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Topic: Making the basement a habitable tornado shelter - Part 1: Lots of "Before" pics  (Read 1328 times)
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MagicalGirl
« on: June 14, 2013 09:18:21 PM »

My sister and I and a friend are renting a house near our college while I take a summer class and they have summer jobs. We're in the Midwest and the other day we had to sit in the basement for a tornado warning. The basement is super dusty and my sister has allergies, and also I like disaster preparedness and making my own life difficult, so I appointed myself to be the basement into a decent tornado shelter. My sister extracted a promise that I wouldn't become a crazy stockpiler, and I started cleaning. Here are the "before" pictures, and I'll update as the place turns into somewhere we can comfortably sit out tornado warnings and sleep if necessary.

Oh. My. Gosh. This basement hasn't been cleaned in years. I, on the other hand, am going to get cleaned ASAP.

Hi guys.

So here's the basement before any serious rearranging and decorating, but after a lot of cobweb-removal. You start down the stairs:

Okay, it's kind of grubby and the stairs themselves aren't in great shape, but it's an inexpensive rental for college students. No big deal.

You keep going.

There's something HVAC-y leading out through what used to be some sort of door. And yes, that's a coat hook holding the ex-door shut.

That's...different.

You turn the corner and come out into the basement proper:

Okay, slightly sketchy college-student basement. Whatever.

There's some basic basement stuff: random things previous tenants left, the furnace, a no-longer-functional laundry sink. There's also water pipes coming out of the ceiling and draining into...

...a trash can with a pump in it. Why, what do you have in your basement?

Also we have a tank that holds or used to hold some sort of gas.

Peace, y'all. (ETA: Turns out it's part of a water softener. Thanks, Housemate's Father!)

You know that scene in all those movies where they take the hero down into an incredible janky basement and plunk him in a chair and interrogate and/or torture him?

Yeah, they filmed it in my house.

Today I mostly swept dust and cobwebs out of the rafters. There are diagonal supports going between the rafters that collect so much dust the first time I swept a clump down I thought it was a dead mouse. I'm betting that by the time I'm done sweeping I'll have a pound or two of dirt to throw away. And speaking of cobwebs, look what I found in one of them:

Does anyone have any idea what it was when it was alive? (ETA: Turns out it's a centipede. Thanks, LadybugsAndBumblebees!)

Next I'm going to sweep off the walls and the air pipes, then wash the windows. I'm also going to do something about the wiring. The ceiling is full of about thirteen different systems of electrical wiring, most of which seem to date from a century before the house was built. Here's a taste:

But that really doesn't do it justice. Imagine if you were staying at someone's house and borrowed their computer, and then went to them and said, "Why have you installed Internet Explorer and Firefox and Chrome and Opera and Safari and Seamonkey? Also, you have a Linux virtual machine on which you're using Wine to run IE again. WTH?" and they just said, "Don't ask, man." Yeah, that's what the wiring in my basement is like.

Once it's decently clean, I'm going to fix up some shelves and store some food and water, flashlights, first aid kit, that sort of thing. I'm also planning on retro Civil Defense signs to label the shelves. Wish me luck!

EDIT:

I wear size nine shoes.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013 07:01:37 PM by MagicalGirl - Reason: added picture » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013 03:06:46 PM »

You are one brave woman! All this on a rental too. We cleaned and deconstructed out basement, took out 40 year old ceiling tiles (lots of mouse nests and leavings), old tiles, walls that chopped up the basement into small rooms, swept up a lb or two of crud and turned it into (trumpets here please) A BASEMENT. Still not done, but shelving is in, workbench and various woodworking tools are in place, but still some organizing needed.

More power to you. And I like the idea of the old signs. Stay safe from tornados!
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013 04:08:05 PM »

DH is an exterminator and he said that the bug you found was a centipede.  I disagree with him b/c the legs are so long!  But then he told me if I didn't believe him to look up 'centipede' on the internet; and I didn't really want to.   Tongue
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013 08:00:07 AM »

DH is an exterminator and he said that the bug you found was a centipede.  I disagree with him b/c the legs are so long!  But then he told me if I didn't believe him to look up 'centipede' on the internet; and I didn't really want to.   Tongue

I wouldn't have guessed centipede, but I think they have longer legs, and millipedes have tiny short ones.
Either way, it is creepy, brrrrrrr, I hate bugs!  Now I have the heeby jeebies!  I live in Nebraska, and we do
not have a basement.  Although from what I have been told there hasn't been any tornadoes in this area
for quite some time.  We've only been here a year.   
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013 09:27:54 AM »

I think I would have given up cleaning the basement after coming across that THING bug!  Tongue

But I also would have given up on living there after finding all the issues wrong with the wiring, etc...

How 'bout going to the neighbor's basement?  Roll Eyes
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Taramor
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013 11:18:56 AM »

Saving the world one basement at the time... Really, it is great you are doing it, and in a rented house, too!
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MagicalGirl
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013 08:25:37 PM »

DH is an exterminator and he said that the bug you found was a centipede.  I disagree with him b/c the legs are so long!  But then he told me if I didn't believe him to look up 'centipede' on the internet; and I didn't really want to.   Tongue

Haha, I totally support that. Thanks for the info!

But I also would have given up on living there after finding all the issues wrong with the wiring, etc...
Luckily most if it's not connected to anything any more, so it's just kind of funny. Smiley
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013 07:00:00 PM by MagicalGirl » THIS ROCKS   Logged

I'm looking for Simplicity 6340 (the 1970's sailor dress). PM me if you've got a copy to swop or sell! Cheesy
tomico
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2013 02:36:04 PM »

If you decide to paint go for a very pale yellow antifungal concrete paint . It will give some warmth to the area without being super obnoxious. the other aspects help it to last more than a couple months with the moisture of a basement.

Tomico
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