Just because we’re waiting for the concrete to cure, it doesn’t mean all work has stopped on my house.
The concrete guys came out and put the waterproofing material on the foundation. It’s a thick, rubbery membrane that will prevent water from seeping in through the foundation. The old stone and mortar foundation allowed that water to seep in. Each spring, when the snow would melt and the spring rains come, we knew we would have some water in the basement. It was never a lot of standing water. The water was more of a nuisance than anything. This will prevent that from happening.
Even though my house sits on a bit of a hill, we didn’t take anything to chance when it comes to water in the basement. I had a sump pump installed in the basement. That’s pretty standard around these parts. My contractor, Cody, also suggested we use Form-A-Drain. Form-A-Drain becomes part of the permanent footings of the foundation and it takes the water away from the house and out through the tile. It forms a loop around the foundation. It can also be modified to remove radon gas from the home.
Radon is a radioactive gas that naturally occurs from the breakdown of uranium. It is a serious problem in Iowa. In fact, the entire state is considered to be at high risk of radon exposure. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it. The only way you know you have it is to set up a radon test kit in your home. Radon gas is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the number two cause of lung cancer in smokers. I didn’t realize the Form-A-Drain had this benefit. I have to ask if mine was modified to remove the radon or not. If it hasn’t been, I’d sure like it to be. I haven’t tested for radon gas, but I’d just rather be safe than sorry.
UPDATE: We’ve been back in the house for several months and I am happy to report, the Form-A-Drain is working beautifully. The basement has remained dry throughout snow melt and 1-inch rainfalls. We, most likely, will never need the sump and that’s a great relief! It was a leap of faith to unplug the sump pump, but I did it. And isn’t this whole project a gigantic leap of faith, anyway?
And we’re making some progress on the garage floor. We brought in several loads of sand for the project. The sand filled the garage floor area. It looked like my house was standing among the dunes. Well, maybe not. But that’s a lot of sand! I keep thinking if my boys were younger, they’d really be enjoying this.
On top of the sand, the guys put down some pink foam board insulation. The insulation is there to keep the floor warm and to serve as a barrier against the frost. Frost is a problem because it can cause the concrete to heave. With the price of concrete, we sure don’t want to have any problems with it later on. The rebar on top of the foam board will help to strengthen the concrete. The drain in the middle of the floor is hooked up to the tile. We drag a lot of snow and slush into garages here in Iowa and it’s nice to have a place for all of that to drain away.
I’ve done a lot of careful planning with some of the features of the house. I won’t be able to afford to finish off the basement right away. But, I made sure we installed a lift station in the basement in anticipation of that. The lift station is necessary if I want to eventually have a bathroom down there. It’s much easier to do that at this stage of the game even though it may be a couple of years before it gets used.
Someday, I also hope to have floor heat in the garage. It would be awesome to get into a warm car in the winter time! I plan on having a workspace in the garage. A heated floor would certainly help make the space more usable in the winter months. To prepare for all of my “somedays”, Cody and Jason came out and put down some tubing in the floor so eventually, I can have radiant heat. The tubing is there to hook up to a boiler system. Depending on the cost, it may never get used. It is, however, nice to know it could someday be an option. And obviously, you only get one chance to put something in the floor before the concrete gets poured, so it was good to add it now.
It’s so crazy to me they can pour the concrete in the morning and by the afternoon, it was dry! It was so dry that my dog didn’t even leave any paw prints on it. I love her and her cute little paws, but they aren’t so adorable set in concrete.
Doesn’t that just look perfect? The garage is going to be HUGE.
Salvaging A Farmhouse is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.
To view the series from beginning to end please go to this page: Salvaging A Farmhouse.