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....