My Basement Project
Hello all. First off, thanks for the great info and discussion that I've read since joining this forum today. I had a lot of questions come to mind, and I thought it might be wise to place them all in the context of my own project.
I live in N. GA. My house is built into a slope. We have a basement under 1/2 the total house, concrete walls and floor. The other half is above a crawlspace which has concrete footers and a very rough concrete floor.
Two of the basement walls are exposed completely. The third, adjoining the crawlspace, is exposed to the crawlspace from about 3' up. The 4th is the front wall of the house, and exposed from 5'up.
We want to insulate the basement to make it more usable during the winter months. My first plan is to frame in the 2 exposed walls.
Today, I read the "Permits" threads with great interest, and called my county office. I was told "you need a permit for everything." When I explained what I was doing, the responses began to vary from official to official, which tells me that the first thing I'm buying is a copy of the current building codes.
Here are my questions:
1. Given the dry nature of my basement, what's a safe distance I should allow for space between the framing and the concrete wall?
2. I'll use PT as the foot plate for each wall. Since I'm allowing an airspace, can I use white wood for the rest of the framing?
3. Do I need to apply a vapor barrier of some kind to the back side of the framing (nearest the concrete)?
4. I was thinking of using R13 insulation in the wall. How do I install it without it coming into contact with the concrete (or do I need to worry about this)?
5. One wall will run parallel to the floor joists, and it's top will come up roughly between a joist and the sill. If I nail 2x4 spanners in, will this be a code compliant method of anchoring the top of the wall?
That's it for now. Again, thanks for all the great information!
All of these are great questions. I think your first step, registering here, was a good one. Next step is to spend some time doing some research on them. Some of your Q's are matters of choice, in my opinion, but they all have to pass muster with the town. It's best to do some home work first.
Here's the answer to a few of your questions:
1) An inch is adequate distance from framing to foundation. You just need enough to allow for airflow.
2) You only need the pressure treated where wood is in direct contact with cement, so you only need it on the floors
3) Absolutely do NOT put a vapor barrier between the walls and the foundation. Some folks would say to not use any vapor barrier at all
4) It is a good idea to make sure the insulation does not touch the foundation since if the foundation ever gets damp, the insulation would serve as a wick sucking water into the stud space. You may want to consider using DryLock on the foundation first. It's pretty easy to use the adjacent stud space next to the one you are currently insulating with something like a paint stirrer to make sure the insulation is kept off of the foundation
I put 1/4" fan-fold rigid foam insulation directly against the concrete walls. Then frame the 2x4 wall right up against the foam, using treated lumber for the bottom plate. Then when you put the R13 insulation in the wall cavity, the back side will be in contact with the foam and not the concrete.
As for anchoring the top of the wall, your description of using 2x4s will be fine for structurally, however depending on local code, you may need to fire block that entire joist bay with plywood or osb.
we did a basement last year and used metal studs for a couple of reasons. 1. Mold resistant 2. Insect resistant. After our framing and electric was done we called in a spray foam company and they spray foamed the walls four feet down and two feet into the floor joists around all exterior walls.
The bottom course of sheetrock we used water/mold resistant green board with standard 1/2" rock on top.
Just tossing out some options for ya.
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