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Old 01-11-2012, 11:39 AM   #1
Dangerous
 
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Basement (re)finishing...


Hi, All,

New here. We're looking towards finishing the basement of the house for use as an office and play area. The basement is currently "finished" with painted fake wood panels and fiber ceiling tiles, about half of which are falling down, revealing the paper-face insulation above.

I should say that only about half the basement ceiling is insulated at all, and what insulation exists is installed paper-down.

I'm not going to be able to get a permit for living space for this, because the height from bare concrete to the underside of the joists is exactly 7', so anything I add, ceiling, carpet, whatever, is going to kill my minimum 7' overhead. And there's a soffit(?) for the ducts and beam running right down the middle that drops the height to 6'3" for a 4' wide area.

On the up-side there has never, to my knowledge, been a drop of water intrusion. There's a glued-down carpet (in dog-poop brown) that's been there since at least the eighties, and it has no water damage, musty smell, or anything at all. Still fluffy in the corners where nobody walks. Previous owners had bunk beds down there. There is an old woodstove in the corner, which we had inspected by the fire dept (has its own flue).

My intent was to gut everything. Finish pulling down the fiber ceiling tiles, but maybe leave the existing 1x3 furring strips in place to screw the drywall to. Re-do the walls, maybe. There is 2x4 framing in place, but I don't yet know what shape it's in. I think there are insulation batts in there as well.

For ventilation, the overhead supply duct has two round vents discharging into the basement space from the soffit, and there's a return conveniently located at floor level directly adjacent to the cat's litterbox (keep pestering the wife about that).

Of course I've got about a thousand questions, and I hope you'll all be able to help out. Here are the first few.

1. OK to retain the furring strips in the ceiling?
2. Remove the existing insulation batts in the ceiling? Add more?
3. If the 2x4 framing in the walls is "keepable", how should I handle insulation out there? Poured concrete foundation walls and floor, and I intend to drywall.
4. The floor is glued-down carpet. Once I rip that up, any thoughts on how I should insulate/finish the floor?

I've attached a rough sketch of the basement layout, as I see it.

Just for background, I finished out the part of the basement containing the laundry/pantry/toilet myself, and I worked as an electrician's apprentice about a hundred years ago. I'm a product development engineer by trade now.

I appreciate the input, and any thoughts you guys might have!

Thanks!
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:36 PM   #2
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Basement (re)finishing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
My intent was to gut everything.
That's a real good start.

There are about 100 threads on basement remodeling that describe the choices and reasons for what is recommended for that today.
Very little if anything you presently have will be recommended today.

If it wasn't there when the house was first built... get it out.
(floors, walls, ceilings, mechanical, lighting, controls, the works)

hth

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Old 01-11-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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Basement (re)finishing...


Yeah, fair enough. I've been searching through here and it seems there are almost as many opinions as posters!

I do have a more specific question, regarding an area of the basement. Referencing my pic above, the wall between the wood stove and the egress door, and the wall between the woodstove and the soffit are faced in brick. It's real (I think brick), but I'm sure it's a veneer over the concrete they probably did when they added the wood stove chimney.

I don't have any idea what the insulation behind this facing is, if there is any at all. I kind of like the look, and I'd be really reluctant to pull it down because it's in good shape and adds a sort of sectioning to that part of the room.

I guess what I'd like to figure out is, do I need to worry about that area? Is the brick over concrete going to be enough insulation? If I spend a pile (to me) of money properly insulating the rest of the room, are all my efforts going to be negated by the roughly 1/3 of the wall space behind that brick?

Does this affect how I should handle the overhead joists?

Thanks again
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:15 PM   #4
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Basement (re)finishing...


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Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
...the wall between the woodstove and the soffit are faced in brick. It's real (I think brick), but I'm sure it's a veneer over the concrete they probably did when they added the wood stove chimney.
If that is what I suspect then it's a purely cosmetic veneer.
With no value other than already being there.

Quote:
I don't have any idea what the insulation behind this facing is, if there is any at all. I kind of like the look, and I'd be really reluctant to pull it down because it's in good shape and adds a sort of sectioning to that part of the room.
OK; adjust the broad instruction above to exclude adhered masonry.

Quote:
Does this affect how I should handle the overhead joists?
Maybe some photo's are in order but I don't think there will be any problem leaving it or how that might impact your joists.

hth
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #5
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Basement (re)finishing...


Taking a closer look, I'm not so sure it's a veneer. Looks like real brick to me with real mortar, and there are loose bricks floating around the property outside (extras?)... My gut tells me that they did the whole thing with the wood stove and chimney all at once.

(Awful) pics attached. What do you think?

Thanks
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Basement (re)finishing...-dungeon.jpg   Basement (re)finishing...-untitledceilingtiles.jpg   Basement (re)finishing...-stovecorner.jpg   Basement (re)finishing...-bricks.jpg  
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:24 PM   #6
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Basement (re)finishing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
Taking a closer look, I'm not so sure it's a veneer.
What do you think?
Leave it for last.
If it's real brick leave it forever.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:19 AM   #7
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Basement (re)finishing...


Pretty sure it's real now. I do want to keep it.

Looking around, I see that brick has a pretty crummy R-rating. Am I wasting money going through the steps of properly insulating the rest of the space when 1/3 of the exterior wall is going untreated (brick)?
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
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Basement (re)finishing...


No, not wasting money from an energy conservation standpoint. The real question is whether there will be cold spots in the space that make it less than ideal from a comfort perspective. A small space heater with a thermostat tucked in the corner behind the stove or an electric baseboard strip would probably even things out satisfactorily.

Where do you live? One thing to consider, if you're farther north and you intend on using this space a great deal, is insulating the floor which is going to be difficult due to the lack of headroom. Radiant floor heat might be something to look into.

Last edited by Ironlight; 01-12-2012 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:14 AM   #9
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Basement (re)finishing...


I'm in Massachusetts, and it gets pretty chilly around here..

Not a bad thought on the floor. I had thought that DRIcore, pad, and carpet would be good enough, but now I don't know. Maybe I should just go with it and see how the budget holds up. I do like the small heater thought, especially since I can leave that for last!

I think I'll pull out the insulation in the ceiling, insulate the exposed concrete walls (38 lineal feet) as best I can, leave the 26' lineal feet of brick as it is... and pray to the gods of energy efficiency that it's good enough.

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