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Finishing Basement

Here I go! I have finish my basement. I have a few questoins.Frist framing...When putting the wood down on the concrete do I need some kind of bearer? The basement is very dry. Second...I have a drain in the middle of the floor. What do I do with that? I plan to put carpet down with heavy padding. Lastly.Installation. Suggestions? Again the basement is really dry. I do have a sup-pump with French drain. I plan to keep some space between the walls and drains.


Thank you and wish us luck...we need it!!

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Posted 2011-01-08T11:35:22+0000  by chris18b chris18b


What's going on chris18b?


Aboveaveragejoe here ready to tackle your basement finishing questions!


Let's go step by step into each question you asked regarding making your basement look great....


1.When putting the wood down on the concrete do I need some kind of barrier?


If by that you mean a vapor barrier, then yes. While even though the basement is dry as you say, you really can't tell until its way too late to find mold and mildew creeping up in behind your walls, so prevention at this stage is crucial. The two areas and steps you want to do this in is underneath where the wood frames will meet at the floor, and after the insulation has been put in between the studs. For the walls, I'd recommend installing a continuous vapor barrier; i.e., 4-mil plastic sheeting, over unfaced insulation. You can also use encapsulated insulation, such as those that have foil or kraft-backed insulation. Staple the insulation on top of the frame, not inside to ensure you'll have the best moisture protection possible. As for underneath the wood frames touching the concrete slab, consider 'air framing' between the floor and wall. What exactly is that you ask? To accomplish that, construct the walls from the two-by-fours and hold them out from the foundation 2 inches. The 2-inch space permits wall adjustment if the foundation is not plumb. Even more important, it allows space for any moisture trapped between the foundation and wall to evaporate. For the bottom plate, or frame itself that comes in contact with the concrete, its always best practice to use pressure treated lumber to ensure prevention from any warping, or moisture problems down the road. While 6 mil thick plastic can also be used as well, pressure treated on the bottom plate is really the best option.


2. Second...I have a drain in the middle of the floor. What do I do with that? I plan to put carpet down with heavy padding.


You are in luck on this subject, a while back I did a subject on the matter of floor leveling. Before I get into that link to share, you'll need to find out if you want to still keep the drain for future use. You have lots of options for covering up the drain and still use it further down the road, like using 1/4" backerboard cut to a size over the drain thats slightly larger than it and taping down the joints alongside your floor leveler. If you know you are never going to use the drain again, you can block it in other forms, such as cement, but the backerboard option will be easier and not take as long to do.  The reason to put down floor leveling compound in the first place is to get the floor near the drain as level as the surrounding areas of the floor so as not to cause any failures in the carpet padding itself.  Now as for the floor leveler, heres step by step instructions in the 3rd paragraph of the post  as well as a picture of the product my customers recommend for their own floor leveling projects:

Floor Leveling


With that out of the way, its time for the carpet pad! To ensure a long life underfoot of your new carpet, it all starts with a great pad. To do that, I recommend a pad to go over  your concrete floor with a moisture barrier. All Home Depot's sell special order varieties or in-stock selections of carpet pad. Just make sure you for whatever carpet you get, you get the pad suited for it, for example, a loop style carpet goes with a Berberbond pad. Plus, our higher ended pads carry additional features such as anti-microbial treatments which are great for high traffic areas if pets or spills are going to be an issue. I can't stress enough the value of a vapor barrier for the carpet, since its going down in below grade concrete slab. Here are some pictures of the pad itself with moisture barrier:


premium cushion pad.jpg


As for the installation itself, carpet can be a viable option, insomuch as you know you've never had or will have problems with moisture in the basement at all. The room that has the sump-pump needs to have a moisture barrier similar to what we said in your first question. Installing things such moisture resistant green board instead of regular gypsum drywall as well as little things like installing any electrical devices slightly higher than normal can ensure that if something happens to the basement, you'll be prepared. Also, before I go, consider installing a DRIcore subfloor basement in your home as well. Its available through special ordering it at your local Home Depot. If the basement area is going to be used quite frequently, this product is great for raising a subfloor and making the room warmer by having wood and polyethylene in between the carpet and the concrete, heres their link and video still from this amazing product:

DRIcore info



If I have missed something in your questions or you'd like to ask us follow-ups on any future questions/concerns, please don't hesitate to ask, thats what were here for!




Posted 2011-01-08T18:45:23+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

I have a 17 x 25 basement want to install recess lighting how many lights will i need and whats the spacing

Posted 2011-01-16T22:54:23+0000  by denise6499


I am finishing my basement. There  is a sump-pump that I would like to cover over with carpet.  The sump-pump opening is about 2 ft in diameter.  What is the best way to do this?



Posted 2011-01-17T05:28:28+0000  by iqbal

Hey denise6499,


Welcome to the community!


Great question regarding wanting to install recessed lighting in your basement. I am assuming that the basement's rafters are exposed as well as the walls so you can install the wiring and the lighting easily. If that is the case, given your size, you can add (theoretically, but not practical IMO) up to 18 fixtures  using the rule of Ohm's Law:



(60watt bulbs X 18 fixtures=1080 watts) (1080 watts/120volts = 9amps)


However, I'd go to 15 based on sometimes people put in higher wattage bulbs, and other things that could be loading the circuit, like other lights or receptacles. Above anything, consult a licensed electrician for specific questions regarding placement and codes as they vary in locations and the NEC (National Electricians Code) changes every 3 years, so consulting a professional is key. 


As for spacing and placement, its mainly based on your lighting needs and style choices you want for where you want/need your lighting to be placed. Installing accent recessed can along the edges of the walls creates nice mood lighting and eliminates glare when you are active in the room, such as viewing TV. 


Usually, I space out recessed lighting no less than 18" and 36" on average for even amounts of lighting. You can go farther if you like, but after 6 feet or more, shadows and dark areas of the room can be seen. If its general task lighting you'd like, sketch out a rough 17 x25 drawing of the room and place the lights on the paper where you would like your new lighting to be placed. Space out in even amounts where not just where the lights will be, but also the source of electricity will be coming from as well.

If you are going to use recessed lighting and insulation will come in contact with the new lighting, make sure to use IC (In-Contact with Insulation) rated Air-Tite recessed cans and trims to ensure safety. Here is a picture of one:





In doing proper planning, you can achieve a nice even amount of lighting for your basement.

recessed rough.JPG





Posted 2011-01-17T19:52:40+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hey iqbal,


Thank you for your great question and welcome to the community!


Since you have just a small round 2ft. circle you are dealing with in covering up and would like to cover it up with carpet, you have plenty of options of making the sump pump be out of sight, out of mind.


For the carpet, one of the best options to do is get a hold of a few carpet tiles; ones that have self-adhesive backings to them. Some Home Depots sell theirs in-stock as well as online, but from everywhere I can tell, they are sold in cases only. Which means you'll have quite a bit of extra tiles left, but if anything happens to the pump itself and it wets or damages the tiles, you have extra and/or you can use them as mats or something utility grade around the house.:robothappy:

You can also go to your nearest Home Depot and have a flooring associate to cut you a piece of carpet. We normally don't do precision cuts at the store, but ask your associate your situation and I'm sure they would be more than happy to assist you. Doing it this way though, you'd have to staple (easier) or glue the carpet down to the base of the 2ft. circle. If you have to cut the carpet, a simple utility knife (box cutter) works just fine on all of our in-stock carpets.


Whats the base you ask? 



I would use something like a 1/2"thick board of solid sanded pine plywood thats been primed/painted or preferably pressure treated piece of plywood for the base to set the carpet on. If its not exterior grade or painted, the wood can eventually rot and deteriorate, so even a simple swipe of the paintbrush can go a long way for the base. Cut it to the shape you want, place the carpet on top, and you have a viable and long-lasting sump pump cover!


Again, thank you for your question and please let us know if we can be of further assistance,


Posted 2011-01-17T20:24:32+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hello deinse6499: I would really recommend the recessed lights as a concept for sure!  Laying them out is likely best done by thinking of , or drawing out the room on a 2' X 2' grid for spacing purposes.

     Depending on what will go into the room, wether it will be an open area , or will have area with a specific purpose can modify the grid type layout.   Experience, and training recommend the  first lights go in the 2nd square from the wall. Then skip 2, or if you prefer, 3 squares, and set the next light. And so on and so on across the room.  Allowing less space, and adding more lights means more likelyhod for the lights being able to be dimmed to less than 50 % which will with the Phillips halogen 40=65 reflector flood lamps at Home Depot , that the lamps will last closer to 3 years than 1 year. Halogen lamps are 100 % dimmable, they are very good at not turning colors besides white when dimmed.

   Consider seperating the lighting in to areas or zones so that if you want to do something like watch TV the 2 or 3 lights in that area can be dimmed independently of others. An extra dimmer will only $10.00 or so to the cost of the work, plus the cost of wire for the zone of course.

     I hope you are planning to insulate the space between the basement, and floor above so that what ever heat or cool is directed in to the area stays there. The Halo H7ICT 6" cans will give you your best variety of options, the option that is not the least expensive, but the best in the long run will be the Ecosmart LED and trim combination that uses 10 watts of power while giving 65 watts of light,  for 3 years. Best of all it will save all that money and produce no real amounts of heat to add to your cooling bill !

    Hope this helps, and was not t.m.i.  





Posted 2011-03-10T04:54:19+0000  by elect_answers

Hello chris18b: Rules / codes vary from state and even town to town for sure. I just wanted to " toss out " the idea that using tamper resistant receptacles as a part of your work would be a good idea. They have been included in the changes to the 2008 National Electric Code. The idea is that when any one puts any thing into only the positive or hot side of the receptacle they don't' get power, so they do not get shocked! When someone plugs into both " halves " or sides of the plug the guards or " shutters ' release and the device or appliance gets power and it works. This device eliminates the use of the " kidsafe , or childsafe " plug covers people are used to using.

   Also consider when doing your lighting and power, doing it all in the Decora , rectangular or block style. I replaced all the devices in my house after taking possession to make sure all was safe and well. While getting a More uniform look. I spent less than $200.00 on parts, I had the house appraised later and and got over $600.00 in increased value for the work!  My wife had an easy time buying parts, everything was 10 packs of covers, most of the plugs were from 10 packs, I know it saved money, each 10 pack got 2 free as opposed to single cover purchase !

  Good luck, free to ask associates for help, and guidance. 

Posted 2011-03-11T22:11:33+0000  by elect_answers
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