During the past month of April, a good friend has been working on their basement renovation in a small one family home in Newark, NJ. They chose to use a handyman for the project and allowed him to provide a layout sketch for the spaces to be created. The scope included an enclosure around the existing washer/dryer, a walk-in closet for storage, and two large rooms for use by the children and their friends.
In this article we are going to pick up where we left off in our first discussion of the basement renovation. The topics will be framing, insulation, drywall construction, water sealing and penetrations, painting, and finishes.
The existing basement had wood paneling on the walls with no insulation. Without a doubt the space was not comfortable even though the existing hvac system provided ducts and registers that supplied heat to these spaces in the winter. So the first order of business was to remove the paneling and install new drywall construction ( stud framing and gypsum board panels, taped,spackled and sanded joints ) with proper insulation behind it. The framing of choice by the handyman was metal framing. Traditionally 2×4’s were the framing of choice, but today metal framing is available for this purpose. It is very quick to rough out, cmpetitive in price with wood,durable against water and condensation, and will not add to the combustible materials if there is a fire. It is highly recommended. The use of a R-13 fiberglass insulation – 31/2″ thick – with a vapor barrier was selected to be used between the framing. On top of this the handyman installed 1/2″ thick firecode gypsum board panels which were taped and spackled. The handyman recommended the client also install a caulking sealant at the tops and bottom of the tracks between the floor and ceiling to prevent drafts.
Before the framing was installed the basement walls were inspected to make sure there was no sign of cracked foundation walls allowing water to penetrate into the home. If cracks are found in your basement use a good sealer to fill the cracks solid before installing your new insulated drywall construction. Some homes may require the installation of a french drain and sump pit with pump. Make an intelligent decision with your builder or handyman.
Ok, now that the walls are up, the electrical and plumbing work completed, the basement work was ready for finishes which included painting of walls,doors, woodwork and floor finishes. In your basements it is recommended to use a ceramic or porcelain tile – 12 x12 or 18 x 18 or larger – as a finished floor. The purpose of this is due to the possibility of water flooding caused by water pipe damage – from heating system or water supply – and leaking water onto the floor. Carpet and vinyl tiles are not recommended.
When it comes to painting it is important to use a best quality paint that will hold up to water leaks, flooding, and damp spaces. Drywall construction can be damaged heavily from excessive water soaking. Woodwork on doors and bases are also sensitive to water soaking. A best quality paint should be used in these areas. Prime your walls and woodwork before applying the finished colors. Painting is always something homwowners can do when they are trying to save money on their home renovations. Take the challenge.
Last but not least let’s talk about lighting which is also important in this space. Many people have chosen high hats or recessed lighting which is very effective. It provides good illumination and fits well in the cavity between above floor framing joists in order to maximize the head room in your basement. Use a 6″ round fixture with an energy saver lamp ( light bulb).
This space when completed will add comfort and joy to the owners of this home, their friends, and family members. The over-all cost will depend on the basement size, but the energy efficiency benefit to your home will pay for itself over time.