The Heros Behind the Walls. DIY Basement Renovation
By Mark Clement
I’m getting a man cave! I’m getting a man cave! I’m taking my beat-down, dirty basement and giving it a hyperdrive trick-out. I’m saying no to water on the floor, heck no to smelly drinking water, and goodbye to mold in the air.
I’m saying yes to a bathroom built for the boys (me, my son and my buddies). It’ll have a wood-walled shower (I can’t wait), a urinal (a sleek, all black, to-the-floor Kohler urinal of awesomeness). The basement remodel will also include a wall-hung toilet, so I never again have to clean behind a toilet, and stained concrete floors with nary a grout joint to clean—ever.
But, as visions of flat screens and beer taps dance in our heads, making this dream room a reality is the stuff of sober work and good craftsmanship. Even though I’m pretty good at watching TV, I’m more fired up for rooms that work. And, as an Extreme How-To-er, I’ll have as big a love affair with my sewage-ejection pump as I will with the pixels on the TV. This is where the underdogs of design really shine (until they have to go live behind the wall).
My man cave—and any smart basement renovation—starts with what I call the heroes behind the walls: The process and the products that make the basement bathroom lurch to life, and also improve life throughout house—for everybody—at the same time. That’s the real takeaway for me.
To put a little more technically: On the road to getting what you want, you can also avoid future plumbing problems, make your coffee taste better and your wife’s hair silkier, vastly improve sound quality in the rest of the house, and contain the fire you’re not planning to have.
Perfect the Process
Permit. As much as I love tools and action, I’m only hurting myself if I don’t get a building permit. Even contractors who “know what they’re doing” do it. Tom Silva pulls permits. So does Mike Holmes and all the other top-drawer people we watch on TV, because if you do things right, there are more payoffs than passing inspection. You’ll be able to sell your house more easily because you’ll be able to list it as having the upgraded number of rooms. You also delete the risk of a shutdown. And, you’ll have another set of eyes on your work—the best insurance policy ever. YouTube is good, but you can’t learn everything from it.