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Old 12-03-2009, 06:48 AM   #1
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Finishing basement laundry room


I've got a few general questions regarding finishing my basement laundry room. townhouse built in '97. Currently, one wall is drywalled, two are framed and insulated, and other wall is poured concrete.

1. insulation in framed walls does not go all the way to the floor, there's about a 1' gap. Should this be filled in before I drywall overtop? One of the walls is against the garage, the other is an outside wall.

2. poured concrete wall is shared wall to next unit. When I frame this in, do I need insulation? is it good practice? would I get anything out of it?

3. there are several pipes, wires, and duct work in the ceiling. I was looking at dropping the ceiling using 2x2's mounted to the joists to hide all the stuff. I may need to use 2x4's on any pipes. I would also frame around the duct work. However, the ductwork has about 4 access points for cleaning, a couple duct shutoff handles, and a water shutoff for an outside tap. Any ideas on how to maintain access? I could drill out holes and place small return air vents? just seems like too many 'access' points.

4. the 2x2 cross braces between the floor joists in the ceiling are nailed at the top, but not at the bottom (so they're just hanging). Why is this, or was the builder lazy? Should I nail the bottom of the braces to the bottom of the joist before framing?

I'm sure I'll have other questions as I go, but this gives me a start. Thanks!

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Old 12-03-2009, 08:08 AM   #2
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Finishing basement laundry room


1. Yes, fill that 1" gap in. What you get out of doing that depends a lot on where you live.
2. The common wall between your houses doesn't need insulation if the other side is a conditioned air space as well i.e both sides are relatively warm...
3. The next time you get your air ducts cleaned the tech willl have to open your drywall, so better out the access devices there now instead of redoing it later. Some access points you won't touch for a while, so are perhaps less vital.
4. Ours are toe-nailed top and bottom...don't see why yours should be different.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
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Finishing basement laundry room


I have seen somewhere before that some builders believe you should wait a year or so to nail the bottom of the floor joist braces. This of course is usually forgotten and so they hang there doing nothing. The logic of it befuddles me but I think it was something to do with letting the joists dry and shrink. Anyway you should go ahead and nail them in so they actually do something. You might even notice less bounce in your florr afterwards.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:40 PM   #4
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Finishing basement laundry room


Thanks, I'll get right on that. Maybe that's why the tile floor above has a long straight hairline crack in it! Next winters project I guess.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #5
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Those 2x2" cross braces don't add all that much to the floor above, and I don't think that is the sole reason you have a crack along your tiles. Hmmm. This may be a signal of more important structural issues - as they relate to tiles only - in terms of span length, thickness of subfloor etc. to say nothing of installation issues.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:50 AM   #6
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Finishing basement laundry room


Actually, I think it's the subfloor as you mentioned. The hairline crack is right along the seam between the subfloor sheets. Maybe there was too much 'spring' in the floor at that seam that caused the tiles to crack over time?
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:49 AM   #7
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Finishing basement laundry room


Cracks in tile applications are pretty well the pass/fail indication to most people; 100% of tile inspectors consider that as a 'failure', as do quality installers - and a good 2/3rds of consumers probably do too, although some may be able to live with it. I mean there just aren't that many parameters to a tile installation apart from cracks that you can identify easily seeing as how most of them are hidden from view and don't appear overnight...there's no chalking, it doesn't absorb much, doesn't dissolve, there's no discolouration, no bleeding...the tile just sits there.

Unless you apply something external to it - like pressure. Tile and grout systems are quite different from the systems used to build a floor, like plywood nails/screws, joists etc. Thus they behave differently.

Therefore most of the efforts in a tile installation go into providing a base that is similar to the tile itself: rigid, non-pliable, resistant to stresses. And in spite of sitting on a floor joist/plywood system. So we use extra layers of plywood, beefed-up joists, quality thinsets and anti-fracture membranes to counter the stresses in 'regular' systems. Add to that, that the minimum building codes don't provide for non-cracking tile floors, and you have almost guaranteed tile failure if something isn't done to ensure you don't have cracks down the road...

Now depending on where those crack lines are, you will be looking at either a bad tile, to redoing the whole floor. You can replace one tile easily, or need the whole joist system beefed up and layers of plywood added to make that 8'-long crack down the middle of you kitchen dissappear. Fortunately, you don't always have to destroy the whole thing before you get a good idea of the correct diagnosis of the problem; a peek at the underside, through a register or something can give a good idea of the solution needed.
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Old 12-04-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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Finishing basement laundry room


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIYguy2000 View Post
Thanks, I'll get right on that. Maybe that's why the tile floor above has a long straight hairline crack in it! Next winters project I guess.
That is probably exactly what happened. A sub-floor break is from the joists deflecting due to load because they are not acting as a unit, but individually. Hence, the addition of cross bridging, to distribute a load evenly over a larger area. Scroll down two pages to # 749: http://books.google.com/books?id=DWs...um=4#PPA747,M1 The crack is on a sheathing joint probably with a heavy weight on another area close by - refrigerator or other appliance? The builder should have nailed the bridging after drywall finishing to allow the wet or green lumber time to dry. Quite possibly the span is longer than code allows and he added bridging to help compensate for that. (Wrongly thinking). If the floor joists are 2x12, the bridging is required every 8' apart, per code.

Now's the time to check the dryer and fan ducting before covering. Update to metal smooth pipe and foil tape the joints in dryer's, and 3 screws in each joint at bath fan's. Insulate against condensation forming inside. Tape individual elbow joints too.

Check that water hose bib is a frost-free design, easy to change it now.
Tape 2' by2' plastic low on the concrete wall to be certain no moisture is wicking from under the wall/footing. It may not show on the wall as it is exposed to the drying air movement.

Be safe, Gary

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