Monday, March 21, 2011

Basement re-do

So we are re-doing our basement and its been a long time coming.  For one, the previous owner thought that painting over thick vinyl wallpaper, and outlets and baseboards and some lights....was a good idea.  It was not.  But the main reason that we are re-doing it is because our house is 3 levels and each of those levels has a room.  This has worked out pretty well for us because our re-done upstairs loft is our bedroom, our main level room is our cool ski den and the basement room has been a of great shame.  But now with little _______ on her way we knew we would need a room for her.  I didn't feel like running up and down stairs in the middle of the night and the basement will be much cooler in the summer so we decided to make that main active area into our bedroom, with the nursery in the formerly shameful room.  So, re-do the basement!

Step one was to get more light.  For the entire basement, including the "room of doom", there were 5 can lights, we had to add lamps to make it even remotely bright down there.  So, out when 5 cans and in their place?  12 new cans!  Its now the brightest place in our house.  Step 2.  Remove the crappy "improvements" of the former occupant.

Here is anna, going to town on the wall paper/paint.  

This part was fun and easy, it peeled right off, well, except the glue, so we were encouraged that it wouldn't be a tough project.

Here is the wall with the paper/paint removed.  It actually looks better like this.

Step 3 was to finish getting all the residual glue and paper off of the walls.  

For one wall this was very easy, a little vinegar and some scrapping and it was essentially gone.  The other wall...Well lets just say that after 3 days of steaming, spraying and was time for plan B

Actually, taking the wall apart was my plan A from the start, but the one wall went so smoothly in the trials that we invested probably a little more time than we should have going the traditional route.  

This worked out good though because i needed to figure out why our basement was so drafty.  I found out and the results were interesting;

1. It wasn't the insulation - polystyrene is actually a very good insulator, if poorly fire retardant.
2. The people who installed the gas fireplace didn't read the instructions very carefully or chose to ignore them completely - Major safety issues were addressed by Joe and I to get it closed to code.  Also we tore out the ugly brick hearth.  

3. Leaving a gaping hole to the chimney space is bad for insulation - That space above the fireplace you can see above wasn't covered (presumably to adhere to code that no combustibles be installed above that space), instead it was just left open but covered by a lacquered wood mantle that gushed air.  Also, Lacquered wood is a definite combustible, BTW.  We will replace it with non-combustible hardibacker cement board.
4. Combustion air is a big deal.  We are going to be completely re-designing our furnace in terms of combustion air.  

Okay, back to the basics.   The nice thing about this whole project is that I FINALLY go to run my cables!  Previously our cable went all the way around our house on the exterior then in through the big bay window in the basement...through the window!  Then down an ugly cord into the wall where it made a series of odd patches to the room of doom.  Then it ran, via a long cable hastely strung into the mechanical room and finally up to the den.  Yeah.  So the new route goes strait into the mechanical room from the outside and out from there.  It was a pain to run...but it will be worth it. The old cable, in addition to being super kludgy and unsightly, was of poor shielding and quality and would consistently affect our TV and internet connection. 

 Here is the good stuff!  Quad shielded cable running from the mechanical room to 5 different points directly. happy!  I was also planning on speaker wire and cat6, but determined that I will save that for our next house.  Our N router is broadcasting down the street at 100mbps as it is.  Nerd talk, oh well. 

That brings us to Step 4.  Rebuilding the walls.  With the cable routed and the insulation problems getting patched up we are now free to re-drywall.  A task I don't really mind all that much, in fact i think I'm pretty good at it.  Of course its been great having Anna's dad Joe "helping" us out.  Helping in quotes because its been pretty much him doing the work with us helping out.  Anyway, here is the progress so far!  Coming along...

There is still MUCH to do:

Fireplace hearth
Fireplace mantle
Patching holes in the ceiling
Texturing the ceiling
patching and texturing the BIG hole in the ceiling left over from the pipe burst on christmas eve in the bathroom.
Putting the carpet back together
Putting a door up in the mechanical room
insulating the mechanical room
and painting...

So...stay tuned for more exciting updates!

1 comment:

Wade and Brianna said...

Wow! I didn't even know that you guys were actually doing that much. The place will look so awesome! I can't wait to see it all finished. Let us know if we can help at all!