Sunday, January 18, 2009

waterproofing the basement

The first concern was that the almost one hundred year old home had the usual porous concrete foundation walls. The original builders had used unclean river rock as the aggregate and no reinforcing as was customary at the time. Over the years, this type of wall weakens, as evidenced by the hairline and large cracks in our foundation walls. There were also a few areas where the wall was soft and crumbly due to poor drainage from the gutters and downspouts. Although the amount of water coming in was never substantial, it was enough to raise concern for the basement build-out.

We interviewed several water mitigation contractors. Each proposed a different method of addressing the infiltration. Our preferred choice was to install an exterior french drain and drywell, but we could not locate the drywell without the undue cost of tearing out trees and digging up an oil tank or ripping up a deck and paving stones.

In the end, Western Construction Systems sealed the larger cracks with expanding foam, patched all cracks, skim-coated the walls, replaced the exterior drain lines that were clogged with debris, installed a sump pump with interior drain along the perimeter walls and applied a two-part epoxy paint on the foundation walls and floor. We then waited for the heavy winter rains to test the system. Mother Nature complied with record snow- and rainfall over the holidays, and the basement remained dry. We were finally ready to start! Whoohoo!

Tune in next time for the benefits of design prior to construction!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

welcome to bungalow remodel pdx!

A few years ago, we bought a one-story 1915 bungalow. The modest two-bed one-bath home had a well-kept interior and wonderfully landscaped yard. As if the beautifully updated kitchen and bath, hardwood floors, box-beam and coved ceilings, original built-ins and arbor were not enough, the real selling point of the home was the full, unfinished basement. At 1500 sf, the original home was a little small for us, but we could easily double the area by finishing the basement.

After a couple of years of hemming and hawing, I finally completed the drawings and specifications for the basement project. Although it’s true that working full-time designing and remodeling my clients’ homes did leave little time at the end of the day to work on our own project, the real reason for the delay is that architects make the worst clients. I somehow felt compelled to run through all possible design and finish options. I could not stop even as the contractors were bidding. Design is a never-ending process.

The project is now getting underway, and we are all very excited. Please join us as we remodel our bungalow!

Tune in next time for waterproofing the basement!