finishing a basement? what, me worry?
well, i am underway with starting what i can only assume will be the biggest project at my current home: the classic 'basement finishing'. home is a one story ranch with a basement area as large as the main floor. there is an existing downstairs bedroom, any area set up for a future basement bathroom (pipes in the concrete) and a 'utility area' with your typical furnace, water heater, etc. the remaining portion of the basement is a little over 1,000 sf and ripe for finishing!
idea is to 'phase' the project to spread out the costs and be able to enjoy portions of the area without necessarily having the whole thing done. first phase is more or less just finishing the ceiling, walls and floor to make the space more comfortable. it will pretty much be one big space with 'areas' for children play, bar, tv and craft/hobby. second phase relates to finishing off the bar and craft/hobby areas and the final phase would by the downstairs bathroom.
drew up my plans and got my permit a couple weeks ago. on to the pictures!
here is a shot of the existing basement. i am standing in the bar area. the craft/hobby area will be at the far end and the tv area will be in between (where the space bumps out on the left). the utility area is to the right of the existing stud wall.
and another shot looking the opposite way, from the craft/hobby area. bar area would be at the end.
next photo is me turning to the left, looking into the child play area.
here are the pipes for the future bathroom. this is at the end of the utility area.
here is the utility area. i am standing in the future bathroom.
and here is a shot standing on the other side of the furnace. main electrical panel is at the end, on the left.
the area i am looking to finish is amazingly clean. there is not a single pipe, piece of ductwork, post, etc. in the area that would require some type of boxing. walls are poured concrete, straight and smooth. framing this thing should be no great shakes.
there was one area where the above did not apply. for some reason, the cable tv coax was routed below a few of the floor joists, rather than through them. this would be in the craft hobby area.
solution? the splitters were just on the other side of the stud wall. disconnect, move to the other side of the wall (into the unfinished utility area) and reconnect.
and NOW the area to be finished is completely clean of interferences. i also screwed the splitters into the floor joists rather than leave them hanging by the wires, as it was before.
there was one other piece of 'pre-work' i took care of before really getting into it. in one of the floor joist cavities, there was a duplex receptacle. i always figured it was for a pool table light or something like that but i couldn't quite figure out where it was fed from. i threw a meter on it and it read zero. what the heck? incoming cable ran down the joist and turned up into the main floor. hmm...
but notice the hole in the floor, to the left. suddenly, it hit me! the previous owner had a floor lamp in the middle of the living room but there was no floor outlet up there. apparently, solution was to pass the cord through the hole in the floor and plug it into the receptacle in the basement ceiling. i went up into the living room, flicked on the wall switch for the switched receptacles in the living room, went back downstairs, threw up the meter and there it was, 120V. needless to say, this installation was not going to fly with the finished basement plan. i never liked that hole in the floor either so i could kill two birds with one stone: install a floor receptacle.
and the finished product.
pretty cool little kit from hubbell. includes the box, floor plate and tamper-proof receptacle. there was actually 14/3 ran to the box but the black was nutted (guess they used to switch both receptacles). i busted the hot jumper off so now one receptacle is switched, the other is always hot. works nice for sitting on the couch and plugging in the laptop.
okay, on to some real work!
first major task was to replace the little crappy 1'x2' window in what will be the craft/hobby area with a much bigger one. this window looks to the south and also into the backyard where the kids playset is. we can be downstairs and still pseudo see them. plus it will let in a ton of natural light. the more natural light in the basement, the better.
wanted to match the existing basement windows (as well as the rest of the windows in the house) so we went with kolbe vinyl windows, their 'latitude' series. existing windows are kolbe 'inspiration' series, which they don't make anymore. as near as i can tell, the latitude series is the replacement for the inspiration series (or is at least very close). went with a double-slider, white vinyl with white flat bar grill between the glass panes, in a prairie style. all this to match existing.
the existing basement windows are double-sliders with rough openings of 48" x 42". for this new window though, it was 'go big or go home'. this one will have a 72" x 48" rough opening: two feet wider and six inches taller than existing. called up the local kolbe distributor to get a price quote. $150.:huh:
$150? no way. this included the custom grills in the glass and everything. was this my dream come true? alas, no! guy called me back and said kolbe made an error. it was actually more like $400. well, this made more sense. this was for the basic window though. i added j-channel on the outside (to macth existing) and factory applied jamb extensions, over 10" long. the width needs to be that big since i have 8" thick poured concrete walls which will be covered with 2" of xps foam on the interior, 2x4 stud wall with fiberglass batts and finally drywall. with tax and home delivery, that bad boy clipped in at a little over $700. i could have gotten a cheaper window elsewhere but i really wanted it to match the existing.
delivery time was about three weeks so with the clock started, it was time to start digging a hole.
i decided to dig the hole by hand. a machine certainly would have been easier but i really didn't want to tear the lawn up. besides, i had a couple weeks available to dig it out and hey, i could use the exercise anyway.
i pulled away a little bit of the retaining block. that shrub in the foreground is going to have to move.
and more digging. notice that 'outcrop' on the right. more on that later.
the dirt pile grows...
between the rock pile, leave pile, compost and dirt pile, the back yard is starting to look like a landscaping company!
ugh. that space pod in the hole is the rest of the outcrop from the first picture. yes, this is indeed the leftover concrete from when the original foundation was poured. great placement, huh?
i bounced back and forth about cutting the concrete out for the new window by myself but once that giant wad of leftover concrete showed up, that sealed the deal: i was getting the pros. youtube videos of how dirty you get while doing this certainly aided in the decision. the first few quotes i got were really high, in my opinion. one guy wanted $1100. next guy wanted $900 but that didn't include concrete breakup or removal. another wanted $800 but still, no concrete breakup or removal. i was starting to get frustrated. asked the guy who i got the window from and he keyed me in on a guy. he quoted about $450 and that included breaking the concrete. they wouldn't haul it away but they would bust it up. they were by the hour so if they had to spend an extra hour or so busting up the leftover foundation concrete, so be it. i sure as heck didn't have any easy way to do it.
next step was to get the basement prepared for the cutting of the concrete. first step was a temporary support wall. we nailed it all together, just in case any concrete fell in and decided to knock the wall over.
a painter's plastic wrap and we were in business.
approach that the concrete guy was going to take was to cut the inside dry and do the outside wet. even though the basement is unfinished, the water cooling creates a god-awful mess. they would be using a fan to blow the dust out the existing window and open the window on the far end of the basement (by the future bar area) to draw air across the basement and minimize the amount of dust that will drift away from the window.
You may want to rent a high CFM fan for this because I'm telling you your not going to like the dust.
Any way you look at it it's going to be messy
so before any concrete cutting can take place, need to get all the crap out of the area. i wanted to get that done anyway as part of the general project. in addition to the dust factor, i hate setting a tool down and then not being able to find it among stacks of boxes, board games, kids toys, etc. the long term plan is to have some shelving in the utility area so i figured i would build it now to get the stuff out of the area to be finished.
first, supplies. building two identical shelving units. each unit is 6' tall with three shelves at 2' 4' and 6'. each shelf is 2'x8' 1/2" BCX plywood with 2x4 frame, including a 2x4 in the middle of the shelf. went with the BCX to get that smooth surface for sliding stuff in and out. each unit has a 6' 2x4 in the corners as well as one on each side of the middle of the unit.
and in the final position
built the second shelf the next night (in between digging out the hole for the window) and slid it into position
next task: getting my wife down there to get stuff onto the shelves. i would do it myself but then she couldn't find anything and i'd be hearing about it forever.
window has arrived (actually got here on monday, april 23). sitting in the garage. it is lighter than i thought it would be.
ran into my first snag (Aside from the old foundation concrete in my hole). notice the depth of the jamb extensions. these are certainly not the 10 11/16" extensions i ordered! these are short and will result in the jamb not extending all the way to the face of the drywall. i ordered 10 11/16" extensions specifically to get an overall jamb depth of 14". this is the overall thickness of my finished wall (8" concrete + 2" XPS foam panel + 2x4 stud + 1/2" drywall). i pulled up the kolbe drawings and it showed a jamb depth of 3 5/16" (the thickness of the overall window). so 10 11/16" extensions gets me 14" total. i was a little steamed and went to double check the order and found the problem. in my e-mail communications with the supplier, we were both using the term 'jamb extensions' but on the order from kolbe that was sent to me for approval, they used the term 'jamb depth'. so it was my fault for not catching it but the supplier's e-mails certainly caused confusion. i considered returning the window, using the window somewhere else and ripping the extensions. in the end, i'll just trim it out with an additional extension and it should look fine. if this is the biggest hurdle i have to face on this project, i'll have it made.
okay, concrete guy is showing up on thursday (the 26th) and the shelves are built. time to get the work area cleaned up.
the obligatory 'before' photos:
after a little work:
stuff in the future bathroom:
and stuff in the child play area. this area is farthest from the cutting area and somewhat secluded so we figured dusting over here would be minimal
some additional sheeting. this will protect for the cutting as well as stay up through the bulk of the remaining construction:
wall marked for concrete cutting:
all our crap stuffed onto the shelves and the guest bedroom:
and the final view of the cleaned up area. it should look like this through most of the construction (with the addition of building materials, etc.)
concrete guys show up at 8:00 am the next morning...
Your temp wall seems a little far away from the concrete wall. Trusses above the next story?
May have to relocate the exhaust/dryer termination hood vents 3' from opening window per Code if later inspection....
do you have a code reference for the vent clearances? this is an electric dryer and i thought there were different rules for gas and electric vents. i pulled up the dryer installation manual and it makes no mention of window clearances, only a 12" clearance above the ground and "any object that may obstruct exhaust" like rocks, bushes, etc.
i didn't think there were any window vent clearance requirements for bathroom vents.
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