Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Renovation Page 1 of 24

Basement, Painted!

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It has been a long journey to renovate our basement. We started demolition last December (here and here) and it was not until a few weeks ago, we finally got all the walls finished.

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I spent a day removing drywall dust and taping the windows and outlets. To get a good result of paint preparation is the key. Any unevenness and floating dust shows regardless how many layers of paint are put on the wall.

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Since we decided to use the same white paint on all the ceiling and walls I used my beloved paint sprayer. It took two coats of primer to saturate the new drywall.

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We used the same color of white paint (Sherwin Williams Extra White) and it only took one coat to get the basement finished.

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Above are the four walls of the media room. This room was used as a bedroom when we bought the place and was covered in paneling.

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Believe or not, the paint color on the walls and ceiling was also white…I guess with heavy texture on the walls and insufficient lighting, everything just looked orange.

The future master was also painted in the same white:

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This large room was created by joining two small bedrooms. I love how the light bounces in the room now we have windows from three directions. Above is the sleeping area where our king bed will be placed. Being a former bedroom it has its own access door, which has become a door leading to the master bath:

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Care to see what it looked like before the renovation?

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And this is the exact view now without the closet/graffiti wall:

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This part of the master bedroom will be used for clothes storage. We plan to install tall wardrobes on both side of the room, which will double the closet space compared to what we have now.

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This space used to be the second bedroom by itself, which looked like this before the renovation:

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Quite a change, isn’t it?

I am really happy how much light the new master gets thanks to the new egress window. I especially love that we can see the new front fence and the new flower bed through the window on the right, as soon as you walk into the bedroom.

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This is the view from the small window. The green arborvitae will eventually grow wider to meet each other and block the view of neighbor’s house. I planted a climbing rose between the arborvitae and grasses, which will be trained to climb onto the fence.

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Despite the uneventful color pick (white is always my go-to), the basement looks so fresh and much more finished. We removed the poly tarp covering the bathroom ASAP so our contractor can continue working on the bathroom tiles.

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While waiting for the bathroom to be finished, we are moving onto the next task – installing the LVP flooring. We have never laid any type of flooring before, so this will be a learning experience for us. I am watching video instructions thanks Youtube and who knows, maybe I will actually gain enough confidence to put down some planks soon! Wish us luck!

Bye Bye Paneling, Hello Drywall

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As of many old ranch house our basement walls were covered by paneling. Although adding paneling has been a design trend for the last a few years, the 50 years-old orange paneling in our basement did not achieve a desirable and high-class look.

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With the rest of the basement finished with drywall, the paneling started to look unbearable. Initially I had wondered if paint could make it look OK, until we found more than a few gaps and unevenness upon close inspection. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

1. Demolition

Slav has been a long time advocate for replacing the paneling. Once we decided on drywall he could not take these paneling off fast enough.

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Left on the wall were 1″ x 3″ wood studs, which held the paneling onto the concrete foundation. The wood studs were mostly solid, except a few have separated from the wall. The good news is that there was absolutely no sign of water damage. Our concrete foundation was bone dry and based on the appearance of these wood studs, it had never had water issues since the built.

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Interestingly, the junction boxes are recessed by digging into the foundation wall! I am wondering if this was a common practice at the time this house was built.

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2. New Framing and Drywall

Before attaching the drywall, Slav got masonry anchors and secured all the wood studs to the concrete foundation. He also framed around the water main in the corner of the room.

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After everything was secure we started putting up drywall. This room is large and only has one window, one doorway, and one column, which made things a lot easier. However, I had little experience working with drywall and Slav’s drywall days go way back. So it still took us two 4-hour evenings to finish hanging the drywall.

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Drywall shims were used at places where the walls/studs are not straight.

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Ta-da!

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3. Drywall Finish Marathon

Putting up drywall panels is just the first step. Since then, Slav has been busy at taping, mudding, and sanding.

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It is interesting to see how different corners are finished using different materials. Paper tape was used on inside corners and butt joints, metal beam was put on the outside corners, and specialty L beam was used against the window.

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Working on just a few joints is definitely not as bad as skim coating all the walls on the main floor while living there. That being said, it is still time consuming. Slav worked for a whole weekend and we still have the last coat to go.

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We expect to finish the drywall in the next a few days and by weekend, we should be able to paint! Cannot wait!

Picking Out Flooring for the Basement

While it is still 90 degrees outside, we start to see signs of Fall. The backyard maple tree starts changing color, and our garden tomatoes are going stronger than ever. The nights are in the 50s which is such a blessing – I love sleeping with windows open and fresh breeze.

We have entered a busy September full of business meetings, work trips, Fall planting, and before-the-winter outdoor projects. Most excitingly, we started shopping for basement finishes. Paint, flooring, trim, baseboard, and even furniture. Yesterday I brought home 12 gallons of paint and primer. With 750 square feet of the walls and 500 square feet of ceilings, I will be surely spending some quality time with my paint sprayer.

On top of the paint we’ve decided on the basement flooring. Although we prefer wood flooring to any other type, being in the basement we decided to use something truly waterproof. Tiles have gone down in the bathroom and will be in the utility room where our washer and dryer are. For the rest of the area? Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring there will be.

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We did look into luxury vinyl tiles, which will making leveling the floors of living space with the tiled floor in the bathroom a breeze. But we also want something softer and warmer than tile. After some debates between wood look (Slav) v.s. marble look (me), dark tone (Slav) v.s. light tone (me), we settled on the Nucore Driftwood Oak, a medium-tone, wood-looking LVP. It has the most natural-looking wood grains and a rich color that is neither too yellow, too red, nor too grey.

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The picture above shows the Driftwood Oak LVP on top, our dark bathroom floor tile in the middle, the shower pebbles at the bottom, and the white subway bathroom wall tiles to the right. I like how well the Driftwood Oak pairs with all the tiles. It appears rich and dark next to white tiles, but somehow lighter and airy next to dark color. The latter also applies to the black bed we have:

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Nucore is a fairly new product and does not have many reviews on its durability. But on paper it does have one of the thickest wear layer (22 mil) compared to other LVPs (6~12 mil). With two dogs who like to race up and down the stairs we will be putting this LVP to test especially at the landing area.

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Oh, from the picture you can probably tell that Slav has already ripped off the paneling. Instead of this:

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We now have this:

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Slav will be putting up the drywall this weekend before I start painting. After a long summer of not being able to do anything in the basement, I have such an urge to get it finished. I started feeling my DIY blood boiling – so stay tuned for more updates!

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