Wednesday, July 22, 2020

What About the Basement???

I haven't mentioned the basement in awhile and it really has come a long way!!  A lot of this is behind the wall stuff, but it's so important for the future of the house.

And there is so much living space down there, it really deserves some attention.  This is a dry basement, which is a bit unusual in this area.  We have had some major storms recently and haven't seen a drop of water down there.  And as we have peeled back the walls, all of the studs are completely dry.  Such a nice surprise!

Just getting all the stuff out of there has made the basement look better!  And we gutted the space, which made a huge difference in the way it looked - and smelled!! The paneling and pressed board ceiling held a lot of nicotine odors!

We will have two big living areas.  The first was the original owner's office.  After clearing the space we gutted it and were able to take the dropped ceiling out.  That suddenly makes it feels so much bigger and brighter (BTW - we will be installing new, slightly larger windows which will help bring in a bit more natural daylight).

The second living area is a mirror of the big room above.  The congested workroom is gone and now it's just a big bonus room that can be used any way the new owners want.

But the biggest change was creating a doorway between the two living areas.  I hated that you had to walk through the utility room to get between the two rooms.    So we needed to cut a doorway through the concrete foundation,  It was a HUGE job!  Dave started by cutting through on one side and then started cutting the rest from the back side. He had to keep water flowing the entire time to cool the saw blade and reduce dust (aka - it was a very messy process).
And then we got to watch him knock out the concrete.  So fun!!!  He had found a huge piece of styrofoam on the beach over the weekend and that turned out to be the perfect way to bounce the giant slab of concrete as it fell.  Watch the short video clip below - it's pretty fun!  And I know, concrete and bounce aren't usually used in the same sentence, but as you'll see, that's what happened!
Don't you love how the two rooms connect now???

Interestingly, houses during this era didn't have footings.  Instead, the basement walls were built in a semi pyramidal shape, to make them much thicker at the bottom.  That gave them the stability they needed. And see the giant aggregate they mixed in?  So different from today!

We are installing lots and lots of recessed lighting, so the rooms will be nice and bright.  And with fresh new drywall, it will feel like a true finished space.  We'll also do LVT (luxury vinyl tile) on the floors.  It's a great new product for basements, because it's extremely durable and won't ever rot or create odor issues like some other flooring materials.  And it really does look like wood!   We used it in a project a few years ago (and in our own basement) and are really happy with it.
Luxury Vinyl Tile in basement of a previous SoPo Cottage project
An added bonus was discovering this giant beam that holds up the floor joists.  We're going to expose it, which will give the room a bit more character!  

What else has happened?  Well, the old boiler is history.  But there was still a big challenge - because the boiler died in February, we had a half full tank of oil that we needed to get rid of.  That's an environmental problem and takes specialized skills to remove properly.  Clean Harbors came and removed the oil tank and had it properly sanitized before disposal (and yes, I think the truck was bigger than the house!!)
How do you get rid of a 1/2 tank of oil?  A GIANT truck!!
And we had even more big equipment on site (seriously, I think the neighbors find this pretty entertaining!!). We've had a gas line run to the house and will soon install a super high efficiency boiler. 

Another big job is updating all of the electrical wiring.  Farewell ungrounded wiring, hello 21st century!  Now you'll be able to plug in a 3 prong outlet.  And we're installing all the low voltage cable/CAT5 you could need! 

We have a whole lot more work ahead of us, but can you start to see a glimmer of nice living space?
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  1. Will you be putting a 100 Amp electrical subpanel in the garage so the future owners can charge their EVs?

  2. I asked my electrician about an electric vehicle outlet and he told me it really depends on the car that you have. Some just require a regular grounded outlet, others have different requirements. But if the new owners need one, it would be easy enough to add.

  3. I have been so excited to write this post for so many reasons but mostly because it means our basement bathroom project is finally finished! this project has been a long time coming - it was plain jane with a fiberglass molded shower insert, some ugly tile, and a lovely yellow and tan color palette. at first I thought we might just do a refresh like in the upstairs bathroom with paint, a little tile, and a new counter. but as i thought about it more, a full gut was the right way to go. here are all nitty gritty details on every part of the project so if you're here for the sources, scroll down to the bottom!


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