Ultimate DIY Guide to Exterior Basement Foundation Waterproofing

Or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Water damage in your basement? Cracks in your block wall? Lack of social weekend social engagements? With a bit of planning, a modest amount of money for materials, and a whole lot of time and labor, you too can excavate, dampproof, waterproof, insulate, and backfill your foundation.

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The Multi-Purpose Ladder is the Best Ladder for DIY Home Use

One common impediment to tackling do-it-yourself tasks around the house is the inability to access areas that are out of reach. With a versatile ladder (or two) it’s trivial to safely go everywhere you previously couldn’t. The initial investment in a good ladder will quickly pay for itself when you’re no longer hiring out the tasks you can do yourself.

There are many varieties of ladder, but the best one for DIY use is the multi-purpose ladder. Mine has a twenty-two foot reach and has taken me places that a lesser ladder could only dream about. Unsure about what you can do with such a ladder? No worries, I have inspiration for you below the fold.

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Part II: Increase Attic Intake Ventilation to Drastically Cut Cooling Costs

Is the top floor of your house a little too hot during the summer? Ours was, due to an acute lack of attic ventilation. This caused a significant heat buildup during the day that our air conditioner just couldn’t keep up with.

The second step to improving our attic ventilation was to increase the intake ventilation under the eaves. This project was inexpensive and completed incrementally over the course of several weekends.

The results of the increased ventilation were immediately felt by human and cat alike in a cooler upstairs. We were also surprised by a 25% decrease in that month’s electric bill compared to the previous year, a savings that has continued over subsequent months of A/C usage.

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Part I: Increase Attic Exhaust Ventilation to Drastically Cut Cooling Costs

Is the top floor of your house a little too hot during the summer? Ours was, due to an acute lack of attic ventilation. This caused a significant heat buildup during the day that our air conditioner just couldn’t keep up with.

The first step to improving our attic ventilation was to install a ridge vent on our roof. This project was relatively straightforward, inexpensive, and I completed it in a day. I only had to return to the big box store once, too.

The results of the increased ventilation were immediately felt by human and cat alike in a cooler upstairs. We were also surprised by a 25% decrease in that month’s electric bill compared to the previous year, a savings that has continued over subsequent months of A/C usage.

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How to Air Seal Recessed Can Lights from the Inside

If you have recessed light fixtures in your home you may also have a significant volume of conditioned air escaping into your attic. You can stem the flow of air (and money) by air sealing your light fixtures from the inside with just a roll of painter’s tape, a can of spray foam insulation, and a tube of painter’s caulk.

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Part II: How to Repair a Textured Ceiling that Flexes with the Seasons

Fix your damaged ceiling texture with a stiff bristled brush, ElastoPatch patching compound, and a couple of drywall knives. If all goes well, you may never repair it again!

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Part I: How to Repair a Drywall Crack that Flexes with the Seasons

Have any cracks in your ceiling or walls? Repair them yourself with a rotary cut-out tool, a utility vacuum, a tube of elastic Big Stretch caulk, and a couple of drywall knives.

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How We Saved More than 40% Off our Wedding Stationary from Minted.com

With some planning and a little luck you too can save a whole lot of money on your wedding save the dates, invites, RSVP cards, and thank you notes.

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Stop the Draft by Air Sealing your Baseboards

My 1961 bi-level home has all original hardwood flooring on the top-level. Where the floorboards meet the wall they’re covered by baseboard and quarter round, which in some instances masks a board that’s just a little too short. It’s within these gaps that outside air infiltrates the house.

The air that sneaks in creates a draft and in our house it’s most pronounced in the rooms directly above the garage. It’s here where I began pulling the quarter round from the baseboard. In doing so I confirmed the gaps that were allowing outdoor air into the house.

With the culprit in sight it was then time to remove the rest of the quarter round and fill in those gaps!

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Minimize Water Damage with Water Alarms, Leeo Smart Alert, and a Wemo Insight Smart Plug

Within a week of moving into our house I installed a Nest Protect on both floors, as well as a redundant Kidde carbon monoxide detector near our utility room. I figured we were pretty well covered for fire and carbon monoxide, but that was the extent of the devices that were to keep us safe and protect our investment in our home.

One omission in our safety plan was a set of alarms to alert us to unforeseen water. If the sump pump fails or our water heater explodes, we’d want to quickly shut off the main water valve to the house. In spite of those possible disasters (however unlikely), it wasn’t until this past week that I finally installed some water alarms.

Initially I wanted a “smart” water alarm, but decided against it due to the cost and/or need for a dedicated outlet. I’d rather not sink a small fortune into the alarms and I don’t have outlets everywhere I’d like to monitor for water. During much research I discovered the Leeo Smart Alert, which pairs with many “dumb” water alarms, so long as they have a continuous tone alert.

The appeal of the Leeo is that it alerts the homeowner with push notifications and automated phone calls if it detects any of the smoke, carbon monoxide, or water alarms. This marries the inexpensive utility of the basic water alarm with the smart features of more expensive alarms. Quite a cool device if you ask me!

In addition to the Leeo, I also power the sump pump through a Wemo Insight Smart Plug, which will notify me when it turns on. I also have a water alarm with a cord that dangles into the basin several inches from the bottom. That will go off only when there’s a large volume of water in and around the foundation.

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