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yummy mummy 09-11-2006 09:20 PM

basement renovation
I would like to renovate my basement.
Presently there is wrap around insullation and I would like to know if i can do the studding over the insullation or if I should remove it first and then put it back.


MinConst 09-12-2006 05:05 AM

If the insulation is good and intact you can build the walls without removing it. Leave a 1" or so space between the studs and the existing insulation.

yummy mummy 09-12-2006 08:25 AM

thanks for the reply minconst.
would you suggest using 2X4s or can i use furring strips?
Also, should the bottom plate be secured with glue as well as concrete nails.
How far apart should I put the studs?

as you can tell, I am fairly new at this, but I am determined.

KUIPORNG 09-12-2006 08:34 AM

Please remove the insulation, it is much better:

reason 1, in our code, you need to have barrier between insulation and concret wall, the builder didn't do that, you need to do it, by paint, or some sort of paper, see my post, "basement renovation question" talk about that...

reason 2, you wasting space for adding studs on top of it, it is going to be messy too, you will waste a lot of space...

therefore, do yourself a favour, tear down all insulation, put on studs/plates barrier, then insulation again, your insulation tore down can be resused...

yummy mummy 09-12-2006 03:13 PM

it would be a lot of work. the insullation is against block walls, that are not painted.
there is plastic over the insullation facing the outside.

i really would love to not remove it.

Kyle 09-12-2006 07:08 PM

just remodeled my basement with the help of a friend/handyman. I will share what he told me...

I would recommend using 2X4 studs spaced 16" apart. It provides a stronger wall and more room for the insulation.

The bottom plate can be secured by concrete nails and does not need to be glued.

I am not aware of any code in my area that requires a barrier to be placed between the foundation (poured concrete) wall and insulation. I only used a sheet of platic as a vapor barrier between the insulation and the drywall.

Is the barrier between the insulation and foundation wall neccesary? For what purpose?

Good luck-

yummy mummy 09-12-2006 09:10 PM

thanks kyle for information.
I guess there is no need for barrier against concrete blocks. Mine does not have any.

did you secure the bottom plate and top plate first, and then proceeded at 16 inch intervals or did you build it outside and them prop up against the wall.

Is this a possibility?

Thanks for the good luck wishes,
My husband has no clue about handiwork, so I am going to tackle this myself.
He thinks I'm nuts.

Sometimes I agree with him.

AtlanticWBConst. 09-13-2006 04:41 AM


#1.) The insulation is absolutely FINE the way it is.

Tho, it is best to have a 1-2" ventialtion air space between concrete and un-faced insulation, the present vapor barrier on the exterior side of your insulation makes it adequate.
Dependant on the actual R-Value of the insulation that is already there, you may or may not want to add more insulation when doing the framing. If you choose to add insulation because the existing insulation is not up to R-Value, Use UNFACED insulation and DO NOT add another vapor barrier. Installing another vapor barrier creates an 'envelope' for moisture to get trapped. 2 vapor barriers is actually against building codes.

#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 you 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.

Stick Framing:
#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.


KUIPORNG 09-13-2006 08:16 AM

I am in Toronto, the code does require a barrier between the insulation and the concrete, it is not the plastic type though, generally, HD book recommend paint,... I used those black paper which is used on roofing,

I can think of one scentific reason for this, should there small water leak, example, from rod hole, water does not contact insulation immediately, instead it will contact the paper and got vent away gradually, assuming the water is not big...

Anyhow, reguardless of you want to have this barieer or not, you should take down existing insulation before setting up the studs.... you will find out it is much easier for you to set up the bottom/top plates without the insulation in your way,... I did that on mind, not only save you a lot of space as the insulation is bouncy, it is not a straight end up more work with it in your way... tearing down insulation is much easier than you thought, I done mine in about 2 hours for the whole basement....

in addition, once you tear down the insulation, you got a chance to see if there is any serious cracks in your fundation wall, this is kind of a side product though...

yummy mummy 09-13-2006 08:20 AM

thanks atlantic construction for all the valuable information.

i really do need the step by step instructions.
will keep you informed of my progress.

AtlanticWBConst. 09-13-2006 06:14 PM


Originally Posted by MinConst (Post 17918)
If the insulation is good and intact you can build the walls without removing it. Leave a 1" or so space between the studs and the existing insulation.

Like MinConst. wrote, Really, there is NO NEED to take that insulation off.
As licensed General Contractors, we have done hundreds upon hundreds of basement remodels in the past 20 years, not to mention General construction and building. As stated, there is a vapor barrier between the concrete and the insulation already, so it is fine.

yummy mummy 09-13-2006 08:59 PM


the vapor barrier is not against the concrete wall.
the soft pink stuff is right up against the concrete blocks and then the plastic is over it, which faces the inside of the room.

One further question that I have.
I have protruding drain pipes going down the sides, how do I frame around them?

KUIPORNG 09-14-2006 08:05 AM

That is why I like to do basement renovation myself. Not to say contractors are bad... but sometimes, you can exercise the freedom of doing things your way... hiring a contractor, he will make most decisions for you... although in theory, one can agrue you are the boss, you can direct him to do it in your own way, but this is not practical and generally not the case...

anyway... to frame around pipes... you need to setup plates on the roof and bottom and stud around it... sometimes the plate on top is not at the roof, instead, it is kind of a stair type structure on the ceiling in order not to waste spaces... those are more tricky than regular walls, I suggest you work on those later once you got experience in building regular walls... creativity is the key on framing around odd objects... there is no one rule... it all base on what materials you have on hand and what imagination you can come up with.. it can be done many different ways and still be good...

yummy mummy 09-14-2006 08:17 AM

Hi Kui****g:

I am glad you mentioned that there is no hard and fast rule about framing around pipes or other objects. I do have a lot of creativity, so I will come up with something.

In regards to the insullation that is up against the cement blocks.
Is it ok if there is no vapor barrier betwee the cement blocks and the insullation, or should there be?

The concrete blocks are right up against the pink suff.

By the way, you have great information for me. I appreciate your knowledge on this subject.

Have you ever attended the Rona do it yourself workshops?
They have one on framing and drywall soon and I would like to attend.
Just wondering if they would be worthwhile?


yummy mummy

KUIPORNG 09-14-2006 08:28 AM

Hi Yummy Mummy,

Nice to hear someone like me to DIY on basement renovation. I am doing mine and at the stage of about to put in drywall. I definitely like to share any experience I came across in the past 9 months. You can also find a lot of info in my other thread if you have the patient to read it... otherwise... I will also answer anything I saw in this thread as renovation is really my natural "interests" rather than "computing"...

As I said, in Toronto, the code does require a barrier between concrete wall and insulation, may be that is not the case in I have applied for permit for my basement renovation. I therefore need to do so, have no choice... if you ask me why... I really do not know 100% but if the code said so... there must be scientific reason for that I am unaware of...

I still not change my opinion to recommend you to remove your existing insulation before installing your studs and plates.. it may look big job before you do it... but once you start... it is really piece of cake... and I myself think this is the "proper way"... I am glad I did it that way myself...

Regarding how to learn stuff.. I generally rely on : books, internets.. and personal visit a friend of my who did it and get some idea from him..etc... the knowledge is generally a composite product from different sources... I seldom see one source give you 100% recommendations that is the best for your case... but for me Books is very important as it is old fashion or traditional... but it is a fast referencing source ... expecially when you are at the plumbing stage...

at last feel free to ask me any questions...

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