Digging It

As the renovation progresses it’s been difficult to illustrate some of the less glamorous details that are necessary – but not that interesting.  It’s hard to compete with room transformation before & after reveal posts from my fellow bloggers. But on the chance that someone out there is doing their own extreme renovation I submit this post.

1 digWe start with digging – on the back side of the house I’ll be adding an egress window and remove the cast iron clean out and pipe in the basement. Here’s the start of earth moving. Could I have gone with an excavator instead of digging this by hand? Sure, but what fun would be?

2 digAs I dug happily away – I didn’t realize I had no way to get out. So I had to dig some steps in the sides to make my escape. I made sure I put a ladder in the hole after that.

3 digAnd in the foreground I’ve removed all the dirt to get access to the old cast iron plumbing. I had to be careful because the underground electric lays on top of this pipe.

4 digThe cast iron pipe through the wall is connected to 8″ clay sewer pipe that looks like it was replaced in the past 20 years. It was thankfully in great shape.

DSCN8846All you need to do is chip out the concrete and mortar around the pipe and cut it free. Since this will be a finished basement, you don’t want the sewer clean out in your basement.

5 digAll the plumber had to do is make two cuts through the clay pipe and out it came. That’s the cast iron in the foreground.

6 digTypically you add two clean outs – one for each direction. This pipe was so large that one directional clean out was all that was needed. I used spray foam in the center of the wall penetration and then used hydraulic anchoring cement on both sides to seal to the cement block wall. Waterproofing was applied for extra protection. The clean out pipe will be cut to grade level after the yard is graded.

7 pvc pipe out So now the clean out is outside and the basement wall will enclose the pipes.

8 water proofingWhile I was at it I dug the front area foundation and added some water proofing here. You can see one of the new basement hopper windows I installed the day before.

So not a fancy eye-candy post – but necessary stuff needed to make our home trouble free.




20 thoughts on “Digging It

    • Well, now you tell me. If I knew you were gonna volunteer it would have saved me a lot of hard labor. Thanks for the offer, though 🙂

  1. I know how you feel! When I was renovating I was taking pictures getting all excited but thinking…”this isn’t going to look that great on the blog” – but it’s all progress and worth documenting in my eyes 🙂

    • Thanks KarenAnita – yes I have thousands of photos – and most look pretty uninteresting. But they do come in handy when you’re trying to remember where you buried a drain line in your basement.

  2. Whew, glad you didn’t cut into that electrical service line! With our recent exterior plumbing work (the waste line disaster), I have new appreciation for clean-outs.

    • Hi D’Arcy – I always seem to make things harder on myself. I should have done the plumbing first and then the buried electrical – but that’s how it rolls around this place…

    • Thanks for stopping in Tami! Yep, it’s not always pretty stuff – but after renovating for 6 years it’s about time I get to some fancy doo-dads.

    • Thanks so much! Yep, it’s a lot of work, but if I HAD to do it it wouldn’t be that joyful. Everyone needs a hobby – but next time I might stick to stamp collecting. 🙂

    • Hey Chris – yep these old bones need a new command center – seems like my brain thinks my body is 16 instead of 61.

  3. Well as you know, our renovation has been pretty extreme also.
    we nearly had to be rescued yesterday when Trev was putting new door handle on in salon and the pin thing thru door got stuck and handle on other side fell off!
    No other way out apart from thru window and salon on first floor!
    Fortunately we managed to get pin out

    • Hi Gill – yes, I marvel at your projects and the years of history. My house was built in 1935 by a couple of drunks by the look of it. Isn’t it funny how we can get ourselves in predicaments when all we’re trying to do is make things better? It’s those little things that can really difficult – and funny when enough time passes.

      • Well, I think my house was constructed by medieval myopics under the influence of strong ale…but things are slowly getting better, and clearly you have made huge progress too.
        At least you are doing most of it without your wife being actively involved- Trevor & I have been sorely tried over the years by working together on this marathon project!!

      • Yes – it has some advantages with having a spouse that’s trusting in my design choices. But since I do design for a living she just says ‘do your thing’. But when it’s not a great result – it’s all on me 🙂

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