Emergency Basement Remodel

1st Place Winner; Construction & Remodeling (2015)
Patricia Flanagan

A few weeks after the city finished a four-month long, heavy construction dig out of the road directly in front of my house, foul-smelling water seeped up through my basement floor. The constant vibrations from the construction resulted in a 14-foot linear crack of my sewer pipe… They claimed no fault for the damage within my house ‘footprint,’ yet they dug up my front lawn (a.k.a. the city’s claimed 25 feet right-of-way) to replace the pipe from the street to my house wall.

I was recuperating from foot surgery and my job was coming to an end in a few months, so it definitely was NOT in the current plan to add “gut the finished basement and jackhammer up foundation” to my Life Sucks and Things are Stressing Me Out list.

Patricia (on crutches) and her mother

Homeowners insurance only covered excavation of the pipe downstairs. I turned to my local salvage/recycle warehouse to fully rebuild my basement from the sub-foundation up.

Along with four Craigslist purchases and four sidewalk freebies, other reused materials were: sewer drain piping; cellar stairs; banisters; storage room shelving components; laundry dump sink; laundry room cabinets; sixteen doors; two sets of kitchen cabinets, kick plating, vinyl coving; stove; range hood, shelf; den cabinets; sofa; microwave, kitchen table, chairs; bathroom mirror; toiletries shelving; sink; various tile; closets shelving; bedframe; refrigerators; window shutter; curtain rods; coat rack; carpet pieces; soundproofing and insulation materials; weather stripping; many-hundred linear feet of millwork and many dozen various duct work, plumbing, electrical, and hardware components.