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Old 05-31-2007, 01:55 PM   #1
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


Hi All

We have a 10 year old home, which has an unfinished basement. The basement is surprisingly well insulated, as the builders not only put some insulation above ground level, but they also added a layer below this 'code requirement' to pretty much insulate all the walls around the basement to the floor. The only thing is, there are only 2x4s that extend from the top of the ceiling of the basement to the level of the insulation at ground level (we will have to put in full 2x4s in order to nail drywall to them.

However, I was wondering what approach to take in finishing. I am planning on building a subfloor and then put 2x3s (or 2x4s) on the walls and drywall. I have never been sure about what to do first? Do the floor first or wall first?

Also, the insulation is the expandible (spoungy) type and not the type that is like styrofoam. There basement is relatively dry, but more humid than most of the house. There are some seams (cracks) where the wall meets the floor where centipedes and critters sometimes like to stay.

Above is a background of what we have, and now I will ask questions:

1) Where the walls meet the floor, should we paint or put some kind of caulking filler to cover the corners to block any potential critters from being attracted and prevent any moisture to come through?

2) Should I lay 6mil vapour barrier on the ground and at the base of the wall/floor to prevent any moisture from coming through underneath anything?

3) Should we take out the existing insulation on the walls, then put in proper 2x4s or 2x3s and then use the same insulation OR should we get a better/different kind of insulation? Is 2x4 or 2x3 the better choice?

4) What order should we do this? Walls first or Floor first?

5) After laying a 6mil vapour barrier, I would like to put 2x3s or 2x4s at the proper positions and nail them into the concrete...would I do this with a hammer drill - I have recently purchased one.

6) After putting through the boards into the floor, I will lay plywood ontop that will be my subfloor - what is the type of wood I should get for this? I have seen thinner and thicker kinds.


At this point, answers to these questions or even partial answers would help greatly. I want to get started. I'm not at this point looking to make rooms, but I want to at least get the floor ready which will give me the ability to expand later.

Thanks a lot for your help...

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Old 05-31-2007, 02:11 PM   #2
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


In Toronto, Code require a membrane between the concrete and the insulation.... don't know if your builder also did that.... but this is a sensitive subject will raise a bunch of people jump in... best is check your code in your location.... if you want to build a code compliance structure even you don't want to apply a permit.... otherwise, the first step should be appling a permit before start any work... you will be surprise the permit department will have some valuable input to your design... like in my case... which will change the way you approach the subject.... but then... another sensitive subject: apply/not apply permit ... will raise another group of people to jump in...

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Old 05-31-2007, 02:56 PM   #3
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
..... Do the floor first or wall first?
You could do ''either''.....''or''.
If you install the floor first, you will have fewer cuts to make when installing the plywood flooring, but you will also have 3/4" of plywood between the bottom Pressure Treated plate - to sink 3-1/2" tapcons or 3-1/2" powder actuated fastener before you hit the concrete.

If you install the Pressure Treated bottom plates first along with the rest of the wall framing, you will be able to attach them ''directly'' to the concrete-solidly.

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Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
Also, the insulation is the expandible (spoungy) type and not the type that is like styrofoam. There basement is relatively dry, but more humid than most of the house. There are some seams (cracks) where the wall meets the floor where centipedes and critters sometimes like to stay.
It sounds like you are referring to fiberglass batt insulation.
As far as the cracks go, I wouls advice that you seal them with appropriate silicone, epoxy or waterproofing compound. See my suggestion below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
1) Where the walls meet the floor, should we paint or put some kind of caulking filler to cover the corners to block any potential critters from being attracted and prevent any moisture to come through?
See above.

Here is what I would suggest using:
http://paint-and-supplies.hardwarest...nt-613241.aspx

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
2) Should I lay 6mil vapour barrier on the ground and at the base of the wall/floor to prevent any moisture from coming through underneath anything?
I would suggest laying it over the entire floor and under your new walls all the way to the foundation walls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
3) Should we take out the existing insulation on the walls, then put in proper 2x4s or 2x3s and then use the same insulation OR should we get a better/different kind of insulation? Is 2x4 or 2x3 the better choice?
I would only suggest using 2x4's, especially if you are in a colder climate. This allows use to use R-13. Additionally, 2x3's have a tendancy to warp with 8'-0" lengths more so than 2x4's. Also, these will meet up better for nailing/attaching to the top and bottom plates.

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Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
4) What order should we do this? Walls first or Floor first?
Personally, we always do the walls first, as stated, to get a solid connection to the concrete.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
5) After laying a 6mil vapour barrier, I would like to put 2x3s or 2x4s at the proper positions and nail them into the concrete...would I do this with a hammer drill - I have recently purchased one.
You can buy or rent a powder actuated fastener (FAST). It's what we use in the industry for framing walls onto concrete. Examples:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...708&lpage=none

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...720&lpage=none

http://www.amazon.com/Powers-52000-P...0641201&sr=8-6

You would want to use galvanized fasteners (nails)

OR

You could use tapcons and pre-drill for them in the bottom wood plate, and hammer drill for the tapcon anchor in the concrete (More time consuming).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
6) After putting through the boards into the floor, I will lay plywood ontop that will be my subfloor - what is the type of wood I should get for this? I have seen thinner and thicker kinds.
3/4" CDX Plywood, tho, I would actually suggest that you consider this product:

http://www.dricore.com/en/eIndex.aspx

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 05-31-2007 at 03:15 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:15 PM   #4
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


Here is an alternative sub-floor method. I've never worked with it personally before but when it comes to finishing my basment this will be the route I'll likely go with.

http://www.deltafl.com/
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:22 AM   #5
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


the method is good depends on how pricy the product... but this idea is kind of copycat from other manufacturers but I think as DIYers who care... I think it is better than setting up wood subflooring for these reasons: a hell less of work... almost no lost in height... solid support by concrete ...
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:47 AM   #6
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


My previous career was a carpet installer. We mostly worked in million dollar homes around Chicago IL.

Out of the hundreds of basements we did, NONE of them had a sub-floor, We just nailed the tack-strip to the concrete around the rooms, laid the padding, then installed the carpet.
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:51 AM   #7
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but they said this traditional approah has moisture issue as concrete evapulate moisture....

I am interested in knowing how many existing basement owner with carpet on bare concrete feel the result.. absolutely no problem.. or feel uncomfortable due to damp...etc....
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:33 AM   #8
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Well, to save me with a lot of trouble, installing straight onto the floor might be a very good and easy plan...

Perhaps just putting in a vapour barrier and then putting in carpet or whatever else might be all that is needed?

I have a friend whose basement subfloor is a good 3-4 inches tall. It doesn't impact the height an awful lot, but I figured it was a good idea to have the sub-floor to make everything level....

Maybe that's the primary purpose?
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:12 PM   #9
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ensuring leveling subfloor 100% good idea...a lot of work I think... if you spend so much work on it... puting carpet is kind of a waste of such beatiful subfloor... even putting hardwood is not too far off...
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:03 PM   #10
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvane View Post
Well, to save me with a lot of trouble, installing straight onto the floor might be a very good and easy plan...

Perhaps just putting in a vapour barrier and then putting in carpet or whatever else might be all that is needed?

I have a friend whose basement subfloor is a good 3-4 inches tall. It doesn't impact the height an awful lot, but I figured it was a good idea to have the sub-floor to make everything level....

Maybe that's the primary purpose?
If you have the budget, you should use the Dricore then uderpad and carpet on top. If you have a bigger budget, how about engineered hardwood on top of the Dricore
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:12 PM   #11
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How to 'start' finishing the basement...


but dricore will not solve the levelling problem... I guess...
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:19 PM   #12
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but dricore will not solve the levelling problem... I guess...
Dricore has special shims to help with minor levelling. If the concrete floor is really bad, then you will have to address that problem before laying it down.
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:22 PM   #13
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normally... concrete in basement is purposely slopped so that all water goto the drain in the center... I think... that happens to my basement... when I play "Hungry Hippo" last night with my 3 years old... I don't understand why he kept winning even I try my best as an adult... after looking it more closely, discovered that the floor which the game sitting on is to his advanageous... he sit in the direction towards the drain... I laid already laminate....

I meant if it is that much trouble to shim here or there... might as well forget it...
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:28 PM   #14
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normally... concrete in basement is purposely slopped so that all water goto the drain in the center... I think... that happens to my basement... when I play "Hungry Hippo" last night with my 3 years old... I don't understand why he kept winning even I try my best as an adult... after looking it more closely, discovered that the floor which the game sitting on is to his advanageous... he sit in the direction towards the drain... I laid already laminate....

I meant if it is that much trouble to shim here or there... might as well forget it...
I used to play that game when I was a little Ron. I also loved Pop a Matic Trouble, Battleship, and Operation. Oh, to be young again
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:34 PM   #15
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The funnest game is still when I throw a 7 or 8 plastic balls on the ground... then divided the family to two group on each end of the basement rec room... start throwing against each other... whoever got touch by any ball out... it is so fun, I laugh on the floor unable to play for a minute.... although it is really not for the 3 years old... he is hiding under the table... it is more for the teens and adults.... I don't know the name of that game but see people playing in gem and I copy it home modify it slightly...

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