Do It Yourself

Basement Renovation

Let’s take a break from clothing for a bit and discuss the heavy stuff. When I looked at the house in the spring I knew right away that the awkward wallpaper was hiding things, as the choice in paper, especially in the basement – didn’t suit the room and looked to have no real purpose. The previous owner chose a very bold black and white damask print, that super thick sticker wallpaper to hide all manner of sins. The house had been professionally painted (except the door frames where you can see the original colours) and behind wall fixtures they suspected would not be removed. The basement was painted a soft khaki beige which didn’t go with the harsh black and white print, but they tried to make the staging look like it was there purposely.


It was there purposely alright, to hide the major water damage caused by a poorly built front porch made out of poured concrete. No flashing, no sealant of any kind… The house inspector indicated right off the bat that he didn’t like the porch, as I have learned, it was installed as a selling feature and the old rotten wood deck was removed less than two years ago. In two years any moisture, hint of rain or snow came pouring down that (now) interior wall now known as my bedroom. It wasn’t on the radar as something I would have to fix, the wall that is. The cement room underneath the porch was wet and cold so I knew it had to be insulated.

We figured we could fix the porch to make the water run away rather than into, and insulate the room below. When I called in a friend’s husband and son contracting team their reaction was not as optimistic as I had hoped. After seeing the damaged wall (see the second image) they realized they would have to open that wall and rebuild to ensure the moisture was not still trapped. The water has come through several layers, damaged both the wall and wallpaper. I only discovered this as I was waiting for my dad to bring in more cut floor boards, mindlessly ripping off bits of the wallpaper – only to have it come off in one big sheet along with the paint and several layers of wall cover to reveal a very wet wall underneath. Sigh.

Based on a few key factors my assumption was the previous owner hadn’t been living there actively in the past year, or little things that one might think you’d fix if you were there for any length of time. The wallpaper was indeed a mask for the damage that was very apparent. The question is, do you take it to a legal level and ask for reimbursement? Some say yes some say no. The bottom line is, this is very serious and both the porch and the entire wall (including the bathroom and storage) have to be ripped out and redone. All my savings for aesthetic renovation are completely out the window now. I suppose that’s what they call “home ownership”.


2 thoughts on “Basement Renovation”

    1. The renovation has been going well, there’s a whole new wall installed and they completely resealed and fixed the porch up top… with all this rain it seems to be holding up here’s hoping!

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