Cutting Cement and Final Basement Prep

Big night for us in the basement! With a second column pad poured, and a new support beam installed, and a first pass taken at lowering the pit depth… we were ready to cut a clean ledge for the pour, and to do a final pass at getting things to the proper depth.

Luckily for us, we had already put down a line some time ago. Here, Liz is retracing that line with marker.

A newer cut, to clean off the one we made about three weeks ago, to make room for the second column.

A view of the jagged edges that need to get cleaned up. Of particular worry – those cracks above the line. The trick will be to cut the concrete, and get it to break along the new seam, and to not splinter beyond the line.

This whole area was concerning.

I’m sad to say it, but I was pretty stressed going into this task. I ended up snapping at Liz a few times in the early phases of things, but eventually settled down a bit.

Liz tells me I’m always like this – hyper-anxious at the start, and eventually return to normal. Why she puts up with me, I’ll never know.

We tried to combine efforts, with me cutting and Liz pouring water to minimize the dust. Eventually though, the water made it harder to see the line – and I just ended up cutting without the water.

This work reminded me a lot of the process I went through, when cleaning our attic. At first, I was wearing a full Tyvek suit, complete with a respirator. By the end of things, I was up there in jeans and a t-shirt, and was just taking a bath in the dirty insulation.

Tonight, I started off so slowly, worried about dust. And eventually… I was just taking a bath in the stuff.

As I worked on the concrete, Liz shifted her focus to removing material from along the walls, under the gray flanges. Every so often, she’d wave at me (we both had earplugs in), and I’d stop my cutting… take out two buckets full of sand/rocks, dump them outside… and then back to work.

Whereas I was hunched over and concentrating in one spot most of the time, she was moving around a great deal. Shoveling rocks into buckets, raking, walking over and adjusting the laser level, setting up the wooden board to check the depth, rinse and repeat.

A long cut.

Near the edge, where the angle starts.

In trying to remove things cleanly, I added in some steps and tried to apply bob’s advice of “sneaking up” on the cut.

Getting a large chunk to fall off is very satisfying.


The ledge is done, with a bit of rubble still in the pit.

The corner.

Looking over the columns. Pretty happy with how this turned out.

A view of the pit, clean lines and lowered to the right depth.

Sad to say it, but I didn’t quite get a clean line all the way down. As I Was trying to remove things near the cracks at the start… it broke past the line.

I don’t think this is too terrible, as something like this happened when I was working in the back basement. Just really was hoping I could have gotten a single, straight line all the way across. I think I tried to take out too large a chunk near this area, and the existing crack decided to give.

After the cutting was done, there was more work in getting the pit down its proper level again. With all the walking and extra debris, we had to do another full pass across the whole area.

For this part of the evening, I had things pretty easy. I manned the laser level while Liz checked against the wooden board. She’d shovel as needed, then raked as needed. When the buckets got full, I went to dump them outside.

There was a period of time where we knew it had gotten late, and were debating whether to stop or just push through. I’m glad we ultimately decided to push through, as the basement is fully prepped for Saturday – and we’re ready to go.

Post basement face-mask selfie.

Cement Pour Prep: Lowering the Pit
A New Support Beam in the Basement
Prepping for a Second Column
Prepping the Back Basement

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