Progress: painting the basement walls and ceiling

2 min read Painting has always been one of my favorite home improvement activities.  My mom changed the wall colors almost as often as she changed her mood and the whole family was always permitted (expected) to help out as needed.  

Spreading paint onto my newly drywalled basement was a deeply satisfying several day process, fueled by color energy and audio books.  The one down side was that, without the final electric installed and with the new sheet rock ceiling blocking my ability to hang lights from the rafters, it was a bit dark down there.  Continue reading “Progress: painting the basement walls and ceiling”

Progress: The basement drywall is in!

2 min read The drywall was hung, taped, and textured and now its ready for me to get on with painting. I have a quick decision to make. Help!

While I was upstairs, ripping out the wall-to-wall carpet, the drywall crew was downstairs turning the basement spaces back into rooms.  It’s very exciting to see the work progressing.  Continue reading “Progress: The basement drywall is in!”

Progress: Installing Batt Insulation

2 min read Having passed the framing and electrical inspections, the next direct step for the basement was to finish up the insulation. For the first time ever, this task turned out to be easier than I expected.

It was unexpectedly challenging to find 23” batts of insulation (designed for more efficient 24 inch on center framing I used) which were ALSO unfaced (no place for moisture to get stuck) AND designed for a 2×4 wall (not an attic).  I scoured the internet for this unicorn of insulation objects, the 23” unfaced 3.5” batt and finally had to special order it to be delivered to Menards.  Continue reading “Progress: Installing Batt Insulation”

Basement Progress: Electrical Rough In

< 1 min read In what was actually one of the easiest steps in the whole basement project – a day and a half of concentrated work by me, my dad, and our fabulous electrician Terry Kuehn – we made some of the most concrete-feeling progress. We’ve created order from chaos from order!

We have the electric boxes, cans and wiring installed!   In what was actually one of the easiest steps in the whole basement project – a day and a half of concentrated work by me, my dad, and our fabulous electrician Terry Kuehn – we made some of the most concrete-feeling progress.  Now there are just a few last items to check off before we get our electrical and framing inspections, install insulation and then call the drywallers!  Continue reading “Basement Progress: Electrical Rough In”

Fun with an Infra Red thermometer

2 min read Nothing shows the importance of insulation like an IR thermometer.  It is best used when the temperature differential between inside and outside is greatest – mid summer or winter. 

Since it was 20 degrees outside all day yesterday, I took some readings of the window frame before finishing the insulation seal in and around the window framing.  The difference was pretty dramatic.

(Note: you also FEEL the difference dramatically with your hand but that shows up less well in a blog post.)  Continue reading “Fun with an Infra Red thermometer”

Progress: Bedroom Light and Vent, plus an Egress Window!

2 min read Once we filled in the big hole we’d had dug in the ground, I turned my attention to filling in the big hole we’d had cut in the basement wall.

My plan is to turn the SE corner of the basement from a dim and dingy office/”bedroom” into a functional, bright and safe legal fourth bedroom.    For health and safety reasons a bedroom, especially one in a basement needs a window.  There was a tiny ceiling level window the the space before.  Once expanded, it now serves all those needs.  Continue reading “Progress: Bedroom Light and Vent, plus an Egress Window!”

Progress: Basement Bedroom Window Well

3 min read We made  big jump forward in basement progress this week with the jump start on the new egress window.  From first thing Monday morning to late Wednesday we made some pretty dramatic changes to the south side of the house!

The basement currently has five small windows just at or below grade.  In the new design, two will be in the unfinished basement – and we’ll just pop in some better insulated replacements, two will be in the den and they will get new deep window sills set in with the vent soffit running around the ceiling edge and then there’s the bedroom window … it needs to be expanded dramatically to allow the required amount of air ventilation, natural light and a safe way to escape the house in an emergency.  Continue reading “Progress: Basement Bedroom Window Well”

Tap in the SubFloor, One Tile at a Time

3 min read The old basement walls were built from the vinyl tile flooring straight up to the ceiling and attached to 2×2 furring strips that were bolted straight to the painted concrete walls. I want to improve the insulation of the basement and also the air circulation so that no mold will form in dead air cold spaces. First step: install a DriCore sub floor system.

I’m working with a dry basement (generally) but I did notice a little mold on the back of some of the knotty pine and drywall I moved from the original “finished” space.  The walls I took out had been built from the vinyl tile flooring straight up to the ceiling and attached to 2×2 furring strips that were bolted straight to the painted concrete walls.  I want to improve the insulation of the basement and also the air circulation so that no mold will form in dead air cold spaces.   Continue reading “Tap in the SubFloor, One Tile at a Time”

Progress: Basement Demolition and Discoveries

4 min read After a long winter of being distracted by design work and other projects, I got back to the fun of tearing apart the house again a few weeks ago.

[Actually I began some exploratory demolition by pulling down a few ceiling tiles at the end of January, only to be delayed by a the sudden memory that the building inspector hadn’t NOT said that the ugly acoustic tile ceiling could contain asbestos.  I decided to play it safe and took a sample over to the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene for testing to confirm that it was safe.  Thirty eight bucks and three weeks later I got the all clear and was ready to head back down the basement stairs.] Continue reading “Progress: Basement Demolition and Discoveries”