Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rebuilding the basement walk up

Before we moved in, the back of our house looked like this:

the white structure poking out the side of the kitchen is the basement walk up. The home inspector noted that it was a DIY job and that it might need repair at some point. We found out the extent of its problems about 8 months after we moved in and a torrential rainstorm unleashed streams of water through cracks in the side of the walk up. It leaked *really* bad given the right type of rain storm. We went from bone dry basement to 2 inches in some spots, being from Alberta where basements are usually dry it was a bit of a shock.

Our master plan for fixing the walk up had 2 phases. In the first, we ran a 4" drain line to the door leading to the walk up (originally it was a drain hooked to a garden hose type thing that tied into an existing drain in the main part of the house).

We are now embarking on the second phase of this project, tearing off the old walk up enclosure and building a new concrete base (with a drain *outside* of the house). First we tore off the structure. This took all of 10 minutes.

We then dug a 5'x8'x5.5' hole with the help of our contractor neighbor's laborers.

Around the edge of the hole was a trench that our contractor neighbor poured footings into for us last week. Last weekend and this week we've been working on building the walls for the new walk up out of concrete blocks.

Today we were chatting with our contractor neighbor and I guess he showed another contractor in the neighborhood our block work and he had a hard time believing we were doing it ourselves. After slaving away on a project it's always nice to get feedback like that :o).

This project is a part of a larger vision to make the back of the house less ghetto. The next steps are to side the kitchen, build the deck, tear down the shack/garage and build a fence; but all things in time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We wish we were as good as this guy...

So it's been nearly a month since our last post. Between our current project and sorting out some logistical issues in our real life there hasn't been much time for blogging. We're currently working on the restructuring of our back walk up stairs (the ones that resembled Niagara Falls whenever it rained). This has so farinvolved digging a 5'x8'x6' hole and pouring footings. We're now building the block wall, then it'll be on to the drain/floor and new stairs. While we knew mostly what to do for this project we grossly under estimated how physically hard it would be. Luckily we were able to call in some manual labor on short notice to help with some of the heftier parts. There will be a blog post with pictures/etc when we get some more time.