Light Townhouse Rehab - Project #6, Week #2

It's week #2, and we continued with the cleanup and tearout work. If the progress seems light, keep in mind that we only have one full day a week to dedicate to the project, plus some limited time on the weekends.

In the basement, the floor was partially covered with carpet, the rest in peel-and-stick tiles. Last week we took up the carpet, and this week we removed the floor tiles. They came up pretty easy with a long-handled scraper.

Once the tiles were hauled out, we cut the base trim from all of the walls in the basement. I was pleased to see that the builder used pressure-treated wood for the toe plate when the basement walls were studded out.

Outside the basement exit is a small fenced-in back yard that needs attention. The dogs running around had trampled it to the point that the ground was hard-packed and only a few weeds were growing. With no vegetation in the yard, the surface had eroded down to the red clay that is prevalent in the area. We decided to attack this now, since there are predictions of rain for several days during the next week. New grass seed takes a lot of water to get started, so why not let Mother Nature supply as much of it as possible!

If you look closely in the picture above, you can also see that the entry door frame needs some work. And below is a closeup of the basement door - the frame is rotted and most likely too far gone to section in new wood.

The first step in sprucing up the back yard was to pull up all the weeds, making sure to get the roots as well as the above-ground portion of the plant. We then opened up several bags of topsoil and used a rototiller to break up the clay and work in the topsoil.

We laid out a path from the basement door to the back gate with plastic edging and gravel. Grass seed was sown and lightly raked into the soil. Starter fertilizer was scattered on top to provide extra food for the new sprouts. To prevent the fresh seed from being washed away by the expected rains, a biodegradable mat was rolled out over the bare soil. The mat will collapse into the soil as it rains, keeping it from being washed away.

With the yard taken care of, attention was turned back inside. We finished removing the base trim and drywall from the first floor. The walls adjoining the townhouses on each side are fire walls, which have double layers of drywall. When cutting the trim, we were careful not to cut into the second layer of drywall. Also, when we splice in the new sections, we will use self-setting mud to fill the gaps to make it as air-tight as possible. We will not need to take this step on the walls that aren't shared with another unit. In the picture below, the left section of the wall is common to another unit, and the right is a interior wall.

The the front foyer, we removed the self-stick tiles - same pattern as in the kitchen and baths. The easiest method was to simple pull up the underlayment with the tiles still attached. We were running out of time, so we cut the underlayment in front of the powder room to limit the area affected. Next week, the powder room floor will be removed as well.

That's it for the second week - it looks like we will be able to spend 2 days a week on this project starting next week, so there should be plenty to see. Come back again next week and look for the updates!

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