I'm going to start finishing my basement soon, but was hoping for a little help with floating the basement walls. Surprisingly, there is VERY little info on the web on how to do this. For those of you not in Colorado, this is required by code here because of the soil, and is constructed like this:
By constructing the walls this way, they "float" and if the floor moves up or down, the wall won't push the first floor joists up and cause damage. The image above is how you float them on the bottom. But in my town, you are also allowed to float the walls at the top instead of the bottom. I haven't been able to wrap my head around floating them at the bottom due to these reasons:
1) How can you attach a tile shower or bathtub to a wall that floats at the bottom? If the tub is attached to the drain in the floor, but also attached to the part of the wall that doesn't move, it would destroy the tub/shower. So I'm guessing that in this case you have to float the shower/tub at the top...just not sure how walls floating at the top can connect to walls floating at the bottom.
2) What if you want to have a subfloor for carpeting? If the 3/4" OSB, carpet padding, and carpet end up being as high as the bottom plate, what do you attach the baseboard to? It would have to be attached to the gap (air) between the 2 base plates. Haven't figured that one out either.
3) How do you install a pocket door? Good luck finding a pocket door kit that works with bottom floating doors.
So these are a few reasons I decided to not do a bottom floating wall even though that seems to be the way it's done 99% of the time. With a top floating wall, I eliminate all these concerns. It allows me to frame the basement like any other wall in the rest of the house. I don't even have to worry about the gab below a door shrinking and growing do to the soil expansion.
And then...I woke up in a panic last night because I forgot about the egress windows. If I float my walls at the top, but also attach those walls to the window frames, what happens when the floor moves up or down? Won't it destroy my window framing since the floor with the wall will move, but the the window won't? Or can I somehow "float" the window framing so it isn't attached to the exterior wall that can possibly move up and down?
So if I decide to go back to the drawing board and do my floating at the bottom, I still have to solve my issues above. I can probably come up with something for #2 and #3, but #1 is still puzzling to me.
Any comments welcome since I'm not even sure if I have a specific question. Just hoping someone can enlighten me on a good solution.