I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been trying to complete something before making a post about it, but I haven’t finished anything other than leveling the subsoil, which I already made a post about when I was a third of the way done with it. I didn’t want to write another post just to say I’d finished, especially since flattening dirt isn’t particularly interesting, even if it is a lot of work. Instead there are about five different things in progress, all basement related, so I’ll give a run down on where we are and what we’re trying to get done.

First off: the plumbers. We’ve signed our contract, paid the deposit, permits are being pulled and/or updated, and once that’s done they can get started. Rather than dig up the existing clay sewer pipe they are going to re-line it, a process where they run a scope, clean out the pipe with water jets, then shove an inflatable sock down it all the way to the city sewer main. They inflate it and then squeeze an epoxy resin around the sock, which not only creates a whole new pipe within the existing one, it fills any cracks or holes at the same time. The result is a brand new sewer line without any digging, plus it will actually be a larger 6″ diameter pipe than it would be if it had been if we had redone it in cast iron. The sewer line will be an “overhead system” meaning it will go up to collect the drains from the first and second floor, but the basement drains will go to an ejector pit which then pumps up to the level of the first floor before entering the drain. That prevents sewer backups from flooding the basement.

Next, the plumbers will need to dig a hole in the basement and a couple pits out at the street so they can horizontally bore a new copper supply line and disconnect the old lead line. Once that enters the basement at the front there will be a new water meter and an overhead copper line running along the beam back to the mechanical room. Finally, they will be canceling our old catch basin in the back yard and running the rough plumbing for the basement bathroom. The process should take about four or five weeks, depending on permits and inspections.

While that’s going on I’ve been working on the interior weeping system (aka drain tile). I’ve dug a trench around most of the basement that will connect to a sump basin. I picked up a large 24″ x 36″ crock that’s about twice what’s required by code. I’m still researching sump pumps to put into it. For now that will tie into our sewer system, as Chicago code allows combined storm and sewer, but once we’ve redone the back yard I plan to route this into a rain garden along with the downspouts and the drainage for the walkway along the side of the house.

I’ve talked to our concrete guy about getting the back steps redone while it’s still warm enough out. Our plans call for the exterior basement steps to go to the South rather than straight out or to the North as they do now, so we need them to knock out the existing retaining walls and put in a new one. The plumbers will install  an area drain at the bottom landing that connects to the weeping system. Hopefully he’ll be out this week so we can get that process rolling. We unfortunately had to fill in the pit we had dug for the steps with all the excess dirt from leveling the basement and digging the trench.

Lastly, I tried replacing the rest of the basement windows yesterday but discovered the brick around the windows and the sills are in worse shape than I had hoped, so I called our tuckpointers. We’ll have them replace the sills and clean up the window and door openings so we can get the rest of the new windows installed. I also ordered our new back door, since it will take a few weeks to get it in.

So despite not being good about updating the blog, we are keeping busy with the house. As we finish any of these projects I’ll write posts about them individually. The weather is getting much cooler as Fall sets in, so we need to get a lot done in the next several weeks!

3 Responses to Basement Updates

  1. Erica says:

    Are you willing to share who you have doing your sewer work? I anticipate needing to do this at our place, and it sounds like you have a competent crew. 🙂

  2. Matt says:

    Once the work is complete and I’m happy with it I’ll be happy to share their info.

  3. Eric Alvarez says:

    It sounds like you really liked your concrete guy Mario. Would you be able to provide his contact information?

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