With more people than ever opting to stay in their homes instead of moving, they are looking to their unfinished basements to expand their living space. By framing a room in your basement, you can use your basic building skills and turn a utility area into a fully functional room.
Assess the Scope of the Project Adding a room to your basement is a good sized project, and it will pay off in the long run by increasing the amount of usable square footage in your home for your family to enjoy. There are many things to consider as you are planning your basement remodel, some of which are specific to the basement. For example, framing around wiring, ductwork and water pipes can be a challenge, because you need to retain access to valves and traps for maintenance.
Planning the Project In some areas when you do a basement remodel, you will need to apply for a building permit and have your work inspected as it progresses to make sure that local safety codes are being properly met. Before starting your project, you should look into permit requirements and realistically assess your carpentry skills. This is a good point in time to determine whether you will do the whole project yourself or if you will hand some of it to a professional contractor.
Starting the Project When you frame your basement, you must make sure that no moisture is getting through the walls. Then you can begin installing your insulation by gluing foam insulation to the walls of the foundation. Make sure to maneuver the insulation around any ducts or pipes, and make sure that all gaps are filled and sealed. Use caulk to seal the seams for an airtight fit.
Make sure that the foam insulation does not touch the studs, allowing about a one half inch clearance all around. Studs will be installed every sixteen inches if your wall is shorter than eight feet. If they are longer than eight feet, then subtract ¾ inch from each stud location. Making this adjustment will keep the drywall centered on the studs, so that you can properly nail it into place. Use pressure treated wood wherever you have wood coming into direct contact with concrete. Work around all of the ductwork, plumbing and electrical wiring as you are framing out rooms and walls.
Interior Walls Once you have the perimeter walls in place, you can erect your interior walls, and you will follow very much the same steps as you followed installing your outer walls. As you are building your framework for the partition walls, remember that your wall height may not be uniform from one end of the wall to the other, so take careful measurements as you are constructing the frames. If you are adding a doorway to your new basement room, make sure to allow 2.5 inches all around the door to allow for molding. If your ceilings are already low, then you may want to install doors that are shorter than a regular door. Also make sure that you are very aware of where your clean out traps, plumbing and wiring are located so that you can ensure that you have easy access for future maintenance.
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