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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Atlanta Metro
    Posts
    3

    Default dans basement project

    Hello,

    I'm looking at finishing off my basement to use as an office and have several questions. Due to limited finances I'll probably end up doing most of the work myself.

    House is about 20 years old and is in north metro atlanta. 2 basement walls are a concrete foundation and are concrete all the way up. A 3rd wall is running down a slope and starts with concrete all the way up and then finishes with concrete only half way up and wood construction the rest of the way up.

    The last wall is an interior (of sorts) wall to the garage.

    I'm thinking of finishing off 1/2 and putting in a dividing wall. The half I'm looking at finishing would *not* include the 1/2 foundation wall.

    I've been in the house for 4 1/2 years and have never seen any evidence of water. After a big rain though you can feel that the air is more humid.

    My questions are

    1) In various places I see the advice "check with your local building codes". How/where do I go about doing this? One code item in question is ceiling height. I have exactly 8 feet from the concrete floor to the bottom of the floor joists so obviously my finished floor to ceiling height will be somewhat less. In fact I'll have to make it probably a foot less in a few isolated area to deal with some sewer drains and hvac ducts.

    2) I've seen varying advice on proper wall insulation and construction. Are there any problems with using construction adhesive to put up 1/2" foam and then put up a standard 2x4 stud wall using a pressure treated base plate? I'd then put fiberglass insulation between the studs after wiring.

    3) There are some doorways right now where the structural part of the frame are made with kiln dried 2x4's. The bottom edge touches the concrete floor. Is this a problem? I thought you needed pressure treated for all wood contacting the concrete floor?

    4) Assuming my construction details in #2 are correct, whats the right thing to do right at the top of the walls? The concrete foundation wall stops a little below the bottom of the floor joists. There is a piece of wood lying on top of the foundation wall and the floor joists then rest on that. Do I just stop the foam at the top of the foundation wall and then stuff in fiberglass? Or should that area stay hollow?

    5) I was thinking of using ceiling tiles to make it possible to access things like phone lines down the road in case I needed to. That way I wouldn't have to tear out drywall. Then again, maybe with some planning I can avoid that need. Any thoughts on a drywall ceiling vs a suspended ceiling? Actually the ceiling may have to wait because I'm on a bit of a hard schedule here and I may need to occupy some of this space as an office before it is fully completed.

    The timing of this couldn't be worse since I still have probably a month to go on a major bathroom remodel upstairs, but such is life.

    Thanks in advance

    -Dan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    443

    Default Re: dans basement project

    dan:

    Checking with the building codes would be done at your local town hall/building inspector's dept.

    You would have to apply for a permit to do this work--many of the people who work in these offices prefer to rely on a contractor, assuming the contractor knows all about the specifics of the project.

    A diy/homeowner is more likely to be asked to hire a civil engineer to draw up 3 sets of "plans" (drawings) on how the job will be done--this alone could cost $500 or more.

    Some towns have regs about "egress doors/egress windows"--requiring a 2nd way out in the event of fire.

    That could mean big $$$ to go thru the concrete foundation.

    Just so you know what you can expect at city hall.

    Do you have any photos??

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: dans basement project

    I agree with Jack
    Harry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: dans basement project

    In addition .....

    Quote Originally Posted by danmc View Post
    Hello,



    My questions are



    2) I've seen varying advice on proper wall insulation and construction. Are there any problems with using construction adhesive to put up 1/2" foam and then put up a standard 2x4 stud wall using a pressure treated base plate? I'd then put fiberglass insulation between the studs after wiring.

    Yes ... this would be effective though I would suggest at least 1 inch thick foam. This will provide a continious thermobreak between the concrete wall and the wall framing as well as improving the insulation performance.
    Use a house wrap tape to seal the seams of the foam sheets to ensure an airtight seal.
    Ensure the adhesive will work with foam otherwise it will have a chemical reaction actually melting the foam.

    As for the bottom 2x4 plate you may be able to use untreated lumber with something like using sill seal as an isolation membrane ..... depends on the local building codes. The sill seal is something I use all the time ..... here's a link :

    http://building.dow.com/styrofoam/na.../sill_seal.htm

    3) There are some doorways right now where the structural part of the frame are made with kiln dried 2x4's. The bottom edge touches the concrete floor. Is this a problem? I thought you needed pressure treated for all wood contacting the concrete floor?

    As a rule untreated wood should not come in contact with concrete especially the floor. You may just cut a 1/4 off from these.

    4) Assuming my construction details in #2 are correct, whats the right thing to do right at the top of the walls? The concrete foundation wall stops a little below the bottom of the floor joists. There is a piece of wood lying on top of the foundation wall and the floor joists then rest on that. Do I just stop the foam at the top of the foundation wall and then stuff in fiberglass? Or should that area stay hollow?


    You definately want to fill this area with insulation ... this area will be coldest since it's above ground and the foam will be a very good choice. You should caulk the edges of the foam to ensure an airtight seal.


    5) I was thinking of using ceiling tiles to make it possible to access things like phone lines down the road in case I needed to. That way I wouldn't have to tear out drywall. Then again, maybe with some planning I can avoid that need. Any thoughts on a drywall ceiling vs a suspended ceiling? Actually the ceiling may have to wait because I'm on a bit of a hard schedule here and I may need to occupy some of this space as an office before it is fully completed.

    Ceiling tiles have a definite advantage since they are removable allowing access to all that lies up in the ceiling as well as any future access needed.

    Thanks in advance

    -Dan
    Hope this helps.

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