Monday, November 21, 2011

the great basement redo: demolition

Remember back in the summer, during our "vacation," when the basement flooded with sewage?  That was horrible.  Well, the result of that was that we discovered that our retro-style wood paneling was kind of... moldy.  Actually, it turned out it was really moldy.  And our carpet was trashed.  It seemed like a good time to redo the basement.  We got a bid from a contractor, submitted it to our insurance company, and got the go-ahead to redo the basement.  Then, we waited.  We waited six weeks.  We called the contractor, and said we were anxious to have our basement back (and not have potentially health-threatening mold growing in our walls).  He ignored us.  We called again, and told us if we didn't hear back from him, we'd have to find someone else.  He finally called us back, and said that if we wanted someone to get started before the holidays, we would have to find someone else.  You know, the old "You can't fire me, cuz I quit."  Nice.  So we called three other contractors, and asked them to submit bids.  Only one actually came out to do an estimate, which we never received.  One called and said he would come look at it, and never showed up, and the third did not call back at all.

Finally, 10 weeks after starting the process, we said F THIS and decided to do the basement ourselves.  The drawback is that we did not have the tools, or actually know how to do everything that needed to be done.  We enlisted the help of some of our friends from Massachusetts, who came down last weekend to "help" (except that by help, I mean tell us everything we need to do, and do all the hard parts). 

So, to give you a sense of what we're dealing with, let's see some "before" pictures.

Here's what the kids' playroom looked like for 10 weeks -- note the exposed carpet tacks on the concrete floor, which used to be covered in asbestos tile.  Also note the several weird shelves too shallow to put anything on (except, apparently, the old filter for our shop vac).

One of the "best" features of our basement (depending on who you ask) was this:

That's a wood-paneled bar.  From the mid-sixties.  Demolishing the bar reminded me that everyone's "before" picture was once someone's "after."  Can't you imagine the people who used to live here, picking out just the right paneling for their awesome, trendy bar?  Anyway, we thought, since we were demolishing the basement, it was time for that to go too, since the only purpose it served now was something for the kids to jump off of and get hurt when the adults weren't paying attention.  You can see, behind the bar, where I had started to pull off some of the paneling.  That's how I figured out that not only were our walls moldy, the insulation -- the original rock wool from when the basement was finished in the sixties -- was too thin and deteriorating, and our studs had been eaten by termites about ten years ago.

So we got out the dust-masks, the gloves, and ripped it all apart.  It took us, our kids, and our Mass friends' kids one day to rip down all the paneling, all the rotted/eaten studs, and the bar.

(picture taken with a dusty camera while I sweep up)

(where the bar used to be)

Now, we're working on putting up the new studs, properly insulating, and then adding sheet rock walls.  To be continued....

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