Insulating the Basement

The first section of the basement studs is up! As you can see, our basement has a low ceiling, there are areas where we have to duck to get around.

The basement was finished when we bought Mist Cottage, and full of mildew and mold and chipmunk dens and mouse nests… so we gutted it. There were no salvageable materials.

It was a very wet basement. We invested a lot of money in digging up around the foundation, installing drainage tiles and water shield. But the water problem was still with us. So Attila broke a hole through the basement floor and dug a sump hole, installed a pump, and that helped, but it didn’t solve the problem.

Unbeknownst to us, a water main was broken in our front yard, and was saturating the ground around our house, seeping through the concrete walls and up through the floor. And the water traveled beyond our property.

The inspectors came because one of our neighbours assumed we were causing water problems in their basement, so instead of talking to us, they called the municipality and submitted a formal complaint against us. It turned out that was the the best way to do it, as the problem was quickly discovered and remedied. And we didn’t have to acknowledge the complaint, and could easily ignore it, pretending to know nothing about it. At that time I was using the power washer to remove the original exterior paint, which used a lot of water. She assumed that was flooding her basement. But it wasn’t us causing the problems!

When the municipality came and replaced the broken water main, THAT solved the water problem in our basement.

It will be good to get some insulation on these walls, as there is quite an expanse of blocks that are exposed above ground. I think the floors on the upper floor will be warmer when this project is finished!

Last weekend Attila started on the insulating the basement project.

Monday evening we visited the local lumber yard to order the materials needed to build the stud walls and drywall. Today the materials were delivered.

I have taken a lot of deliveries in my time and, with a few exceptions, the delivery fellows, and they have always been fellows, have been courteous and helpful. The delivery man today was exceptional. He was friendly, and helpful above and beyond the bare bones of a delivery. Attila had told me that the drywall could be stacked outside, assuming the delivery people would not bring it into the garage, and I was left a plastic sheet to cover it up in case it rained before he got home. But this young man did not like that idea, and he suggested that the drywall be carried into the garage, which he did for me. Then after he stacked all of the wood on the driveway, he covered it with the plastic sheet and secured the sheet so that the wind could not blow it around. This was a delivery from Home Hardware, and I have got to say that their employees are pretty darn good.

Attila did prep work for the last few weeks, moving things out of the way mostly. Moving things out of the way, is a pretty big job. Because this is a tiny house, and well, if you move it, where do you put it!?! He managed though. Some stuff went into the garage, never to return to the basement, yay! Other things were piled here and there., some of it in the living room. And a few corners were reorganized so as to make room for more stuff. Yesterday he finished moving the stuff that needed to be moved.

The other prep work that needed to be done was insulating the rim joists in the section of the basement he will be working on. This was an area that had been infiltrated by chipmunks, when we bought the place, so there was a bit of repair work needed there. It was all ship shape by last night.

And so the actual renovation begins! There is a lot of banging and whirring, hammers and electric saws.

Worldly

Weather

-1°C
Date: 8:00 PM EST Wednesday 20 November 2019
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.2°C
Dew point: -3.2°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -5
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi
1869 – 1948

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6 Responses to Insulating the Basement

  1. WendyNC says:

    Wow–what great service. Cudos to that young man–and to his employer who apparently understands that quality delivery service takes some time.

    It looks like a great beginning on the project. While I’m sure some fiddly bits will come up along the way, I wish you both the best for it to go smoothly.

  2. Margarett says:

    Maggie: Your experience with the delivery warmed my heart. More proof that there are kind people left in this world. We get our fire. Place wood from some young men, who are really close to our home. They are so polite and always stack the wood just right. We have been using them for several years. Can’t get to sleep tonight….I have to be at the surgical center at 7 in the morning for my rhizotomy, left side. I guess I need to look forward to the wonderful sleep I will have tomorrow afternoon…I always konk out for several hours from the anesthesia .
    Talk to you soon”….Margarett

  3. Thanks Wendy! I was very impressed with the delivery man, and the fact that he was young was the icing on the cake, as some of the young people I come into contact with have, trying to put this politely, bad attitudes. I sent a letter to the building centre congratulating them on their excellent delivery choice of delivery person!

    The picture shows the easiest wall! Attila started with the easiest, just to get it started off with positive feelings. There are substantial fiddley bits to come! This house was built with leftover and reused, but sound, wood, and the construction is, well, unique. 🙂

  4. Margarett, is is already tomorrow when I am writing this, 6:37 a.m., so you are probably already at the surgical center. Wishing you the very best experience possible! And a quick and comfortable recovery.

    When we heated with wood, it came in a tractor trailer, we used a lot of wood, northern Canada. He always dumped it in a huge mountain the backyard, and it took Attila months to move and stack it all in the wood shed. I love my thermostat!!!

  5. Teri says:

    You certainly had an exceptional delivery man! It’s always nice to hear they still exist, especially among young people.

    I’m anxiously waiting to see if you do indeed notice a difference upstairs once your basement is insulated. Do you have any heat vents in the basement, Maggie?

  6. Teri, I agree, it is nice to know they still exist, especially among young people. I got a response to the email I sent to the lumber yard, they were pleased and were going to follow up so they know exactly who I was praising. The young man deserves to do well.

    It will be interesting to see if the insulation in the basement makes a difference, I think it will. There are no heating vents in the basement, but the duct work for the heating system is down there, and it gets warm when then heating system is running, so fingers crossed that will keep the basement a little warmer than it has been. It was always well above freezing, even with bare concrete blocks.