Thanks for the comments guys.@sparkewe
- I think underpinning a basement is pretty standard stuff for structural engineers so the engineering cost is relatively small. In my neck of the woods, you'd be looking at $1500-$2000 for an engineer to do the underpinning design including the permit drawings. Then it's about $150-$250 each time you or your contractor wants the engineer on site to check on things or problem-solve as the reno progresses and surprises crop up. If you have a thoroughly competent contractor that you trust 100%, you may not need any on-site visits by the engineer once you have your permit. I definitely recommend at least 2 visits - once when demolition begins and a second time when the concrete is poured. We ended up calling the engineer for 5 visits.@TUKIN18S
- I see we have a photographer in the audience?
Yes it's the 16-35, but it's the mk1 version, so it's not the sharpest lens Canon makes. There were only two 60w light bulbs lighting the whole basement throughout most of the reno, but the low light capability of current generation dslr's is nothing short of amazing.Onto the update...Concrete floor revealed
After the drywall, the next step was applying a sealant to the concrete floor. They had covered up the floor as soon as it was dry to protect it while the trades continued working. Concrete is supposed to take 30 days to cure and the color in the concrete is supposed to lighten up in color during this process. It looked pretty DARK and the color swatch we had was much lighter than what we were seeing on the floor, but I was hoping it was just the lack of lighting in the basement. I wouldn't find out until 2 months later. I was also unhappy that one half of the concrete was more smooth and even while the other half was the exact opposite. They poured the concrete in 2 sections, and you can also clearly see the line dividing the 2 sections. I'm not sure that this is how it's supposed to be, but it was pretty deflating.
For the sealant, we chose a low VOC version of the glossy sealant because we have a 1-year old, but the contractor recommended the regular version at the 11th hour because the low VOC version is water based and may leave white spots. We left all the windows open throughout the day while the sealant was being applied and when I came home after work, I couldn't smell any fumes at all. So I thought we'd be OK. In fact, I closed all the windows to turn on the a/c because it was a hot day.Two coats of glossy concrete sealant
At around 10pm, I started smelling the sealant. It was subtle and yet not that subtle because I knew something wasn't right. Now, my wife was out watching the premiere of Sex and the City 2, so I wasn't sure what to do. She got home at around 12 and immediately noticed the smell. At this point, we quickly decided that we needed to get the baby out of the house. Luckily, I managed to book a hotel near the house and we were out of the house in 15 minutes!
We actually ended up staying at the hotel for 3 nights. Yes, the smell was that bad. And because it's a basement and the weather was hot and humid, it took a while for the sealant to dry. On the 3rd day, the contractor rented one of those industrial strength fans to help the drying process. It was a bit of an adventure, but with a young baby, we weren't going to take any chances! On the plus side, it was actually a fun little vacation within our city!