Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stairway to Heaven?

I planned on removing the second-half of our basement stairs to waterproof the foundation wall. A secondary goal was to change the stair angle so that I wouldn't hit my head when going down the stairs. You see, the staircase that was there when we bought the house was not the original (I'm guessing the original rotted due to the water). In replacing the original staircase, the angle was altered. You can see below that the final tread of the replacement stairs extended into the doorway.

In the picture below you can see the original stair dimensions which are still visible in the concrete skimcoat. You can also see the 2nd stairway dimensions outlined in the white paint. This is the wall that had moisture penetration.

Below is the stairway with the dirt and debris cleaned out far enough to allow me to 1. access the wall and waterproof it, and 2. install steeper risers so the stairs don't have such a long horizontal travel. Discovering the hole in the floor, I decided to patch that, too.

Below: I cut new risers after calculating the rise/run which would allow me to walk the stairs without ducking my head. This entailed measuring the total vertical and horizontal distances to be covered and trying to find a rise/run ratio that would get you low enough fast enough to avoid hitting your head but still be walkable.

Back inside: After using hydraulic cement and cement patch against the foundation wall, I dryl0ck-painted the whole area. The wood trim in the photo below is where you would hit your head when walking down the old stairs.

Below is the new staircase. It is really great to be able to walk down the stairs without ducking or doing a limbo walk! They are steeper than they were, but not even so steep as dutch stairs.

And finally, a view from the top. Now the stairs end well before the doorway.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tales from the Underground

Still cold, so still working in the basement. We attacked the next section of wall over the past few days. Step 1, clear the wall.
Once cleared, scrape the loose paint.
Next - patch holes

And then paint, paint, paint.

Monday, January 4, 2010

15 degrees = indoor projects

January has arrived with cold temperatures and a blanket of snow.

Despite the cold, it gladdens my heart to see bicycle tracks in the snow.

Aside from walking the dogs, outdoors is a bit too cold to enjoy. So we decided to work on our basement these first few days of 2010. Below is one of the walls in the first basement room, just as we found it 3 years ago. The bottles are relics from the crawl-space.
We scraped off the loose paint, patched some damaged concrete and began the seal-coat.

And Viola! One white wall! We figure that the one wall is about 15% of the whole room, so we have plenty of work remaining, but it was a good start.