Learning new trades during a staycation

My two were staycation is slowly winding down. I spent about six hours a day working on finishing out my partially finished basement. About four years ago, we had a refrigerator line burst and it ended up flooding the basement ceiling. I used the home insurance payout to replace my electrical system instead of repairing the drywall. Over the past few years, I’ve torn out most of the drywall  and replaced the electrical and plumbing system as well as install a furnace.

This project was to learn new trades as well as finally finish up the space into something liveable rather than just storage.

The trades involved in this project include:

  1. Concrete work – leveling out the basement floor. I used twenty bags of self leveling underlayment to fill in various dips in the basement slab.
  2. Concrete grinding – I had to cut up a foundation block where the old chimney used to be. This involved connecting my circular saw with a diamond blade and cutting a grid pattern into the foundation and chipping it away.
  3. Framing – no structural work was needed for this project. Instead, I framed in three partition walls into the space and a knee wall along the foundation perimeter.
  4. Electrical – I pulled wiring for six outlets along the new partition walls.
  5. Networking – two pulls of Cat 6 Ethernet went along to each room in the house. With the basement walls opened, it was time to pull the wiring before I closed it up.
  6. Insulation – four bags of Roxul insulation was used to insulate and also create noise blocking for the partition walls.
  7. Drywall – hung ten sheets of drywall.
  8. Plaster – applied four bags of plaster veneer base coat. I didn’t use a finish coat because I wanted the sandy old world look.
  9. Paint – primed and painted the walls
  10. Flooring – installed 22 boxes of resilient vinyl planks. This by far was the worst job requiring a lot of kneeling on the floor and standing up and down.
  11. Trim – trimmed out the baseboards along the floor.

I finished the project in about ten days. It could have gone faster had I worked longer days but I wanted to take it easy. Most importantly, this was a good break from my day job and used muscles (literally) I don’t normal use. It also tapped into a different part of the brain and stretched me in different ways. As a project manager, my job is to plan everything out. This project was 100% winged. I made everything up as I went (and made relatively few mistakes along the way).

Don’t think I want to do another project this size again but I did learn a few new trades along the way.

Going to the material yard to pick up plaster
Framing in partition walls
Hung the drywall and installed plywood sheathing.
No one plasters here in the West Coast. This pink stuff is plasterweld, a bonding agent that helps the plaster adhere to drywall.
My favorite part of the project was plastering. It’s a lost art and really fun.
Primed and painted the walls with whatever paint we had stored up. The flooring was easy to get start but really became a nighmare project. It was painful standing up and down constantly over two days.
Here’s the finished room (need to install the outlets).

Published by Daniel Hoang

Daniel Hoang is a visual leader, storyteller, and creative thinker. As an experienced management consultant, he believes in a big picture approach that includes strong project leadership, creative methods, change management, and strategic visioning. He uses a range of visual tools to communicate business challenges, solutions, and goals. His change strategy is to build "tribes" of supporters and evangelists to drive change in culture and organization. Daniel is an avid technologist and futurist and early adopter.