasn't meant to be used on floors, even as an underlay coat - my plan was to put clear epoxy over the Drylok paint. So I ended up just painting the walls, and now I have 2 gallons to return. I did a little more research and found out that Drylock makes an epoxy as well, so I think that's what I'll go with for the floor. (I plan to use white. My husband thinks this is a mistake, but I'm going to go for it anyway. I don't want to go with gray, because that just looks like bare concrete or a garage, and I'm not so much into tan right now. He thinks it will show dirt or stains, I think it's epoxy and if it can stand up to tire burns, it should be ok for a craft/rec room.) I did end up painting a roller's width around the edges, since that will be covered by the sill plate for the walls and never walked on.

Speaking of wall framing....

The actual contractor with an actual truck was really surprised that we could fit 100 2x4's in our Prius wagon in the Home Depot pickup lane. We can't quite handle drywall sheets (we'll have to either rent a truck or arrange for delivery when we get to that stage), but the wagon has really served us well!

We dragged all our materials downstairs and got started! Immediately upon starting to snap our lines for the sill plates, we ran into a few roadblocks. Namely....water main and gas line. 

Yep, can't quite block those in easily. Or with a straight wall. We mulled it over for awhile, and like any architects....found that a picture was worth a thousand words. I grabbed the pencil and crudely scratched out my idea on that roller's width of white paint on the floor!

(I snapped a picture that was totally illegible when I uploaded it, so I added some darker lines) Basically, we need to maintain access to the water main on the floor, so we're going to build a bench that can be removed should we ever need to. Then, we'll bump out the wall a few inches to clear the gas line at the ceiling, and add some shelves in the resulting niche. Win-win, more storage, and it turns these problem spots into a "design element." Pro tip - any time you have to do something that might be weird....it's a "design element."

Another pro tip I've learned these past few weeks.....

keeping your bottle cap around keeps the sawdust out of your beer. Er, construction fuel.

Wing wall that will divide the bench and shelves for that "design element."

We got about this far on day one of framing, and got all but about 6 studs up on another day this past weekend. That gas line that necessitates the wall bump is also, conveniently, leaking. Yay! Our gas service was updated last year, so when the guy came out to replace the meter, he sealed off the leak with some kind of fancy tape. Technically this worked, so we're not in imminent danger or anything, but it should really get a permanent fix before we enclose it. We...well, the stronger of us....tried wrenching on the pipe leading to the leaking union, and it wouldn't budge. We're going to have our burly contractor neighbor come and take a look, but I think we'll end up calling in a pro for that, so that's one of the areas we haven't finished framing out yet. No need to make the job harder for the pipe fixers! We also didn't finish framing out the door until we actually purchased said door, because that made good sense. We've since picked one up, but it's nothing exciting. Just a plain, primed, flush door. It would be nice to get something paneled, but since the doors in the rest of the house are peeling hollow core doors....it didn't make sense to put the very nicest one in the basement! (Even as a plain flush door....given that it's not peeling up at the bottom....it's still the nicest one.)

But otherwise....we're almost fully framed! Next up, more very boring "in the walls" stuff like running new electrical, putting in air returns, redirecting the vents so that the heat comes in at floor level like it should (opposite of the rest of the house....), and insulation. Then comes drywall! That should be sort of a horrible job, but exciting in that it will then look like a room!

edit to add....I would be remiss if I didn't mention this ridiculous snafu. We just put up the last of the studs in front of this desk/work table. And I realized that because there is a large brick chimney to the left of this photo (you can see a peek of it at the bottom of the picture)....and a steel column touching the right side of the desk....that we had completely enclosed it. Whoops!

We decided that the path of least resistance would be just to unscrew the top from the base and shimmy it out that way....but man. Sometimes.

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