Help! I need to know how to start finishing my basement.
I am starting to finish my basement and need to know how to frame it and what tools I need. I don't even know how or where to start.
Thank you for your support!
Hi and welcome.
Are you asking how to frame a wall only or are you new to home improvement and are interested in finishing a basement?
What is your experience level?...what types of home improvement skills do you currently have?
check out yummy mummy about your basement reno.
You can check all my questions out. I have just started to renovate my basement and I am really a newbie at it.
I have just installed my top plate, bottom plate, and 8 studs, with the help of all these wonderful people at this chat site.
They are all amazing.
First thing you should do is get a Building Permit
Thank you all so much for your help. I have electrical, plumbing and woodworking experience but I have never started anything like this from the beginning. I don't want it to look like an experiment when it is finished.
Thank you again and anything else you have will be of great help to me.
There are two current threads documenting basement remodels. I would start reading those and plan accordingly.
The tools that you need to start in my opinion is
a hammer drill, a level, a measuring tape, saw, pencil, concrete screws, and wood screws, and of course 2 X 4 wood studs, to start.
And something else, a lot of DETERMINATION.:yes:
Keep at it. It is not that difficult. Time consuming, yes, but not difficult if you have a lot of patience.
I am almost finished framing two walls.
Basement Remodeling Process
The first thing you need is a PLAN. This starts with the PURPOSE of the space, i.e. how will you use the space(s). The definition of the room(s) purpose(s) will determine its functional requirements. Start by making an accurate plan view drawing of the entire space on graph paper using an appropriate scale (1/4"=1' for example). Don't include too much detail, just what is on the floor. Then you can make clear overlays for specific things like electrical, HVAC, plumbing etc. on MYLAR using Film Lead in different colors. You need to make a separate list of any obstacles in advance, since you will have to address all of them sooner or later (the sooner the better). Be sure to include support members, utilities, soil pipes, and floor drains etc. For each Mylar sheet you can develop additional sheets listing needed materials, tools, rentals, subcontractors etc.; additional sheet(s) can list a step by step process description for each construction phase. You can then place these grouped sheets in a logical order of construction. This sort of approach will help you throughout the ordeal (I meant process) as you inquire about materials, post questions on forums etc. and will help you organize all your information. A useful tool I recently discovered (2 years too late!) is a free program called "SketchUp!" available at GOOGLE.COM it allows you to draw to scale and rotate your drawings among other features.
#1.) ...It is best to have a 1-2" ventilation air space between concrete and un-faced insulation.
Use a R-13 Value insulation with the vapor barrier facing to the warm side of the rooms. We like to install thick foam board insulation on the lower 12" of the wall cavities...just in case of water issues. It is also good to use 1/2" thick by 3" wide Strips of wood or even pressure treated plywood, in the event of a water issue in the future. Install these along the lower part of your walls prior to the sheetrock installation. As stated earlier, designing is the first step to do once you take your actual measurements of the space you have to work with.
#2.) You could actually use 2x3's since the insulation is already there, but, as a 'newbie', I would advise using all 2x4's. You will want to use pressure treated 2’x4's for the bottom plates (PT on anything that you will attach to concrete). If you feel comfortable with such a tool: Use a 'powder actuated 22 caliber fastening gun'. Use coated 2 ½ “ nails or longer (ceramic ‘coated’ nails have a grey color to them. You need coated nails because the current pressure treated process used for wood contains heavy amounts of copper. This reacts with regular ’bright’ nails and causes rust) Get various levels of power for the firing caps. I suggest #3 & #4. return the boxes you don't use.
Use regular KD grade 2x4 Lumber for the top plates and the studs. Placed 16" OC (On Center). This means what is sounds like. The literal center of each stud (Half of the 1 1/2" will be exactly 16" away from eachother). Make sure that you pick out nice, straight pieces.
If you are unsure of using/renting a nail gun, you can use screws to attach your framing members. If you use screws, get at least 2 ½ “ or longer. I suggest using DECK screws (also for the areas where you attach studs to the bottom PT plate for the same reason as stated above) That length is sufficient, since you are not supporting anything structurally. You are just building ‘partitions’.
#3.) Do a layout of your basement on paper with the actual measurements of what you want to do with your basement area in relation to walls, closets, rooms, etc.
#4.) Use this layout to determine the amount of lumber and other materials you will need.
Remember to get long straight lengths for your top and bottom plates (12’ - 16’)
#5.) How to build your walls is determined on the age of your home. You see, if you have an older home, then the heights between your concrete floor and your floor joists will be inconsistent. Additionally, there really are no poured-concrete basement floors that are truly level all the way through.
To pre build walls and stand them up and have them fit right, in addition to knowing where to install ‘corners’, corner nailers, etc….is really not in the newbie skill level.
So, I would suggest you just go by the ‘stick-framing’ method. What this is, can be found in #7.)
#6.) Assuming you have a home 20 years old or less, if you have to build any doorways, it is unnecessary to install actual ‘headers’ on top of the doors, since these are only partition walls. Your house is already built with all the headers and supports that are supposed to be in it. We see this waste of time and lumber a lot in DIY-er basements.
#7.) If you are going to put a Sheetrock ceiling in, then it is best to start at your ceiling first and install strapping every 16” OC. This will also give you something to attach any walls that you build, which may run parallel to your floor joists.
After you do that (even if you plan on installing a ‘dropped ceiling’) See the next step:
#8) Layout your walls on your floors first by cutting and laying your PT 2x4’s on the floor. Mark where your studs will go FIRST based on your layout needs. Then fasten your bottom plate to the concrete floor. Fire-in your concrete fasteners between each stud. That way, if a nail does not go in all the way, it will not effect your stud placement (which you were smart enough to mark out before -You can also use concrete expandable fasteners for this, like “Red Heads“. Tho this takes A LOT more time)
Marking out the studs for the top plate:
#9) Take, a KD piece of lumber that you will use to make the top plate that will match that bottom plate and place it along side of the now installed PT bottom plate.
Transfer the marked stud lines onto the top plate using a speed square (triangle). Much quicker and accurate this way. It’s how we frame entire houses.
How to level the bottom and top of walls:
#10) Cut a STRAIGHT piece of 2x4 to just over the length of your floor to ceiling height. You will use this as a straight edge to place your level against to mark up where your top plate will be on the ceiling. Just hold the straight 2x4 against one side of the bottom plate. Place a 4’ level or longer level’ against it. (we prefer to use a 6’ level for this) Then line it up to the ceiling and make a mark on the joist or strapping for the matching edge of your top plate.
Do this at one end, of the length of the bottom plate. And then at the other end of the bottom plate. Laying out this way for each length of wall.
#11) Take the measurement for each of your studs. Cut them exact, to a 16th of an inch to get the stud to fit tight, but not so tight that it bends or bows. If you shortcut a stud, you can shove a shim into the space to tighten it. (Side point- virtually every piece of lumber has what is called a ‘crown‘. A crown is a slight ‘hump‘. Try to make all the crowns of your studs face one way…usually towards the inside of a room. This way, your walls aren’t wavy)
On all doorways that will have either a door or some kind of casing: Make sure that you 'double' the studs going all around the opening. This gives you about 2 1/2" beyond the door jam to be able to nail your standard 2 1/2 " casing to.
Last: As you go along, you can check your walls and studs periodically for alignment using your levels, framing square, eyeball, tape measure and even a string stretched tight to make sure a wall is straight.
After this phase of framing, you would then run your electrical and heating lines. Then insulate, then sheetrock and tape. Then paint your walls and install doors and do the trim last....
Thanks again everyone! I have all plumbing roughed in, heating and air in. I got a bid for 15K around 500 square feet of finished space. I am going to do this myself, I need to start framing and secure an electrician to install a subpanel and a good plumber. I can handle the rest with help from everyone here. thanks again for your input it is very helpful! :thumbup:
You can also do the electrical and plumbing yourself if you want to... especially electrical which is not hard... subpanel is not hard either.... plumbing is a bit harder but it is still doable... for 500 sq feet... it is easier my base ment is about 1000 sq. ft... I have done everything myself now is doing the drywall hanging... and I spent already close to one year on it doing it part time... my wife keep budding me saying why not hire someone else to do everything... for that there are a number of reasons: one, it is my interests. two, others will not do as a throughal job as yourself, the owner, third, save some money, four, you can be proud of yourself when finishs and get a lot of experience, five, save some money, normally it is the about the same amount you spent on material... but my wife said she is going to kick me out from the job if I don't finish it by the time she come back to Canada on next spring after she departed to US in Christmas... I intend to work 24x7 in these coming months...
Lucky you, you get to spend 24/7 on your basement.
I have two kids and a third one, my husband, to take care of and a business that I run from home.
So I predict my basement will take approx. 5 years to complete. :laughing:
Your husband should be proud of you... I wish my wife like you but wait a minute, if she does, we will agruing who should nail that nail, it is better this way.... so I got to do everything myself...
Before you build anything make sure you have satisfied yourself that you have solved any short term and long term moisture problems.
On the exterior, install gutters, downspouts and downspout extensions (10' minimum). Make sure the surface water drains away from the house and has a place to go during periods of very high rainfall.
If you have properly built basement with one or two drain tile loops (inside and/or outside), all the better.
Coat the interior of the basement walls with a proven first class coating, like Thoroseal and not just a paint. This will be your last moisture barrier and minimize moisture transpiration and keep humidity down.
As has been proven many times, the control of moisture is the most important item when it comes to finishing a basement.
If you don't control the moisture, your well planned and executed work will have left you with a bad project.
..... I don't know how things are in Canada, But, in our parts, you are required to have a licensed electrician and a licensed plumber involved, to do the corresponding work.
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