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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2
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3answers
5k views

How can I fix a small slightly damp area in my basement wall?

I am in the process of converting a bedroom in our walkout basement, into an office. Back in 1999, the previous owner had finished the basement. The basement foundation walls are hollow cinder ...
2
votes
3answers
10k views

What is a good solution for hiding insulation in an unfinished basement?

First off, let me note that I am a tenant in this house. My landlord lets me do small improvements, but I'm not going to finish the basement with drywall myself. Basically, we have an unfinished ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is occasional puddling of water in an unfinished basement a problem that needs to be addressed?

In a early 20th century New England home of wood frame construction and foundation of fieldstone and brick with some CMU, we get some puddling of water in a few areas of the unfinished basement floor ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
14k views

How do I paint a basement ceiling and heating pipes?

What is the best way to paint a basement ceiling? Can I paint the copper baseboard heating pipes? Do I have to use special paint?
2
votes
2answers
93 views

What is the minimum thickness of foam board when insulating a basement

What is the minimum thickness of the foamboard insulation that can be used when insulating a concrete basement wall when it comes to moisture control and temperature control? Obviously thicker is ...
2
votes
2answers
399 views

Do I need an HVAC vent in this bathroom?

The finished portion of my basement was completed after the original construction. I've found a few questionable practices, including the lack of an HVAC vent in the basement bathroom (shown in green ...
2
votes
1answer
250 views

What is the purpose of a window well for a window that is above grade?

Recently my neighbour installed window wells around all of his basement windows, but they all sit with the bottom edge about 2 inches above the ground. Do window wells serve a purpose if your window ...
2
votes
2answers
288 views

Are my basement walls sweating?

Portions of my basement wall are darker and appear to be wet, but to the touch they are just slightly cooler. I took a few pictures to show. The pattern of the darker areas is strange in some places ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

How should I build a low profile stud wall in a basement?

I'm considering several options for building out a wall in a basement. Unfortunately, due to the way that the stairs leading to the basement are positioned in my house and the spacing I have to build ...
2
votes
1answer
625 views

Should I use traditional 2x4 framing or 1x3 grid framing for a New England basement remodel?

I'm trying to decide which framing method to go with for a particular room while finishing a basement. I live in New England and I already have 2" foam board glued to the concrete using the correct ...
2
votes
1answer
193 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
302 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
10k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
430 views

How can I insulate behind pipes that are close to a foundation wall?

Reading around, it seems like most people suggest to put up XPS insulation when finishing a basement. That's great and all, but how do you put 2" of rigid foam behind pipes that already exist in the ...
2
votes
1answer
232 views

How can I reduce the humidity level in my basement?

I have an unfinished basement in my 1040 square foot ranch house. I just bought an energy star 30 pint dehumidifier to replace an old one that came with the house 1 year ago (I set it on the "driest" ...
2
votes
2answers
763 views

How do I install fire blocking while finishing a basement?

In Colorado, the building code asks for a fire block when finishing a basement. I know this goes against the out walls (foundation). I've seen 2x4 and OSB used: which is better? And how does the OSB ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Do stairs need to be the same height after landing?

I have set of stairs that leads from the main floor to the basement. A little over half way down there is a landing (typical L-shape). I'm looking to put in an insulated subfloor in my basement, ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

Can the blanket Insulation in my basement be left in place when refinishing?

I'm thinking about finishing my basement. It currently has the blanket insulation that the builder installed when we built the house last year. I'm unfamiliar with this product. Is it meant to be used ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Do I need an egress window in a basement room not used as a bedroom?

Do I need an egress window in a basement family room when the basement has two viable exits? There are garage doors on one end and an exterior person door leading to exterior stairs on the other.
2
votes
2answers
594 views

Easy way to seal an old plumbing vent

I plan on buying a house but it has this cleanout and old vent for the plumbing in the basement. Whoever renovated the basement disconnected the vent and just let air flow into the basement. Is ...
2
votes
1answer
255 views

Water leaching up through basement floor

We just bought an older home that had new perimeter drainage system installed and a new sump pump installed that drains outside. The old sump was closed off and now there is signs of water leaching up ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I stop this water from entering my basement?

I have water issues in my basement - as you can see, it comes in via some cracks between my basement floor and the concrete pads that the washer/dryer sit on. I am working on fixing the problem ...
2
votes
1answer
606 views

How should I finish around this hole in my slab?

This hole in my basement has a roughed-in drain pipe for a bathtub (can't really see it, but I've verified it's there): As you can see, it's about 12"x16". As I prepare to finish the basement, I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Should I add batt insulation to concrete basement walls?

We're planning how to finish our basement, and haven't been able to figure out something related to insulation. The home's in Minnesota, and was built in 2008. XPS insulation (installed by the ...
2
votes
1answer
504 views

What should I do to this basement closet so I can put clothes in it?

We bought a house that had a closet along part of the basement wall. it has the water meter in it and on outside wall also. we carpeted the basement along with the closet. the closet has drywall in ...
2
votes
2answers
135 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
93 views

Do I need to insulate the entire basement or just a few walls?

I have a 1920s house with concrete foundation that had a semi-finished basement. After a recent 3-day rain storm, my basement flooded (about 1") due to hydrostatic pressure. It wasn't just my house -- ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

How to attach short bottom plate for door frame to concrete floor?

I'm framing out my basement, which I've done once before in an old house. I use the treated wood (green board?) for the bottom plate, raise up the frames, get everything level, and use cut nails to ...
2
votes
1answer
305 views

Can I tap into the kitchen / dishwasher drain pipe with my washing machine?

I am moving my washing machine as a part of finishing my basement. Can I tap into a kitchen drain pipe (draining my sink and dishwasher) for my washing machine drain? How would this be done? I ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

Help diagnosing source of basement moisture

Hoping your experience can help figure out where moisture is coming from in my basement. I tried to include a lot of details to help identify issue. I have a house built in 2008 with finished ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Framing a new basement window in cinder block

We recently purchased a home and this window was boarded up on both sides. I removed the plywood to discover that it used to be a old coal chute. I removed all the old fiberglass insulation that was ...
2
votes
2answers
827 views

Preventing Clogging/Flooding at bottom of exterior basement steps

I just purchased a house this weekend, and moved in yesterday. I live in MD (USA), and there just happened to be a torrential downpour yesterday after we moved in. I went downstairs to check my sump ...
2
votes
1answer
623 views

What size feeder do I need for a basement electrical subpanel?

I would like to know what size and type of feeder wire and feeder breaker do I need for my basement subpanel where I am planning to add six 15 Amp circuits, and three 20 Amp circuits. This will be 2' ...
2
votes
1answer
170 views

Adding sink fixture to waste stack with existing sink fixture

I'm renovating our basement and I have a waste stack with a roughed in sink fixture trap arm. We are putting a wetbar on the other side of this wall probably around 2' to the left of this waste stack ...
2
votes
1answer
861 views

Sump pit filling very quickly from inlet pipes

In October, I bought a large home with a sump pit in the basement. The previous owners had a sump pump but left it shut off (unplugged). I bought the house three months before moving in, so the pump ...
2
votes
2answers
265 views

What should I do about an above grade cinder block basement wall that is wet?

Above grade cinder block basement wall is wet. It's right at the ground level. On same wall the below grade isn't wet. i think it's b/c not much sun on that side of the house as other. what to do? ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

insulating rim joist

After caulking the four joints that make up a rim joint, can I put the rigid 2" XPS board close to the room (the beginning of the cavity), or does it have to be put right up against the joist. ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

Can rigid foam board have an air space between it and rim joist?

I am insulating my rim joists with 2" rigid foam board. Most of the rim joist is bare, and the foam fits along it nicely. Some sill boxes have some small irregularities (vent pipes, plumbing, etc) ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

What are the considerations for crawlspace encapsulation barriers / humidity control?

I live in a house that's half slab, half crawlspace. The crawl is half basement. Typical crawlspace/basement humidity readings are: 80% RH @ 67°F 85% RH @ 68°F 78% RH @ 67°F Where in the ...
2
votes
2answers
776 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

Is rigid foam on rim board in basement worth doing if walls aren't insulated?

We bought an older home that we use more as an office. The basement is totally uninsulated including the rim joists. Last winter, it got really cold down there to the point that the floors upstairs ...
2
votes
1answer
271 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
423 views

How can I meet the height requirements for a door in a basement with a low ceiling?

To meet code we need a minimum 6'6" clearance through all doors. The ceiling height in most of the basement is 6'8", but the clearance through the exterior door is much less than that. On the inside ...
2
votes
1answer
781 views

Subfloors and stairs

It seems to me that many people put subfloors in their basements (and other floors), but what do they do when it comes to the existing stairs? I'm code says that you can't have more than 3/8" ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

How to tell if carpet is destroyed after a flood?

The other day ago a water line going to an exterior faucet exploded in the wall and flooded my finished basement. The water level was around 1"-2" high and we imagine the water was running for ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What Material for Basement Walls?

I have a basement that's pretty big and has wood paneling all around. My wife and I hate the paneling since it's dark and has grooves spaced throughout it as part of the texture. So naturally we're ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Seal basement floor before tiling

My basement is prone to getting water in it after big rains. I know that we definitely have a leak in the wall on one side of the basement so we're having a contractor come in and demo the whole ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

what impact tools are needed for subfloor in the basement?

I would like to know if there are any impact tools that I need to make the subfloor permanent or stable to avoid sound later. I don't want to use DRIcore for this matter.
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Should I be concerned with my back flow valve pit filling with water?

I have never had foundation or ground water problems in my basement but I did have a sewar problem and as part of a recent replacment of that, I had a back flow valve installed that looks like this: ...