Monday, February 10, 2014

Basement Remodel: Getting Started

We didn't like our finished basement when we bought our house.  The previous owners had used it as a master bedroom, and made some interesting choices.  They walled off 1/3 of the room for a walk-in closet, painted over the grasscloth wallpaper with baby blue paint, and installed eye-catching carpet tiles.

I generally wouldn't have problems with closets, blue paint, and carpet tiles (hey, you can pull up just one and wash it in the sink!), but these particular choices just weren't for us.  Besides all that, it was claustrophobic, cold, and dark (one sliding door and no overhead lights).

So we put our leftover furniture down there, stashed my boxes of books in the closet, and kind of forgot about the whole space.

But the basement wasn't happy being forgotten, and decided to garner our attention in new and astounding ways, namely in the form of LOTS of water coming in with every rainstorm.

At first, we tried to convince ourselves it was just this one bad storm, but it quickly became obvious that it was every storm, and it was more than just a drip.

Tommy decided to make a hole in the ceiling to investigate, and things got much scarier.  It turns out this leak had been going on for YEARS, even before we bought the house, and it had slowly eroded and rotted important structural elements of our house.

I got on Angie's List and lined up four reputable contractors to come take a look.  Some friends and neighbors also recommended their guys, and we ended up having seven different companies come to the house.

To properly fix our problem, the door, header above the door, band board above that, and several joists would need to be replaced, patched, or sistered.  Because they are integral to the house not collapsing, this would also involve building a temporary wall inside our house while the back wall is gone.  Oh how lovely!

They have yet to determine what, exactly, is causing the leak, but it's some combination of the mid-level sliding doors and the fact that there is no flashing on the deck.  So we grew the scope to include new sliders and a flashed deck.

But hey, since we're replacing the doors and have 30 year old aluminum siding (that the paint is wearing off of), why not also replace the siding?

And, since we're tearing out the back wall, maybe we should also add a window in the basement!

Better yet, why not tear out the entire ceiling (since 1/4 of it has to come out to fix the joists), install recessed lighting, and get rid of the ceiling texture too.

And finally, since it'll already be a huge mess, let's also remove the walk-in-closet, wallpaper, and flooring, and redo all that as well.

Can we say scope creep?

So the guys all came out, and we got 6 quotes (one never got back to us).  We picked our favorite, and negotiated the contract.  How did we negotiate?  Any work we managed to do before they arrived would be deducted from the total bill.  After seeing their estimates, we also decided to paint the room and do the flooring on our own.

And thus the project begins!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you!