Work on the basement has been going a bit more slowly recently. Part of it is that it’s summer time and we’re doing lots of travel, part of it is that we’re trying to balance basement work with other interests and obligations, and part of it is that we had a bit of a setback due to some water damage.
Two issues with the house conspired to damage the bottom portion of the existing wall in our basement. One issue was that our gutter system is not the most effective. It’s old and leaky, and some parts are not well designed. In particular, one of the downspouts emptied right out next to the corner of the house, and the water essentially sunk into the ground and into the foundation wall, eventually working its way down to the cement floor of the basement. It didn’t flood, but what it did do was make the cement floor very moist. This isn’t a huge deal for the most part, because we’re using DriCore and our subfloor sits up off of the concrete on impermeable plastic feet. However, the existing drywall that the previous owners had put up on the outside walls was installed so that the bottom of the panels touched the concrete, and when the concrete became moist, that moisture wicked right up and soaked the bottom portions of our wall. In most places this just resulted in discoloration to the wallboard, which is easily fixed with Kilz. In a few places, however, the wallboard was significantly waterlogged and started to disintegrate. So to fix the problem, we took a few steps.
First, we did some work on the gutters to make them a bit more effective. I rerouted the downspout at the front of the house so that it ran around the corner and headed to the back of the house, dumping the water safely out in the back yard instead of right into the foundation. We also cleaned out and tightened up the gutters in the front where most of the water was getting dumped. Next, inside, we cut an inch away from the bottom of all of the wallboard in the basement so that it was no longer touching the concrete floor, thus preventing any future water damage. Finally, we ripped out some of the more damaged sections of the wall and replaced them with Mold Tough drywall, which resists mold growth and water damage. I’ve also placed some Damp-Rid buckets in the basement to help absorb any additional excess moisture. We still have some work to do with the drainage situation in our yard to keep as much water away from the foundation as we can, but all in all I think these changes will be very helpful.
Thankfully, since the basement hasn’t been finished yet and we hadn’t started painting, the water damage wasn’t such a big deal. All we have to do now is tape, goop, and sand the newly-installed drywall, and then we’ll be back to the point where we can start priming and painting. After that, we install the flooring, molding and trim, and after that, the final electrical work and final inspections.