Fixing the Basement Walls - Finishing the West Wall and Starting the North

January 29, 2014

After a few days off from the basement, it's time to get back at it.  When last we met, I had just turned the corner onto the west wall, and finished off painting the south wall so I could move all the stuff around to make room for the next wall.  So this is a shot of the west wall.  I think it's an interesting shot because it really shows the kind of change that's happening.
And here's a shot looking the other way, also an interesting picture (at least to me!)
The concrete went up pretty quickly on the west wall, maybe I'm getting the hang of it.
And that left the first part of the north wall.  That's all cleaned up and just waiting for the cement.  If you look closely at the bottom of this picture you can just make out the pile of loose concrete that was removed.
With a little extra time I also went ahead and sanded the stairs.  By the way...when sanding - ALWAYS wear a mask.  Somehow I didn't notice that I didn't have mine on, and after about 20 minutes of sanding with 80 grit sandpaper, I found myself violently retching.  The good news is...I was able to avoid the...well, you know.  When I was sanding I came across this little spot (where the arrow is pointing to.  PANIC!!!  I cleaned it all out and removed all the bad wood, and it turns out there's no critters in there.  Hopefully that was a looong time ago!
Then some paint went up on the west wall (compare with the first picture in this post).
And another shot looking the other way:
So, we're making progress but there's still a LOT to do!  

Fixing the Basement Walls - Slow minor Progress

January 21, 2014

Tonight just did a little painting.  I'm really starting to like the look.  Of course the worst is yet to come - the laundry room.  But for now, I'll just enjoy the progress!
Here's another shot:
And while I'm at it...a BIG lesson learned - it takes a LOT of cement to fix these walls, and LOTS of Drylok paint!  Buy BIG!

Hunchback of Notre Dame - Ya' gotta have some fun too!

January 20, 2014

All work and no play makes... As I pointed out some time ago, one of my hobbies is painting and assembling plastic models.  I don't have a lot of places to share something like that, so I figured posting them on here might be kinda fun.  Besides, they are built at 173!  So here's a series on ol' Quasimodo...
Now that I have a good camera, one of my goals is to photo these guys in better light and day!

Fixing the Basement Walls - Getting Bogged Down

The initial progress in this project was fairly rapid, but being done "in no time" really was a pipe dream that I really never did buy into.  It is going pretty well, but the last couple days have really been tediously slow.  I ran into a pretty big hole that I almost missed, and that has taken several applications to build up, but it's almost there:
One final coat should do the trick!  Now that I look at it, it kind of looks like a map of Russia.  Well, maybe a little.  Anyway, so today was more mudding, a little on the west wall and some of the east wall, and of course "the cave" as I'm beginning to think of that giant hole.  I really want to move on, but until the south wall is completely done, there just isn't anywhere to move anything else.  One thing that did help a little was that last night was trash night, so we hauled some stuff out.  And as luck would have it, the pickers came by and took a bunch of the stuff as we were hauling!  Ever since moving into 173 there has been a big old unused radiator in the basement.  So I told the pickers they could have it if they carried it out.  After all these years of dreading carrying that thing, and never knowing really how to dispose of it, it's finally gone!  Well, the mudding today didn't take long so I did some painting too:
As you can see, there are some spots that still aren't dry, so I painted around them for now.  I know I repeat myself, but that Drylok is some seriously thick paint!  Oh, and as you can see in the picture above...I went and got a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff.  One gallon doesn't go very far.  So that's it for this weekend.  We'll see what the work week brings!

Fixing the Basement Walls - Part 3

January 16, 2014

It's Thursday night and I haven't done anything in the basement since Sunday afternoon.  Not that that's particularly surprising, but I really wanted to keep rolling on the walls.  Ah but you know - that whole work thing sometimes gets in the way!
I have a before pic!  I know I have a few here and there, but I still haven't gotten great at it.  But this time there is, and I almost wish there wasn't.  I wonder if anyone else's shop ends up like this.  I clear the bench, get into another project, and in no time at all - the bench is a mess again.  So here's a before pic...messy bench and all.
Tonight no cement was applied, but the hardest part of the project is done - for this wall anyway.  But before I could knock down all the loose concrete, I had to move stuff around.  Funny note - when I went to move the work bench, I forgot that it was actually anchored to the wall!  After heaving and yanking, tugging and pulling - it finally dawned on me!  Four screws later - the bench was a heck of a lot easier to move!
Aaaand now the shop looks even worse! But - it's least that's what I keep telling myself.  The only problem is...there's a wall back there behind the bench and tool boxes.  But that'll be the next wall.  For now, after moving the bench, this is what I had:
Thaaat's right.  Look at that mess!
When I started knocking down all that concrete, a few of those creepy millipedes came flying out.  I'm not particularly squeamish, but those things just creep the hell out of me!  Anyway, about two hours after getting home the rest of the south wall is all ready for cement.  
Again, it's always a little scary to see so much concrete come down, but there it is, it has to get worse before it can get better.
Here's hoping for a productive Friday night!

Fixing the Basement Walls - Part 2

January 13, 2014

So I feel like I got a good start on Saturday...figured out the steps to take, products to use and began perfecting working on my technique.  One thing I did discover was that the cement mix didn't go as far as I thought it would.  I went through a 20 pound pail for just that one stretch of one wall.  Lowes doesn't carry the 50 pound bag, so I'm going to have to search that out.

On Sunday I picked up where I left off:

The next section looked like this:

After scraping, brushing, vacuuming, dusting, vacuuming and dusting again, applying bonding agent, and waiting, more cement finally went up.

And so, another shot of the progress:

Not bad for the first weekend of work.  Now that I have at least a general idea of what to do, I'm hoping to pick up the pace a little.  Sure like to get this one done before spring!

Fixing the Basement Walls - Part I

January 12, 2014

And we're back at it!  After the last post, we kinda took a break which ended up extending through the holidays, so I don't think a single thing has really been done since October!  Be that as it may - it's time to get back at it!  Before I do though, I really hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season!

Okay, so here's the back story...A neighbor's grandfather built all the houses in the neighborhood, so I have a pretty good link to the history of ol' 173.  Turns out that when 173 was built way back in 1927 or '28 (I always forget which) the builder used river water from the Hudson to mix the concrete.  Now, in my limited knowledge of such things, I would never have thought something like that would matter.  Turns out it does. Apparently, the bacteria in the water has, over the years, caused problems with the poured concrete foundations in the neighborhood.  173 is no exception.  A couple years ago the foundation began to start flaking a little here and there.  Nothing alarming, just a little bit.  Over the last year or so, after learning of this issue from my neighbor, I noticed that it was happening a little more, and spreading a good bit.

It hasn't gotten terribly bad, but I figured I better get on it before 173 ends up needing a new foundation.  how's that for worst case scenario?  So this weekend I decided it was time to start.  Before you look at the first picture (I already looked - you probably read the last page of a novel first too!), remember that the basement at 173 is a working basement.  It is combination laundry room, workshop, storage and sometime gym.

See that area under the bikes?  That's a good example of what's happening.  Actually, that wall is probably in the best shape.  I decided to start there so I could get a little practice and at least a basic idea of what to do before I get to the more complex stuff.  Here's a little closer look:

To get started I had to move a bunch of stuff away from the wall...basement stuff you it's all crammed in the middle of the basement now because there's really nowhere else to put it all.  Anyway, I used my trowel to knock off all the loose concrete.  By-the-way, if you're ever going to do this - wear a mask!  It's a terribly dusty job!  After knocking all the loose stuff off, which was a lot, I took my wire brush to it all to get all the finer stuff off.  This process is a little nerve racking because you need to get all the loose concrete off, and sometimes it seems as though you're gonna go all the way through the wall.  The fact is, the deepest I had to go was about one centimeter.  Just a bit of a panicker at times I guess!  After wire brushing I vacuumed like crazy, then sponged it all down to remove as much dust as possible.

My cousin is a brick mason and does a lot of concrete work too, so I have a great resource for how to do this project right!  One of the things he said to do was, after cleaning the wall, was to apply a bonding agent. I went with Quickcrete Concrete Bonding Adhesive.  The instructions said to apply a 2 part water, 1 part adhesive mixture and let dry for two to three hours.  I did that, and when it dried it wasn't at all tacky.  So I called my cousin...he said apply it straight, I did - and it was nice and tacky when it was time for the cement to go on.


Then it was time to apply the cement.  Again, I went with Quickcrete Quick-Setting cement.  Here's a shot of the day one progress.

That's about as far as I got on day one because I ran out of cement.  Next up - you guessed it - day two!

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