Our House

Terre Haute House Repair - Cellar (2)

We had a choice, replace just the steps that appeared damaged or replace the entire staircase. We decided that has hald the staircase looked bad we'd just as well replace all of it. Also, there wasn't much difference in the cost or labour of doing either. Once the staircase was out we saw that we had made the right decision...

Cellar stairs Cellar stairs Cellar stairs

Damage on the underside of the cellar stairs - 1st July 2009

It's hard to imagine the space a staircase actually uses, also just how much of a drop between floors they span...

Cellar stairs

One thing became apparent whilst removing the stairs, the concrete floor was poured after the original stairway was installed. The holes left by the original stairway can be seen in the bottom right of the above photo. The concrete floor is around two inches thick and laid over a layer of brick. We're not sure if the brick was the original cellar floor and was later covered with concrete or whether the brick, stairway and concrete all date from the original construction of the house.

The rest of the preparation for the cellar waterproofing went fairly easily. The preparation just involved sorting through several years of accumulated junk, throwing away what we no longer wanted and stacking the rest several feet away from the exterior walls. Here's a quick tour of the "tidied" cellar...

Tidied Cellar Tidied Cellar Tidied Cellar Tidied Cellar Tidied Cellar Tidied Cellar Tidied Cellar

Our "Tidied" Cellar - 19th June 2009

On 16th July three guys from the Indiana Foundation Service turned up - and those guys worked! The first day they spent mostly digging up the concrete floor around the outside walls in the basement. The guys were all very personable and knew what they were doing. On one of their short breaks one hte first day here, one of them told us a story. Patty and I met in a chatroom on the internet in 1998 and for us everything worked out really well, the guys story shows a different side.

This guy's girlfriend, who also happens to be one of his workmate's daughter, had announced that morning that she was leaving him for someone she had met on the internet. The next day the same three guys turned back up to lay the piping, vinyl damp guard, sump pump and drain and the guy carried on the story. The previous night, the guy's girlfriend phoned hoim and said she had a mistake, was very sorry and wanted to come home. He and her dad, one of his workmate's went and got her. Apparently what had happend was that the guy she was talking to on the internet had lied to her. He said he had a good job but was unemployed and the photo he had posted was of his nephew who was quite a bit younger than he actually was.

Anyway, the guys did a great job over the two days they were here. One of the last things they did was put fresh cement down over the underground drainage chaneel they had put in the basement floor. they made a good job of finishing it all off and tidying up after themselves. We were a bit worried that they may not like the fact that we'd taken the stairs out but as I explained to them they were unsafe, they said it actually made their job easier as the trench would have to be dug under the stairs anyway.

Basement Damp Proofing

The damp guard and finished drainage trench

Basement Damp Proofing

Sump pump, damp guard and finished drainage trench

Basement Damp Proofing

Damp proofing water outlet and ice guard

What is supposed to happen is that if the underground pipe they laid into the garden freezes then the sump pump should still be able to pump water out of the basement through the ice guard which should remain freezing water. The old cellar drain which never worked anyway was sealed and cemented over.

This page created 20th June 2009, last modified 2nd August 2009

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