Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Can Has Dry Basement

The new dewatering system is installed, the new hot water heater is in and heating water and I got a hot shower today, and our long national nightmare is nearly over. Well, sort-of nearly. At least the jackhammering part is done.

We're done with disruptions by contractors for a while, but we now face refinishing the ex-finished half of the basement, reinstalling the bathroom drywall (and then the fixtures, which we're leaving out for now), and sorting out everything that got moved around to clear the basement out. Mr. McGee has elaborate plans for steel studding and repaneling and built-in shelves; my ambitions run as far as using that concrete paint with the flecks so it looks like linoleum to seal the concrete on the finished side. That's it. I figure we have to seal it anyway, and then we can just use (pre-existing) throw rugs until we decide whether we want to carpet it or not. (Ideally several years from now, when I've recovered from this bout of contracting.) Once there's floor on the floor, we can move furniture back in and all we'd have to do in the future to do paneling and stuff is push everything into the center of the room, away from the walls. I am perfectly happy to sit in the unfinished dark basement on my futon until the end of time if it means no more upheaval, as long as there's floor.

The ex-finished side of my basement looks really tiny now. We had to remove ceiling light fixtures, so it's dark, and the white paneling and white drop ceiling came out, so the walls are dark cinderblock and the ceiling is dark floor joists. It's downright claustrophobic. I hadn't realized how much bigger all the white did make it look.

Now that the new sump pump is in, we can go ahead with some gardening plans to dig a small stream that will carry gutter water and sump water away from the house to a little sunken rain garden. (After this experience, I've become ultra-paranoid about moving water away from my foundation by any means possible, even though we've had zero problems since we had the driveway, which was the problem, fixed.) Maybe we can even get that dug before hard frost, so we can just plant it out come spring!

Ah, homeownership.


Anonymous said...

I would wait on finishing that basement again until after a couple really big rainstorms.

The P's had some jackhammering done years ago to fix some leakage problems and it only made it WORSE! Water came in through the seams between the old and new cement. There was a lot of water under the floor and behind the walls. The new drainage increased the water load on the two sump pumps they had. They had to get a third, as a drop in, emergency pump.

So I would tidy stuff up and wait to be sure it really works.

- Mahkno

Eyebrows McGee said...

We've already had a couple since we fixed the driveway (which is where the water was coming in), and the problem seems to be solved.

We'll test the new dewatering system with a hose, and we just had a second sump put in!

Eyebrows McGee said...

Oh, also, the new dewatering system is guaranteed until the house falls down, and if there IS any water, they pay for the damage.

Anonymous said...

If you live in central Illinois, a finished basement is a bad idea. Just forget it. At sometime, when you least expect it, water will seep in. Even if it takes decades, you will still have to deal with the possibility of mold growing behind paneling and underneath carpeting. About 50 years ago, someone had the bright idea to put knotty pine paneling in our 150-year-old house's basement. We have spent the last year ripping it out. There is mold growing all over it. And, it has successfully hid other foundation problems, so they have increased, whereas if previous owners had known about them, they could have been corrected. A basement is a basement: use it for a tornado shelter and a place for your water heater, furnace, and washing machine. That's it.