Turning basement lemons into lemonade

It’s been a while, readers, and for that I am sorry.  But to be fair, we haven’t done a heck of a lot of house stuff since the great flooding of January 2014.  When you last creeped in on our lives, we had rescued the furniture and floorboards from the rec room, and moved everything upstairs or to other rooms.  It was a sad day in home ownership, and we took a mental break from thinking about nice new things we wanted to do with the house when our reality was sad and expensive.  But we are pleased to share that the rec room basement leaks have been repaired.  The rec room is far from back to normal, but it’s coming along.  Let’s start with that, yes?

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This is our basement today.  You missed all the fun we had in January immediately after the leaks were discovered, when Simon ripped open all of our walls to find several cracks along the main length of the Star Wars poster wall.  It turns out the initial crack that caused some flooding when we first moved in was just one of many.  Simon thoroughly patched and sealed that first crack from the inside and outside of the house, but there were a few more lurking beneath the drywall.

Here is the same picture with some MS Paint lines drawn on it to show where he had to cut away to get access to all of the cracks:

Basement with lines for cutoutsI meant to take pictures of the process, but I didn’t, so you’ll have to settle for using your imagination.  Since the great mega-thaw flood, Simon has epoxied, patched, and put the drywall back, and Dan repainted the wall.  Dan also put the Star Wars posters back up, because it’s important.

We also had Simon carry on examining the wall for cracks into the mechanical room.  Spoiler alert: he found more.  There was a crack right in the back corner of the house, and another one behind the furnace.  While the mechanical room was drywalled already, we weren’t really interested in re-drywalling it when no one but us ever goes into that room.  Instead, we opted for leaving it at insulation.  The mechanical room is also mostly back to normal, except it also includes a few displaced items that will eventually return to the rec room.

We also wanted to just bite the bullet and check all the walls in the whole basement, to deal with any trouble spots once and for all.  Simon had finished his work in the rec room and mechanical room, and left it to us to rip down the paneling in the workout room and laundry room so he could assess the situation.

To refresh your memories, here is the workout room shortly after we moved in:

Original basement
Here it is during post-flood:

Insulation, craft table, and craft shelves
And here it is as Dan takes a satisfying tear-down at the paneling:

Oscar, photo-bomber
In one afternoon, Dan removed all of the paneling and plastic, and made two great big piles of trash in the room, and revealed this beauty:

Crack # I've lost count
Hello crack!  This one was hiding behind the water heater, and this is where we saw a wee bit of water coming in during the mini-thaw we had this week.  Side note: it rained and the temperature was above zero, and not a drop came through any of the patched walls, YAY!!

Here’s our newest crack close up:

CRAAAAAAACK
Every one of our cracks has been repaired in the past, but according to Simon, they were done a long time ago, and not that well.  Judging on the fact that the most recent wall covering in the workout room was WOOD PANELING, this one must have been repaired years ago.

Simon arrived this afternoon to look at his new challenge and discuss the game plan.  Step one was is breaking out the epoxy again to repair these cracks.

Here’s the basement today after Simon finished removing the old crack patches:

Cracks are ready to be filled
Oh yeah, and there was another crack under the window.  That one is on the driveway side of the house, so until we’re ready to tear up the driveway (that project is a looooong way off), it can only be repaired from the inside.  All of the other cracks are being repaired from both sides of the foundation.

I know it’s sad that we even have to deal with this issue, but doesn’t the basement look 1000% better than before?  This was a wonderful reason to finally pull down the paneling.  Also, the insulation that was in the workout room was not done properly, so this gives us a chance to correct the problems before we finish the room.

Phase 1 will be to repair the cracks, upgrade the electrical outlets (which were super dicey in the workout room, so again, this was a good excuse to get that project done), re-insulate the room properly, and leave it in a position to be drywalled.  Phase 2 will be for us to drywall, and Dan is leaning towards doing that one himself to save some money.

Crackity crack crack
Crack under the window
While we’re at it, Simon may also do some roughing in for our future powder room in the basement.  If we’re going to get a the point where we’re ready to drywall, we might as well build in the walls and plan for what will be added in the not-too-distant future (we’re thinking 2015 for the bathroom).

Here’s the future bathroom corner:

Totally a bathroom
Simon will be doing some work in this corner before we can seal it up with drywall and start planning for a bathroom.  The landing for our stairs to the basement is exposed here, and that whole thing needs some reinforcement.

And throughout the last month, you might have been wondering why you weren’t invited over for tea/dinner/TV time.  That would be because our house is in mid-chaos mode trying to accommodate all of the extra furniture that has to live somewhere other than the rec room for a while.

Our living room includes 2/3 of the rec room couch in addition to the regular upstairs furniture:

Living room with an extra couch
The other piece of the sectional is chilling in the office right now.

Section of couch in office
The DVD towers are still sitting in the dining room, but I like that option a lot more than lugging them downstairs to hang out in the rec room, and then having to move them again when we put back the flooring.

DVD tower pile in the dining room
Speaking of flooring, it seems like it all survived the leak, and it’s propped up against the wall waiting for the snow to melt.

Flooring waits for its time to shine again
We’re chipping away at all the stupid crack stuff to get done, and thinking about how nice it will be to have the rec room back.  Think dry thoughts, everyone.

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About joeyandjanice

Two crazy kids trying to make sense of the jumble surrounding making the jump from renting to owning our first home. Join us here as we stumble towards the biggest purchase of our lives.
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3 Responses to Turning basement lemons into lemonade

  1. racheltamaye says:

    It’s great that you guys are able to turn a bad situation into something great! I find this quite useful in situations like this – ‘Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us’

  2. racheltamaye says:

    And by quite…i meant quote!

  3. Uncle Mark says:

    I’m sad that the mysterous toilet roll hanger no longer decorates the basement wall. I hope you kept it…

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