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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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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Was this basement window installed properly?

Here's a few photos of a window that I installed last year. I used the mixed knowledge of a few different online articles and did it to my best ability, but I'm kinda worried that it may have been ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I maintain air quality in a newly finished basement of a 1925 home with no ductwork?

I just bought a house built in 1925 but it has just been professionally renovated, including finishing the basement as living space. The home has a boiler for radiator and baseboard heat. There is no ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

Which way should a door between the garage and basement swing?

Looked everywhere for proper answer. We have a 2 car garage attached to the basement. This house is old, built in 1968, we purchased this 2 years ago and were renovating here/there. We just ...
3
votes
6answers
897 views

What is the cheapest way to brighten a basement workshop?

I have a bare concrete block unfinished basement. I have zero moisture problems (it's a 2007 construction with exterior waterproofing applied to the concrete along with a buried perimeter drain). ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I reclaim heat from an enclosed furnace room?

Our home has two furnaces (oil fired hot air) and an electric water heater in an enclosed room (approx 6'6" x 9'). Three walls of the room divide it from the remainder of a finished basement, the ...
3
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
35k views

How do you secure wood framing to a concrete basement floor?

I'm using Pressure treated lumber for the bottom plate in a basement finishing project. What should I use to seperate the wood from the concrete? What are ways to secure the bottom plate to the ...
1
vote
3answers
5k views

How can I install ceramic tile over vinyl tile?

I'm trying to install ceramic tile in a friend's bathroom, appox. 45 sq ft. The current floor in the bathroom is vinyl squares over the base cement. There is no subfloor or anything like that. The ...
3
votes
2answers
459 views

Is there a way to sound proof my basement while I've got part of the ceiling open?

We had a header beam installed in our basement. The floor joists are exposed for 1ft (~30cm) on both sides for the length of the beam. The basement is an apartment, so I'd like to add some ...
16
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the best way to incrementally finish an unfinished basement?

my wife and I are in the process of buying our first house. The house has a 750 square foot unfinished basement (cinderblock walls and concrete floor), and is brand new (rather, it will be brand new ...
1
vote
1answer
192 views

Damp proofing/tanking a basement

The plaster on one wall of my basement has blown and come away from the wall. I've stripped it all off which leaves a layer of concrete painted with bitumen. What's the best method for sealing off ...
5
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

How to finish room with protruding concrete ledge/foundation?

I am finishing a basement room and have a concrete ledge which is part of the foundation. It protrudes into the room about 2.5 inches and is about 6 inches high. This ledge is the result of a ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Does a bedroom have to have a closet?

I'm finishing my basement (actually its the second basement I've finished). And I've built what I think is a bedroom in the basement. I had the ELECTRICAL inspector in here the other day and as he's ...
8
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

What should I do about ceiling tiles that potentially contain asbestos?

A family member is considering purchasing a house, built in the Midwestern United States in 1958. In the basement, there are nine inch ceiling tiles on the ceiling. The home inspection mentioned that ...
4
votes
1answer
764 views

Is there a shower drain pipe in this picture?

I'm certain the 3" pipe on the left is the toilet drain (it is about 12" form the wall and has a rounded cap on it). I'm guessing the shorter 2" capped pipe on the right, up against the wall, is the ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

“Draining” concrete blocks?

We've recently had exterior waterproofing applied our house. In the process, we removed an old cold room that was underneath our porch. They walled up the entrance to the old cold room, and then ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How should I add flooring in my “crawl” space?

Our house has a basement where part of it is finished but one section is closed off by a door and just has a dirt floor. The space is about 25'x25' and about 12' tall (not really a "crawl" space) ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What thickness of closed cell spray foam should I use on my basement walls?

I'm finishing my basement in southeastern Wisconsin. This is a poured full basement below grade. We are ready to insulate the walls and are going to use closed cell spray foam. I've had two ...
4
votes
1answer
649 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Can I install tiles directly over a concrete floor in my basement?

We are redoing our basement. In some areas (bathroom and laundry room) I plan on putting tile down. The basement is dry and level. Can I attach the tile directly to the basement floor?
5
votes
3answers
508 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Does 100 yr old concrete floor need replacing?

Our house was built in 1905 and the concrete floor is uneven and gets a lot of moisture at times. We replaced the gutters which helped a little. We'd like to finish the basement, maybe use stained ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

How do I level a basement floor but not the slab underneath?

I'd like to install laminate floor on top of Delta FL in my basement. The basement slab is not level, it slopes (from all directions) towards a floor drain (that, via a pipe, leads to a sump pump) ...
4
votes
1answer
927 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
513 views

When waterproofing my basement, should I apply 11 mil plastic in addition to the dimple board?

I'm currently interviewing contractors for exterior basement waterproofing. The difference in price is not significant, but there is one major difference. The contractors will: Trench down below ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

Is a combined AC/Dehumidifer unit more efficient than separate units?

I've just moved into a "basement-ish" apartment; the actual ground level is about at my waist. It's a bit mustier than I'd hoped, and not as cool as I'd like during these closing days of Summer. I'm ...
5
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
31k 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
201 views

Is it normal for the concrete covering my interior perimeter drain to be damp?

I inherited an interior perimeter drain with a sump-pump as part of a basement waterproofing system when I purchased my new home two years ago. Since then I have noticed that along the seam of the ...
15
votes
2answers
646 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
22k views

Can a wet vac be effectively used as a pump?

Can a wet vac effectively be used as a pump to move water? I figure if a basement floods, that this can serve as double duty.
3
votes
5answers
4k views

How should I encapsulate a basement wall with chipping paint on a porous surface?

I have a basement wall with several layers of chipping paint. I can't say officially, but I'm pretty certain the bottom layer (dark green in the photos) is lead-based, while the upper layers are not. ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I remove a musty smell from the basement?

We're currently setting up a basement to be used as an apartment, and are trying to see how we could get rid of a musty smell that seems to exist in that area. While we're thinking it might be due to ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Should I seal, waterproof a concrete basement floor before painting?

What is the best sealer/waterproofer to put on a basement floor that I just want to paint. New construction, no water problems, but washer & drier & water heater are in basement and add to ...
1
vote
1answer
408 views

Do I need to do more prep work on this cement floor before putting in new tile?

In my basement i have a poured concrete floor, and we're re-doing the bathroom down there. It used to have Vinyl flooring, and we ripped it all up. The top vinyl part came up easily, but it left a bit ...
4
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
138k views

What humidity should I set my dehumidifier to?

I just bought a 50 pint dehumidifier for my basement. What humidity level should I aim for? This time of year the outside humidity is very high (over 80%) and we do not have central air. Right now ...
7
votes
3answers
661 views

Would running a band saw or cnc machine in my basement be safe?

I'd like to get a band saw and drill press but I don't have room in my garage so I'd like to put it in my basement. The problem is I don't have any ventilation to remove sawdust so would having it in ...
5
votes
2answers
3k 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
3answers
931 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
3answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Sump Pump Vs. Radon mitigation?

I have a full basement in a cold climate (North Dakota). The previous owner had a raw hole broken out of the cement floor that must have served as an emergency sump pump hole. We haven't had water ...
3
votes
1answer
221 views

Basement Bath floor

I'm putting Platon drain board on the slab of my basement because I'm concerned with humidity and moisture. Then I top it with laminate. What should I do with the bathroom? Can tile be put on top ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

Do I need an egress bedroom window if I have a walk-out exterior door?

I have a basement with three hopper windows and a walk-out door. There's also a staircase that connects the basement with the upper (main) floor of the house. If I build a bedroom, do I need an ...