Group 6 4 minutes Read

basement progress: prepping for inspections + drywall

Lauren Zerbey

First and foremost, thank you all so much for your sweet and comforting comments about Felix. Maybe it sounds crazy since we’ve never met most of you “in real life”, but your collective support truly helped us through this last week and we’re feeling better about what happened and are learning to focus on the happier memories.

Progress on the basement has felt like a slow burn this past month, but we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to:

Several weeks ago, Kyle poured the thin leveling slab at the bottom of the stairs. To compensate for a sloped basement floor, we decided to treat each space independently with its own floor height. This strategy maximizes the head clearance in each zone and saves us from lowering the floor throughout the entire basement.

The sewage ejector pump is in the background (with a cardboard ring around it for protection) and will eventually be part of a small closet space.

Once the slab had cured, Kyle installed more dri-core subfloor panels and moved on to framing the surrounding walls. Between the guest room and hallway, we opted for a 36″ pocket door (seen in the pocketed position above). We decided that this would provide the privacy needed while also allowing visual and acoustical “flow” for more casual use.

This is our first pocket door at chezerbey so the install took a bit longer but was fairly straight-forward once Kyle got the hang of it. Basically, the door comes as a kit. The pocket is composed of a metal and wood assembly that fits within a 2×6 framed wall.

A track at the top (mounted to the ceiling framing) and guides at the bottom allow the door to slide without swinging about all willy-nilly. The door itself is a hollow-core paint grade door with flush pocket door hardware.

For the closet and bathroom doors, we chose simple paint-grade hollow-core swinging doors. Hard to believe, but these are the only interior swinging doors in our entire house. Fancy!

The photo above illustrates the small step up to the bedroom on the right and step down to the laundry room on the left. We’ll have a simple threshold at each transition when it’s all said and done.

Bad remodel humor. I apologize. (This is just a note to the drywallers that we need a butt strip at this location to flush everything out.)

The closet housing the sewage ejector pump will also provide access to the storage area under the mudroom. We still have to install the inlet and outlet pipes from the pump, so the closet will probably be best suited for vertical storage (like our vacuum, which has never had a real home).

Did you know our house only had 9 windows total when we moved in? Yeah, this will be number 13 (not counting the mudroom or 4 skylights). We wanted some form of natural light in the basement bathroom, but due to existing vent pipes we were limited to the future shower wall.

So we went as big as we could.

Kyle carefully worked around the new landscaping to install the window. Because the window would be in the shower and exposed to water, we went with an Andersen (100 Series) fiberglass window. The outside is the same dark brown as our other windows, but the inside is a white fiberglass finish that will stand up to moisture. For privacy, we chose an obscure glass finish.

The existing dryer vent had to be removed and relocated a few more inches away. The existing hole will be patched and Kyle plans to salvage some of the cedar shingles that were attached to the removed wall panel.

To allow space for the venting and larger plumbing lines, Kyle framed out a furring wall with an airspace behind (there’s a 4×4 PT ledger behind the top plate). This will create an extra deep sill at the window, perfect for storing shampoo, soap, etc. (Kyle still has to frame out the other walls, but this is far as he got today.)

We have framing and electrical inspections scheduled for tomorrow morning (just for the bedroom and hallway) and if those go well we’ll finish insulating tomorrow night before sheetrock starts on Tuesday! We’re using the same recycled denim insulation that we’ve used throughout the rest of the house.

While things are coming together in one half of the basement, chaos ensues elsewhere. Our garage (and backyard in general) continues to act as a lumber yard and workshop…

…and the laundry area has been overtaken with tools and materials. My biggest challenge lately has been to transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer without dropping anything on the floor (wet clothes = sawdust magnet). While the laundry room probably won’t be done by the time we’re waist-high in baby laundry, I’m optimistic that the power tools and 15+ containers of fasteners will at least be gone.

Let’s be real people – this is what happens during a remodel. To make matters worse, we have effectively backed ourselves into the remaining unfinished portion of our basement, which is comparable to a large closet. So this evening, we took about an hour to organize and move stuff around to restore sanity and prepare for the drywall delivery tomorrow.

…much better!

Still a bit chaotic yes, but more organized chaos. To maximize our work area, Kyle is waiting to frame the rest of the bathroom wall until we absolutely need to. After the basement is done, I think our next big project might be to organize and purge the garage and carport. It is amazing what two people can accrue over 6 years.

So that’s where we’re at. Kyle has been working weeknights and all weekend in the basement and that pattern will likely continue this week. Fortunately, baby Zerbey seems comfortable where she’s at (phew!), but it’s still going to be a race to get things done in time. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t be savoring our last days of being DINKs in other ways, like going to a concert or a movie on a whim or out to a fancy restaurant without any pre-planning. Then again, I’ve heard that spontaneous two-person remodeling will also be a luxury of the past so we should just enjoy it right? Ahh yes, the freedom to do manual labor late into the night, frequent 4 hardware stores in one day and subside solely on coffee and PB&Js. Yeah, we may be going from one crazy lifestyle to another, but we’re so ready.