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boat21 09-20-2012 09:26 AM

Finishing my basement myself and have some questions
I am finishing my basement in my 1954 house. It is now just cinderblock walls with 1" nailing strips. It used to be finished with panelling but that was in such bad condition I tore it out.
-I plan to use spray foam insulation, as I will frame with 2x4s on top of existing 1” nailing strips already on my cinderblock walls, I figure there will be lots of room (5” total between cinderblock and drywall) left once the sprayfoam is in place to then run some electric wires. Plumbing is a non-issue. Any problem doing it this way? I understand I should not run wires before sprayfoam as this creates a fire hazard when wires are embedded in spray foam. Also, if wondering why I plan to do it this way is because I want to change windows, frame, and sprayfoam before winter - the I have the whole winter in may warm basement to do everything else.
-What if water seeps in from outside and meets sprayfoam? It isn’t a problem now, but what happens ‘if’? Will it run through/behind the sprayfoam or will it stay moist and get mouldy?
-Perhaps a stupid question, but do bugs eat/nest in sprayfoam? Would seem like a warm comfortable place.
- My wife wants me to make a basement window wider and lower to the ground level. It would then become the same size as the window above it on our main floor. As far as I can see, there is no lintel above the window just the wood framing of the house – the window fits in the top 2 rows of cinderblocks and I plan to remove a 3rd row to make the window bigger.
-My basement has an old wood fireplace in it. I had a fireplace guy in to inspect it once and he told me the firebox is steel and rust has eaten holes in it so I should not use the fireplace. Apparently I cannot weld a patch into the firebox (don’t know why) and the only way to fix it is to completely demolish and rebuild which would be too expensive for me. I have 2 options I think: a) insert a slide in wood stove into the fireplace opening and connect to the chimney or b) convert to a gas fireplace. I think the gas fireplace likely makes more sense since I have a gas line running across my open basement ceiling. The thing is, I guess I have to run the gas line after the sprayfoam is in but before the drywall, but how do I know where the gas connection to the fireplace would be? Am I right to assume the gas fireplace would need an electrical source? Where should that go? Is there another better/cheaper option to have a working gas or wood fireplace that I haven’t thought of?

Thanks in advance


Beepster 09-20-2012 10:27 AM

Your project sounds almost exactly like the one i am mid way through. Summer is outdoor project time. Soon to get back and finish up.

Have you got any bids on the spray foam yet? That may change your mind. Also the fact that you will NEVER be able to do anything in the walls or rim joists again steered me away from it.

I would rip the 1" strips off and start from the walls. I put up 1" XPS and framed 2x4 right up against it and plan on using unfaced bat insulation. Research basment finishing in the insulation section and there is a wealth of info from GBR and Building Sciences. 2" XPA is best.

I also am converting to a gas fireplace. I had the lines ran last spring by a fireplace guy. He drilled into the side of the fireplace from between the ceiling joists so i was able to run gas and electric in cleanly.

Make sure your exterior grading is spot on. Ever have any water issues in the basement before? Take care of them now.

I am finishing off my whole basement so i am looking at any future projects on the floor above. I will never have this easy of access to take care of what needs to be done above. You should look at that also.


boat21 09-20-2012 02:13 PM

I plan to use a drop ceiling specifically so I can get in there and take care of things as they need doing.

I have "fixed" the water infiltration problem by fixing gutters and seriously regrading the earth outside with a new french drain. Seeing the water seep in soon after I bought the house made me realize it could always happen again if there is a flood, or a lot of snow melting at same time - which is why I say "fixed". Been over a year and no problems since "fixing".

I hope to not have to do anything in the walls, and kind of like the idea that there will be no gaps in the walls for bugs to live (or so I assume). Used to have a bug problem - so now I'm paranoid.

I didn't find the sprayfoam quote to be so bad. Was a few months ago but it was +/- 1500$ for my 900 sq ft basement. Dont know how much I could save doing it otherwise as I never priced it

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