Finishing a basement...?

So our family is going to finish the ourselves, because mainly it will cost less and we are pretty good at building/doing stuff. We bought a really good book on remodeling basements but I would like to know if any one has had experience in finishing a basement they did on there own. So if you have finished your basement do you have any good tips?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I just finished a 1100 sq ft basement -- I did it myself on weekends on and off and it took me 8-9 months over the course of the past year ..

    I insulated insulated walls, with drywall, installed electrical plugs every 8 feet or so, installed a drop ceiling, installed ceramic tile throughout, installed a full bath in the basement (luckily the drains were stubbed in so I did not have to cut up the floor to install the drains), a partial kitchenette with sink, and a drop ceiling.

    I planned out the space including partition walls to separate storage and utility areas from the finished part of the basement.

    A friend got a quote for finishing a smaller basement that was $30K... I did all of the above for substantially less than $10K. so it was a major savings.. .

    A major hint is to plan carefully.. before you begin..

    Plan out the electrical carefully... in the walls, and in the ceiling for lights, smoke detectors, etc. Use a GFI for the basement plugs.. be sure to plan out the light swiches also.

    be sure to plan on some sort of heat ducts .. usually you can tap into overhead heat ducts.. if there are any ..

    I installed a 2x4 studs along the wall..with top and bottom rails (bottom rails on the cement floor should be treated wood) and insulated it with standard R13 insulation floor to ceiling. My research indicated that 20-25% of heat for an entire house can be lost just in the basement walls -- thus the insulation.

    Against the wall (between the insulation and the wall) I backed the wall with plastic sheet. The insulation has a water barrier that goes toward the heated side.. There is now a water barrier on both sides of the insulation. You do not want to have a water barrier only on the cold side. If you do that you will have condensation in the insulation when warm room air reaches the cold side. The plastic hangs from the top rail and I let it hang.. all the way to the bottom.. that way if the poured cement basement ever leaks (rod holes or cracks) the water will run down the plastic and the insulation will not get wet. Actually I kept the wall about 1/4 inch away from the cement..

    The bottom rail for the wall should be TREATED wood

    moisture comes up from the cement or if the wall leaks it will get moist .

    Several indespensible tools..

    A power miter saw

    A shop vac (to keep areas clean)

    For ceramic tile.. a wet saw.

    These do not have to be expensive.. however, if you buy a cheap power miter saw.. be sure to buy a very good blade and switch them..

    On last hint.. try to keep the ceiling as high as possible.. if it is too low it will feel closed in..

    Good luck..

    Source(s): Personal experience..
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    A sump pump is your best option, and you don't necessarily have to dig all around your house to install foundation drains. If you have nowhere to drain to (like when the ground all around is relatively flat) it won't help anyway. All concrete basement floors have gravel or something like it (sometimes coal cinders in old houses) underneath and all you need is a sump that drains the water if it rises to that level. This happens when the ground gets saturated during heavy rains. It's a bit of a job, but what would you rather do--turn your basement into a leakproof boat or drain the water into a sump before it gets up those last few inches, and pump it out? Unless you have water leaking through the walls, they don't need attention. And if the ground gets saturated enough, it will push up through any crack, hole or flaw anywhere in the floor.

  • 1 decade ago

    I finished 80% of my basement on my own. Before I started - I had asked similar question to many people. What I learned is first Bathroom is a must. It not only provides the convenience and facility but also adds a greater value to your investment. Secondly Basements are mainly deemed entertainment area with Big Screen TV, Game gizmos etc. Lighting is important as it adds to the moods. Make sure to have lighter shades of color. Since natural light is low - you do need lighter shades. Brighter colored area would look bigger. In our bathroom we got jacuzzi installed. It should have GFCI for safety. And also make sure you do keep access areas for future jacuzzi maintenance as well as shower plumbing. I have open areas for that with access panels. Same thing I did for my dryer (which is upstairs) exhaust access. Because of lint clogging you may need to open up the exhaust flex pipe for cleanup. Likewise for toilet/drain pipes coming from upper floors.

    Make sure to get water based backup sump pump. It is less than $100. In case electricity goes out, you water based pump will kick in. They have batt powered too but it does depend on the charging upfront.

    Good Luck!

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