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Basement Waterproofing Prep

November 4, 2011
After all of this wait, we are finally taking the steps to finish the waterproofing of the basement so we can move ahead with the renovation. ::dance:dance:: dance:: I am doing a shoulder dance as I type, this day has been much anticipated!

The removed radiators draining into the basement floor drain

We were delayed by the refinance of our home…almost 90 days! That whole process definitely sucked away time I will never get back. I have never divulged so much personnel information about myself to anyone, despite a corporate banking machine.  ANYWAY, we are saving money on our payment every month and paying less in interest so when we sell this gem (eventually) we will actually make some money.

This last week has been a whirlwind consisting of the following:

  • Call B-Dry to schedule an appointment to install the new drainage system in the basement walls
  • Call carpenter Brian to get moving on basement reno steps (replace the poor excuse for windows, XPS insulation for walls and floor, framing etc…)
  • Call the plumber back to schedule a date for the shower drain to be installed (involves hacking up the floor….again)
  • Haggle with B-Dry because their price mysteriously went up
  • Schedule B-Dry for next week Monday (after some negotiation) because of a cancellation – Yippee!
  • Realize that we have to remove the 80+ year old hot water radiators in our basement in order for B-Dry to do their work…..ugghhh
  • Call around frantically for a plumber that is licensed to work on heating and cooling that can come out before Monday
  • Find a plumber but only to the response ” you sure you want me to do that….it’s going to take a quite a bit of time.”
  • Find out that plumbers charge by the hour – ouch!
  • Have no choice and schedule the plumber anyway

A plumber from Hutzel, an Ann Arbor based heating and cooling company, came out today. I am soooooo lucky that I was able to schedule this in such short notice. I called Monday and scheduled for Thursday – unheard of! Koch and White couldn’t fit me in for weeks. Although they did service my relic of a boiler ( Weil McLain circa 1932) and surprisingly said it is working fine.

If I made as much as a plumber does per hour, I would be a rich woman with a cabin up north and a carat in each ear.

I found out our house is heated by water and not steam. That means that to remove a radiator the whole boiler needs to be drained as well as all of the radiators in the house. For those of you with newer homes, we don’t have a furnace. Our home is heated by hot water radiators and the hot water comes from a giant gas powered boiler.  What an undertaking. I don’t know what people do who have the drains in their basements removed. I mean, where does the water go in an emergency? Hot water heater????  Draining the boiler and all of the radiator’s took about 1 hour. During this time, while “Mike” and I chatted I learned that we can’t build a furnace room without making sure the boiler continued to have combustible air flow. Good to know….that could have been an issue.

We had the radiator removed where the bathroom will be extended to include the shower stall. “Mike” installed valves on the other radiator so that we can reinstall it once the waterproofing, insulation, and framing is done.

main basement radiator removed temporarily for B-Dry to complete waterproofing

1st valve

second valve

removed pipe from the radiator that will be reinstalled once the basement is finished

Once both radiator’s were removed the water was dumped into the drain the floor… was mostly black sludge….yuck! The plumber refilled the boiler,  I then cranked the heat and went around the house to all of the other radiator’s and “bleed” them. To bleed them I opened the valve on each one to allow the air that had now gotten into the system to escape and force water back in. The air escaped with a hissing sound for several minutes followed by short water spurts and then a steady stream. I then close the valves.   All of our radiators had valves with small door-like-handles except for two which were “coin valves” and need a dime or a flat head screw driver to open them.  The radiator we don’t need was hauled away (Geoff thinks it was 300 lbs empty) . It took two huge guys with a large dolly to get it out of the basement. It took them about 20 minutes to get it up the stairs.

The bill comes in the mail….. the whole job took 3 hours plus a $40 show-up fee…..the math is a little scary.

Next step, B-Dry Monday.

radiator removed by the bathroom to make space for the shower

capped pipe running to the bathroom radiator

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2011 3:03 PM

    I completely agree. We waited a year and a half to begin this project because we needed to save money and research contractors to make sure we do it correctly. Thanks for the comment.

  2. December 3, 2011 2:34 PM

    Water proofing your basement may take a while if you lack enough materials and human force. It is important to prepare enough money for this kind of home project in order to have a successful renovation.


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