Old Stone House

Finally Some Progress…

December 7, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 1:55 pm

light7.jpgSince finishing the electrical, we’ve been waiting a month to start the drywall. The problem is, it has rained every-other-day for a month, and we couldn’t coordinate a delivery date with our friends that didn’t leave the drywall sitting in the driveway for a spell. This logistical nightmare was complicated further by the fact that in order to get the drywall into the basement, we needed to rip out the stairs…

Needless to say we had been climbing the walls for a month…

Yesterday afternoon my father and mother dropped by to visit the grandkids (I suspect they wanted to visit us as well). After exchanging pleasantries, my father, sympathetic to our frustration, suggested that we go get the drywall ‘right now’ and just ‘get it done’. Like Uncle Jesse and Bo Duke, we tore off to the lumberyard (which closed at 5:00pm) in dad’s pickup and loaded up 32 sheets of gypsum. It wasn’t until we arrived home that my father (a shop teacher and restorer of old homes) announced that he wouldn’t be lifting a single sheet of drywall.

(more agony and joy…)


October 25, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 10:12 am

light.jpgWith the framing complete, a definite momentum had begun as we now started to round the corner towards the finish. that momentum was supercharged by an evening of manly wiring.

As I mentioned earlier, all of the utilities in the basement were installed poorly, if not dangerously, and the same was true of the wiring. The one difference with the wiring was that all of the hidden junction boxes and spliced wires were for the basement room only. It seems that whoever wired the kitchen and bathroom above, did things right. It was only the ‘afterthought’ basement that had the problems. Unlike the plumbing and the heating, I didn’t have to try to preserve any of the original wiring, so I cut the whole mess out.

(more agony and joy…)

Framing – Abridged

October 20, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 9:38 am

bm1.jpgWith the major utilities dealt with, we could finally start framing the room, starting with the ceiling. Past additions and renovations meant that the ceiling joists were random at best. In the area beneath the oldest part of the kitchen, the joists were 2×10’s or 3×10’s (that’s true inches) on rough 16inch centers. The rest of the joists were combinations of different sized boards, with random spacing.

(more agony and joy…)

Plumbing Marathon – Part Two

October 10, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 9:49 am

plumb1.jpgHaving moved all of the waste pipes, installed a laundry tub, and moved the water meter, the only remaining chore was to move the copper piping. Like the ABS, the copper pipes had been installed correctly, however they were pinned on the underside of the joists, which meant that they once again would require small bulkheads if they weren’t moved. The saving grace was that the copper pipes simply needed to be raised, not reconfigured like the waste pipes.

(more agony and joy…)

Plumbing Marathon – Part One

October 9, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 1:14 pm

plumb3.jpgWith the water meter moved and the laundry tub installed, the time had arrived to address the plumbing; on this night we were going to fix all the waste pipes. Whoever had installed the original waste pipes had done a good job; in fact, all of the plumbing in the house was done well, it just wasn’t done very elegantly. Rather then try to hide pipes in the walls or ceiling, all of the plumbing had been installed without camouflage, residing below the floor joists, rather then between them, (as seen in the bathroom reno) and travelling from point A to B in the most direct route possible. The previous owners had built enormous bulkheads to conceal the pipes, but that only perpetuated their ugliness, and limited head room.

(more agony and joy…)

Moving the Water Meter

October 7, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 10:15 pm

meter1.jpgThe passageway between the two basement rooms is 30 inches wide, and four feet deep. Within that passageway, was our water meter – hanging out of the wall. My wife and I had caught shoulders on this nuisance more times then we can remember, and we were bound to move it. Up until the point that we actually decided to give the meter a new home, we figured that the hassle of calling the city to shut off the water, and then working against the clock to both move the meter, and have it inspected was likely more hassle then it was worth. However, it wasn’t until we just took a good look at the thing that we realised that there was a shut-off before the meter.

(more agony and joy…)

Before Repairing the Plumbing, Install a Laundry Tub?

October 5, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 9:55 pm

tub14.jpgWhile it may seem a little backwards, we needed to install a laundry tub before we could correct any of the plumbing. Our laundry room is one the main floor just off of the kitchen, along with our bathroom and other assorted amenities. All of the plumbing that services these appliances sits in the floor below – the ceiling of the basement room that we are renovating. It dawned on us that we had no way of draining these lines before starting work, which meant that a fair amount of water would come pouring out of the pipes the second we made our first cut. Likewise, up till now I have been using the kitchen sink to clean paint brushes, scour old hardware, clean trowels etc. and that hasn’t the most popular, arrangement. As such, it was only logical that we install a laundry tub in the back room of the basement.

(more agony and joy…)

Heating Things Up

October 1, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 10:40 am

duct5.jpgPost demo fun, we decided to first address the heating. The rear portion of the house (summer kitchen bastardization) has always been quite cool. Despite the fact that the walls are alleged to be insulated (new construction), we’ve always had the damnedest time keeping the place warm. We do have a gas fireplace in the sunroom, further to the back of the house (sunroom – an addition not added by us, and perhaps the most monstrously hideous thing you’ve ever seen… I will never likely post photos in shame) which can fit the bill for adding warmth – but again, that bill doesn’t fit us.

(more agony and joy…)

The Big Breakdown

September 26, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 10:46 pm

shovel.jpgLast night we gutted the basement. In a window of three hours my buddy Rudy and I managed to tear our every last scrap of drywall and framing and deposit all 1.5 tons of it in the driveway. What was the secret to our success? Firstly, we both grew up on farms so we know how to work hard. Second, we like breaking things. Third, we didn’t drink till AFTER we were done. Finally, we aren’t precious… We’ve watched a number of acquaintances attempt to reno their homes only to get bogged down trying to save absolutely everything! I do save things, but I’d like to think I’m a little pragmatic about it. I’m not going to try so save sheets of drywall, nor am I going to remove each nail from old 2”x4”s, nor will I attempt to rescue every electrical outlet. If I will be potentially replacing it, or at the very least, touching it – it goes. Naturally, if I encountered original pine floors, radiators, vintage light switches etc. I would do my very best to preserver that which I could. In our case, we were removing a blight someone else had added, so nothing was considered precious.

(more agony and joy…)

Is Refinishing A Basement Really Restoring?

September 20, 2006

Filed under: Basement @ 9:28 pm

light.jpgWe are embarking on a new frontier – restoring the basement. We really cant call it restoring the basement for if we were really restoring it, we would backfill it with 4 feet of dirt, resurrect the coal chute and add a few families of raccoons. Likewise, it’s not really finishing, as the past owners already attempted to do that, and we are now left to remove their handiwork. It seems that we are refinishing… Either way, the undercurrent of everything I’ll ever post still rings true here; somebody did a poor job the first time so now we’re left to redo it properly… and we hate them.

(more agony and joy…)