Finally we get to rebuilding

I’ve finally managed to add something to the basement rather than just take it away. (That’s adding something myself, I should add — the plumbers have already beaten me to the punch of adding something.)
But first I had to remove a lot more junk. Thankfully, the last of it, too.
What remained in the basement when I started on Saturday was some leftover “structural” wood from the former renovations (yanked and disposed of), the ducting from the furnace (being replaced with the new heating system), and my personal favourite, the floor tiles.
The tiles are linoleum. Old linoleum. Really old. At least 50 years. Heavy, thick (looked to be 1/8″), and brittle as hell. I had thought that a nice square-faced spade might do the trick at carving them out. But the glue, though severely weakened over the decades, was still just strong enough to allow the spade to chip out parts of the tiles so I couldn’t get under them.
Back to my trusty crowbar. A little more back-bending that I’d have liked, but in a few hours they were all out, and the floor cleaned up.
This lead to the giant yellow bin in our driveway to becoming more-or-less full.   Forty cubic yards of junk hauled out of our basement and deposited in the bin. Well, not all from the basement. There’s a bit of yard waste, too — sections of the mayday in our yard that broke off during a freak snowstorm a few weeks ago.
I can’t wait until that bin is gone.
Once the tiles were out, I went out for the next batch of stuff that I needed: a ramset, nails, circular saw, earplugs, and new work gloves (my old ones, leftovers from the CBC trip, were little more than duct tape).
Then it was time to actually add something. In this case — the base plates for the walls. Normally, you only have one plate, upon which you put your studs, topped with a header plate. But because we’re pour concrete in the basement to facilitate our heating system, we need to double-plate the outer and load-bearing walls.
That’s why I have the ramset. A ramset is effectively a gun. I’m not particularly happy having to use a gun, but it’s really the only tool for the job. The thing looks like a futuristic weapon, though instead of laser beams, it shoots nails. You load it with a disc containing 10 gunpowder charges in the rear, which slams a hammer into the nail, which is loaded into the front. That rams it (hence the name) through your 2×4 (or 2×6) and into the concrete. Keeps your walls from shifting.
It’s a little overkill, admittedly, since once the concrete is poured, those walls won’t be moving ever again. (And I pity the poor bastard who needs to rip them out for any reason. Sadly, that poor bastard might be me.)
The ramset has one hell of a recoil, and my wrist is still tingling from it. (Mind you, it tingles after a hard bike ride — I’ve got a ganglion.) And it’s crazy loud. Really fun when you’re in the confined space of a basement. Doesn’t seem to have freaked the cat out, though.
I’ve only got about 1.5 walls of 3 done (one wall is already done — the only wall that was done right the first time!), and I’ve got to build the load-bearing wall down the middle of the house, too. If I can at least get the foot plates in though, that should keep the process moving.
Now I just need to square away an electrician, get the heating installed, finish the framing, finish the basement, move all the junk upstairs to the basement, all before the baby arrives.
No pressure.

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  1. Hey Geoff
    Do you already have someone lined up to do the heating? We just had a new High Efficiency Hot Water tank (50 gal), a Tempstar High Efficiency furnace (75k btu 92% efficiency) and a Tempstar 3 ton 14 seer central Air Conditioner installed by Sub Zero (252-1715). They have a spring promotion up to $500 dollars off or zero interest for one year financing. Our AC is so quiet you can’t hear it until you’re within about 10 feet of it and our furnace is so quiet we never notice it to be on – but you can feel the air coming through the vents. The total cost for all was around $9000, and a mommy-to-be will be very grateful for the AC on those hot summer days.
    We are now able to remove our old chimney stack and since we no longer need combustion air pouring into our basement, we’ve reduced our ‘air leak’ in the home. If you contact Verda Tech (251-0683), they will do an Eco Energy Audit and you can get money back from the government after you do all your changes.
    My next step once our chimney is removed is to get solar electric panels on the roof and disconnect from the grid! I think I might have to save up for a few more years for that one though 🙂

  2. No furnace — it’s a boiler. (See Gearing up for renovations for some of the details.)
    We’re not going to go with air conditioning. We really don’t feel we need it. A couple of properly-placed ceiling fans, and we should be dandy. After all, we live in Calgary — we get temperatures over 25 Celsius for, what, maybe four days a year? A week at the most?

  3. Weird thing — although it’s been over 25, our house really hasn’t been that hot. Our last place was a virtual blast furnace when it was that hot. But perhaps the plethora of trees around us have a nice cooling effect.
    No ceiling fans yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes a necessity. Not that they’re a big deal to install. The tricky part is finding one you like!

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