Sunday, August 16, 2015

Construction Report August 16, 2015

While much of the work was completed a couple of weeks ago, I've finally found the time to give an update on the deteriorating wall and new shelves.

Owning a house seems to force you to either throw money at contractors or throw money at Home Depot learning to fix any problems yourself. Repairing the mortar of a few layers of brick seemed like something I could definitely do myself.

After removing all the root remnants and as much rotten mortar as possible, I was left with some pretty deep cavities. There was one where I could almost stick my whole finger in between the bricks.

Doing mortar work for the first time required new tools added to my collection. I already had a couple trowels but to do things right I needed to get a narrow trowel to get mortar in those deep recesses, a striker to get those nice concave mortar lines and something like a giant cake icing squeeze cloth but for concrete.

In all it went really smoothly and I think it turned out great. While I don't think I'll pursue a career in brickwork I enjoyed the process and love looking at a project completed with new skills.

After the mortar cured, the whole wall got a couple coats of a Drylock cement wall paint and then a couple coats of a white Behr basement wall paint. This was the last section of the basement walls to get a fresh coat of paint to help make the space bright and clean looking. The exposed floor was scrubbed clean then painted with Behr's 1 Part Epoxy grey floor paint to match the rest of the basement floor.

Sparkling! Having an inviting environment for your layout helps keep your interest and guests coming back downstairs.
Like the previous wall to the left of the current project, 2x4 studs were screwed to the floor joists in the ceiling and carriage bolts were added at the bottom to tension them to the floor.

Closetmaid shelf tracks were used to bring storage space back to this spot in the basement.

As a bonus the Closetmaid track system can be used to support a part of the layout shelf and since the shelf brackets can be adjusted, it's a great way to test various layout heights before building

That's a module I've been working on to test scenery techniques and use for photography. It's similar to what the Adena or Pine Valley yards will look like so it adds an exciting window into the potential future look of the room. I'll have more on building the scenery module in the next few days.


  1. Your mortar joints look great. Did you just use plain mortar mix or something else? I just repaired a bunch of mortar joints in my foundation block walls on the house we are moving out of, but I used DryLok Fast Plug hydraulic cement to fill the joints. I like hydraulic cement because it expands into the joint as it sets, but it is very sandy and doesn't really make nice smooth joints like yours.

    I'm also curious to check out how the 2x4's work out over a wall like yours. Nothing is square or in plumb in these older homes. Like you say, it looks nice and clean the way you finished it but I'm worried about walls not being in plumb. My new house was built in 1965 and has block walls in the basement and I was thinking I might do the same as you did but I'm wondering if I should drywall over the studs or just leave them open like yours.

    I have read about some folks who really like the shelving bracket system to support their layout instead of traditional L-girder or open frame benchwork. Some folks use a combination of brackets and L-girder or open frame. Your wall system looks very solid and I'm sure it goes up a lot easier and faster than building benchwork. My last setup was a 24" x 80" hollow core door on the same type of brackets and it worked great.

    Looks awesome, keep the posts coming!

    1. Thanks Jeff!

      I used Quickcrete Fast Set Repair Mortar that comes in a yellow bucket, probably bought at Home Depot. I've used their Hydraulic Cement before and had good results.

      My basement walls are extremely uneven and are far from plumb. I think the original part of my house was built in the 1930's so the basement definitely reflects the home's age. I'm know I'm not the first to do some repair work down there.

      I didn't drywall over the studs mostly because painting the studs the same color of the wall helped to sorta blend things, and secondly because I don't need to give the spiders that find their way into my basement any new places to hide behind!

      I love the Closet Maid shelf track system and I would use it for the whole basement if I had money coming out my ears. There's a few spots where I might use the 12" tracks to support a really deep scene with a 20" bracket. Otherwise like you said I'm going to use the screw-in shelf brackets that most people use for their shelf layouts. Those will make it easier to make the grades that the Adena Branch requires.

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