I Learned How to Install a Toilet + Other Basement Updates

Way back in January Ben and I started working on our basement remodel and I am so excited to say that it is ALMOST DONE!

Typically, my first piece of advice for anyone wanting to tackle a DIY home renovation project is to set a time limit for yourself. These projects can go on and on if you don’t set some type of goal for yourself and that’s exactly what happened with the basement. To be fair, we were in no rush. We actually planned to just take our time and work on it when we could work on it. The basement wasn’t needed space, so we just went slow. It’s been a relaxing project overall because there wasn’t a pending date of necessary completion. So it took eight months.

As I said, set a completion goal.

But here we are, finally at the finish line! The drywall is complete, everything is painted, the floors are in, and some toys have already found a new home.

I am in love with the space!

Update Photos of the Process

This project has been going on forever and Ben worked his butt off. When we redid the basement in the last house, things went much faster. Mainly because that area was not even half the size of this basement, but also because we had a time limit last time. Ben was in the basement at least once a week for the past few months. The hardest part was by far the drywall, but he got it done and did a really really good job.

While the kids and I were visiting my family in New York over the fourth of July, he finished the drywall. After that, a friend of ours came over to help him paint. When I got home, the basement was a completely different space!

Painting Ceiling & Walls

I spent the next week cleaning up the basement. We got a Bagster from Menards and I got to work.

Drywalling is the worst part of any home project. I know that it is hard on Ben, the repetitive motion and absolute frustration of it. And the dust that comes from the whole thing will drive you absolutely mad. The dust covers EVERYTHING. It stayed pretty contained in the basement, but I cleaned everything back in July and I can still feel the dust on my feet when I walk into the storage area down there. If you’re going to start doing DIY drywall work, I warned you. It’s dirty af.

SO THE FUN PART…

Laying the Flooring

Part of my family came to visit over the last weekend in August. Ben and I headed to Floor and Décor while they hung out with our kids on Saturday afternoon and picked out our flooring from down there. We went with Duralux Performance Vinyl in Piedmont Blend. The next day Ben got to work around 2 PM while we went and visited some friends. He worked all day and finished up around 10:30 PM that night. I have no idea how he did it, I was exhausted from the weekend.

Let me tell you this, I am obsessed with this flooring. I will be replacing our first floor flooring with this Vinyl. The color and texture is beautiful; its waterproof and scratch resistant.

*Ben hung the doors in August at some point. That was a two part process. He pulled his back out for the first time cutting the doors one night, and so we took a long break again from any house work.

Cleanup + Setup

Once the floors were in, I went down again to clean up. The LVP was pretty dusty when we got it home, just from transport and sitting in the floor, and got dirty while being installed. I vacuumed over everything, I am obsessed with my vacuum, and then hit it with the Swiffer Wet Jet. Worked perfectly.

We brought some couches down, the kids play kitchen, and installed the TV. We have been in the basement every single day since. Ben and I have been down there watching our show every night, and the kids love having their kitchen setup down there.

As the title of this post suggests, we are not 100% done. We still need to paint the doors, install handles, and put up trim work. Which will all happen here soon. For now we are enjoying having the space back. Before we do all that finish work, though, we are finishing up the bathroom down here. And guess what? I am doing it!

New Things I’m Learning

Over Labor Day weekend, Ben and I decided we were going to finish the bathroom down in the basement. On Saturday morning, after his normal cup of coffee, Ben headed downstairs to finish sanding the drywall in the bathroom. Our plan was to sand it all down, mud any rough spots, sand again and then get to painting. Well, after sanding, Ben came back upstairs walking sideways. He pulled his back out again (this is the second time in 6 weeks, poor old man) and spent the next to days either laying in bed on a hot pack or stretching to realign his spine. (Don’t worry, we are talking to a specialist to see if we can prevent this happening again!)

So I took over from there. Painting is nothing new for me, I’m an old pro at this point. After the painting Ben decided I could learn a few new skills.

On Tuesday the two of us headed down there and got to work. I learned how to hook in outlets, switches and install lights! Next up, I learned how to setup the plumbing to install the sink vanity and toilet. I’m kind of a badass at this point.

Wednesday we had Ben’s parents over for dinner. His dad helped me carry the toilet and vanity down to the basement and after the kids were in bed, Ben and I got to work. I learned how to install a toliet and a vanity last night. Two skills I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would know how to do. But here we are. Now I know!

Here’s what I have learned in the last four days: This stuff is not hard to do, but there is a certain way to do it.

And, the instructions for things like electric and plumbing parts, are written by men for men. The instructions assume you already know what you’re doing, so don’t rely on those. You can 100% hook up an outlet, switch out a light, or even replace a vanity top. Pull up a YouTube video and know that anything you “mess up” can be fixed.

On that same note, I am very happy I have a husband who knows how to do this stuff and is willing to do it. It isn’t hard, but I’d rather not be as hands on with the plumbing stuff 😀

Now I’m going to go lay down with this glass of Rose Ben just brought to me, I’ve earned it 🍷

I would loveeee if you could share this forward!

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