Before and After: The Basement

When we bought our house back in 2005, we were two fresh out of college kids who didn’t know too much about houses. We found this one and loved it. Never mind when we walked into the basement and thought it smelled like musty dog. Or how shoddily completed the finishes were. Or how the soil outside of the basement sloped directly into the foundation. We had a home inspection and they found nothing. Nothing!

Six days after moving in we noticed the carpet all along the basement walls was soaked after a rain. We decided to pull up a corner. Completely rotted underlayment and tack strip.

Basement Water

We decided to cut out a little slice of drywall. Mold four feet up. Rotted insulation. We spent the second week of home ownership renting a dumpster and completely tearing out the entire finished basement.

Basement BeforeThis was our not-to-code egress window. If you looked underneath it you could see daylight. I wonder why water was getting in?

Basement BeforeHere’s my husband and his dad ripping out drywall. Look how happy they are.

Basement BeforeI was completely defeated. We took the previous owners to mediation and they didn’t know a thing about water getting in to the basement. We regraded the soil on the exterior with 4.5 tons of dirt. And then the basement sat there for seven years. Once every project in the entire house was completed, we knew we had to do something about it.

I can’t even tell you how many hours my husband, family members and I spent down there. We ripped out all the studs, tore out the drop ceiling, killed the mold, scraped off all the loose paint, cried, patched cracks, cleaned the floors a million times, patched the holes in the floors, painted the ceiling, cried, painted the walls with Drylock (which takes forever), trimmed out the windows and reran all of the electrical. Through the miracles of the internet you get to see the before and after at a fraction of the time.

Basement AfterNow I know this isn’t styled the most fabulously in the entire world. But the left wall is the same orange and brick wall. That is our now-to-code new egress window. I can’t believe how different this room looks and feels. I have to say one of the biggest changes was painting the ceiling a dark blue. It hides everything. You should definitely try it.

Basement AfterHere’s the other side of the room where my husband and dad were tearing things out. Unfortunately that electrical box is a giant interior buzzkill. But look how cute my husband’s Great Grandma’s quilt looks down there.

Turns out all the crying probably wasn’t worth it. I might have been a little emotional and dramatic. At the time it seemed like the whole house was wet whenever it rained. All it took was 6 million hours of work or so and now there’s a basement suite for all the out of town guests if they ever dare to come back to the basement.

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