Basement renovation – part 3

The saga of this renovation continues to unfold slowly. Electrical work has taken forever and it almost felt like it would never end. We kept finding scary looking splices that were soldered and covered with electrical tape. Quite a few of them were not even inside junction boxes. Most of them were created from cutting old wires that were original to the house and installed without any slack. We had to add junction boxes and extra wire to bring everything up to modern standard. Besides correcting the splices, we also installed a gazillion electrical devices:

  • 22 recessed lights
  • 13 power outlets
  • 6 switches
  • 1 timer
  • 1 bathroom exhaust with light and heat
  • 1 heating panel
  • 1 thermostat
  • 1 telephone junction box
  • 2 ethernet outlets
  • 2 telephone outlets
  • 4 speaker outlets
  • 2 coaxial outlets
  • 1 smoke detector (hard wired)
  • 1 CO + smoke detector (hard wired)
  • 5 junction boxes
  • 25+ electrical boxes
  • 300+ feet Romex wire
  • ?? feet speaker / ethernet / telephone wires
  • countless wire nuts and staples

That’s not all the electrical work. We also hired an electrician to do a few things we were not comfortable doing ourselves. She took care of 1 splice, connected 3 circuits to the electrical panel, installed 3-way light switches, and a bunch of tidying-up around and inside the panel.

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Basement renovation – part 2

The egress window project concluded in the first week of May – over 2 months since the contractor started the job in February. As I explained in the previous post, it’s complicated. The final outcome is remarkable. In addition to the window, the contractor also completed extra framing inside as I requested so we can install drywall and trim around it later. On the outside, I claimed credits for layers of paint and caulking along the concrete and trim, plus the replanting of sod around the window well.

We saved chunks of sod before the contractor dug the well and kept the sod in plastic bins outside. I thought it would be piece of cake to put the sod back in but it’s worse than a jigsaw puzzle because the window well sloped backward towards the house while the lawn needs to slope downward towards the streets. It ended up taking me hours playing with dirt, compost and sod. When the patchwork was done, I had to loosen the old lawn where the contractor had walked all over after the ground was fully soaked from heavy rain. The final step was spreading corn meal gluten to fertilize the lawn and stop weeds from germinating. When it was all said and done, I had a splitting headache!

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Basement renovation – slow going

Hubby and I tore out the basement last fall after having to investigate a potential electrical problem with our stove. Two electricians’ visits later, we didn’t get any answers so we cut a bunch of holes in the ceiling of the study in the basement which is directly below the kitchen. We found a hidden junction box for the stove and the wiring connections didn’t look safe. We called back one of the electricians to take care of it.

Since we’ve already cut a bunch of holes in the ceiling, the next progression seemed to be a complete demolition. We filled up a 10-yard dumpster and there is still a bunch of crap leftover. Next up was a seismic upgrade and an egress window. The actual work didn’t start until late January after spending weeks figuring out a solution with the contractor for an egress window to go into an existing window opening. It ended up to be a T-shape design – a long fixed window at the top where two little windows used to be and a casement window at the bottom.

New windows

Continue reading “Basement renovation – slow going”