When Carla sent us project photos from her recently completed basement project, it was initially difficult to even process the transformation. The walls went from rough to incredibly sleek. Her pre-InSoFast basement certainly brought back a few specific youthful memories. Did you ever fearfully tip toe down your childhood home’s creaky basement steps to the dimly lit space below? The walls were dirty, dusty and made of textured stone. Once you reached the bottom, you immediately felt the urge to run back up.
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Maybe we’re being slightly melodramatic, but just take a look at the ‘before’ pictures. The stacked stone walls of Carla’s pre-renovation basement were not particularly inviting. Before the retrofit her family didn’t even make use of the space for storage. After years of living in the beautifully renovated upstairs, Carla knew it was time to tackle the forgotten basement. As you can see the results were pretty extraordinary. We took the time to speak with Carla about how InSoFast UX 2.0 panels were used to transform her eerie dungeon into a usable space. Wondering how on earth she worked with those knobbly walls? Read on for the answers:
We’ve lived here since 1993. When we bought the house it needed a lot of work. My brother-in-law is a pretty well known architect here in Columbus, Ohio. We worked with him to redesign the house and redid pretty much the entire house except for the basement. We put an addition on the house, replaced all of the windows and put in two new HVAC systems. It was a major renovation.
Yes, as you can tell from the photos it was pretty ugly when we started. We really didn’t use the space for anything. It had always bothered me that we did such a nice job with the rest of the house, yet there was this hidden space downstairs. My husband is a busy attorney here in Columbus and he is not handy at all. It was left up to me to figure out the renovation. I did a lot of research on different kinds of products to use in the basement. We really didn’t want to finish the basement entirely, but I didn’t want it to look like it did. I wanted it to at least act as storage space.
I hardly ever went down there. You can see from the pictures, who would go down there? We always kept a dehumidifier on, which I think helped get rid of any musty smells. When we had very very heavy rain there would be a little bit of water going across the floors. Now that we’ve had the basement waterproofed, that water is now redirected into the french drain and sump pump.
We just wanted some sort of wall system that would be inexpensive and easy to put up. With the particular kind of foundation we have in our house, it becomes gritty and the grit falls down onto the floor. We wanted to prevent that from happening. So one of the main reasons we put the InSoFast up was to keep the basement cleaner, which it has definitely done.
One fateful day I saw a This Old House episode that featured InSoFast. I recorded it and watched the episode several times. I even called InSoFast and spoke with Dean about the product. We have a handyman contractor who is often fixing things around the house. I showed the product to him and ordered a sample. I talked with him about using InSoFast in the basement and our challenges with the stacked stone and rubble stone foundation. We decided to give it a try. The space has been improved 150%, if there is such a thing. I just think InSoFast is a terrific product.
We had the contractors manage everything. I’m not that handy but now that I’ve seen the process it looks easy and simple enough. I have one very small room in the basement that we didn’t finish and I’ve thought about finishing it myself. I think if it was going on a wall that wasn’t the stacked stone I would definitely do it.
It was my contractors first time ever using the product. It took a little while for him to figure it out the best way to install since the walls were very uneven. Once he solved the problem it went in very quickly. Before we installed the InSoFast we had the basement waterproofed. The mortar joints between the stones were re-pointed. We had a french drain put around the perimeter. There were also some old pipes that were wrapped in asbestos, so we had those all taken out.
Once that was finished we had the InSoFast put in. I was down in the basement talking with the contractors while they were installing. To work with the uneven walls they used A LOT of the foam adhesive. They would build out portions of the walls with the foam adhesive and then put the foam adhesive on the back of the InSoFast. Some of the stone walls were so irregular that it was virtually impossible to just put a little bit of foam on the back of the InSoFast and to keep it all level. They hung 2 x 4’s from the ceiling which helped hold the InSoFast up while it settled.
We use it mostly for storage. We’re also going to turn one of the rooms into an exercise room as soon as I can figure out what kind of flooring to put down. The little room that we haven’t ‘InSoFast-ed’ yet will probably be a wine cellar. The InSoFast has made the basement so much more usable. It’s incredible. We could never use it before. Now we use it all the time not just for storage but we also put in a new sink where I can wash my dog. I put a grow light in one of the rooms for a bunch of my plants. While I was getting ready for Christmas I took all of the fresh garlands down to the basement and was able to let them dry out before I put them up. It’s completely changed our use of that part of the house.
If they have walls like we do, buy LOTS of the foam adhesive.
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