Basement Renovation

We have started a major project! I thought I would take you along for the ride. This project is going to take some time so I will post when I have updates. We are doing a basement renovation. The plan is to take a wall down between our family room and our extra room to form a playroom/family room combo.

We started this project a few weeks ago by taking down the wall between the two rooms. Right after things started picking up with the Covid-19 virus in Minnesota, we started to social distance ourselves. Both my husband and I are in the health care field. I am able to work at home but he still goes into work. While we are doing what we can during this time, it has made it rather hard to take the next steps in the basement renovation, which is getting supplies. We do not want to be going out in public unless it’s absolutely necessary, so we are on hold until we can go out again.

However, lets jump into the progress we have made so far!

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Tools List

Below are a list of the tools I used for the first stage of this project.

Taking down the walls

The first task in this basement renovation is taking down the wall between the two rooms. In the past the extra room down here was used as a guest room, but it tended to just collect all of our clutter. The room does not have an egress window so it can’t be an official bedroom. While having a guest space is nice, it is only used once per year. So we decided that using the room as a play room would be a much better use. We do plan on putting in a Murphy bed, so stay tuned for that project.

Taking the walls down was pretty easy. The walls are a cardboard-like material. I found it best to try to loosen the nails on the studs and peal back the boards. The wall materials are not easy to nail into, they are bowing, and they have very obvious seams (over which the previous owners just put a piece of trim up). Needless to say, the look isn’t great. We have decided to replace all of these walls with drywall.

The first thing I did was take down the cardboard on each side of the walls.

basement renovation starting walls.
basement renovation taking down walls

Layers of the cardboard walls.

Assessing the wall

When I started this project, I had a feeling that this wall was not load bearing. I reached this conclusion a number of ways. The first is that these walls are not original to the house, so probably not carrying a structural load. The second is that there is a railroad tie running the length our our house and being used as the central beam. In our laundry room there is a steal post holding up the rail road tie, so I hoped there was a similar one in this wall. The third was that this wall was very poorly constructed and would move when I pressed on it. A solid wall shouldn’t do that.

I did proceed with caution and assessed at each step. If you are unsure about a wall or if it is structural, ask a contractor or engineer for help.

basement renovation

The tops of the studs are notched and nailed in with one nail. They are definitely not supporting the weight of the house so they are safe to take down. I also found a steel post within the wall, which is holding up the rail road tie. I will obviously be leaving this in place.

And the wall is done. Don’t you love that orange? We don’t and will be painting that wall.

Fixing the floor

After I removed the wall, there was a gap left in the carpet tiles and some holes left by the bolts. I used some extra caulk that I had to fill the holes. Then I removed the tiles around the gap. My father in law just happened to find a box of carpet tiles that look exactly like ours at a garage sale a couple years ago. I have held on to them all this time and now they are coming in handy. They are just a peal and stick so I pulled up the old ones and put down the new ones.

basement renovation flooring

Once we were done taking down the walls, we removed the cardboard from the rest of the walls, but left the studs up.

Beam insulation

So one of the projects we have been putting off and finally decided to take action on was our basement walls. There is a crack running horizontally on two of the walls. This is a big job and we got the professionals in to help. We talked to two different companies who both said our walls are in grade 2 wall failure and needed beams to help support them. Below is one of the beams and we had 11 in total installed. While this was a huge expense and one that surprised us, we decided to move ahead with the project. If we left it, it would be a bigger, more costly project later on. We also wanted to get this done before we started fixing up the basement.

You can see the gap in the picture below between the beam and the wall. There should not be a gap…hence the need for a beam to hold the wall up.

basement renovation steel beams

Once we are able to get supplies we will move forward with putting up drywall and finish the basement renovation. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Any thoughts or questions, let me know in the comments below!

While your here checkout our bathroom reno on a budget!

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