Matt here. I thought I would finally contribute to the blog and write about a few projects that have been both ongoing and slightly out of sight. When we first walked through the house with the realtor we found out that it had quite a few issues with the basement and the electrical. After just a few months of renovations it has become even more clear that the electrical problems were a bit more of an issue than anyone had thought. Before moving into the house my Uncle had a friend of his come in a fix the main line in to the house from the outside lines and set us up with a new circuit board instead of the old fuse box. He was well worth the money and his work would prove to help us in the following months when we did repairs on our own.
One of the first things we did was try to get all of the electrical into some sort of pattern that made sense. We found that one or two breakers were powering half of the house and they didn’t seem to be placed with any sort of planning. Sometimes a light switch in the bedroom was on the same breaker as the toaster in the kitchen, or a motion sensor light that could have easily tied in at much closer locations was run down a wall, through the basement, and then back upstairs. Initially, we just wanted to get the house to a point where the lightswitches and outlets all worked without tripping, which was achieved without opening up too many walls.
Now, with the addition upstairs and the walls all ripped out during the kitchen renovation, we took the opportunity to fix a lot of the previous issues we had. We were able to run new lines for areas that shouldn’t have been carrying such a large load and also shorten up a lot of all the redundant lines. It also allowed us to run new lines for the kitchen as well as the bedroom/bathroom that will be going in upstairs (someday!). After all that we are in prett-ay good shape.
Another issue that we found in the basement was that all of the old storm windows had either been kicked in, smashed, or were buckling after years of the house sagging. Since the house was built in 1953 and the windows had probably never been changed out, I’d say they served their time. This was one project that I was actually excited to take on even though it was going to have very little visual benefit to the house.
We took out the old windows, which was actually quite a bit of fun, and replaced them with these nice, fancy pre-fit glass blocks that my dad was able to get from a company he works with. They not only keep the cold damp air out but they keep the local cats and bugs out as well… something Kristen was very excited to learn (no more house centipedes!). They are the first step in the face lift that I am trying to put on to the basement.
With the kitchen renovation coming up I knew we would need a place to assemble all of the cabinets going in, and also some of the work on the kitchen would have to be done from the basement, so I wanted to get some proper lighting in. If you look at the before picture you can see that the previous owners were using old junction boxes and light fixtures downstairs.
For about 100$ my dad and I bought a bunch of new fluorescent shop lights and installed them. Since then we’ve had a much easier time navigating down there and doing laundry. I also feel a bit better knowing that we fixed a lot of really questionable old junctions with old wire. My brother now refers to the basement as our baseball stadium because of how bright the basement is now.
The last notable thing we’ve done down there so far was this thing:
Meet Craptopus. (Octopus + … well, you get it.) This is the new setup for all of the drainage in the house installed by my Uncle Boob, the family plumber/general handyman and myself. It took a couple days of planning and then finally cutting and installing this thing, but when all was said and done we had lines installed for the 1st floor bathroom and kitchen as well as the 2nd floor bathroom. That means when we do finish the upstairs we already have the electrical run, insulated, and plumbed! Feels good man. I should also give credit to my mom on the plumbing for swapping glue holding duty with me and sweeping like a crazy person.