For questions generally relating to habitable spaces in a home below ground level, and to foundation types that include a space of this type.

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1
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2answers
78 views

Damp smell in basement

I have a gap between outside wall and pavement. Could this be the reason for damp smell in the cellar? If I poured bitumin down said gap, would this help prevent the dampness?
1
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1answer
87 views

Water heater on concrete--should I build a platform? how much heat loss in winter?

I don't know if that title the best way to phrase the question. It's winter(ish) now, and I swear the hot water just doesn't last as long as it does in, say, September. The water heater tank is ...
4
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3answers
122 views

How do I prevent water from leaking into my basement?

How do I prevent rain water from leaking directly into the basement? As you can see in the diagram below, rain water drains into small concrete cracks (near the bright red line shown below) and finds ...
1
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4answers
49 views

standalone pump options for leaky below-grade room

A friend of mine runs a martial arts studio where his concrete-floored office in the back is slightly below grade and floods every time it rains. I assume that a proper solution would presumably ...
0
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0answers
38 views

HVAC ducts ready for finished basement?

I'm starting to finish my basement. Before I do so, I want to be sure the ductwork is sufficient to keep it warm during Colorado winters. The basement was finished when we moved in, but gross, so we ...
0
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1answer
80 views

rigid foam board in basement with exterior guard overkill?

I'm finishing a basement and have 8 foot and half concrete walls that I will be placing a stud wall in front of. I've scoured the net only to find a large number of opinions. My basement wall has an ...
1
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1answer
40 views

Plumbing connections for basement bathroom

My house is a bit of a strange design. Although the living room appears to be an addition to the home, it was actually built at the same time as the rest of the house. Looking at the front of the ...
1
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3answers
124 views

Low ceiling clearance non load-bearing door opening question

I'm finishing my basement, and am framing in a room. I have 81.5" of ceiling clearance to the ceiling joists, and am in the process of framing in a door for a bedroom. My question is, since this ...
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0answers
17 views

Repairing concrete block on inner part of basement

I have had water seepage into my basement through concrete block for many years. The exterior part of the block is covered by a deck and patio and is not easy to get to. I've mitigated a lot of the ...
1
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1answer
29 views

Fragile paperback on cellar ceiling batts

Installed in 1968, these insulation batts now fall, or hang. The paperback has become so fragile the insulating weight pulls it apart. What suggestions for a remedy? Replace? Or?
3
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3answers
7k views

Renovating interior stone basement walls

We have a 100 year old house, and I would like to finish the basement but leave the stone walls exposed. I believe the stone can look great, but the mortar needs some work, and I am mostly focused on ...
0
votes
1answer
87 views

which layer of rigid foam should i caulk when insulating rim joist?

I am insulating my rim joists with rigid foam board in a manner similar to that described on the familyhandyman's website. I am considering adding a second layer of foam board to get closer to the ...
1
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2answers
88 views

Basement supporting wall header increase

We are finally in the process of finishing our basement after a number of years. I have a load bearing wall that has a header for a doorway, however, we are looking to have a more open hallway. I ...
1
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1answer
106 views

Can I enclose my new boiler in a closet?

As part of a new residential boiler installation, two 6-inch ducts venting to the outside will be installed, one near the ceiling and one near the floor. They won't be attached to the boiler itself, ...
1
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1answer
83 views

Are portable electrical outlets permitted in a basement?

I would like to install a portable outlet box near a work area in an unfinished basement. I have seen these installed in commercial buildings and educational laboratory type areas, always dropped from ...
0
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1answer
126 views

Are uninsulated steam pipes behind walls and touching beams a fire hazard?

We are getting our unfinished basement done. We have replaced and rerouted (to make more space) our steam pipes (house built in 1937) with new pipes (Black and I believe 4 inches in diameter). These ...
2
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2answers
262 views

Vapor and moisture barrier for “above ground” basement

I'm finishing the basement of my home in New Jersey, and I'm a bit confused about the general guidance for basement moisture and vapor barriers. My "basement" is built from concrete block. However, ...
0
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0answers
411 views

Replacing Load-Bearing 2x4 wall with beam and posts - Basement

I would like replace a 64" section of a load bearing wall with a beam and 2 support posts. The current wall is 2x4 pressure treated sill plate on top of poured concrete, 5 2x4 vertical supports and ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

How to properly close a chimney hole in the basement

I recently removed the old unused wood stove in my basement. I now want to properly condemn the chimney. I found this question which answers what to do with the chimney outside, but I am still unsure ...
22
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6answers
38k views

Should I use steel or wood studs for basement exterior walls?

Related: When should you use metal studs? I'm planning on finishing my basement. (assuming all water issues are resolved) I'll be putting up a water barrier (tar paper) on all exterior walls, ...
2
votes
3answers
101 views

What should I do about water filling the excavation for a house's foundation?

I live in Duluth, Minnesota. As stated, I am putting a new foundation on my house. When the contractor was excavating, they hit water. They are constantly pumping this water out. I now have 2 new ...
1
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2answers
88 views

Where do I need to drain the footing drain when I waterproof a basement from outside

I am planning to waterproof a basement. (please see the attached picture). I would like to know if the component labeled collector on my attached picture is needed. Since my lot is virtually flat I am ...
0
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1answer
57 views

How to make a basement warmer? [closed]

I'm looking for some cheap way to renovate my basement and make it warmer and quiter,any ideas?
0
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4answers
65 views

Do I really need a redundant sump pump? [closed]

So I'm getting my dirt basement encapsulated, and the contractor is installing an interior perimeter drain and sump pit/pump. They offer either a single good quality pump, a redundant system with just ...
2
votes
1answer
119 views

Can I use 1“ XPS and fiberglass batts instead of 2” XPS insulation in my basement?

I have read multiple sources on the internet suggesting use of 2" XPS foam boards to insulate basement foundation and then building a 2x4 wall in front of it. 2" foam board is very expensive when ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

Why do basement walls need less insulation than crawlspace walls?

I used this DoE calculator: http://web.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_16.html For Washington, DC, it recommended R25 for crawlspace walls and R11 for basement walls. Why would they be ...
8
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4answers
6k views

Does XPS+OSB subfloor need to be anchored?

Mike Holmes is a big fan of OSB/plywood over 1" XPS for basement floors, though his book leaves something to be desired in terms of details. His book says: ...on top of the foam, you want to have ...
1
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0answers
48 views

What can I do about a basement window well that is filling with water?

My house was built in the 1950s and I have a basement window well that was filling up with water after a hard rain. I have covers however the water would come up. After much reading online that there ...
2
votes
1answer
106 views

Is there a recommended distance between fasteners on sole plates?

We've just started installing pressure treated 2x4s as sole plates in our 5 year old basement. We drove 3 nails into each 8' plate, one at each end (around 3 or 4 inches in) and one somewhere at the ...
1
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2answers
108 views

How can I stop my basement from filling with water?

I have my house in a sloped area ,it has problems of water seeping inside the basement area which gets filled up to 1 to 2 feet height what may be the solution for this .... i have tried all water ...
0
votes
0answers
79 views

Should I add an air return in my basement and seal old vents?

My question is basically a variation of two prior questions: "How do I close and seal an old external vent" and "Should I add an air return in a finished basement." My house has a bottom level that ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there any risks in removing these steel basement window frames?

I am planning to replacement my basement windows (see this related question) and was planning to remove both the glass and frame. A window vendor advised me not do this claiming that the steel frame ...
32
votes
6answers
45k views

Should I use a subfloor for a finished basement's floor?

We are refinishing our basement and have not yet decided what to do for the floors. Part of the basement will be tile, and we are all set. However, the rec room side is going to be carpet. The ...
1
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1answer
99 views

Rapid changes in humidity levels in basement suite?

I live in the basement suite of a house in Vancouver. I've noticed something strange when running my dehumidifier in my bedroom: when I turn it on, the humidity is at 80%(!); after running for 30 ...
4
votes
5answers
918 views

How can I insulate my basement on a budget?

I have a home built in 1925, a "Chicago Bungalow" style, in Louisville, KY. I have roughed in the basement, trying to take advantage of every square inch. I am planning on using it for short-term ...
6
votes
1answer
32k views

How do I calculate the size of electric baseboard heater needed?

I'm working on finishing our basement which does not have any duct work to tie into for heating, so we're planning on using electric baseboard heaters. How do I calculate the needed size of heater ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Do I need a vapor barrier in an exterior basement wall if I use purple drywall?

I purchased some purple drywall (mold and moisture resistant)for installing in a finished basement bedroom. One wall is an exterior wall. Do I need to install a vapor barrier between the drywall and ...
15
votes
2answers
683 views

Is it better to waterproof a basement from the outside or the inside?

Is it better to waterproof a basement from the outside or the inside? I've heard different things about this. We have a home built in the 40's on a cinder-block foundation. One side of the house is ...
4
votes
3answers
182 views

What is the proper order in framing the basement walls?

I am thinking of finishing my basement and am wondering what is the proper order of things for framing the walls. Do I put up perimeter walls first with electrical, insulation and vapor barrier, and ...
3
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the best flooring for my basement?

I live in Michigan, where humidity is fairly high. I have a 70 pint dehumidifier that works great. I also have a sump pump and water powered backup sump pump. I am looking to floor my basement ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

What should I look for in a battery backup sump pump?

I've got a pretty basic 1/3 hp sump pump that does the job quite well. However, i'm concerned about losing power and just the wrong time. Or worse the pump goes bad! What sort of features do you look ...
1
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0answers
300 views

Connecting a sump pump to sewer

I'm attempting to install a new sump pump in my basement after having a few minor flooding incidents and addressing as much of the external causes as possible (gutters, etc). The pump is only used for ...
8
votes
3answers
21k views

Should we install carpet before the baseboard and door casings?

We just had a carpet layer come in for measurements and a quote. We've not put in the baseboard or door casings yet, but the carpet layer has suggested that this will make things easier. Is this true ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Which should I do first? replacing furnace or resurfacing concrete floor?

I'm going to get two things done in my basement soon (by hiring professionals), but I'm wondering what the right order of operations is. One task is to replace the gas furnace that sits near the ...
18
votes
1answer
11k views

Humidity Levels

What is a healthy and safe humidity level that I should try to keep my house at?
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How should I insulate my basement?

My basement is CMU blocks and concrete floor. I had water issues, so I waterproofed it with an interior french drain, drainboard at the edge and a sump pump. This wouldn't take care of dampness so I ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

How realistic is lowering a concrete floor?

So first off, I love basements, its almost like a fetish. Ook.. so this guy is selling a basement in his building and its perfect(got good water, electricity, comms, location and cheap!) except for ...
1
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0answers
154 views

frame soffit against foundation wall

I'm framing my basement and I have a duct that runs along the foundation wall. There's a little over a 1" gap between the duct and the wall, so I was planning on putting up XPS along the wall and then ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Glass deck above basement addition [closed]

We're planning to expand our basement underneath our deck and would ideally like to cover this section of the deck in glass as in this photo. (Posted: Wear skirts at your own risk!) Our architect ...
0
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1answer
66 views

Sewer drain cap replacement options

I have sewer cap that has lost its threads. I am wondering what options I have to replace/fix that does not involving tearing up the cement floor. Are compression fittings a good option?