Nov 18, 2008

A Limey project

So after many months in the house we are still trying to sort and organize and make the spaces livable while we slowly remodel. I am at the point now where I just want all the chaos put away and finally be able to find what we need. For the most part it hasn't been to bad but it is a slow process and I know will be many months if not a few years before some of my antique things potentially get unpacked. We decided to make a 4 day weekend out of my veterans day holiday and spend that time working on the organizing and cleaning of the basement. The house being a hundred plus years has an old stone basement which has sadly been neglected for years as many things have been. The main problems down there are all the dirt and the neglected walls. The basement is structurally sound but there are spots that need patching. Well while researching the best way to preserve and take care of the walls we discovered that old stone basement need to breath and so you shouldn't paint them or use regular portland type cement. We researched online and found recipes for the old fashioned lime based mortar that was used and Greg has gotten good at mixing this for patching the holes inside and out in the walls. We also found articles about limewashing. Basically an old technique that is still used in barns and farms to give them a good white coating. It is actually very antibacterial and antifungal so that is why it is good in farm situations. So Greg experimented and figured out how to mix it but it is very thick and gloppy so it is nearly impossible to spread on with a brush. He kept looking and finally found a sprayer that he thought would work. It is one for acoustic type foams and joint compounds and other thick agents. So we ordered one from Northern Tool. We spent the weekend working on cleaning, moving things around, vacuuming dirt, and limewashing. The other problem is all the loose dirt. Most of the walls have lots of loose sandy type of dirt on the upper sills and along the floor. So I started with the sweeping and shop vacuuming. So far we have taken 3 garbage cans fairly full of dirt out of the basement and still are not quite finished. Hopefully we have made progress on getting the dirt cleaned up and hopefully it doesn't come back as bad as it was. I doubt our stone basement will ever be spotless but we have made good progress. While I was busy dirt busting Greg was limewashing the area he is going to use for his music practice area and getting that all cleaned up and ready. Also we needed to fix windows that are rotting out and have plants growing between them and all kinds of mini-disasters like that. Some things are temporary fixes to make the house more warm and comfortable until we can do the permanent fixing. So after 4 days of work things are much better than when we started but we still have a ways to go yet. I have to say those days were broken up with trips to menards and running errands etc so you never quite get as far as you think you will with projects. Anyone who has remodeled or had remodeling done knows things always take longer than you hope or anticipate so we will just keep chugging along. Eventually it will be organized and clean maybe when we are old and grey if we are lucky!

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