Basement finish design and sequence

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Topic Author
tenkuky
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

Planning to remodel an unfinished basement sometime in the next 1-2 years (not during crazy lumber/materials prices currently).
We have a general idea of what we'd like to do with the ~ 1200 sq ft space (add a bathroom with 2 general/bedrooms, and some open space).
However, we would like to look at the design more specifically and tweak it. Not interested in hiring a design firm or rely on a contractor for this. Also, will have specific tradespersons do the work in sequence (not all at once) and not farming out to a single contractor. I will figure out permits with the township and the tradespersons.
I thought I'd ask the board some specific questions.
1. What is your favorite design tool (free or $)? I was looking at Vizio but would have to purchase or do a free trial. Any others?
2. What is the sequence of events vis-a-vis electrical, plumbing, framing, drywall, ceiling, flooring? Any particular order is preferred?

Also, please don't hold back from general guidance on the above, esp re. contracting. It's just that the local gen contractors my neighbors and colleagues have used have been very unreliable and the specific tradespersons they use are available directly without an upmark to the contractor. We are flexible with timing so don't care if it drags out over months, as it is not for imminent use anyway, just a plan to upgrade for selling in 8-10 years.

Thanks!
eagleeyes
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:49 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by eagleeyes »

How tall is your basement?

Are you planning to insulate your walls and floors? I would keep moisture and bulk water issues in mind and have strategies for mitigation in place. The insulation of floors takes away ceiling height. The insulation of walls takes away a little square footage.

Just something to think on
Topic Author
tenkuky
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

eagleeyes wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 am How tall is your basement?

Are you planning to insulate your walls and floors? I would keep moisture and bulk water issues in mind and have strategies for mitigation in place. The insulation of floors takes away ceiling height. The insulation of walls takes away a little square footage.

Just something to think on
Yes, will insulate walls, but planning on putting a "floating floor" of vinyl plank over the concrete, no insulation. Will probably need to install a sump pump I think, have 2 drains in the concrete. Thanks for that, anything else I should be thinking about moisture mitigation?
bubbadog
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Location: Cincinnati,Ohio

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by bubbadog »

tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:16 am
eagleeyes wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 am How tall is your basement?

Are you planning to insulate your walls and floors? I would keep moisture and bulk water issues in mind and have strategies for mitigation in place. The insulation of floors takes away ceiling height. The insulation of walls takes away a little square footage.

Just something to think on
Yes, will insulate walls, but planning on putting a "floating floor" of vinyl plank over the concrete, no insulation. Will probably need to install a sump pump I think, have 2 drains in the concrete. Thanks for that, anything else I should be thinking about moisture mitigation?
We have a finished basement with floating vinyl plank floors over the concrete floor, insulated walls, and a sump pump. One suggestion would be to consider a dehumidifier in the basement to mitigate moisture. You can run the drain for the dehumidifier into the sump pit drain.
carolinaman
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Location: North Carolina

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by carolinaman »

tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:16 am
eagleeyes wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:11 am How tall is your basement?

Are you planning to insulate your walls and floors? I would keep moisture and bulk water issues in mind and have strategies for mitigation in place. The insulation of floors takes away ceiling height. The insulation of walls takes away a little square footage.

Just something to think on
Yes, will insulate walls, but planning on putting a "floating floor" of vinyl plank over the concrete, no insulation. Will probably need to install a sump pump I think, have 2 drains in the concrete. Thanks for that, anything else I should be thinking about moisture mitigation?
Sump pump is a good idea but first objective should be to prevent water from getting into basement. Do you have a french drain on the exterior with gutters extended away from house and yard landscaped to route water away from house?
Topic Author
tenkuky
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

Yes to gutters extended out, no to french drain :shock:
Landscape is graded away AFAIK, and last 4 years basement has been bone dry (touch wood).
2 egress windows with cover. On that note, need to consider if the cover is considered obstacle to escape and should it be hinged to open from below?
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Sandtrap
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Sandtrap »

tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:52 am Planning to remodel an unfinished basement sometime in the next 1-2 years (not during crazy lumber/materials prices currently).
We have a general idea of what we'd like to do with the ~ 1200 sq ft space (add a bathroom with 2 general/bedrooms, and some open space).
However, we would like to look at the design more specifically and tweak it. Not interested in hiring a design firm or rely on a contractor for this. Also, will have specific tradespersons do the work in sequence (not all at once) and not farming out to a single contractor. I will figure out permits with the township and the tradespersons.
I thought I'd ask the board some specific questions.
1. What is your favorite design tool (free or $)? I was looking at Vizio but would have to purchase or do a free trial. Any others?
2. What is the sequence of events vis-a-vis electrical, plumbing, framing, drywall, ceiling, flooring? Any particular order is preferred?

Also, please don't hold back from general guidance on the above, esp re. contracting. It's just that the local gen contractors my neighbors and colleagues have used have been very unreliable and the specific tradespersons they use are available directly without an upmark to the contractor. We are flexible with timing so don't care if it drags out over months, as it is not for imminent use anyway, just a plan to upgrade for selling in 8-10 years.

Thanks!
questions:
1. Graph paper and a ruler and a pencil. And a big good eraser.
Why?
Because you can easily go through variations and all kinds of ideas without going through a learning curve to draw a straight line in a CADD program. And, it's totally non commital so it frees the mind to be as creative as possible. (proven).
IE: Draftsman, design professionals, architects, do this lst just to scribble ideas before spending time on CADD. Then, in CADD, they input the basic floor plan and move around objects and things digitally.
2. There is a definite sequence that should be followed but varies per project.
In general, start from ground up, and from structural to non structural, and from demo/removal and needed structural bracing to then build.
(edit)
**** Always notate on your drawings: Scale that it was drawn. IE: 1/8" per foot (SCALE = 1/8:1) which is an architectural ruler or use an engineers ruler/scale for ratio. IE: SCALE = 1:50

**** Make your first drawing an accurate scale replication of immoveable things. IE: floor plan = perimeter existing walls not to be removed, interior walls not to be removed, etc, etc. ***Then make copies of that to draw on as you wish so you don't have to keep drawing things that don't need it.

*** Give spouse a small stack of these sheets to draw on as well. This is important! :D :D :D

Steps:
**: Run your plans and permits.
** Get your site inspections at the proper stages per your area and code requirements, etc.
** Safety first at all times.

A: demo, remove everything that's not wanted safetly. Cut power and water as needed. Don't cut into walls that have wires and pipes. There's a sequence to demo as well. Opposite order that it was built. IE: lst all fixture removal, doors, etc, drywall, then non structural framework, then wire and pipe stub outs and plugs, etc, then structural and temporary bracing as needed (carefully). Clean up the ceiling, remove what's needed, reroute elec, plumb as needed.
A2: Do your wire and pipe and hvac runs in the ceiling now or during or after frame up while everything is exposed.
B: Clean up and do an excellent job at it so there's no dust left over from the demo work. Complete all demo work.
C: Ground work. Includes concrete coring and trenching for pipes, etc. Grinding to flatten areas, ceramic removal, etc. Make it ready to build. Clean up.
D: Layout. Measure and snap chalk lines on the floor. Draw everything like you did on the graph paper. This is an opportunity to look at things and visualize if you want things different and so forth. It's easy to erase lines on the floor and make changes instead of mid build. Blue chalk lines can be wiped off. Red chalk lines are fairly permanent.
E: Structural frame up. These are posts, columns, walls that are load bearing, move your temporary bracing carefully as you replace with permanent structures. (hire a pro carpenter, contractor if you cannot do structural work).
F: Non structural frame up. Do a good job. Blocking where needed. Sloppy work will be persecuted later when trying to do other things. Consider metal framing if it is cost effective and where water is not a problem. Add wood blocking where needed. You can tapcon the floor sill plates in or use a ramset shooting concrete nails in. Either nail gun the top sill plates or use long wood deck screws to the rafters, whatever works and doesn't destroy things. Work neatly. Don't rush. Be sure to allow for HVAC ducks so you have to frame around or header off where they run.
G: plan out elec/plumb/etc, runs. Chalk line across your studs where the runs go and "hole hog" them out with an angle drill with a forsner or other bit..
H. Rough in elec/plumb/etc. Get your inspections. Do it neatly. Take your time.
I. Insulation. Ceiling/rafters, walls, etc.
J. Finish panels, drywall sheets, etc. Do the recept and j box cutouts neatly or the mudding will be a hassle.
K. Mud and texture the drywall. Hire a drywall guy to do a great texture finish of your choice. A pro is worth it unless you are doing a skim coat and smooth finish which you can do yourself.
L. Elec/plumb/etc/finish out (install your recep, switches, etc, etc. Get your inspections and sign off.
**If putting in a subpanel, be sure that's in the rough in and finish inspections. Hire an electrician if you do not know code and all that, and if the code requires an elect to do it in your area.
M. PVA Sealer on the raw drywall. Don't use primer. Finish paint.
N. Install cover plates, ceiling fans, surface fixtures, etc.
O. Flooring
P. Baseboards, molding, etc.

This is a very rough outline of steps.
There are a million ways to do this depending on experience and all that and if one did it for a living. Even G.C.'s will vary a bit but mostly the same steps.

Hope this helps.
j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Sun May 09, 2021 7:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Topic Author
tenkuky
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

Sandtrap wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:43 am
tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:52 am Planning to remodel an unfinished basement sometime in the next 1-2 years (not during crazy lumber/materials prices currently).
We have a general idea of what we'd like to do with the ~ 1200 sq ft space (add a bathroom with 2 general/bedrooms, and some open space).
However, we would like to look at the design more specifically and tweak it. Not interested in hiring a design firm or rely on a contractor for this. Also, will have specific tradespersons do the work in sequence (not all at once) and not farming out to a single contractor. I will figure out permits with the township and the tradespersons.
I thought I'd ask the board some specific questions.
1. What is your favorite design tool (free or $)? I was looking at Vizio but would have to purchase or do a free trial. Any others?
2. What is the sequence of events vis-a-vis electrical, plumbing, framing, drywall, ceiling, flooring? Any particular order is preferred?

Also, please don't hold back from general guidance on the above, esp re. contracting. It's just that the local gen contractors my neighbors and colleagues have used have been very unreliable and the specific tradespersons they use are available directly without an upmark to the contractor. We are flexible with timing so don't care if it drags out over months, as it is not for imminent use anyway, just a plan to upgrade for selling in 8-10 years.

Thanks!
questions:
1. Graph paper and a ruler and a pencil. And a big good eraser.
Why?
Because you can easily go through variations and all kinds of ideas without going through a learning curve to draw a straight line in a CADD program. And, it's totally non commital so it frees the mind to be as creative as possible. (proven).
IE: Draftsman, design professionals, architects, do this lst just to scribble ideas before spending time on CADD. Then, in CADD, they input the basic floor plan and move around objects and things digitally.
2. There is a definite sequence that should be followed but varies per project.
In general, start from ground up, and from structural to non structural, and from demo/removal and needed structural bracing to then build.

Steps:
**: Run your plans and permits.
** Get your site inspections at the proper stages per your area and code requirements, etc.
** Safety first at all times.

A: demo, remove everything that's not wanted safetly. Cut power and water as needed. Don't cut into walls that have wires and pipes. There's a sequence to demo as well. Opposite order that it was built. IE: lst all fixture removal, doors, etc, drywall, then non structural framework, then wire and pipe stub outs and plugs, etc, then structural and temporary bracing as needed (carefully). Clean up the ceiling, remove what's needed, reroute elec, plumb as needed.
A2: Do your wire and pipe and hvac runs in the ceiling now or during or after frame up while everything is exposed.
B: Clean up and do an excellent job at it so there's no dust left over from the demo work. Complete all demo work.
C: Ground work. Includes concrete coring and trenching for pipes, etc. Grinding to flatten areas, ceramic removal, etc. Make it ready to build. Clean up.
D: Layout. Measure and snap chalk lines on the floor. Draw everything like you did on the graph paper. This is an opportunity to look at things and visualize if you want things different and so forth. It's easy to erase lines on the floor and make changes instead of mid build. Blue chalk lines can be wiped off. Red chalk lines are fairly permanent.
E: Structural frame up. These are posts, columns, walls that are load bearing, move your temporary bracing carefully as you replace with permanent structures. (hire a pro carpenter, contractor if you cannot do structural work).
F: Non structural frame up. Do a good job. Blocking where needed. Sloppy work will be persecuted later when trying to do other things. Consider metal framing if it is cost effective and where water is not a problem. Add wood blocking where needed. You can tapcon the floor sill plates in or use a ramset shooting concrete nails in. Either nail gun the top sill plates or use long wood deck screws to the rafters, whatever works and doesn't destroy things. Work neatly. Don't rush. Be sure to allow for HVAC ducks so you have to frame around or header off where they run.
G: plan out elec/plumb/etc, runs. Chalk line across your studs where the runs go and "hole hog" them out with an angle drill with a forsner or other bit..
H. Rough in elec/plumb/etc. Get your inspections. Do it neatly. Take your time.
I. Insulation. Ceiling/rafters, walls, etc.
J. Finish panels, drywall sheets, etc. Do the recept and j box cutouts neatly or the mudding will be a hassle.
K. Mud and texture the drywall. Hire a drywall guy to do a great texture finish of your choice. A pro is worth it unless you are doing a skim coat and smooth finish which you can do yourself.
L. Elec/plumb/etc/finish out (install your recep, switches, etc, etc. Get your inspections and sign off.
**If putting in a subpanel, be sure that's in the rough in and finish inspections. Hire an electrician if you do not know code and all that, and if the code requires an elect to do it in your area.
M. PVA Sealer on the raw drywall. Don't use primer. Finish paint.
N. Install cover plates, ceiling fans, surface fixtures, etc.
O. Flooring
P. Baseboards, molding, etc.

This is a very rough outline of steps.
There are a million ways to do this depending on experience and all that and if one did it for a living. Even G.C.'s will vary a bit but mostly the same steps.

Hope this helps.
j :D
WOW, thank you so much.
Even if I have people do this, this helps me learn so much. I am going to print this out and keep on the stairs leading to the basement as a reminder.
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 13510
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Sandtrap »

tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:50 am
Sandtrap wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:43 am
tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:52 am Planning to remodel an unfinished basement sometime in the next 1-2 years (not during crazy lumber/materials prices currently).
We have a general idea of what we'd like to do with the ~ 1200 sq ft space (add a bathroom with 2 general/bedrooms, and some open space).
However, we would like to look at the design more specifically and tweak it. Not interested in hiring a design firm or rely on a contractor for this. Also, will have specific tradespersons do the work in sequence (not all at once) and not farming out to a single contractor. I will figure out permits with the township and the tradespersons.
I thought I'd ask the board some specific questions.
1. What is your favorite design tool (free or $)? I was looking at Vizio but would have to purchase or do a free trial. Any others?
2. What is the sequence of events vis-a-vis electrical, plumbing, framing, drywall, ceiling, flooring? Any particular order is preferred?

Also, please don't hold back from general guidance on the above, esp re. contracting. It's just that the local gen contractors my neighbors and colleagues have used have been very unreliable and the specific tradespersons they use are available directly without an upmark to the contractor. We are flexible with timing so don't care if it drags out over months, as it is not for imminent use anyway, just a plan to upgrade for selling in 8-10 years.

Thanks!
questions:
1. Graph paper and a ruler and a pencil. And a big good eraser.
Why?
Because you can easily go through variations and all kinds of ideas without going through a learning curve to draw a straight line in a CADD program. And, it's totally non commital so it frees the mind to be as creative as possible. (proven).
IE: Draftsman, design professionals, architects, do this lst just to scribble ideas before spending time on CADD. Then, in CADD, they input the basic floor plan and move around objects and things digitally.
2. There is a definite sequence that should be followed but varies per project.
In general, start from ground up, and from structural to non structural, and from demo/removal and needed structural bracing to then build.

Steps:
**: Run your plans and permits.
** Get your site inspections at the proper stages per your area and code requirements, etc.
** Safety first at all times.

A: demo, remove everything that's not wanted safetly. Cut power and water as needed. Don't cut into walls that have wires and pipes. There's a sequence to demo as well. Opposite order that it was built. IE: lst all fixture removal, doors, etc, drywall, then non structural framework, then wire and pipe stub outs and plugs, etc, then structural and temporary bracing as needed (carefully). Clean up the ceiling, remove what's needed, reroute elec, plumb as needed.
A2: Do your wire and pipe and hvac runs in the ceiling now or during or after frame up while everything is exposed.
B: Clean up and do an excellent job at it so there's no dust left over from the demo work. Complete all demo work.
C: Ground work. Includes concrete coring and trenching for pipes, etc. Grinding to flatten areas, ceramic removal, etc. Make it ready to build. Clean up.
D: Layout. Measure and snap chalk lines on the floor. Draw everything like you did on the graph paper. This is an opportunity to look at things and visualize if you want things different and so forth. It's easy to erase lines on the floor and make changes instead of mid build. Blue chalk lines can be wiped off. Red chalk lines are fairly permanent.
E: Structural frame up. These are posts, columns, walls that are load bearing, move your temporary bracing carefully as you replace with permanent structures. (hire a pro carpenter, contractor if you cannot do structural work).
F: Non structural frame up. Do a good job. Blocking where needed. Sloppy work will be persecuted later when trying to do other things. Consider metal framing if it is cost effective and where water is not a problem. Add wood blocking where needed. You can tapcon the floor sill plates in or use a ramset shooting concrete nails in. Either nail gun the top sill plates or use long wood deck screws to the rafters, whatever works and doesn't destroy things. Work neatly. Don't rush. Be sure to allow for HVAC ducks so you have to frame around or header off where they run.
G: plan out elec/plumb/etc, runs. Chalk line across your studs where the runs go and "hole hog" them out with an angle drill with a forsner or other bit..
H. Rough in elec/plumb/etc. Get your inspections. Do it neatly. Take your time.
I. Insulation. Ceiling/rafters, walls, etc.
J. Finish panels, drywall sheets, etc. Do the recept and j box cutouts neatly or the mudding will be a hassle.
K. Mud and texture the drywall. Hire a drywall guy to do a great texture finish of your choice. A pro is worth it unless you are doing a skim coat and smooth finish which you can do yourself.
L. Elec/plumb/etc/finish out (install your recep, switches, etc, etc. Get your inspections and sign off.
**If putting in a subpanel, be sure that's in the rough in and finish inspections. Hire an electrician if you do not know code and all that, and if the code requires an elect to do it in your area.
M. PVA Sealer on the raw drywall. Don't use primer. Finish paint.
N. Install cover plates, ceiling fans, surface fixtures, etc.
O. Flooring
P. Baseboards, molding, etc.

This is a very rough outline of steps.
There are a million ways to do this depending on experience and all that and if one did it for a living. Even G.C.'s will vary a bit but mostly the same steps.

Hope this helps.
j :D
WOW, thank you so much.
Even if I have people do this, this helps me learn so much. I am going to print this out and keep on the stairs leading to the basement as a reminder.
Awesome...

Utilities order of install is HVAC then plumbing then electrical because HVAC is hardest to redirect then plumbing then electrical.
For plumbing consider The pex system.

Have fun
j🌺
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
desiderium
Posts: 1051
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:08 am

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by desiderium »

For 1200 sq ft, you will want to give careful thought to how systems will integrate with your home. There are multiple potential solutions and each may constrain your layout.

1. Sewer. Where is your sewer relative to basement floor level and how will the drains run under concrete, tie together and connect to main?
2. HVAC. System capacity, integration, control
3. Electrical. Main panel capacity, additional current needed, sub-panel design and location
4. Hot water, additional unit needed? Type, location.
5. Laundry capacity contemplated?
6. Other potential functions or appliances considered? Hot plate, small fridge, microwave, etc.
Topic Author
tenkuky
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

Thanks Sandtrap and desiderium.
HVAC already in place with ducts and vents for entire basement.
Will get plumber to help plan out sewer and water, lines already running through and just need to tap into them and/or trough. Sewer pipe is along ceiling level against wall facing street. Water lines running length in the ceiling space parallel to HVAC ducts.
No issues with water heater capacity, new larger one put in 2 years ago. No laundry needs in basement.
Elec panel 200 amp has sub panel with at least 6 available slots but I’ll double check with electrician. Light fixture spots and wiring running through basement.
Small frig only and maybe big flat screen TV to add down there.
User avatar
walkabout
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 8:28 am
Location: Northern Alabama

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by walkabout »

For bedrooms, be sure each has a means of egress. This is probably a local code requirement.
mortfree
Posts: 2556
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by mortfree »

Cold air return(s) at floor level.

I was going to suggest mini split but it seems you have HVAC ready for basement. Assume the existing system can handle the load.

Double doors (not bi-fold)
Pocket door (or barn door if that’s your style) or bookcase door (secret door)
Dimmers
LED recessed lights
Lots of outlets
Poles - box in or move

Ceiling - drop or dry walled
CurlyDave
Posts: 2673
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:37 am

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by CurlyDave »

tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:05 am Thanks Sandtrap and desiderium.
HVAC already in place with ducts and vents for entire basement.
Will get plumber to help plan out sewer and water, lines already running through and just need to tap into them and/or trough. Sewer pipe is along ceiling level against wall facing street. Water lines running length in the ceiling space parallel to HVAC ducts.
No issues with water heater capacity, new larger one put in 2 years ago. No laundry needs in basement.
Elec panel 200 amp has sub panel with at least 6 available slots but I’ll double check with electrician. Light fixture spots and wiring running through basement.
Small frig only and maybe big flat screen TV to add down there.
This is going to make adding a bathroom difficult. Not impossible, I have seen toilets that flush to a higher level advertised, but they are not the usual ones. Sink and shower drains may have to empty into a holding tank which is periodically pumped to the sewer. There are automatic systems for this but they are not nearly as common as gravity drains.
Answering a question is easy -- asking the right question is the hard part.
CurlyDave
Posts: 2673
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:37 am

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by CurlyDave »

If you go the graph paper route, as Sandtrap recommends I would draw out the basement walls and any immovable objects such as the stairway, furnace, etc. and then make copies of that sheet.

Drawing each new idea on a separate copy will save the drudgework of constantly repeating the same old basic constraints for each new idea.
Answering a question is easy -- asking the right question is the hard part.
wallygator
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:34 am

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by wallygator »

Howdy,

Use drylok paint sealer on walls and floor...

I would set the sheetrock on a 3-4 inch piece of wood on the floor. Cover it with baseboard to hide. If you end up with a minor flood in the basement it will save you from having to redo a lot of the sheet rock.

I am good at sheetrock install and repair so I went with a hard ceiling. The difference compared to a suspended is huge.

Good luck,

Wally
tonyclifton
Posts: 220
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:25 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tonyclifton »

You may need to add “egress” which means a exit door or window with a ladder in a window well to escape the basement. I know this is required in Wisconsin for code and may be in your state too.
investingdad
Posts: 1884
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by investingdad »

We live in the northeast where it gets cold, basements especially. If you need heat, consider what we did. We have gas heat and installed floor mounted electrical heaters, two sets on two thermostat... total of four. They warm 700 ft2 in about 5 to 10 mins.

We also put down a very high quality pad and equally high quality, thick carpet. Even when cold, our feet are not.
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 13510
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Sandtrap »

CurlyDave wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:49 am If you go the graph paper route, as Sandtrap recommends I would draw out the basement walls and any immovable objects such as the stairway, furnace, etc. and then make copies of that sheet.

Drawing each new idea on a separate copy will save the drudgework of constantly repeating the same old basic constraints for each new idea.
Yes yes yes.
Forgot to mention that, will edit my post.

Great point and catch.
Thanks!
j :D
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Topic Author
tenkuky
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

CurlyDave wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:39 am
tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:05 am Thanks Sandtrap and desiderium.
HVAC already in place with ducts and vents for entire basement.
Will get plumber to help plan out sewer and water, lines already running through and just need to tap into them and/or trough. Sewer pipe is along ceiling level against wall facing street. Water lines running length in the ceiling space parallel to HVAC ducts.
No issues with water heater capacity, new larger one put in 2 years ago. No laundry needs in basement.
Elec panel 200 amp has sub panel with at least 6 available slots but I’ll double check with electrician. Light fixture spots and wiring running through basement.
Small frig only and maybe big flat screen TV to add down there.
This is going to make adding a bathroom difficult. Not impossible, I have seen toilets that flush to a higher level advertised, but they are not the usual ones. Sink and shower drains may have to empty into a holding tank which is periodically pumped to the sewer. There are automatic systems for this but they are not nearly as common as gravity drains.
Yes, I now realize I need an "upflush" toilet with macerator and drains from the other fixtures to empty into it. But perhaps much less concrete breaking than if gravity assist. There is also the question of 6" step-up for the shower/tub etc and overall height is ~ 8 1/2 feet.
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tenkuky
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

I will need to rethink the room configurations. There is only 1 set of egress windows on the far end where there will be the main bedroom. Due to not having another egress window, I will likely convert the other room into just a "study" or non-bedroom so as to comply with code.
The egress well needs to have a step/ladder added, good point. And I need to ensure the current bolted on egress well cover is removable/movable to be to code.
All the recommendations above are superb, keep them coming.
Going to get paper-pencil, start measuring and drawing.

Question for floors: some mentioned wood subfloor, padding etc.
Have those who have used the vinyl planks found any downside?
Will add area rug in bedroom if need be.

Also, any suggestion of drop ceiling vs. sheet rock? There are a couple of places we need access to water control (a line to the outside faucet for example). Mix and match?

Thanks!
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Sandtrap
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Sandtrap »

tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:58 am I will need to rethink the room configurations. There is only 1 set of egress windows on the far end where there will be the main bedroom. Due to not having another egress window, I will likely convert the other room into just a "study" or non-bedroom so as to comply with code.
All the recommendations above are superb, keep them coming.
Going to get paper-pencil, start measuring and drawing.

Question for floors: some mentioned wood subfloor, padding etc.
Have those who have used the vinyl planks found any downside?
Will add area rug in bedroom if need be.

Also, any suggestion of drop ceiling vs. sheet rock? There are a couple of places we need access to water control (a line to the outside faucet for example). Mix and match?

Thanks!
You can also post a picture of your drawings and/or pictures on this thread using this website for the picture links.
Just take a pic of the drawing with your cell phone, then email it to yourself or save to "photos" then import/select using this website. Limit the size to that for forums.
https://postimages.org/
You might be surprised at the input you might get.
j :D
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Dude2
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Dude2 »

I re-remodeled once. Originally there were drop ceilings that had been in place for 10+ years. I ripped all that down, and the amount of dust and dirt trapped up there was mind-blowing. The eventual drywall ceiling made things 1000% better looking and healthier, but I had to make some "final" decisions as to the placement of ceiling light fixtures, wall outlets, switches, routing of ductwork, natural gas lines, electrical, cable, and cat5 -- these things could possibly be tweaked going forward had the drop ceilings remained. In hindsight, I could have done better in designing some "access areas", maybe like in a "utility closet" and trying to place any "joinings/couplings/ splits/T's" into it, making sure that there was no coupling "buried" somewhere in the ceiling that I'd forget about that maybe I'd want to tap off of later or could become a potential problem that I would need to open up the ceiling to fix: in other words, nothing in the finished ceiling that wasn't a complete straight shot through -- and no shut off valves (even if left in permanent open position).
Then ’tis like the breath of an unfee’d lawyer.
brian91480
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by brian91480 »

Earlier this week, I had lunch with the head of a big commercial builder in my city. He said the expectation for inflated prices on raw building materials is about 1 year. So definitely sit tight and wait this craziness out!
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tenkuky
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

brian91480 wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 8:34 am Earlier this week, I had lunch with the head of a big commercial builder in my city. He said the expectation for inflated prices on raw building materials is about 1 year. So definitely sit tight and wait this craziness out!
Thank you for the inside scoop!

Question for all is: when I get around to it, metal studs or lumber for framing?
Is there a preference when using in basement (both cost and efficiency)?
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Sandtrap
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Sandtrap »

tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 8:45 am
brian91480 wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 8:34 am Earlier this week, I had lunch with the head of a big commercial builder in my city. He said the expectation for inflated prices on raw building materials is about 1 year. So definitely sit tight and wait this craziness out!
Thank you for the inside scoop!

Question for all is: when I get around to it, metal studs or lumber for framing?
Is there a preference when using in basement (both cost and efficiency)?
You will just have to compare at the time of your build.
A good "standard" to compare costs is the difference in price between:

One 2x4 stud in fir or other dimensional wood KD (about 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" x 92-5/8 for a 8' ceiling, etc) . (not green).
vs
One (roughly) 2x4 (not actual dimensions) metal stud.

You can mix metal and wood but there are techniques for it.
Metal studs are not load bearing, per se, so there has to be doubled up 2x4 wood/posts, or 4x6, etc, inserted in the metal upper and lower sill plates. Metal construction uses screws (lots of them), wood uses either screws or nails.

Metal studs will have top and bottom metal tracks dimensionally made for the studs. Google metal construction as there are techniques specific to that. IE: Headers around doors and windows will have wood headers and stud/jack studs/etc, integrated into the metal construction that carry the load from ceiling to floor. Metal tracks can be tap con(ed) or ramset/shot into a concrete floor or screwed into a wood floor, same as wood top and bottom plates.

There was a time when it was $1.00 for either wood studs or metal studs, but that was long ago. Before that, there was a time when wood studs were cheaper but depended on the area.

Realize that the construction costs between the 2 can be made up for in other areas. IE: if you save $$$ on using metal studs vs wood, but there will be different techniques to electrically wire up a metal frame system vs a wood frame system that might drive costs up in that area. So you have to weight the entire costs of a project.
IE: NEC code: romex can't simply be strung through metal stud holes, etc. So, IE: either use of insulators or use bx armored cable, etc, etc, etc. And, still there has to be wood studs to hang and frame out a subpanel, and the list goes on and on.

Sometimes, folks figure metal is so much cheaper as far as framing but end up spending a lot more because of the different techniques and materials needed for electrical work, etc. Again, you have to look at the whole thing.
Also, if you're doing it yourself, it might be simpler to use wood because of its familiarity and tool availability. IE: doing punch outs on metal studs and framing needs a Greenlee or other punch out tool vs wood studs just get "hole hogged" out.

In the past, metal framing was exclusive to mostly commercial construction. But, as wood prices soared, metal construction is now seen more often in residential work as well.

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Watty
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Watty »

Before you finish the basement be sure to take detailed pictures since that may be very handy if you ever need to figure out what is hidden in the ceiling. As the work is being done also take more pictures before the new ceiling goes up.

One of the first steps would be to look at what is above the basement and consider when you might want to do major work on it. For example if there are bathrooms or a kitchen above the basement that you might want to remodel in five years then it might be best to do those first especially if you are likely to change the layout a lot.

Also consider when you may need to have other work done. My house is a bit over 40 years old and it has copper pipes. We are not having any problems yet(knock on wood) but apparently copper pipes do not last forever and may need to be replaced when they are maybe 50 to 70 years old. We have an unfinished basement which would make replacing them straight forward since they are mostly easily accessible but if we finished our basement then replacing the copper pipes would be a major project.

tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:52 am We are flexible with timing so don't care if it drags out over months, as it is not for imminent use anyway, just a plan to upgrade for selling in 8-10 years.
I would be skeptical that you will get 100% of your money back when you sell the house, but every housing market is different. Even if a future buyer wants a finished basement they might want a different layout.

Personally I really like having an unfinished basement and that is one of the things we look for when house hunting. For us having an unfinished basement works great for storage and having a place where we can do projects.

If you do not have a real use for the space I would be cautious about doing this.
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walkabout
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by walkabout »

Watty wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 10:14 am Also consider when you may need to have other work done. My house is a bit over 40 years old and it has copper pipes. We are not having any problems yet(knock on wood) but apparently copper pipes do not last forever and may need to be replaced when they are maybe 50 to 70 years old. We have an unfinished basement which would make replacing them straight forward since they are mostly easily accessible but if we finished our basement then replacing the copper pipes would be a major project.
This is a good idea to at least consider. We remodeled our finished basement about 15 years ago. As part of the project, we replaced all of our galvanized steel plumbing. For us, the price was right as we had easy access to all plumbing (single story raised ranch with walkout basement), so replacement was very straightforward.

If you are somewhere it gets cold, you might want to put down something more substantial than vinyl planks over concrete. A cold floor can make the space feel colder than it actually is.
HereToLearn
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by HereToLearn »

tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:55 am
CurlyDave wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:39 am
tenkuky wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:05 am Thanks Sandtrap and desiderium.
HVAC already in place with ducts and vents for entire basement.
Will get plumber to help plan out sewer and water, lines already running through and just need to tap into them and/or trough. Sewer pipe is along ceiling level against wall facing street. Water lines running length in the ceiling space parallel to HVAC ducts.
No issues with water heater capacity, new larger one put in 2 years ago. No laundry needs in basement.
Elec panel 200 amp has sub panel with at least 6 available slots but I’ll double check with electrician. Light fixture spots and wiring running through basement.
Small frig only and maybe big flat screen TV to add down there.
This is going to make adding a bathroom difficult. Not impossible, I have seen toilets that flush to a higher level advertised, but they are not the usual ones. Sink and shower drains may have to empty into a holding tank which is periodically pumped to the sewer. There are automatic systems for this but they are not nearly as common as gravity drains.
Yes, I now realize I need an "upflush" toilet with macerator and drains from the other fixtures to empty into it. But perhaps much less concrete breaking than if gravity assist. There is also the question of 6" step-up for the shower/tub etc and overall height is ~ 8 1/2 feet.
I have no construction or mechanical skills, at all, but noticed that you said the waste pipes run along the ceiling. I have the same in my house, so had to have an ejector pump installed in order to have a full bathroom and W/D installed in the basement. The property slopes slightly to the back, so the finished area of the basement is walkout. The ejector pump failed a few times over a space of five to ten years, but I don't think it has failed since it was replaced 12-15 years ago. When it failed, all of the water from the washing machine poured out onto the floor on the unfinished side, seeping over to the finished side. I was very happy that I had listened to the carpet store owner who suggested I not install an expensive wool carpet with padding, but instead purchased a nylon (or something that was not natural fiber) carpet and did not install padding. Apparently if the padding had gotten wet, the carpeting would have needed to be pulled up.

Re: 6" step-up for shower. If you are installing a shower instead of a tub, there are now curdles showers. Having recently recovered from foot surgery, I now recognize the benefit of a shower w/o a 6" step up. Realistically, you do not need an accessible shower in your basement.
CurlyDave
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by CurlyDave »

tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:58 am
...Also, any suggestion of drop ceiling vs. sheet rock? There are a couple of places we need access to water control (a line to the outside faucet for example). Mix and match?

Thanks!
I have used drop ceilings where access is required. They tell you that a certain clearance from the floor joists is required, but I have installed them with as little as 3" of clearance. It is a pain in the neck, and removing & replacing panels is an adventure at that clearance, but a creative person can do it.

Buy an extra box or so of the panels you choose and store them. The patterns available change over the years and you might not be able to get matching ones.
Answering a question is easy -- asking the right question is the hard part.
Lacrocious
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Lacrocious »

tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:58 am Also, any suggestion of drop ceiling vs. sheet rock? There are a couple of places we need access to water control (a line to the outside faucet for example). Mix and match?
We did sheet a rock ceiling and in the one spot where we needed to access a water shutoff valve, I just put in a heating vent /cold air return vent cover large enough to provide access. We are lucky that where we needed to do that was partially hidden from most views, and if you do see it, it just looks like a heat vent. To access, zip out the two screws holding the vent to the drywall (used the plastic drywall screw retainers to make it easy to remove/replace) and you have access to a 5 x 8 (or whatever size you use) rectangle into the ceiling.

Simple.
- L
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Sandtrap
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Sandtrap »

Lacrocious wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 8:56 pm
tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:58 am Also, any suggestion of drop ceiling vs. sheet rock? There are a couple of places we need access to water control (a line to the outside faucet for example). Mix and match?
We did sheet a rock ceiling and in the one spot where we needed to access a water shutoff valve, I just put in a heating vent /cold air return vent cover large enough to provide access. We are lucky that where we needed to do that was partially hidden from most views, and if you do see it, it just looks like a heat vent. To access, zip out the two screws holding the vent to the drywall (used the plastic drywall screw retainers to make it easy to remove/replace) and you have access to a 5 x 8 (or whatever size you use) rectangle into the ceiling.

Simple.
- L
This is a fascinating idea that I've never heard of.
Some return air vent/grills have lock/unlock tabs, no screws needed to open them.
Thanks!

I'd be worried about insulation dust (nasty) floating down through that vent if the rafters have insulation in them.
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Lacrocious
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by Lacrocious »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 7:32 am I'd be worried about insulation dust (nasty) floating down through that vent if the rafters have insulation in them.
j :D
In our case, there is insulation at the outside wall, but we didn’t pack the area around the shut off valve. We haven’t seen any insulation dust come out. Obviously, if you have it open and are messing with the valve, some dust comes out, but not just day-to-day. If you are worried, some black cardboard attached to the inside of the vent would be an easy solution to block the vent and seal in the dust.
- L
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tenkuky
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by tenkuky »

Thank you everyone for the input and great ideas, esp around ceiling, toilets, renovations, studs.
Very good point on the "why do it if you don't need it?" and "you won't recoup the cost".
I have struggled with that, but really we are the outlier in the neighborhood so our comps are out of sync. There will be plenty of storage space even if we partially finish for the living space (1 bed, 1 bath, 1 study).
I will also start sketching and share with the board.
My spouse was like :annoyed when I said that I was getting great ideas on Bogleheads. She prefers to look at HGTV, Youtube :D for ideas.
mw1739
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by mw1739 »

Lacrocious wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 8:56 pm
tenkuky wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:58 am Also, any suggestion of drop ceiling vs. sheet rock? There are a couple of places we need access to water control (a line to the outside faucet for example). Mix and match?
We did sheet a rock ceiling and in the one spot where we needed to access a water shutoff valve, I just put in a heating vent /cold air return vent cover large enough to provide access. We are lucky that where we needed to do that was partially hidden from most views, and if you do see it, it just looks like a heat vent. To access, zip out the two screws holding the vent to the drywall (used the plastic drywall screw retainers to make it easy to remove/replace) and you have access to a 5 x 8 (or whatever size you use) rectangle into the ceiling.

Simple.
- L
I have the same thing where all the cable wires split off. Only had to access it once since I finished the basement, but it worked great and was a whole lot easier than moving the wires.
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hand
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by hand »

With 1-2 years, take the time to learn about proper insulation and air sealing for your basement Building Sciences Corporation has good references, but basic summary is to use foam board, not batt insulation and make sure to air seal the rim joist. While there are expected energy savings, the real benefit of doing it "right" is to improve comfort by reducing dampness.

Demo and insulation are relatively easy to DIY, especially if you have the luxury of time.

Also consider porcelain tile for the basement floor - a bit more expensive, but water tolerant, and no opportunity for mold growth underneath.

Finally, it is well worth spending time with lighting calculations to determine proper amount / type of lights - rules of thumb used by contractors (who benefit by having lower quotes) can result in insufficient lighting, especially if you have low ceilings.
daheld
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Re: Basement finish design and sequence

Post by daheld »

Are there any cracks in any of the exterior concrete basement walls? If so, I would recommend getting them filled. In my area it was only about $200 per crack to have them filled. I had one that was leaking pretty good when it would rain, and having it filled solved it. Everything is graded/sloped away from the house, downspout extensions, everything--but in the spring when ground was saturated and it would rain heavily, the crack would leak. You don't want to frame and drywall an exterior wall with a crack, only to have it leak at some point.

I would also say to consider spray foam insulation in the exterior walls. The cost will be significantly more than bats, but the R value and level of sound reduction is worth it to me if this is a place you're planning to stay.
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