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Old 07-17-2011, 10:31 PM   #1
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


We're about to start finishing our basement. We have about 106' of block wall that will need to be framed, with about 9' from floor to ceiling. Our estimates for costs are the following:
  • Furring Strips: 5 horizontal rows + vertical rows on 16" centers (grid layout of 1" x 3" furring strips) = around $250 total

  • Traditional Framing (2x4): 16" centers + header and footer treated lumber = around $1,000 total

Is there a reason (code, aesthetics, difficulty) on why we should consider dishing out an additional $750 for the full framing rather than the furring strips? Am I going to run into anything down the road with the furring strips that will make me wish I would have used the 2" x 4" framing? Also, are there low profile electrical boxes that would fit with my planned furring strip layout (two 1" x 3" furring strips stacked in a grid + 3/4" rigid foam board insulation against the block)?

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Old 07-18-2011, 09:46 AM   #2
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


Thanks. Does anyone have a suggestion to which method I should go with?

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Old 07-18-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


Just my comments on your provided information:

Currently you are at 1.5" thickness for both furring strips and 3/4" for foam board. That is 2.25". Drywall will add 0.5" and that puts you at 2.75". Make sure the electrical boxes will work for this.

What area do you live at? 3/4" thick insulation may not be thick enough but it should not affect the amount of lumber needed. Just the length of fasteners. It will affect how much usable sq footage you lose.

If walls are not load bearing, you could do 24" spacing with 2x material. Did you plan on putting in batt insulation on top of foam board if you go the 2x4 route? That will give you a warmer place but again it depends on where you live.

Any plumbing runs that you need to deal with? How are you going to frame around that with furring strips? Not saying it can't be done but more challenging with furring strips for sure.

I think you need a plan on the insulation first than work backwards to determining which method. If you are in a cold climate, most likely you are looking at either 1.5-2" thick XPS foam sheets or you could frame 2x4's about 1" from the wall and use spray foam behind them for an airtight seal. Spray foaming would be easier in routing wiring and then just spray over it. It is expensive though. Anything with foam board has details that make it tedious work. You cannot just glue it up and hope for the best.

To me, the downside to using furring strips is that you put more holes into the wall. Increases the chances of a water leak. Not saying it will but in comparison to framing in front of the wall, it does. If you are confident of the exterior waterproofing job, then no problem.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:28 AM   #4
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


If you are planning on being in the house long term then I would design the wall to accomodate moisture migration. Foundations will leak eventually (maybe not liquid, but moisture laden air for sure). making a tight wall that doesn't breathe will create issues over the course of time.
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Old 07-18-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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What's the use of the basement? Do you see yourself adding plumbing in the walls at some point? Is it a full blown media room/theatre? It's nice to hide the a/v wires but when the specs change and it needs to be replaced(and it will), you'll thank yourself for running conduit while you build now. And a 2x4 wall gives you lots of room to do it, plus utility costs in the future aren't getting cheaper so you have more room for insulation. Those are the things I'm considering before I rebuild mine.
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Old 07-18-2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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i would got with traditional yeah more money but less headaches . Better insulation , i think it would work way better for you in the long run and sometimes cost isnt everything do it right the first time and you will a better product in the end
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:54 PM   #7
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ctote View Post
We're about to start finishing our basement. We have about 106' of block wall that will need to be framed, with about 9' from floor to ceiling. Our estimates for costs are the following:
  • Furring Strips: 5 horizontal rows + vertical rows on 16" centers (grid layout of 1" x 3" furring strips) = around $250 total

  • Traditional Framing (2x4): 16" centers + header and footer treated lumber = around $1,000 total
Is there a reason (code, aesthetics, difficulty) on why we should consider dishing out an additional $750 for the full framing rather than the furring strips? Am I going to run into anything down the road with the furring strips that will make me wish I would have used the 2" x 4" framing? Also, are there low profile electrical boxes that would fit with my planned furring strip layout (two 1" x 3" furring strips stacked in a grid + 3/4" rigid foam board insulation against the block)?
It would help if you posted where you live and the insulation requirements. You might answer your own question.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by algored2deth View Post
Anything with foam board has details that make it tedious work. You cannot just glue it up and hope for the best.
Thanks for your tips - I live in Southwest Virginia. I'm curious what you meant by the quote above? I was planning on Drylocing the walls, gluing the foam board to the block with liquid nail and taping the edges, and then putting the frame up against the foam boards. Is this not right? I'm not sure if I should leave any breathing room between the foam board and the frame? Also, I thought foam board + bat insulation would be overkill - is that not the case?

I plan on using the basement for several things. We'll have a fitness area, a billiards/mini-bar area, a entertainment area (though, not a full blown home theater ... just somewhere to watch movies and play games), as well as a play/bedroom, closet and full bath.
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


Drylocking the walls is a pointless endeavor. If you have moisture problems, fix them from the outside. Drylock may work short term but it does not have any kind of long term guarantee on it. Otherwise it is just a waste of money.

When you put the foam board up, you have to use the right glue. Liquid nails is not the right glue. It will either fail or burn through the foam, which is a fail. When you glue the stuff, there is a special glue made for it. Can get it at HD or any insulation board supplier. The surface has to be clean and reasonably dust free. When you butt sheets up together, you have to tend to that joint. If you don't have it, you can create a lap joint and either tape or caulk that joint, better yet do both. You truly want an airtight joint. The tape to use is not standard stuff like duct tape or some other cheap product. Venture may make one suitable and 3M makes one. Go here for other advice about that:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...es-and-gaskets

You could also check with either Dow or Owens Corning about other tapes they recommend since they make the majority of foam insulation.

I would also recommend digging around the GBA site as well.

There are also several links here ay diychatroom that talk about this very topic.

Put the framing up against the foam boards. You do not want wood to touch concrete or concrete block.

Suggestion: If you have broadband internet, go to youtube and search for "holmes on homes basement renovation". You will find a video where he does a basement insulation job with pink foam board, canned spray foam, and tape. It is good for the purpose of instruction and to find out one method and what is involved. It is a detail job that if not done right will give bad results. You have to take what you see in the video and apply what your area of the country may need. Holmes is in Canada and what he does there may not translate verbatim for where you are.

Adding extra insulation may not be pointless. Depends on your climate. I am not sure how thick of board you should use in your area. Somebody may be along and be able to tell you exactly. Buildingscience.com is very helpful for these things and you can search that website.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


if you use batt insulation and put a vapor barrier on you walls first before the insulation and the framing you wont have a problem with moisture , i once framed a basement with framing lumber and it was the proper way of doing so seeking advice from a youtube vidieo of holmes on holmes isnt a good idea in my opinion , over insulating is a bad idea also
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:24 AM   #11
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Ok, so I'm a little confused. Is there somewhere I can look to see what the requirements are for vapor barriers in my area? I'm not sure if I should do Block|Rigid Foam|2x4 Frame|Vapor Barrier or Block|Rigid Foam|Vapor Barrier|2x4 Frame ... or no vapor barrier at all.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:38 AM   #12
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Read this article from buildingscience.com first thoroughly:

http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...lation-systems


Specifically take a look at photographs 5 and 6 on page 4 in the document (page 5 in the pdf reader) for what they don't recommend. Pay particular attention to document pages 6-13. Also look at document page 9 (reader page 10) to see what they say about various thicknesses of XPS vs indoor humidity. That may help with answers to some of your questions.

I would consider buildingscience.com to be a good source of building information that is current. I pointed out a video on youtube because it demonstrated the technique to see.

You have to temper all of this with your local bldg codes. Keep in mind that local codes may not be up to more current ideas represented in any buildingscience.com articles. If you have to get a permit to finish your basement, you will need a plan of attack upfront.

Last edited by algored2deth; 07-20-2011 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:22 AM   #13
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


Really read that article algored posted. High levels of moisture are inherent with any basement, no matter how well you think it's constructed. Build and insulated your walls with that in mind and you'll be fine.
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Old 07-20-2011, 09:37 AM   #14
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This is a bit off-topic, but how do I determine if I need a permit? How do I even go about getting a permit?
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:13 PM   #15
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(Basement) Furring strips vs Traditional framing?


In your area, you will have to go to a village/town/city hall and go to the bldg dept to request something. In general, and I claim not to be an expert in what needs a permit in every case, you need a permit when you do something structural, electrical, and plumbing. If you do a basement remodel, typically you are adding electrical outlets either in the basement or where it may affect other parts of the home. Major plumbing changes like adding a toilet or rerouting existing ones where you really are breaking up concrete are cases to consider. You should have a permit on file for these and you will be inspected once completed. There are lots of threads here that talk about bldg codes and the necessary evil they are. Do a search. There are some parts of the country that are pretty lax on permits and some that are very anal.

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