Saturday, September 10, 2005

Basement Renovation, Part 1

We've been wanting to do some work on the basement laundry room for a long time. The primary problem with it is that the walls do not go all the way up to the floor above them. As a result, when there's a breeze outside it goes through the crawlspace and right up over the wall into the basement. This makes that room very cold, along with Rachel's room, which is right above it. The breeze, if strong enough, will also go up the stairs into the kitchen.

The way that we're going to deal with these breezes is to seal the wall using insulation and to seal all the miscellaneous holes through the wall from the crawl space to the basement or the floor up to the main living areas. We think this will make a big difference, but insulating those walls and the exterior wall of the laundry should help too. This will make the basement warmer, which should keep Rachel's room (on top of it) warmer.

I spent a goodly chunk of last weekend (mostly Sunday, really) working on getting everything out of the basement. Mainly, I needed to get enough stuff out of there to let the contractor install the insulation, but I also was planning on painting. Until Dawn says, "you know, as long as we're taking everything out, we ought to do the floor too." Uh... OK. Keep in mind that we have a limited amount of time to do this - with Rachel's birthday coming up, I have to have all the stuff back out of the guest bedroom before Dawn's father comes up to visit.

My plan this morning was to vacuum the whole place and trim back the linoleum to give me access to the foundation & base trim and then start painting. Of course, I immediately hit the first road block - the last time I used the shop vac (with the 1-1/4" inch diameter hose, I think), I was apparently cleaning up needle leaves. I can't remember why at the moment. The problem is that the hose is so narrow that the leaves got stuck in the hose, so there's next to no suction left. I tried using my plumber's snake to clear it, but that wasn't working... so, after breakfast, I made a trip to Home Depot.

Back from Home Depot, I'm now armed with the tile I'll eventually be putting down, a floor scraper to help get up the linoleum, a good knife for cutting both the linoleum and the tile, and a bunch of 2-1/4" vacuum parts. I think I still need to go back at some point and get a better connector for connecting the hose to the vacuum, but one of the ones the hose came with will do for now. It's vacuuming much better now.

I'm really not sure why, but after doing some of the vacuuming, it occurred to me that the work of getting the linoleum out and cleaning the floor to whatever degree is necessary may be a bit messy, so perhaps I really should do that before I do the painting! Taking up the linoleum really wasn't hard at all, especially with the handy dandy knife and the excellent extra blades I got... Of course, the stuff doesn't always come up with all the backing, but that's what I got the scraper for.

Oh, and now I discover that there's mold under the linoleum. Great. Just great. That means I'm going to have to clean the mold up. Time to go back to the hardware store. They suggested using TSP and then sealing the concrete floor with this water-based Quikrete waterproofing. I picked that over the other two they had because it is water-based; oddly, it's not on Ace's or Quikrete's web sites. I probably need to get a different roller for that, but I didn't yet. I also haven't concluded one way or the other whether I really need to use an adhesive remover.

To finish off the day's work on this project, my neighbor and I pulled the washer and dryer out (but not the water header), and I made up a batch of TSP/water and used our mop to spread it around. I've already figured out that water will at least help get up more of the linoleum that's still down, but I'm not convinced entirely that it's going to help with the adhesive. For now, though, I just want to let the TSP do it's thing on the mold (it already smells better right now), so we'll see how things are in the morning.

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