Friday, September 16, 2005

Basement Saga, Parts 3, 4, and 5

I am really, really tired. This project got a lot bigger when I discovered that there was mold under the linoleum, although it was probably bigger than I realized anyway. I didn't do anything on the project on Monday or Wednesday, but Tuesday night I did a little.

I stopped at OSH (shopping trip #6) on the way home and picked up a tube of concrete caulk, a new mop head, a heat gun, and another scraper. John suggested the idea of the heat gun for getting the adhesive & remaining linoleum backing off the concrete slab in the basement. It seems good in theory, but it only helped a little probably in part because it left me scraping with a 1-1/2" wide scraper; I have serious doubts about the notion that it was putting out 750 or 1000 degrees. I mean, it was able to heat the scraper blade enough that I'd feel it through the heavy work gloves I was wearing. Otherwise, it sucked... I spent almost two hours and did some of a few square feet. The mold smell is still pretty strong, even though I threw bleach or tsp/bleach at it a few times.

Wednesday afternoon, I decided to get some Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner from Berkeley Bowl since I was doing shopping anyway (so it doesn't really count as a trip for this project). Before bed, I threw another bunch of bleach at it... this time about 1/3 bleach to 2/3 water, mopped it around & tried not to leave any standing liquid. Oh, and I got permission from my boss to take Thursday and Friday off. Since Dawn's dad is coming up for Rachel's birthday weekend on either Thursday or Friday of next week, I really want to have this done - almost everything from the basement is in the guest bedroom right now!

Given the less than stellar performance of the heat gun (which I plan to take back), I decided Thursday morning first to try out the Simple Green. I sprayed a bunch of it on a patch on the floor and waited a couple of minutes; that seemed to work fairly well, so I went to Berkeley Bowl again to get another spray bottle of it & a larger bottle for refills (shopping trip #7). Then I went to Ashby Lumber, mainly to get more scrappers, gloves and face masks, but also to see whether they might have a more hard-core adhesive remover that was still citrus-based, non-flammable, and water soluble. They had something that was two of the three (a semi-paste, non-flammable, water-soluble one), though it's flammability might be suspect - it isn't liquid so it doesn't produce as much vapor. Since I don't really want to have to turn off the gas to the water heater, I decided not to bother with that.

From there, I went to Truitt and White. There's a worker pickup area around there, almost like a casual car-pool. For some reason, people looking for construction work started hanging out there (but not at OSH or the Home Depot). I found two guys, Carlo & Roberto, and agreed to pay them $12/hour to help me out. This suddenly made things a lot faster... we used the Simple Green some of the time - it definitely helped some - and scraped and scraped. Once the scraping was done, we started some painting. I dropped them off near BART about 5, agreed to meet them there at 10 Friday, and went to get Rachel. I was tired and sore; the basement is 5'8" to the joists, and at 6'4", I can't quite stand up straight even between them, so there was much bending over to go with the squating, kneeling, etc.

Today, we made even more progress. I returned the mop head I got the other day because it wasn't the right type and picked up another tube of caulk, the correct mop head, and something else I can't even remember right now. That's shopping trip #8. After I picked them up again, Carlo and I started with scraping out the concrete cracks while Roberto worked on painting. Carlo patched the cracks with the caulk (except the crack between the slab and the foundation, which just started swallowing the caulk - I sent Aaron to get two more, he got three, but we decided to stop after 1 of those) while Roberto and I did more painting. And then there was more painting. Once we did the majority of the painting (and it was getting a little late), we painted on the first coat of the Quikrete waterproofing. This stuff is bizarre - it's like paint, except a lot thicker and almost mealy.

The waterproofing needs 12 hours to dry before the second coat. It also doesn't smell too bad, but it's worse than the paint. The bleach and Simple Green seem to have taken care of the mold - the paint smell was enough that I couldn't really say whether the mold is gone, but Dawn, who is clearly allergic to the mold could smell the paint and Simple Green but didn't react to mold the way she had the other day. In the morning, I'll do another coat. I don't really know if it has to dry 12 hours before we start putting the vinyl tile down, but my instinct tells me that it should, since we'll be covering it up.

That means I won't have much to do Saturday after all, at least as far as actual work in the basement, but I'll have to spend most of Sunday on the vinyl tile. Saturday, I will try to spend some time finding someone who sells WireTech shelving parts; we have a black 4' wide, 52" high unit and we want to line the walls with this stuff; it looks reasonably nice and works well. Ultimately, we may wind up ordering the stuff online if I have to, but since I really want to get the basement all squared away by Tuesday, I'm hoping to be able to buy it locally.

The end is in sight.

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