Saturday, February 05, 2011

A fresh start

I'm choosing to think of this as a fresh start. In almost any other room in my house, I probably couldn't manage that thought. But here, in the basement, it's pretty easy to make lemons into lemonade. Or, maybe someone just handed me straight-up lemonade. Or even a bottle of limoncello.

The basement before:

The basement now:

Yeah. A fresh start. We had some cold temps here in Colorado last week. Our cold water faucet in the kitchen stopped working (as usual). We hoped that was the only cold-related issue, but when things started to thaw on Thursday, I heard a suspicious hissing. I thought it was wind blowing at a weird angle through the kitchen vent fan, but when the wind stopped and the hissing continued, I thought again.

Scott headed down to the basement (which is below the kitchen) to see if he could figure anything out. Sure enough, I heard a few sailor-esque words and went down to check it out myself. The wall was soaked, the carpet was SOAKED. We had a busted pipe.

We turned off the water and went to bed. I slept. Scott didn't.

The next morning, we started tearing off the drywall and found that the copper line to our icemaker had busted in two places. The insulation was so wet that I could squeeze water out of it.

Going in to find the leak

The culprit. See the tiny copper line? The nasty looking stuff on the left is wet blown-in insulation. The regular fiberglass insulation is the yellow stuff on the right.

Not one to back down from a DIY challenge, I headed to Lowe's and (with the help of a very knowledgeable employee in the plumbing department) devised a plan. Instead of running a new copper line down through the floor where it might freeze and burst again, I got a ten foot long flexible ice maker line. When I got home, I drilled holes in the backs of our cabinets and ran the line through the cabinets, from the fridge to the sink where it connects to the water source. No leaks! No chance to freeze!

Fishing a wire through the cabinets to lead the new icemaker line back to the water source. I did a little happy dance when the fishing wire made it all the way through.

When my kitchen looks like this, you know we've got a problem.

Once the leak was fixed, I headed down to the basement to rip off the rest of the drywall and tear up the wet carpet and padding. Although mold is rare here (due to our super dry air), I didn't want to take any chances. I have no idea if I went overboard or not, but I know that replacing the insulation and drywall will be relatively cheap. A lot cheaper than dealing with a mold issue later on. Again, not taking any chances.

Getting started.

Darn, so sad to see the wallpaper go.


Making headway.

Done with this phase of demolition! Things are drying very quickly.

Steve's still hanging in there with us!

So, how, you might be wondering, can I view all of this as lemonade instead of lemons? Well...to start with, I had recently cleaned out the basement, so none of our stuff got ruined. Our ski boots were sitting in a big puddle when we found the leak, but that's about it.

Second, (she sheepishly admits) before this happened, Scott was not totally on board with my plan to renovate the basement. Now the basement is torn up anyway, so finishing the job is not such a big deal. I wouldn't say he's enthusiastically supportive, but he is definitely warming up to the idea of me changing this space from a storage area/office to a guest suite. He would still prefer not to know any specifics.

Next steps, finish taking off the wallpaper, scrape the ceilings, modify the placement of electrical outlets, switches, light fixtures, etc. And then...who knows? I'm taking it a few steps at a time, I guess. But at least now I have permission to get started.

1 comment:

Lucy The Valiant said...

Yikes, that's a big project! And I can't wait to see how cute you make it!! Good luck!