We’ve officially changed course. We’re now planning to hold off finishing the first floor and instead focus on the basement. If we can get the basement floor redone along with the below ground plumbing, we can move into the basement and do the whole second floor at one time, which also lets us do nearly all the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC at one time. That will make the rest of the project go faster, which after three years (so far) has become a more important factor. We debated buying another two flat and renting out half of it so we’d have somewhere to live besides the basement, but that would’ve cost a lot up front just to save money on rent and if we wind up needing to borrow money to finish the house it would have complicated things.

I updated The Plan and I’ve been thinking through our next steps. We need to start by cleaning out the basement and re-pointing the brick walls. Then, to make the basement livable, we need to run new electrical and replace the windows. Then we can start breaking up the floor and figuring out how we’ll run the new plumbing. Hopefully we can run some (most?) of the new underground plumbing before we have to move out and disconnect the old stuff, but we won’t know until we can see how the existing stuff is laid out.

One of the challenges is that to dig out the basement we want to tear down the existing garage and back porch so we can get a dumpster into the back yard. We don’t want to tear them down in the middle of winter though, so we’re arranging our tasks to do that a bit later. Another issue is the hot water heater and the water filter. Back when I was shopping for water heaters, I debated getting a tankless unit just so it would hang on the wall and I wouldn’t to worry about it, but since I didn’t we have to disconnect it in order to drop the floor under it. The same goes for the main tank of the water filter. We’ll leave them for last and work around them as much as we can, but it means we can’t completely remove the existing floor before we have to move out.

We want to do everything we can to shorten how long we’ll have to be out of the house, since we’ll have to stay in a hotel or temporary apartment while the new plumbing goes in, the basement floor is poured, and we build the basement bathroom. Once we have a bathroom and a utility sink we can move back in. We’ll move some of the kitchen cabinets down to the basement and set up some temporary partitions for bedrooms. It’ll be cozy, and we won’t have a proper kitchen, but we’ll manage. If nothing else we’ll have a lot of motivation to get cracking on the rest of the house!


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