Basement Renovation: Week 1 – Framing, Plumbing, Hiccups and Unexpected Expenses

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We’ve officially finished week 1 of our basement project and so much has already been accomplished! Last saturday I announced this project and It’s amazing how different it looks after just 5 days of work.

Monday – Framing Begins

The framing team arrived bright and early to begin framing out the basement. The priority for the day was to frame out the door for our pump closet and to open up the space a little bit more. 

By the end of the day the team had completely framed out the door for the closet and removed some 2×4’s for plumbing access. They also removed some framing and added a header to open up the entryway for our main basement living space.

Tuesday – Electrical and Concrete Cutting

In anticipation of additional framing, the electrician stopped by to move a few of the switch receptacles out of the way. The framing team will be opening up the stairway and this will eventually require the light switches to be relocated.

The concrete cutting team came out and removed a large section of our concrete foundation. This was very loud but the crew moved quickly and were in and out in about 2 hours. Curious why they cut into the foundation? Read on.

When we had our basement waterproofed back in fall 2020 we filled in our existing sump basin as part of the waterproofing process. In order to have our basement drain lines work properly they need to feed to a basin that pumps sewage up to our main drain line. The plumbing below our slab needs to be rerouted to the closet we’re adding in. This requires drilling into and removing sections of our concrete slab so that the plumber can have adequate access to the existing plumbing lines.

Wednesday – Opening the Stairway Wall, Plumbing, and our First Issue.

Wednesday morning I got a call from our contractor letting us know that there was a major issue under the foundation. When they removed the gravel to start the plumbing they were concerned to see a bit more water under the foundation than expected.

The major issues are that we might not pass our plumbing inspection if there’s too much water under the foundation. The concern on my end is that our waterproofing system isn’t working properly. I called the waterproofing company about the concern and we scheduled a time (TWO WEEKS OUT) to have someone come out and look at our system.

Thankfully the plumbing team continued to work and finished rerouting the plumbing and installing the basin for the pump. The teams will continue to work in hopes that we will pass our inspection.

The framing team came back and opened up the wall at the bottom of the stairway. They removed some of the framing and then added in a large header to ensure the integrity of the home (since this area is load bearing). Opening up some of the stairway wall has already made such a big difference. It feels a lot less like you’re walking down into a dungeon and more like an entrance into an open space.

Thursday – Some Good News, First Unexpected Expense, and Wet Bar Plans

I met with our contractor on Friday and got good and bad news. The good news is that he doesn’t think we have a water issue under the foundation after all. He mentioned that the water they saw might have just come from inside the pipe when they cut it open. So I’m hopeful that that’s the only issue and we don’t have a water problem. BUT we’ve decided to keep our appointment with the waterproofing company just in case.

I got to have a chat with the HVAC team and I’m excited about the plan for the basement. We’re going to get one larger unit to heat and cool the main floor and the basement and use a zone/damper system, instead of adding another unit just for the basement level. 

Unfortunately, when we got the quote from our contractor the price he included for HVAC did not include a new furnace. After further inspection by the HVAC team the best path forward is to replace our 20 year old furnace (since it’s at the end of its life) and upgrade to one that will better support the new system. I agree with this decision so we decided to move forward with the new furnace… the only kicker is that it’s going to be an additional $3,500.

I did a quick walk through of the wet bar plans with my contractor and the plumber to determine where we plan for the sink to go as well as plans for the cabinets. My hope is to have a pantry style cabinet for snacks and to house a microwave, we’ll add in a beverage fridge, install a bar sink, and a faucet that has a built-in water filter. I also think we’re going to add a peninsula so that we can allow for more seating downstairs. 

Because our sink will be against the wall, we actually realized the concrete cutters will have to come back out so that more plumbing can be run to the sink area. 

Friday – Plumbing and Framing

It was amazing to see how much was completed in just five days! Friday brought a sense of “completion” to all that was done during the week. The first round of plumbing was completed below the foundation, and the framing team finished framing out all the walls! The basement really looks like it’s becoming something and it has me beyond excited about what’s in store for the basement.

Make sure you come back here to every weekend for weekly updates. You can follow along on Instagram and Tiktok as well, but I’ll be sharing the most detailed look of the project here on the blog.

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