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a basement -- reborn!!

basement was previously partially finished, with no insulation (1/8 inch polystyrene), walls only firred out with 1 x 1's, and heating vents in ceiling. Water coming in through floor and seepage in walls "allowed" me to do this work.

Before I did interior work, I relandscaped exterior -- added raised planting beds against house with plastic lining on exterior wall to base of wall (man, being in that trench was muy scary!!! -- used old pallets for shoring up and to use as ladder in and out). After another monster storm (6.5 inches in 5 hrs) knew I'd reduced problem to minimal (except in event of a Noah-sized flood).

During same time, completed demolition of all exterior walls, and was completed after about 8 weeks (working between shifts, and between baseball games -- interior work when couldn't stand the sight of another shovel of dirt, or when raining). Then acid washed all walls in utility side, used the water-stopping concrete on all holes, and same type of paint on walls (3 coats, all walls).

Framed 16 in on center...except where I had to join 2 studs to form top and bottom plates. Due to water seepage from floor seam, rather than connecting stud walls to floor, I nailed them up to joists -- making the room "float." I shimmed up the base, but placed plastic shims in to maintain water-barrier integrity to base of wall -- if any water came in, would not touch wood, or the connected sheetrock!!

Made a few errors pulling the wires, but cousin (only helper) who is a master electrician came to do final connections and corrected my lost grounds, etc. What a guy!! just cost me a couple of batches of salsa!

Vapor barrier, R19 insulation, sheetrock, taping, sanding...sanding...sanding...taping...man, the amount of joint compound a person uses is directly proportionate to how far you have to lift it!! Got it done, decided texturing ceilings was in order to cover errors in taping and to match rest of house's ceilings. Note to others: don't texture a ceiling that is only 7 ft high...you get covered in more crap faster than when you are doing the 10 ft ceilings you are accustomed to. Included a few of those pics

Finishing: post and beam house, with both exposed. Trim them with beautiful pine!!! Finished with natural stain and poly. All baseboard is 1/4 in off final floor level, with shoe covering all but 1/16 in of gap -- in case water ever comes in again!!! Italian floor tile completed project -- see how the pine and the tile colors complement and accent?

...when laying the tile, deliberately didn't get grout lines straight so I could use them to redirect any water -- tested it by dripping water and watching it flow toward floor drain in utility room...then removed minute amounts of grout in certain channels to further direct any water (I test this out every spring before rainy season -- tho no water has come in, I want to be sure that if it does, water will follow the path of least resistance that I've created for it!!!)

No heat vents (can add through wall later, if I want). Winter temps in basement without heat never go below 62 degrees -- even when frost line was down to 52 inches, still maintained that comfortable temp, thanks to all the insulation! I did add an electronic fireplace that doubles as a 48 inch doorway into utility room -- if house ever needs a new furnace, can simply roll fireplace out of way and use that gap as egress in and out. Leads directly next to water-heater and furnace.

Time to complete (from initial demo to final finish) 18 mos. Worked alone (except cousin), hauling everything in and out. Greatest sense of accomplishment -- I did it, despite work, despite car accidents (hurt spine), and despite everyone telling me that I couldn't do it! woohoo -- nothing like proving the nay-sayers wrong!!

And I couldn't have done it without Tommy Silva's (love you!!) advice, Roger Cook's examples (that's how I figured out the landscaping), Richard Trethewey's laugh (decided against a half bath, but can still do a "raised floor" like you did in the Boston project last year -- but you've helped me with oodles of plumbing thingees with this old house!). Thank you all for your long-distance encouragement!!


Minneapolis 1951 House -- 1 1/2 stories tall, 1958 "livable" space with now another 752 added to it!!

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