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Basement question #5192687 08/21/19 07:44 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Looking at putting wife's sewing room in the basement (it's where she wants it). Instead of nailing studs to the walls and insulating and whatnot, I'm looking at putting in the middle of the basement and just doing a free-standing room. Framed with 2x3's as it's not load bearing. Make it avoid any utilities, like cleanouts for the drains. Good pathway around it, so the concrete walls are fully exposed. And plenty of other space left for storage. It's a new house to us, but it's been in place for twenty years, so it's clear to see it's a dry basement. I don't know how warm it stays in winter but that was part of the thought: instead of heating a large area I could do a small room with a space heater. Wouldn't need to insulate a small room if it only has to go from 55F to 65F nor require "lots" of power to do so. And if insulation is needed, it could easily be added (I was going to only finish one side of the wall, leave the studs and electric exposed).

I do have the dehumidifier running at a good clip to control moisture now; I've left it at "comfort" which I think is around 50% and it's removing a gallon per day or so (but who knows if it'll taper off). That's the other thought: instead of having to put down vapor barrier against the wall and worrying about future issues, just skip it all. Let the basement breath, and make a smaller structure. Cheaper too. [I'm guessing I need something under any flooring but I haven't gotten that far on this plan.]

Am I nuts in thinking this? Most people go and fully finish if they do anything, but I'm always worried about the cost and then future mold problems.

My basement is something like 28' x 60' with a nice high ceiling in most of it.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192692 08/21/19 07:48 AM
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KGMtech Offline
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I would consider the impact on re-sale value if you do something that only appeals to you.


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Re: Basement question [Re: KGMtech] #5192697 08/21/19 07:58 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by KGMtech
I would consider the impact on re-sale value if you do something that only appeals to you.

True. If it had an impact though, whatever I build will be built so that a few minutes with a sawzall would fix. It's not going to be some $10k "make it pretty" project.

We plan to be there for decades, potentially (looks like something we could stay in well into retirement, so 3-4 decades). So putting something up, getting 10 or 20 years out of, then ripping out if we went to sell and the realtor thought it was not nice, would not bother me. I would "have gotten my money's worth" out of it by then.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192702 08/21/19 08:07 AM
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It's not a bad idea.

After owning a home with a basement for a number of years, you will at some point have water entry.

You can paint the concrete walls with Drylok, and that helps with the humidity too.

Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192708 08/21/19 08:18 AM
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atikovi Online Content
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Is it going to be a she-she'er she-shed?

Re: Basement question [Re: atikovi] #5192712 08/21/19 08:23 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by atikovi
Is it going to be a she-she'er she-shed?

Not really. My wife likes sewing and does a bit of costume work on the side for a performing arts studio. She wants to be able to have a couple of sewing machines out at a time, easier than swapping thread. The living room upstairs is the area to relax and escape the world, the basement will be the work area.

Although yesterday she pointed out that we could just as easily put a room next to it for my amateur radio stuff too. I haven't been active for a while but it might be nice to have my own walled off electronics area, apart from any wood working hobbies that are kept on the outside. [I had been thinking of making a room just for wood working, but am starting to think I just don't want to deal with the dust.]


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192713 08/21/19 08:24 AM
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Alfred_B Offline
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Make sure to test for radon.

Re: Basement question [Re: drtyler] #5192714 08/21/19 08:25 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by drtyler
It's not a bad idea.

After owning a home with a basement for a number of years, you will at some point have water entry.

You can paint the concrete walls with Drylok, and that helps with the humidity too.

I'm not sure if I can seal the concrete, there's a radon system going; I think that pulls a vacuum under the slab and I haven't a clue what making changes to the basement would entail to that system. Sealing would be nice to cut down on the moisture though; I'll have to look into that and its ramifications.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Basement question [Re: Alfred_B] #5192716 08/21/19 08:26 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Alfred_B
Make sure to test for radon.

It was slightly elevated so the previous owner put in a system. I'll retest at some point in the near future.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192723 08/21/19 08:30 AM
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wag123 Offline
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Originally Posted by supton
Originally Posted by drtyler
It's not a bad idea.

After owning a home with a basement for a number of years, you will at some point have water entry.

You can paint the concrete walls with Drylok, and that helps with the humidity too.

I'm not sure if I can seal the concrete, there's a radon system going; I think that pulls a vacuum under the slab and I haven't a clue what making changes to the basement would entail to that system. Sealing would be nice to cut down on the moisture though; I'll have to look into that and its ramifications.

Sealing the concrete will help with the radon infiltration as well as the humidity. It will also help the radon system by allowing it to pull a vacuum easier.

Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192725 08/21/19 08:31 AM
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ARCOgraphite Offline
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I have a couple of light framed rooms in the basement for the teens 20 years ago.

I want to rip them out. It's pretty gross and dungeony down there though fully carpeted and drywalled and wood trimed out.

Note that you can make an obtusel-angled boxed reveal below the basement windows inside to effectively
triple the light and apparent size of the small flip out windows. Think Middle Age castle loopholes or balistarium. but Indoors

This an Old trick i earned from an ingenious architect


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Re: Basement question [Re: ARCOgraphite] #5192735 08/21/19 08:48 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ARCOgraphite
I have a couple of light framed rooms in the basement for the teens 20 years ago.

I want to rip them out. It's pretty gross and dungeony down there though fully carpeted and drywalled and wood trimed out.

Note that you can make an obtusel-angled boxed reveal below the basement windows inside to effectively
triple the light and apparent size of the small flip out windows. Think Middle Age castle loopholes or balistarium. but Indoors

This an Old trick i earned from an ingenious architect

I was thinking of those newer LED shop lights. Lots of light.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 189k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 211k, his
Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192753 08/21/19 09:07 AM
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When I built storage/laundry rooms in our basement I just put up three walls with the fourth being the outside concrete wall. No worry's about mold or water as you have complete access to the outside wall. A good coat of paint on the concrete and it is fine for an unfinished work or storage room. You would only need to build two walls if your room is in one corner of the basement. Try to include an outside window in the room.

Last edited by bradepb; 08/21/19 09:08 AM.



Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192826 08/21/19 10:48 AM
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JC1 Offline
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Is there forced air ducts that provide heat/AC to the basement or are the ducts only available to the main floor and higher floors? How are the basement walls constructed? Cement blocks or poured foundation walls with forms? Is there insulation on the existing walls or just plain concrete? I know building codes between US and Canada may be different.

My basement has forced air ducts to the basement. Old building code had a pink insulation blanked of the top 4 feet of the wall with a vapor barrier attached. This is fastened to the wall via a bottom strap that is ram set into the concrete

When I finished the basement, first thing I did was remove that plastic vapor barrier and pink insulation off. Then I put 2 inch thick rigid foam insulation boards around the entire basement. I know it was expensive, but I'm saving in heating and AC bills by doing this. Furthermore, the basement is warmer in winter and less damp and humid in the summer. If I run the dehumidifier it picks up hardly any excess moisture.

The last thing you want is moisture in the basement getting into regular drywall in the basement. This will lead to possible mold problems which can lead to major health problems later on.

I know everyone wants to do stuff on the cheap, but this is your house. If you are going to live there for a long time, this will pay for itself. I looked around my local Kijiji and got plenty of free drywall from people that had ordered too much and didn't have a truck to return excess purchases. It was cheaper and easier for them to give it away for free.

As for the flooring, I used a product called Dricore the subfloor. Keeps the cold off the basement floor. Also insulated the walls with Roxul mineral wool insulation.

Do you need to also run electrical outlets and switches to this area? If this area is not comfortable, then your wife will not want to use this area for a long period of time IMO.


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Re: Basement question [Re: supton] #5192835 08/21/19 10:58 AM
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Particularly because there's been a problem with radon in the past, you'll have to think carefully about how to ventilate any sort of basement development. You don't want to accidentally create an area of increased radon.

If you make any room in that basement that people will live in or work in, I'd suggest you check it for radon levels.


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