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Basement Finishing and Renovations Has it been 2 years already? Time to work on finishing the basement into some extra living space.


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Old 2014-03-11, 05:55 PM
BartBandy BartBandy is offline
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Default Basement rec room and workshop started

Finally started the basement. The goal was to build a rec room for my daughter and therapy gym for my son, plus a workshop, to be ready by spring. I've been off work for a long time to work with him, and it took a long time to get motivated to start on this daunting job. The basement was a disaster of half-full boxes and crap. We purged and cleaned up so much. Not long after we removed the blanket insulation, we lost him in mid-February, so the framing and spray foam was delayed. We started the framing two weeks ago while we were still purging and cleaning, and spray foamed last Friday. Here's a representative corner of the basement:






We went from an episode of Hoarders to an episode of Mike Holmes. The framing is mostly 2x4 with about an inch of space to the foundation wall.

Some other details people will want to see, either to steal my ideas, or to mock me and tell me I don't know what I'm doing:


Here, I took the electrical panel, which was mounted to 3/4" OSB which was screwed to 2x4s which were attached to the foundation wall with no plastic underneath. Impossible to insulate, and subject to rot if I just sprayed around it. So, I managed to get the 2x4s out of there, and gave myself a thermal break with 1.5" rigid foam behind the panel, glued to the wall with foam adhesive. I framed a knee wall below the OSB to support the weight. Above the panel is a second layer of 1.5" rigid for R14. It'll be trimmed in framing lumber before I'm done and the wires stapled to plywood I'll place in front of the rigid. The spray foam seals up with the rigid behind the framing.

Also note the vac pipe to the left of the picture. That's my overpriced conduit to the attic. I installed a 45 elbow and a short piece of pipe to extend it through the wall. I just thought I did a really neat job of framing that in.


I framed the outside walls and ceiling (concrete porch above) of the 6'x5' cold room with 2x3 framing and used 3" PVC pipe to extend the vents through the wall. I'll pipe one vent to the floor, and leave one up high to create circulation. I only had the wall insulation installed to a foot or so below the exterior grade elevation. This should keep the room cool.


Kept the framing about 3.5" from the foundation wall to accommodate the ABS vent pipe. The HRV in the background was moved to a temporary location, but they still couldn't get to the joist cavities behind that, so I'll have to insulate that separately with rigid foam and a can of foam for the edges.


The tankless water heater was installed by Reliance idiots on a sheet of plywood on short piece of wall made with three studs, and not even attached to the floor. I removed the outside two studs so the insulation company could get behind the plywood without having to uninstall the water heater. I'll add new studs later. They might have to be on the flat to fit, but that's fine. Also note the foamed cold room.


Below sunken laundry room. About 5' of headroom. Will be storage room.


Window boxes installed before spray foaming. The basement windows were set in the concrete forms without the aid of anything resembling a square or a level. No care taken at all. Idiots.


So, it's coming along. Electrical comes next. I should have enough room for that in front of the spray foam. I'm going to be using a subfloor product that is kinda like Dricore, but all plastic.

Overall, I'm happy enough with the spray foam, but they couldn't get to all the joist cavities, and I had to bring them back downstairs to get other places they missed and could reach with little problem. Be vigilant with any contractor you hire.
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Old 2014-03-11, 10:37 PM
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How are you finding the spray foam? Nice and toasty down there now?
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Old 2014-03-11, 10:59 PM
BartBandy BartBandy is offline
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The stuff tastes terrible. Otherwise, it seems to be working.
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Old 2014-03-13, 09:53 AM
CW@KCE CW@KCE is offline
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looks good so far Craig. A few questions if you don't mind answering. [1] Are you happy with the company that did the spray foam? [2] Is the product performing as you expected it to? [3] cost per sq ft? you can PM if you want....Thanks.
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Old 2014-03-13, 09:55 AM
BartBandy BartBandy is offline
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Jury is still out on some of those questions. I'll PM you.
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Old 2014-03-13, 10:04 AM
cosimo cosimo is offline
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Craig, in the picture of your cold cellar, is that blue wood used for the bottom plate and what R-value/thickness did you go with for the pray foam?
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Old 2014-03-13, 10:10 AM
BartBandy BartBandy is offline
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Yeah, that's a couple of sticks of bluwood where it touches concrete in the cold room, though there is a gasket there as well. I just couldn't find any straight bluwood at Lowes. Their stock is crap. I had to sort through 100 sticks to get 4 straight ones. I would have done the whole cold room in it if I could have found enough straight pieces.

Long term R value of the spray foam I used was R6.4 (I think). I used Proline Plus 200, which is a type 2 foam. Some people still use the lesser type 1 foams. Watch for that.

Code is R20 in the basement, so that's 3".
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Old 2014-03-13, 12:17 PM
Dellwoodking Dellwoodking is offline
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Great detailed write up! Keep the pics and info coming!
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Old 2014-03-13, 12:55 PM
BartBandy BartBandy is offline
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Oh, I also used Ramset powder-actuated fasteners for the bottom plate. When it works, it's fast. When it doesn't, it's a pain. I used almost 200 fasteners, and probably wasted more than 60 of them. The round aggregate in our basement floor concrete was rejecting the nails. All I was doing was busting up the top surface. I used a handful of 2 1/2" tapcons where I had to. If I did it again, I'd just use tapcons and get a handful of 5/32" hammer drill bits so I always had sharp ones to go fast.

And definitely use hearing protection. I forgot a couple of times. Wow.
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Old 2014-03-25, 04:12 PM
BartBandy BartBandy is offline
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Spray foam guys did not do a great job. I got less than I paid for almost everywhere. Good news is he wants to make it right and is coming back.
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