So we watch our fair share of home decorating shows, and there’s always a Moment Of Drama on those shows where they discover something about the house that was previously unknown, that is going to be an expensive fix. And now, part of the family’s Big Plans must Come Off The Table, and it’s a tense and emotional moment, then there’s shots of the designer huffing and puffing over a calculator and some sheets of paper (likely grocery lists), while they try to stretch the budget and dip into contingency reserves and otherwise stress about designs.
But surely, that would not happen to us! Our basement remodel was so simple! And our guy had already done two others on the street, with no problems and big success!
FAMOUS LAST WORDS.
So our basement project is, supposedly, in its final stages, at least for the professionals. They should have been wrapping things up today and tomorrow. But as they were laying down the subfloor, it became apparent that our concrete slab is warped. Like, really, really, warped.
Usually basement floors have some ups and downs, and the contractor can work around that with a little shimming and fancy woodwork. But ours is beyond saving. There is a high point in the centre of the house, and the edges slope away, ending up several inches lower at the outer walls. There is just no possible way to lay down the subfloor and actually have it turn out level.
That means that we cannot possibly put down a laminate floor, because the floating floor would crack and buckle because the subfloor is not level.
Remember how we paid extra and went way out of our way so the stairs could be wood? To match the laminate? And there’s a whole other story about the laminate itself that I won’t bore you with, but to sum up, we have been through a bit of a wringer at two different stores just to get the stuff we wanted. So to be told now that our best solution is to accept the sloped floor, and just cover it up with carpet, taking a loss on the stair work and flooring, is not going to work for us, I’m afraid.
(Well, it might work for us as a last-ditch solution. But first we are going to look into every other possible answer.)
So now we have halted all basement work while we a) get an engineer in here to figure out why the foundation is so slanted in the first place, b) get a concrete company in here to talk about re-pouring the basement floor, c) have our basement guy rip out a bunch of stuff he has already done, and d) get resigned to having even MORE of the basement crap on the main level, for an even longer amount of time.
Not to mention the possible expenses involved – at the moment we have no idea what any of this will cost, and if we’re looking at a serious foundation problem it might even mean the entire basement is off the table for now, and instead our budget will just go to repair work.
So the lesson here is: before finishing your basement, you should have it inspected for possible foundation problems.
Live and learn, I guess.