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Old 07-04-2014, 09:59 AM   #1
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Hello! Basement remodel design advice needed


Greetings from Michigan!

I'm really happy to have found this resource. We bought a 1500 square foot ranch home in 2007, built in 1997, and initially it felt bigger than we thought we'd ever need. Then we adopted two children unexpectedly, and had two of our own, all in a span of two years. In a blink of an eye 3 bedrooms became insufficient. I'm home for now with the babies, and to work with the oldest who has some special needs, so finances are tight too, and we're weekend DIY warriors by necessity. My husband is a design engineer for the government. I was working in automotive engineering before it rained children.

It seems most logical to use the basement since it's already there and expected to be the least expensive means of expanding living space. My first question is: How do you work up a floor plan? Can I just place walls anywhere I want to? Are there some guidelines? I will try to avoid the HVAC business in the ceiling as much as possible, and the i-beams (eye-beams?) will stay put, untouched, and be built around no matter what it takes. (We don't want our main floor caving in.... And we have no structural engineering experience....) But aside from that.... Is it really as simple as putting them anywhere we want to? Advice is so appreciated.

My second question is about insulation. I know there is fiberglass insulation that you cut and place between the studs for outside walls, or blown-in insulation. I also saw a choice that looked like sheets of solid foam. What's best for a mid-west basement?

And last, for now, do I need a vapor barrier? If so, does this go against the bare wall before the walls go up or on the inside of the built and insulated walls? I know one or the other causes condensation but I can't remember which way is correct....

Thanks so much!!!!
Jaime
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:29 AM   #2
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Welcome,Jamie---I'm a Moderator here---I'll move this to building and construction for you and change the title---most members do not look into the 'introductions'---Let me get a cup of coffee first.
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:42 AM   #3
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The main expense/consideration is safety (and code)--

Basement bedrooms must have an escape window--you need to see if you already have one that meets todays code---also,if you will have two bedrooms--each needs a window.

Other than that, you can add walls where ever you like---within reason.

Ceiling height is also prescribed by code---codes for your area are,most likely, available on line----

We have plenty of members here that have built basements--so there will be no trouble getting answers---Mike---
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:37 AM   #4
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Windows.... Got it! On it....

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:22 AM   #5
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Google Roxul or rock wool for insulation. Good choice for a basement. Also look up rigid foam or xps.

I used both together. You don't need any other vapor barrier if you do it correctly.

Last edited by mikegp; 07-06-2014 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:24 AM   #6
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Look through the "Insulation" section, there is a lot of info there. The standard operating procedure is to glue XPS to the basement walls and 2x4 framing tight against it. Pressure treated 2x4 at the bottom. You can research Roxul, I just used unfaced bats from the big box stores.

Before you start, make sure you take care of any water issues you may have outside the house (gutters, downspouts, etc.).

You can put the walls anywhere, but step back and look at the whole basement as one design, not just a bedroom in the corner. Bathroom? Living room/den?

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Old 07-08-2014, 08:31 AM   #7
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Thinking insulation, think where is the source of moisture? Aside from what's in the air, foundation is next or the biggest source. Using foam boards and spray foam to seal the foundation from the living space makes most sense.

Make sure your heat generating utilities are safely sealed from sleeping areas. This means how to get air to them and get the exhaust out. I'd start with searching "how to enclose boiler or furnace", etc.
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