To finish or not to finish...


Old 05-28-05, 01:29 PM
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To finish or not to finish...

I just moved into one of two units on the ground floor of a large converted house in Portland, OR. There is a huge basement area all to ourselves which has been partially finished - track lighting has been installed, heating, a small room in the corner. The basement is accessible via a common stairwell area out the back door of our unit.

The walls and floor are bare concrete, the floor somewhat uneven. The previous tenants lived here for ~2 years and used the space as an artists studio. They contend that there has never been a water problem, and that the basement remains dry year-round. When I moved in, the landlord repaired from the outside a single leaking crack in an outer wall. This crack was behind a cabinet, so the previous tenants did not know about it until they moved. There is some work carpet down there, which I assume has been there a while, that is mildew free. On the wall with the entry way there is a 1-2 inch gap underneath the wall, but outside the door in the landing is a central drain.

My aim is to use the space for a personal lair (and leave the living space upstairs to my girlfriend as a way of maintaining the relationship ). I will want to have a computer desk, entertainment center, pool table, and possibly in the future in the small room, a darkroom/photo studio.

Now my main question is: how much do I need to worry that my goods will be destroyed by water, or that mold or mildew will attack rugs/chairs/sofas/pool table felt? If there's something to worry about what precautions should I take to mitigate the possibilities (I'm already planning to elevate all electronics off of the floor). Should I be wary of the entry way area - (I'd like to situate the computer desk near this, but have other options if it's risky). If my risk level is high, I would consider approaching the landlord about perhaps collaborating (money + effort) on sprucing up the basement some more, and since he's continually out to improve the whole property, it's likely he would be amenable. Since I only am likely to live here for up to two years, I don't want to invest too much money (time is ok) in the place unless I have to for comfort.

My second question is, what are my options to inexpensively (also keeping the above question in mind) cover or decorate the floor and walls to make it a little cozier?

Thanks for any advice...
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Old 05-31-05, 08:22 PM
Doug Aleshire's Avatar
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As this is a rental, I question doing anything that has to come out of your pocket other than a throw rug. That is the short version.

My best answer is this, I assume you have renters insurance. This takes care of your personal belongs but I stress that if there is or was any problems there that were not fixed to Code, you may not see any replacement of damaged items.

Is the risk high? Only you can answer this. IMHO, I would not spend any money to make this area special. What you put down there "is at your own risk" so the issue is "Can you afford it"?

Good Luck!
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