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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30
votes
6answers
35k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
28k 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, ...
20
votes
9answers
64k views

I have a basement floor with lots of moisture, can I paint or seal it to make it waterproof?

My basement has a slight dampness issue, where if I leave things on the floor they will get wet. There are no leaks and no standing water, the moisture seems to be wicking up through the concrete. I ...
20
votes
1answer
909 views

What is this bolt in my basement floor?

In my concrete basement floor, there is a rather large bolt and washer. The washer is about 4 inches in diameter, and the bolt has a 1 inch head. What is it? All I can think of is that it's some ...
18
votes
4answers
109k 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

Are cracks in a newly poured concrete basement floor a problem?

I'm having a new home built and found a large crack in the newly poured concrete basement floor and wanted to see if it's something I should be concerned about. The floor was poured sometime in the ...
16
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
599 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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
9k views

What is the recommended home design software? [duplicate]

I am going to be finishing my basement. I would like to design the new basement myself using design software. What is the recommended home design software?
11
votes
3answers
19k views

What is the proper way to run wires along/across basement ceiling joists?

I want to add an electrical outlet in my unfinished basement. It makes sense to run the wire along the ceiling because that's where all the other wires are. What is the proper way to install NM ...
11
votes
1answer
521 views

What are our options for carpeting the basement of a split-level house?

The basement level of our house (1/2 below grade) is currently just vinyl tile on concrete slab. It's cold during the winter, so we would like to carpet it. We do not get water penetration through ...
10
votes
5answers
12k views

Safe way to close gaps around copper pipes?

I have baseboard heaters in my main living space. I can't see for sure without taking the covers off (which I haven't done yet) but it appears 2 copper pips come up from the basement (through the ...
9
votes
4answers
29k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

How can I level my basement floor, which has a 4-inch dip?

I googled today on how to level a basement floor. Most people recommend using SLC (self leveling concrete)... I don't think I can just use that because of the pitch of my floor (and from what I hear, ...
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
3k 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?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I install a new, non load bearing wall in my basement?

I'm looking to finish my basement and simply want to wall off the concrete blocks that make up the wall. I want to insulate it as well so that it becomes a usable family room when I'm done. How do I ...
8
votes
1answer
342 views

Mortar (or something) falling out of basement brick wall

In my basement, there is a powdery, bright white substance between some of the bricks. It looks like it was something applied on top of the mortar joint. I scraped a couple places where it was falling ...
8
votes
1answer
671 views

Can I use Romex in an unfinished basement or attic?

I am asking in reference to articles 382.2 & 382.12 in the 2008 edition of NFPA-70. The following definition appears to me to be describing Romex (NM-type) cabling: **382.2 Definitions** ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

How should I drain water from a basement dehumidifier?

Our basement has had difficulty with water in the past, from intrusions through the side (fixed by gutters) and chimneys (fixed by chimney caps). Most recently, however, water has been collecting on ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

Is insulating an unfinished basement worth it? If so, how should I go about it?

I have an unfinished, well waterproofed basement with cinderblock walls and a concrete floor. All but the top 6 inches / 15 cm or so is underground. Would it be worth insulating the walls down there? ...
7
votes
3answers
612 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
15k 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
2answers
890 views

Should I insulate steam pipes in the basement?

I have a steam-radiator heating system. The furnace is in the (unfinished) basement, and the steam-carrying steel pipes spread out across the basement ceiling before going up into the rest of the ...
7
votes
3answers
998 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

How do I get a cement patch in my basement to dry quickly in humid conditions?

After patching the stone foundation in the basement with with regular drying mortar/cement, how do I get the cement to dry quickly if the basement is damp from humidity?
7
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
408 views

Basement Insulation

I am currently insulating my basement. I left the studs far enough away from the concrete wall so I can put r20 in without it compressing. My main question is there is enough space between the studs ...
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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

How can I prepare uneven concrete basement floor for vinyl planks?

I have roughly 600 sq ft of basement that needs new flooring after some unfortunate flooding this past summer. We had carpet over concrete and are now looking to lay vinyl planks down. There is about ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Solutions for a moist basement?

I live close to the water and there is a high water table around my house. Therefore a lot of water vapor passes through the basement walls. I would like to be able to store stuff in my basement and ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

How should I build a raised subfloor for my basement bathroom?

I've ripped out the bathroom in my basement that was finished by the previous homeowner. I'm now rebuilding, and curious to the most correct way to go about this. The whole basement was finished ...
7
votes
1answer
197 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

There is water in my basement and the outdoor sump pump failed. What am I doing wrong?

My house has water problems with the basement. Here's what the entrance to my basement looks like. When I get a really heavy rain storm, water manages to rise up and start seeping in under the door. ...
6
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
5k 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) ...
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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I insulate a basement wall that has 1x1 framing installed on it?

It is freezing in my basement so I decided to re-insulate my daughter's bedroom. I removed the old paneling walls to find that it wasn't insulated! There was a water barrier and a heat shield. My ...
6
votes
3answers
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
20k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What should I consider when cutting/making window in concrete foundation?

I am thinking about putting in another window for my basement apartment. I would like to know what do I need to consider before trying to find a contractor to do this. I have uploaded a picture of ...
5
votes
9answers
14k 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
655 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
4answers
1k 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
1k 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 ...