The entire project has taken over two years to complete but it was well worth it. The hardest part was the just gutting the basement, letting contractors replace the water displacement system (sump pump and drainage), and then waiting a year before I did any construction to see if water still found it's way into the rooms.
The actual construction took about 14 months.
Looking back the basement went through many different looks. It started with the original finished basement with horrible carpet, no insulation, bad plumbing runs, a sump pump pit in the main room, and multiple leaks.
After a few major rainstorms and the loss of power several times, my sump pump just wasn't able to keep up. I knew I had to decide if I was going to redo the basement or give up and just use it as an unfinished basement. I went with the former and hired contractors to cut up the perimeter of the interior floor, replace the drainage tubing, and move my sump pit. (See eariler posts)
Jump to a year or so later, and I began the long road towards finishing the basement. With B's help, I hired plumbers to replace the poor pipe runs that were always in the way. Next came the carpenters to put up the framing around the rooms. B and I worked on the electrical after that. Then along came drywalling. I still have visions of drywall dust lingering everywhere. Actually, I think I'm still finding places in the house where dust came from the basement.
Then the real fun began with the brick walls, ceramic floor tiles, glass tile back splash, and dri-core flooring projects. After that, painting began and the light of the end of the tunnel was starting to show. Next came the engineered hardwood flooring, wall trim, and actually putting all the light fixtures, electrical covers, and final touches into place.
It wasn't until the final weeks of putting in the flooring and touching up the paint that I realized how much work it took to remodel a basement. My back still shudders at the labor that went into it. Now when I see drywall waiting to be installed, I can help be think of all the sanding I had to do for mine.
Here's the before shots of the stairway, bar area, and back room when they were completely gutted. Check out the ugly carpet on the stairs. That use to cover the whole floor.
So happy that it's finished and I wouldn't change a thing. And a huge Thanks go out to B and N for all the support and help. I couldn't have done it on my own.
Thanks to a giagantus pot hole in DC, my old Italian buddy and commuter partner has been decimated beyond repair. That's right, my Aprilia Scarabeo 250 has traveled it's last trek via a tow truck trailer to its final resting place, my house. Thankfully, the pot hole only damaged my wheels and not me. But based on the rarity of parts and the age of the scooter (10 years), it isn't as cost effective for me run any more. The wheels alone were going to run me over $500. So once I find some replacement(used) parts I'll be selling the Beo.
However, after a few weeks as a metro bus/train commuter I started looking for another ride. The current scooter models just didn't have the same look I wanted as the Aprilia 'Beo, so I finally decided to expand into manual transmission territory. Motorcycles. It has been 25 years since I had a motorcycle, and that was a Yamaha 650 special that died more than it lived on the road.
Fast forward to me going through a refresher motorcycle course provided by a local Harley Davidson dealer, and I'm walking through their showroom looking for my new cycle. My eye was drawn to the Sportster XL1200X, Forty-Eight immediately. I test drove it with a Custom 1200 but knew that was the one I had my heart set on.
After buying my "48", I discovered the cycle was built seven days after my scooter had it's last ride.
So, by the seventh day, the Harley builders finished the work they'd been doing; so on the seventh day, I could rest on a saddle seat and enjoy my ride!
You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of shoe molding and pneumatic-nailers but of miter saws. A journey into a wondrous land whose baseboards are that of imagination. That's the sawhorse up ahead-your next stop, the Perimeter Zone!
Baseboards are something I take for granted until they start to show wear and tear. When I started thinking about what to put in the basement, I had to look at what was already installed in the rest of the house to remember what I actually had. The kind above came from Home Depot.
It took a little practice but pretty soon I had coping and miter cuts down, along with figuring out how to transitions trim over different floor heights. I had a bit of a floor drop along one wall, consisting of a tile and hardwood floors. And another more radical change between the last step and my hardwood. I like showing the transition. Here's an example of how the cuts are made..
So if you get the cracks just right, they'll be hidden with a little help from Spackle and paint.
Unfortunately, you can't cut the outer corners like that. I used a simple carpenter's protractor to measure the outer corner and divided the total to get the miter angle I needed.
All in all, I hadn't realized it was going to take a week just to run all the trim around the floor. But after learning a few new tricks, I'm happy with the results. The dog on the other hand, she's just happy the floors are clean again.
The day finally came for me to hand over my project to a third party contractor. Instead of taking it one step at a time, I decided to have them do all twelve. (Ba-dum-bump..crash)
So I go from this fine pine leftover staircase with temporary landing...
To this... And these stalworth but ugly steps to...
I know what you're thinking. Why is there a half wall of brick ramming this man's staircase? Unfortunately, my sewer outlet pipe runs through it. It's a bit off putting but after I finish the top of the half wall, it'll looks better. And from the side as you look at the brick, it's worth it.
After the contractor finished the landing, I could see it wasn't exactly square. So instead of shimming it out to square, the contractor just installed the hardwood. So now the landing looks a little crooked if you look at it long enough. bummer.. But I did catch the contractor trying to install god awful brackets on the side.
The brackets cover the profile of each tread and riser. (Note the gap for the last 5 steps in the picture above) So with a little advice from B, I used my router and fabricated these. Each step was not exactly the same height or length so it was truly a custom job. I'm pretty happy with the results.