Monday, October 09, 2006

Stairway to Heaven

Well, if you can call dry stairs heaven, and I can, then, hence the tittle for this post. Many of you know that I have had a leak problem on the basement stairs of the house I bought after the divorce. I had a company come in who sealed outside around the foundation three times and after the last treatment, and no leak for a year, I thought we were good! A few weeks ago we had a torrential storm with tornado force winds and the stairs leaked again (along with a crack in the foundation in another part of the basement that had been fixed when I bought the house. I ended up spending the whole weekend ripping up carpet and padding to dry the carpet after moving most of the fur nature off it.

I did a bunch of Internet research and ordered three things from this place called Ame's Research. A 'Super Primer' which is a chemical that bounds with concrete (and other things) and makes it stronger, seals cracks, and is waterproof, and plastic waterproof sealing tape, and a top coat of another sealent and leak stopper.

So, this past weekend I began Friday evening by using a portable steamer (thanks again Josh!) to remove the carpet from the lower part of the flight of stairs. Saturday it was up and off to Lowes where I snagged a 6AM electric drill, assorted wire-wheels, goggles, filter masks, etc. and headed home. The best thing though was the A23 battery for my garage door opener that died a couple of days before! They actually had them there and I could use the garage again!

I spent a fun filled three hours cleaning the areas on the stairs that had to be treated with the drill and wire wheels. i had a large fan at one end of the house blowing and at the back end of the house where the stairs are I had the sliders open and a fan blowing up the stairs which are right in line with the sliders. So, other than me and repeated cleaning of the stairs with the vacuum while I worked dust infiltration into the rest of the house was all but avoided! Yay science!

Next, I spent the rest of the day applying coats of the Super Primer which needed 2 to 3 hours in between coats. With my back having to bend of so much and stand on unlevel footing (one stair above and below on each foot) by the end of the day I was in considerable pain. Thee evening cooled off rapidly (it had been high 60's during the day) and soon it was in the 50's and dang cool in the house!

Around 6PM my daughter Danielle had called me because usually she (and Scott most times) sleep over many Saturday nights when it is their Mom's weekend (thanks X for letting them do that) and they already knew they would not be doing that this evening. She wanted me to come over and watch TV, so, with a groan in my heart I got cleaned up and wandered over there (I would have preferred to stay attached to the couch I was so sore) because I just could not say no to her wanting to see me.

I got there around 9PM and we watched an hour of TV together along with the X's brother, I put her to bed and after some additional chatting with the brother in law I headed out. As I was leaving Scott wanted me to go downstairs to look at some of his flash. I was just too sore after already traversing the steps the Danielle's bedroom I declined, but, I felt bad!

I got home, and ran the fans again to keep the smell of the primer down. I finally turned the fans off shortly before bed.

Sunday arising I could barely move, and I seriously considered putting it off for two weeks until the next weekend I did not have the kids. However, with a groan and the realization that today was going to be even warmer than Saturday (plus who knows what the Michigan weather will be like in two weeks, they are predicting lake effect show this weekend already!) I decided to bite the bullet. So, the next couple of hours was spent applying the tape down the stairs where the wall meets the steps (the parts that were cracked already and the rest all the way down as preventative medicine) and then I was ready for the top coats. This took the remainder of the day until around 7PM when I was finally done. At least it was not so cool as Saturday night with the fans running!

As I crawled into bed last night I was both glad that the job was done and I had persevered without help. Since I did not treat the foundation crack that leaked when the stairs did, I figure I can use this as a test if we get a really heavy rain. If the wall leaks and the stairs do not, I will be good, and then I will treat that area the same was as the stairs.

Cost for the chemicals and tools needed: $200
Cost of Satisfaction for doing it on my own: Priceless!

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