Tuesday, 10 November 2009

DIY - Home Reno Project Week

At home this week, finally putting our basement back together. As a bit of a break, I was able to obtain a full skid of 1.5" foamboard insulation insulation to attach to the basement walls. They were all considered "seconds" that can't be sold on the market. There's nothing really wrong with them, they may each be off the 1.5" thickness rating by a hair. But because they don't meet spec, they can't be sold. So they usually go to the landfill. Instead, this load went to my basement. Doing your bit for the environment is easy when it saves you a huge chunk of money. As with all DIY home reno projects, I needed a new tool to help me complete the job. More on that in a bit.

As the linked article (and damn near everything else online suggests, not to mention Mike Holmes) you should glue the foamboard to your foundation walls. I tried that method, and gave up after one board. First, the fumes given off by these products are nasty. Working while wearing cartridge respirator is not fun.

But even worse, the damn glue wouldn't work for me. Its not the fault of the glue. When I hold the foam board against my foundation wall, there are so many irregularities that the insulation doesn't even touch the wall for most of its surface area. I don't care how strong the glue is, but if the two surfaces don't even touch, it ain't gonna work. I did get rid of the worst protrusions with a mallet and a stone chisel, but each slab of the poured concrete is offset from the slab next to it by a millimetre or more. The seams between each slab also protrudes away from the slabs by a millimetre or more as well. It doesn't sound like much, but it was enough that there is a very visible gap between the insulation I was trying to install, and the wall I was trying to install it on. So I had two options, spend a week or more with a grinder trying to smooth out the irregularities, or somehow bolt the insulation to the wall.

Can anyone say hammer-drill time? Booyah baby! With this puppy I was able to drill pilot holes easy as pie for the tapcons I purchased in lieu of the glue. Add in a 1/4" washer to keep the screw's head from penetrating the insulation, and I had the basement almost completely insulated in 6 hours. That's my new toy for this project. And no you can't borrow it, git your own!


Fit and Finish

A quick note about this method. You have to possess a drill with a feather-lite trigger for driving in the tapcons. Fortunately my regular drill has this. I was able to drive in the concrete screw with just enough pressure to set it into the foundation, but when it hit the insulation it didn't break the skin. If anyone tries this method, practice first. If you can't do it, use a ratchet and hand drive the screws the last few turns.

I still have to tape the joints, insulate between the joists in the ceiling and somehow insulate behind the washer and dryer without interrupting the daily loads of laundry that my wife is constantly pumping through. (Quick aside. As a couple, laundry was one day a week. Add two kids, and its now every day. WTF? And this is not abnormal once you have kids. But I don't understand how beings whose entire outfit uses less fabric than 1 pair of my jeans, somehow fill up the laundry hamper every frickin' day. )

So if posting continues to be light for the rest of the week, you'll know where I'll be! Finally! A warm basement! That'll help the heating bills this winter.


Ken Breadner said...

Pretty impressive. (Mind you, my standards are low, because I judge any DIY project with one criterion: "could I have done this?" Since the answer is always "hell, no", my admiration comes easily.)

Catelli said...

Oh this is easy. If you can pull the trigger on a squirt gun, you can do this project!