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Old 02-12-2012, 08:15 PM   #1
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


Hello all,

I am finishing my basement in colorado, as some may know they require floating walls. I will be adding 3 standard pre-hung doors as well as a set of french doors down there in various rooms and closets. Has anyone ever dealt with this?

I assume with so much being done with the walls, something special must be done with the doors, otherwise the doors would be just as prone to damage with the expansive soils, etc..

Thanks!

-Ryan

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


I'm curious: what exactly is a floating wall?? Never heard of that before.

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


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I'm curious: what exactly is a floating wall?? Never heard of that before.
seemingly only in the frontrange area in colorado, there are expansive soils, so basements are required to have floating walls, when the soils get very wet, they expand, when they dry they retract. Builders do their best to avoid it with the way they build but its still a necessary evil.

so instead of the wall coming all of the way to the floor, it is built, attached to the ceiling/floor joists of above level, and stops about 3-4 inches short of the floor. You have a pressure treated bottom plate attached to the concrete floor, and a bottom plate to the wall you built and a gap os 3-3.5 inches between. a metal spike is driven through the walls bottom plate into the plate on the floor to keep the wall from swinging(this is done every 3-4 feet).

so if the soils expand and the floor "floats" 1/2 inch or so, it will lift the bottom pressure treated plate and the spike with simply lift through the walls bottom plate and wont move the wall at all.

the base boards are attached to the bottom bottom plate, so the wall can move behind it, etc..

its quite the hassle.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:46 PM   #4
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


In theory, it would seem that you would need telescoping door jambs and door bottoms to move with the undulating floors. Or else you would have to have 3-4" clearance under the doors...not much privacy. I am interested to know how you keep the exterior walls from shifting if the earth is moving like you say. There must be building inspectors or other home builders in the area that you can quiz to get answers.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


The walls don't float, the floor does. Seem like the floor covering would be a bigger issue than the doors. How are cracks prevented in the floor? Years ago (many) we worked in a basement near a large local lake. Windy days would whip up the waves, and the floor would move. The owner decided we should put on an addition and forget about the floor. But we did break it out, install concrete pilings and used pre-fab concrete slabs which sat on the pilings and a raised foundation, leaving it hollow under the slabs....but that's another story....
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:37 AM   #6
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


That is how I build all my basement interior walls, only I leave 3/4" gap.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:18 AM   #7
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


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Originally Posted by GoBengals View Post
seemingly only in the frontrange area in colorado, there are expansive soils, so basements are required to have floating walls, when the soils get very wet, they expand, when they dry they retract. Builders do their best to avoid it with the way they build but its still a necessary evil.

so instead of the wall coming all of the way to the floor, it is built, attached to the ceiling/floor joists of above level, and stops about 3-4 inches short of the floor. You have a pressure treated bottom plate attached to the concrete floor, and a bottom plate to the wall you built and a gap os 3-3.5 inches between. a metal spike is driven through the walls bottom plate into the plate on the floor to keep the wall from swinging(this is done every 3-4 feet).

so if the soils expand and the floor "floats" 1/2 inch or so, it will lift the bottom pressure treated plate and the spike with simply lift through the walls bottom plate and wont move the wall at all.

the base boards are attached to the bottom bottom plate, so the wall can move behind it, etc..

its quite the hassle.
Interesting. Pretty much the reverse of how I had to frame my first log home. There, the gap was at the top of the walls. This was to account for log shrinkage as they dry (they shrink in diameter, but not in length). Otherwise, the weight of them could warp or buckle the walls.
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Old 02-14-2012, 07:56 PM   #8
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


I am going without permits so i havent spoken to any inspectors, they are still building all over the place in my sub division, i keep going into the houses being built and no one seems to be getting a finished basement. I have a relative with a finished basement nearby but have been unable to go get a looksee at their doors in the basement to see what they did for them.

as for some of the questions above:

Cracked floor: there are some cracks in the floor, there is a nice long warranty on the basement floor, if it cracks and offsets more than 1/4 inch they will come break it out and re-pour it.(would be a nightmare hassle though)

As for why dont the exterior walls move? they can technically, the builders do a LOT to prevent the houses from turning to a cracked mess, they dig out as much of the expansive clay, pack in normal dirt a certain depth, and some other measures i am currently forgetting, so the likelyhood of any real problems is very slim, they say if its going to shift/rise/fall its going to happen in the first 2-3 years, unless there is some huge leak of water under the house in the future..

the foundation has been finished for almost 3 years now, it has cracked slightly in the basement, but the "rise" of the crack is nothing i even notice, walking on its noting, dragging the edge of a board on it catches but its minor and a non-issues.

it sounds crazier than it is. its just code requirement "just in case" but the house is secured pretty well from the expansive clay/soils but you just never know.

i figured my question was rare, hopefully I can get over and see an example at my relatives, if so I will post the solution here in case someone else has the issue in the future...

Thanks everyone!
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:28 PM   #9
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


I am permitting my basement in Northern Colorado. I asked the building department "how do I hang the door?"

He replied, "leave a 1.5" gap under the jamb.

I asked, "how do I finish the gap so there's not exposed treated lumber behind it and an ugly gap at the bottom of every door (two of them have vinyl floor, at least the carpet by the other two will help hide it).

Got a voicemail that said, "I'm not the guy to ask".

So apparently it doesn't matter if you have a building department, they don't know how to build the things either...
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:04 PM   #10
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


Is this a joke?
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:51 PM   #11
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How to install pre-hung doors in floating walls/basement.


No, it's not.

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