Bi-Level Basement Finish
My house is a bi-level, with the lower level having one finished room and two roughed-in bedrooms. I want to finish the bedrooms, and would like to build 2x4 stud walls around the concrete foundation walls in those two rooms, so I have enough space to run elec, cable, data, and phone. I'll fasten the base plate to the concrete floor, naturally, but what do I do about the top plate? I'm assuming I'll build the wall so that the upper surface of the top plate is flush with the top of the foundation wall, but how should I fasten it there?
Any suggestions on how to do vapor barriers on such a wall would be helpful as well. And drywall suggestions would be nice, too. I've found a lot online about doing basement walls, but all of them seem to assume floor-to-ceiling heights.
You attach the top plate to the ceiling joists above you. If the wall runs parallel to the joist, you add blocking. Put a pressure treated bottom plate on the concrete.
The use of a vapor barrier will depend on where you live. Keep the drywall off the floor. I install plywood nailers at the base around the perimeter so the sheetrock is off the floor by 2-4" depending on the baseboard height.
You will need a permit for the job unless you live in some rural, unsupervised location.
Get one of those Time Life or how to books on finishing a basement. They're generally pretty good for the novice.
Well, except I won't be building the walls up to the joist--the foundation wall is only 4' tall, and resting on that is another 4'6" of structural framing. So I want my 2x4 frame wall to stop at the top, or near the top of the foundation wall, and I'm almost positive that just securing it to the floor won't be enough. So, again the question is, with such a short foundation wall, do I secure to the top of it somehow, do I build my stud walls flush with it, and how should I drywall over that?
So far, I haven't seen anything on-line that addresses this question, and that doesn't give me enough faith to buy one of those Time Life books without flipping through the whole thing.
You want to get some 2'x2' (1-1/2" x 1-1/2" piece of lumber) that you have ''ripped'' down on your table saw out of a 2x4 or 2x3.
Now, on top of the concrete is a "knee wall" which is essentially the exterior load bearing wall.
What you do is install some kind of barrier (H2o proof paint, a membrane, poly - something that seperates the wood from the concrete) at the top of the concrete wall.
Then attach the 2x2's along the front of the bottom plate of that existing "knee wall". Face nail or screw these into those plates. Do that all along the areas where you want to construct a 4' high wall infront of the concrete.
You are basically nailing lengths of wood "cleats" onto that area and creating a nailign surface for the next step:
Last, cut some 1/2" to 3/4" plywood into sizes that are the same width as the TOP of the area of that new 4' wall. Install these lengths along the top to essentially create a shelf-like top that LOCKS the 4' wall into place. (attach the bottoms of the wall to the concrete floor as you would do normal basement walls)
Later, after sheetrocking, you can fabricate and install nice wood shelving on top of that plywood.
It can end up looking sort of like the pictures below.
This pic. with the fireplace: we actually did something different here. We made steel plates using steel studs that we formed into brackets that locked the lower walls into place. (I should patent an adjustable-bracket-system, of these, and market them :wink: - they worked really good)
(Home Owner did the all the painting below, not us):
(Again, Home Owner did the all the painting below):
Perfect, Atlantic! That's exactly what I needed.
Quick follow-up, though. The width of the exposed concrete on top of the foundation wall, between the knee-wall and the top of my proposed short stud wall, is about 3 5/8", or very close to the width of a 2x4. Do I still need to rip it down to 1 1/2" and leave a gap? Or should I try to make that solid all the way around?
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