And so it begins

Two Saturdays ago, Ross spent much of an entire day with his face behind a thin papery mask, with a completely obnoxious concrete grinder in his hand. His task was to grind a little groove through the place where the slab meets the foundation in our basement and our overall big goal is to do some minor upgrades to the basement so the space is more useful and more comfortable.

This past Saturday, on a kid-free day we had arranged, he then applied a waterproofing product he had seen in action at work with good results. Unlike most houses built these days, our 1912 home lacks drain tiles (apparently correctly called a French drain, but whatever, we all know it as drain tile). Our basement has a moist corner, and while we certainly aren’t seeing stands of water, the concrete is damp, and the room feels kind of moist in the air, and, well, rather basement-y.

We’d like to be able to use the space for something other than “the big giant room in which things are stored” – we’re crazy that way. We can’t afford to go nuts and raise our house, and yet we aren ‘t financially in need of a tenant paying off our mortgage. So we thought we’d clean up the basement and get started on a minor renovation to make it more useful.

We’re insulating, for one. Right now there is some of that batt insulation  – you know, that itchy pink stuff. we’re planning to put in spray foam. It works better than batt insulation Ross tells me, and anything that might lower our bills by reducing the cost to keep the house warm is worth it to me. We are also eligible for some federal government credits by insulating. We’re also going to build a semi-permanent box, essentially, around our furnace and hot water system to keep them quieter but also allow access for servicing if required. And then we’ll paint the floor, add some rugs and VOILA – new basement.

Okay not really, but at least it will be a warm and cozy basement with a giant playspace for Kale and better, more useful storage space for the adults.

As an aside, we did price out raising the house. While the house raising part is relatively inexpensive at only $6000, what costs is the fact that you demolish the entire ground floor walls from the foundation to the floor joists, and then have to build new ones and hook them all up to services like electrical, plumbing, and what not. It is expensive and time consuming to do all of those bits. Additionally, it all needs multiple permits, the eye of a $300/hour structural engineer, and it is recommended that you not live in your house while it’s going on (though most people apparently just plan the work for summer and stay regardless). We estimated, roughly, about $32000 when all was said and done. Ouch.

Admittedly, it’s kind of fun. I like the fact that we are adding some value into our basement and making the space more friendly.

Plus, I get to take pictures like these:

Concrete dust is yucky.
Yay for basement renos.
10 years ago


  1. Does Ross have different colored gloves so he can tell left from Right? lol. Sounds like a lot of work too bad I’m not retired or I could help. Good luck

    1. Have you considered having an electrician come install a dehumidifier? It will keep that corner, and the rest of your basement, nice and dry and will keep heat in much easier.

      1. Good idea, and we have… but they suck energy and don’t really solve the issue of the moist foundation. I’d rather we addressed the problem instead of the symptom. And heat will only stay in if there aren’t holes! There are far too many holes and gaps. We need to start at the beginning and insulate and address the moist concrete, I think.

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