• Laura Smude

Home Renovation: First Stop, The Basement

Ah, basements. The variations are endless. Finished, unfinished. Laundry room,

laundry out of a room, no laundry at all. Full bathroom, half bath, toilet in a corner…

trust me, I’ve seen it all!

Basements can be updated to your liking just like any other part of a house. And the

good news is, you’re usually not trying to live in your basement while you renovate

(as you may for other rooms in your home).

When we bought our house, we hated the way the basement was arranged. The

living space was small, the bathroom design was awkward, and on top of it all, there

were signs of possible water intrusion. The previous owners did say water

leaked into the basement. They also told us that the problem was 'taken care of.'

This photo, of the southeast corner of the house, shows some questionable issues –

ripples and gaps where they should not be.

So, what do you do first when you start a reno? Rip out some walls of course!

We wanted to get to the bottom of any underlying issues first. There was good news

and bad news. Good news – the source of the water leak had indeed been fixed by the

previous owners. Bad news – there was significant damage from the water in some


We didn’t know what we would find when we started tearing up the basement. The

problems we found ranged from simple cosmetic issues to an entire bowed wall that

ended up eating half our budget… but that’s another story!

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