Wednesday, January 23, 2013

door doctor - basement edition, part 1

jambaloney here!

sky pic for helga - nice evening about 4:00 PM, days are getting longer - FINALLY!

it's been only about, ohhhh 2 years with the same crappy basement door, what the heck has been keeping me??

you can see here how nicely the basement door accommodates runoff  - NOTHING i can do to prevent this from happening right now, i CAN control it, the trench was a great start!

need a new door for starters, where is the best place to get one?? you guessed it, other people's garbage!!! i have scavenged 3 of these doors so far, they are the exact same as our front door, really popular in cape breton , 1/2 our neighbors have the same!

what is wrong with the old door, well, it's wood with cracks and this hook is how is closes... no knob, no latch no... etc....

oh an aside upgrade, i built some steps with pieces of  railway ties and gravel i excavated from the basement  while digging the drain pit ..

2 years ago after the pump and pipes froze i hastily stapled carpet to the door to cut down on drafts... i am always worried when the temperature drops... i have been insulating like mad, but the door is  a weak spot. to heat the basement in the colder months (nov - march), i leave the lights on. in dec, jan and feb, i add a small ceramic heater attached to a timer -  it goes off for 15 mins every hour. this has been pretty successful - BUT... drafts are a killer when the temp really drops.

here is the inside

and here is the bottom --nice and cracked - i filled in some of the gaps with strips of foam meant for pipes..

here is the sill - that sheet prevents drafts from entering at the bottom - i know, i know....

here is the rotten sill - years of runoff have taken their toll. note the bulge at the bottom right - that is spray expanding foam. the gap between the concrete and sill is filled in with foam.

these are my snazzy steps - better than the slippery slope. i am letting them compact and freeze all winter before the final leveling off.

more door jam joy - it is a mess! that white wire is our phone line going in - all i could do at the time when we were desperate to get it working again.

my idea for a new sill begins with 1 1/4 " flex abs and pressure treated 2x6

when you cut pressure treated lumber for a damp place, ya gotta  re-seal the cut ends - this stuff reeks, be sure to use outside or near an open window!

i cut a whole pile of these small lengths of flex pvc and screwed them into the new sill.. with about 1/2 inch indent and an inch sticking out the other side

the idea is to replace the foam with something that controls the water getting in the basement... i will install a catch trench later. these sections of pipe are easily rock solid to walk on too

i used concrete to hold a number in place while drilling them in - it left both hands free for working

this screen in installed on the indented side - it goes outside and keeps the gravel from getting in and clogging the pipes. the indent space allows for free water travel.

on the other side, the overhanging pipe with drain into a catch trench/pipe for controlled diversion to the drain pit..

so with the new sill done - we are ready for a new door - stay tuned for part 2!!!

as an aside after 2 years of moving stuff around and around... i have a small functional work area... about 10 x10, shared with the dishwasher you see ;-)) the workbench is our old kitchen sink vanity (kee rap) and a solid core door that has seen better days - BUT.. it works!

here is my tool "box" .. i plan on making an old fashioned wood box, but until then and while i figure out what tools i will need at all times, i opted for the 5 gallon bucket with skirt - i do have it packed pretty tight it is very heavy;-))

sandy - this one is for you ;-)

 cheers all - thanks for stopping by!


  1. After reading this post, I must say that I need to move someplace with better neighbors. Mine don't throw away anything remotely as nice as your door. In fact in the six months I have lived here, the best thing I have seen was a four drawer dresser made of pressed plywood and looked as if it had been submerged in water for a year!

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    2. hey ed!

      i am pretty lucky here - i get most of the treasures in and around st peter's... i think a lot of the homes are begging for renovations ;-) also there are only 2 large pick-up days a year,so that helps too!

      i did pretty good in ottawa too, city folk toss away all kinds of good stuff!

      hope you have better hunting soon - cheers!

  2. good finished door when ya get there.

    Hello to you and Jam.

    1. hey warlock - will do!

      that is the next post - cheers to you buddy, hope you are doing well!

  3. Very nice work Jam ! The pictures and explanation are very helpful. Next I think you are going to need to turn your attention into those who might come from far and wide to break in, for some of your wife's fantastic food as advertised on your blogs ! It's a good thing you are BOTH handy ! Love to you both.

    1. thanks jane - we are having a real cold snap now so i am really glad i did this fix-up!!

      is that a threat or a promise ;-)))) !!

      love back to you from both of us!!

  4. nothing like a dry and warm shop to work in with the rotten stuff replaced...

    ever considered a "barrel stove" for heating the basement shop?

    meanwhile everything looks vgery proffessional done


    1. nothing like it !

      there is a free old woodstove with our name on it at a neighbors... the basement sits above 1/2 the house so we would need a substantial amount of expensive pipe and flashing to have it installed to code, which is crucial for insurance. it will be in the budget, but i want to be certain of where it will go before i move on that. we will probably be ready next fall.

      thanks for thumbs up!


    2. thanks for the reply


  5. My basement is drafty. If I could close the door and the window, it would help! Today, I just discovered I have two inches of water in the basement...grrr. I think it ran down the concrete basement steps during five days of nonstop rain, and is just sitting on the concrete floor. My door in the basement is splitting on the bottom, too. However, none of this is anything I can do myself. Thankfully, the basement does not have an entrance into the house. I am glad yours is getting fixed. Makedo insulation is smart.

    I have thought about leaving the lights on in the basement. I might just do that now. However, even though I have a work bench, I never work down there anymore.

    Are you digging the trench on the outside or inside?

    1. drafty basements are no good - you need to get someone around to close that out and fix that door!

      insulation of any type is smart!! leaving the lights on will help prevent freezing, but the drafts have to be sealed doff first.

      the outside trench is done, i will be putting a small drainpipe in the basement to control the water flow

      i hope you get nicer weather soon - cheers!

    2. Jambaloney,
      If I had the money, I could get anything done. Nothing ever freezes in the basement even with the door open and inch and the window down an inch. And, the pipes run near the window and right above the door. At 9 F degrees, it still did not freeze. I am amazed. Of course, the rooms above the basement get frigid.

      Did you see the post on my blog about home made insulation?

  6. that pipe idea is really good! I am sure it will go perfectly! I am doing some door work of my own right now to cut down on nasty drafts!

    1. thanks pal - i thought is was a pretty good idea ;-)

      glad you are getting some insulating done - the cold has been a real "motivator" !!!!


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