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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9answers
20k views

How should I add lighting to a low ceiling basement?

I have a basement ceiling that's around 6'6" high and currently the lights are standard bulb outlets that are attached to the beams so they sit down at eye level in the room. This means when you're ...
5
votes
4answers
850 views

Adding insulation to basement that already has vapor barrier

I have leftover insulation from doing my basement, little bits and pieces. In between the joists on my basement ceiling it is insulated with vapour barrier already from when the house was built. ...
5
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the best way to fill a hole in a concrete basement floor?

My basement floor has a hole cut where the water line enters the house. This hole is around 2ft square, and digging down a little I hit dirt and small roots. I'd like to seal this hole as I believe it ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Will running a dehumidifier near new concrete cause it to cure poorly?

I have a new house with high humidity in the basement. Will running a dehumidifier constantly cause the new concrete to cure poorly?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I move a non load bearing wood frame wall?

I am remodeling my basement and want to move the location of a non-load bearing wall that is diving a section of my basement. Currently the wall is down to the bare wooden studs. The header was nailed ...
5
votes
2answers
786 views

What equipment could I use for digging out a basement after the house is built?

My mother and father built the home I live in many years ago. It only had a half basement. My father had started on the other side, but passed away before finishing it. I have now taken this job on. I ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

Can I lay down solid wood planks on top of my basement concrete floor?

I live in Oakville, Ontario and have a detached home with an unfinished basement with concrete floor. I would like to put hardwood flooring in part of the basement. Instead of tongue and groove ...
5
votes
2answers
157 views

Buying a House On Underground Spring. What to do?

My fiancé and I are under contract on a new home which we are concerned it might be built on an underground spring. There are two sump pumps in the house, on opposite corners of the house. Both times ...
5
votes
2answers
512 views

how critical are distances between studs?

I'm in the process of finishing my basement (east-central Minnesota, US). So far, I've put up a couple of wood stud walls... non-load bearing, simple partition walls. One one of these walls, the ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Running electric cables in basement shop

I am setting up a workshop in the unfinished area of my basement. I need to run a couple of electrical outlets and would like to run them along the block walls through grey PVC. Will this be a ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I run a dehumidifier pump to a washer stand pipe?

I have a very humid basement, in which I run a dehumidifier often. To allow for a more constant run, I purchased a dehumidifier pump. It says to run the pump out through a window or to a sink. I ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How to finish dirt floor in a basement?

The floor of the basement of our house is half a flat area with a concrete floor where the washing machine and so on are, and half a semi-flat, slightly sloping dirt area, with the dirt area being ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the proper way to insulate box sill joists in the basement?

The floor joists of the first floor are sitting directly in breaks in the concrete/cinderblock walls, and there's large gaps all around the edges. I've done some looking around and it appears that ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Do I need more than just Drylok to insulate concrete basement walls before framing out some walls?

I have a large unfinished basement. Concrete blocks walls. French drain. All but the top 18 inches or so are underground. It's got great potential to be finished (9 foot ceilings). The basement has ...
5
votes
3answers
619 views

Should I install external basement insulation that does not extend above ground?

Question : Is there a way to calculate energy savings for external, 2inch insulation on basement walls that does not extend above the soil surface, leaving the top couple feet of foundation wall ...
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votes
3answers
4k views

Using fire rated drywall/sheetrock in a partially finished basement

Background: We have a full basement and I have recently completed about half of it as a hang out spot for my teenage boys and their friends. The other side I use as a workshop and a place to store ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I hang a hammock from basement joists?

My basement is what I assume is a typical setup, built in the 1970s. 2x8 joists run from the outer cinderblock wall to the center beam with an approximate 11 foot span. I'm thinking about hanging a ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How can I clean a very dirty concrete basement floor?

My basement floor has been made amazingly gross (thank you, cats) and I'd like to get it really clean. Is there an option other than scrubbing on hands and knees? Are there cleaning solutions that ...
5
votes
2answers
450 views

What should I do with insulation in basement ceiling?

I am fixing up my basement, and to make it seem bigger- we decided to remove the drop ceiling and are going to have the exposed ceiling and duct work sprayed black. There is some insulation around ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What type of subflooring should I use for a basement?

My basement has wall-to-wall carpet in the two bedrooms and living area. The carpet was probably from the 70's when the house was built and we decided to remove it. After removing the carpet from ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I protect the soleplate when framing basement walls?

I plan on finishing my basement and I have a specific question about framing the walls and protecting the soleplate. I plan on framing and setting up the walls BEFORE laying the subfloor, but that ...
5
votes
1answer
640 views

Is there such a thing as a vacuum sump pump? No standing water above check valve?

Is there such a thing as a vacuum operated sump pump? Most sumps or ejector pumps leave a column of water above the check valve, and leave a few centimeters of water in the sump beside. I have a need ...
5
votes
1answer
11k views

How can I properly vent a basement toilet & shower using an AAV?

When we bought our house the plumbing drains for a basement bathroom were roughed in but they did not install any vent lines for them. We have the first floor plumbing draining into the main stack ...
5
votes
2answers
323 views

Will internal waterproofing solve my moisture problems?

We've been working on our water problem for awhile now. Here's the deal: There is black drain tile under the home (all the way around) tied into a sump crock. Water was only coming in one side. A ...
5
votes
2answers
531 views

How to deal with inadequate drainage of my walk-up basement?

(Please correct me if any of my terminology is inaccurate!) I have a "den" which is a finished walk-up basement (half-above ground, half below ground). The den floor has vents, and when I look under ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

What do I level a 2" slope in my concrete basement floor?

I want to finish a 12'x36' part of my basement. The trouble I am having is that it is sloped to a floor drain. I was told that DRIcore and shims would work but the drain is a 2" slope down from the ...
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votes
3answers
1k views

How do I build a basement that does not leak when I have a high water level?

How do I insure a basement will not leak when the site has a high water level?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Do I need to install dry wall in my basement?

I have a concrete basement with concrete walls. I'm thinking about just painting the basement and not have to put up dry wall because I want to save money. Is that a good idea or should I really ...
4
votes
3answers
556 views

Kind of contractor to hire to install new basement window, where there was none before?

A family member is interested in getting their basement finished, and one of the things they'd like to do is have an additional bedroom in the basement. The bedroom should have a window. However, ...
4
votes
6answers
728 views

Would insulating a basement prevent it from passively cooling the house in the summer?

I have an unfinished basement in Upstate NY in a large old house that helps in keeping the house cool in the summer. Would insulating it limit the cooling effect in summer?
4
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Should I add insulation to basement ceiling?

Currently doing a reno on our basement. After roughing everything out, I have insulated the outside walls with R13 (2x4). The house has never had insulation in the basement. Should I insulate the ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a more attractive alternative to a drop ceiling that allows easy access to the space above it?

Are there any ways of installing a basement ceiling that is seamless and does not look like a drop ceiling, but which can still be somehow disassembled? Alternatively, are there more subtle forms of ...
4
votes
3answers
556 views

Is it okay to protect NM Cable in an unfinished basement with ENT?

Adding a 20 amp subcircuit (120V) to furnace room to turn it into a workshop. Initially it will have one duplex and 2 fourplex receptacles, the fourplex receptacles will be on cement walls, the duplex ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

What to do first in a basement? Dricore then frame on top? Or frame and then lay dricore?

My thinking is to use blue wood with a plastic barrier underneath, and then lay dricore up to the finished walls. However, the dricore instructions say that framing should be on top of the sub-floor. ...
4
votes
1answer
766 views

What type of paint should I use to paint a block foundation wall?

My house has an old well room that is off of the main foundation of the house. I want to clean this space up to use it for storage and part of this process is to repaint the cement block walls. The ...
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votes
3answers
9k views

Should I use Tyvek or tar paper on basement walls?

We are going to be redoing our basement which was done in the 60's and very cold. We have been told to apply Tyvek or tar paper to the walls, stud, then vapour barrier and drywall. We plan on using ...
4
votes
4answers
14k views

How do I correctly measure this basement window for a replacement?

I have three of these metal-framed basement windows which I would like to replace but I am unsure of what dimension I should measure and use for the replacements. Initially I measured the outside ...
4
votes
3answers
457 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
254 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
670 views

How can I level this concrete floor so I can install laminate?

I did a rough sketch up of what I'm working with in Google Sketchup. I'm laying laminate flooring in my basement living room and have all of the necessary preparations (Plastic layer and padding) My ...
4
votes
1answer
815 views

How do I cut grooves in self-leveling concrete to incorporate an existing drain?

This is a follow up question to my previous question about leveling a basement floor without losing the drainage. After the feedback I decided to use self-leveling concrete and cut (or form it in ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the best way to drywall a basement staircase?

We're going to be finishing our basement and one issue I have is how we will drywall the staircase. Unfortunately the stairs are right against the concrete wall. Should I simply put furring strips ...
4
votes
3answers
118 views

Should I be concerned that the sill plate is not lined up with the foundation?

I am in the process of building a one level home in PA. After the formed concrete walls were poured and the framing began, I noticed that on one side of the house that the sill plate was flush with ...
4
votes
3answers
377 views

What happens if XPS is an inch away from basement walls?

I live in Maine and am planning to insulate my basement. It has fairly smooth poured concrete walls. I've read online that spray foam is one option, and 2" of XPS directly against the wall is ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I install carpet tiles in a below grade room?

A few years ago, I saw an advertisement for carpet tiles that had a jagged edge so there would be less movement in the interlock between tiles, and prevented the need for glue. (would like to find ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What does blocking refer to in relation to floor joists?

This question was triggered by the following line in a home inspection: Blocking is not installed for I joists above beams in basement. I have found pictures of blocking at ...
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votes
2answers
2k views

Is it OK to block off an unused root cellar to mitigate moisture problems?

I have a root/cold cellar underneath my front porch. The walls appear to be poured concrete as I can't see any bricks or cinder blocks. The room sweats like crazy so there is an obvious moisture ...
4
votes
1answer
504 views

Best style of window for above grade basement windows?

My basement windows are roughly 2'x3' (h x w) and the exterior sill is 6 inches above grade, and 5 feet above the basement floor. I am not particularly concerned with security beyond frustrating the ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

Can a washer and dryer be next to a water heater?

I have a GE gas dryer (DSXH47GGWW) that is currently next to an exterior basement wall. I'd like to move it to the opposite wall (shared with the crawl space) right next to the water heater next to ...