Author Topic: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement  (Read 1077 times)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« on: May 18, 2020, 03:36:22 PM »
My wife and I moved into a new house in February. The house is basically move-in ready, but one project I want to tackle is my basement. I live in Ohio and I've always had a somewhat finished basement.  I especially enjoyed mine growing up and want my son to have the same memories.

So here's a few pictures:

   

The space is basically a big rectangle -- about 26 x 32.

In terms of use, I'm looking for a workout area, a seating area, a ping pong table, and a smaller card table.

My digging through the attic and garage indicates that the prior owners already did some work --

-Used patio paint to paint the floor
-Used masonry paint of the cinder blocks
-Started framing in a bathroom

Here is my design plan:

-Paint the ceiling dark gray or black (like this -- https://s3-production.bobvila.com/slides/21386/widened/painted_basement_rafters.jpg?1501001300)
-Paint the cinder walls a light gray (no drywall; they are basically already primed with the masonry paint)
-Paint the steal beam and poles red (Ohio State theme)
-Glue white floorboard to the base of the cinder blocks
-Add a couple floor lights (I think these lights look better in a basement)
-Use area rugs around the various areas
-Add shelves under basement steps and all along that wall

I am wondering if I am missing anything big here in terms of water/light/protecting the actual basement. My house has never had water issues (according to the disclosures), but I am extremely wary of putting drywall, carpet, or other moisture/mold holding materials.

I also think this is pretty mustachian way to fix up this area.  My temporary guess is maybe $750-1,000 to freshen up this space quite a lot and add 900 square feet of living space.

I'm just starting to think about this but I'm very open to suggestions.

terran

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2020, 04:00:08 PM »
Unless you really like the look of that dark grey paint/stain all around the exposed floor framing I'd almost say it would be less work to drywall the ceiling. That's a lot of ins and outs and arounds. Not easy to avoid missing spots and get in to all the tight corners. While tedious it might be more DIY friendly if you don't want to learn how to tape drywall though.

MayDay

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2020, 06:18:38 PM »
Do you have a toddler?

We had a similar unfinished basement and from ages ~2-8 my kids LOVED being able to scooter and bike in the basement in the winter. We drug in some of the outdoor toys (little tikes slide, etc).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2020, 08:44:18 PM »
Unless you really like the look of that dark grey paint/stain all around the exposed floor framing I'd almost say it would be less work to drywall the ceiling. That's a lot of ins and outs and arounds. Not easy to avoid missing spots and get in to all the tight corners. While tedious it might be more DIY friendly if you don't want to learn how to tape drywall though.
If you have an airless sprayer, that'll reduce the workload, but yeah, that's a lot of work, and if you ever need to run new electrical or plumbing (say, for a bathroom, or a few years from now if/when you want a bedroom), the new stuff will stick out like a sore thumb.

I'm not a fan of drywalled basement ceilings, because there's a lot of mechanicals there, and having access is important.  And when a pipe leaks, drywall gets messy.  My vote is for a suspended ceiling instead.  Yeah, it's more expense up front, but probably won't add much to the time

Something to keep in mind--concrete floors and walls make the space tremendously louder.  I just finished finishing our basement, and I was surprised, nay, floored at the difference in sound level when the carpet was installed.  My deafening oilless air compressor was suddenly tolerable.  There's real value in having a hard floor for the kids to ride around on, but some sort of sound deadening makes a big difference.

The darker your finishes, the more light fixtures you'll need.  We put in fairly dark carpet, light walls, and white ceilings, and one 60W-equivalent can light per 50 sq ft has turned out great.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2020, 06:33:01 AM »
Regarding the ceiling, I'm surprised people think other finishes are easier than painting. I can't imagine an easier finish than painting with an air sprayer. I would certainly have to pay someone to do either suspended ceiling or drywall.

Regarding the floor, my wife actually just mentioned she'd prefer carpet as well.  I'm thinking carpeting about two-thirds of the basement. Basically, if you look at the first picture, about 3-4 feet past the steel beam.

Really good point about the sound.  I need to look into a few things to soften things up down there.

Also totally agree about light.  There's actually a decent amount of light with two south-facing windows down there.

Greystache

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2020, 07:35:19 AM »
Another option for the ceiling. My father covered his ceiling with dark colored fabric held up with wooden stretchers screwed to the ceiling joist (kinda like a screened-in porch only horizontal). It provided a neat finished look and provided easy access to the pipes, wires, and vents and was cheaper and easier to install than suspended ceiling tiles.

Cranky

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2020, 07:48:02 AM »
My basement has like... indoor/outdoor carpet with no padding under it. It has held up incredibly well, including the year that we had a sewer backup and they just cleaned it and put down some enzyme stuff. It was fine for the kids riding trikes on.

The whole space was a playroom when the kids were little, and it was pretty awesome (especially in Ohio.) It's now a combination exercise room/sewing room, and it's still a ton of very usable space.

We did have better lights put in at some point, and it made it bright and cheerful.

martyconlonontherun

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2020, 07:59:30 AM »
Regarding the ceiling, I'm surprised people think other finishes are easier than painting. I can't imagine an easier finish than painting with an air sprayer. I would certainly have to pay someone to do either suspended ceiling or drywall.

Regarding the floor, my wife actually just mentioned she'd prefer carpet as well.  I'm thinking carpeting about two-thirds of the basement. Basically, if you look at the first picture, about 3-4 feet past the steel beam.

Really good point about the sound.  I need to look into a few things to soften things up down there.

Also totally agree about light.  There's actually a decent amount of light with two south-facing windows down there.

I agree on the ceiling. I did drywall because I thought it would look more finished, but now I want to run HDMI cord, speaker wires, etc and don't have access. Luckily nothing major has gone wrong but could see it getting messy if a pipe bursts or something.


As for flooring, I like flat flooring you can clean and see. There are plenty of spiders and bugs in my basement and I would get too creeped out if I thought they were in the carpeting. I actually went with a cheap bamboo hard-wood and I think it looks good but not sure I would recommend it. Just wish i spent the time to add some leveling concrete and extra underlayment. Need to run the dehumidifier constantly to make sure it doesn't expand too much

JLee

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2020, 08:20:10 AM »
IMO drywall helps the walls look properly finished - if you don't want it to feel like a basement, that would be worth considering.  I bought a house with a finished basement last year (previous owner had drywall / wainscoting on the walls, drop ceiling, and tile floor) and didn't like it, so we refinished the walls (stripped wainscoting, mud/sand forever until good enough, paint) and installed laminate flooring. It made a huge difference and it doesn't have that 'basement feel' anymore.

Sibley

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2020, 08:51:44 AM »
A drop ceiling can be a DIY project, though I completely understand if someone doesn't want to. It's a PITA. I had to adjust a grid and replace the tiles, and that was not something I'm looking forward to repeating. Wear eye protection and gloves when you're working with the tiles.

I would not permanently install carpet in a basement. Even if you think it's dry. Just laying down a piece of carpet, sure, because you can pull it up as needed. But you should plan that the basement will get wet at some point. It's the lowest part of the house and if there's any path, water will get in. Same concept, I would make sure I had access to all the mechanicals, plumbing, electric, etc.

If you choose to paint the ceiling - a dark color wouldn't be my choice but that's a matter of style, so you do you. Do consider the lighting impacts of a dark ceiling. A sprayer that would make it easier to paint, but my understanding is you still need to roll or brush what you've sprayed. And depending on the material you'd be painting, it may soak up a lot of paint. A coat of sealing primer might be desirable. You usually can have primers tinted to help with later coverage as well.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2020, 10:40:34 AM »
Really good points, especially about the lighting.

I've totally re-imagined this now and you guys have convinced me to do a much lighter gray on the ceiling, and brighten that up even further with floor lights.

Also, @Cranky, I'm in Ohio as well, and a lot of friends had the same floor "finish" as you -- separate area rugs/carpet scraps. It helps separate areas. That's what I'm leaning towards, especially because it will be easier to keep clean.

Fishindude

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2020, 12:01:47 PM »
I think it is a smart plan to simply paint the exposed ceiling framing, underside of decking, ductwork, etc. -vs- concealing it behind a suspended ceiling or drywall.   It's nice to have access to all of the mechanicals, plus suspended ceilings just look "cheap" in a residence.

Get a couple carpet remnants at you local flooring stores if you want a few areas with a soft floor, plus it will quiet things down a bit.

Great plan overall.   I like using an basically unfinished basement like this.

JLee

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2020, 12:19:15 PM »
I think it is a smart plan to simply paint the exposed ceiling framing, underside of decking, ductwork, etc. -vs- concealing it behind a suspended ceiling or drywall.   It's nice to have access to all of the mechanicals, plus suspended ceilings just look "cheap" in a residence.

Get a couple carpet remnants at you local flooring stores if you want a few areas with a soft floor, plus it will quiet things down a bit.

Great plan overall.   I like using an basically unfinished basement like this.

The other thing about suspended ceilings -- they cost you ceiling height, which in my basement is a problem. I'd have several inches more clearance without it, and as it is it's installed so tightly to the ceiling that removing tiles is nearly impossible.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2020, 07:11:13 AM »
So I had the painter over to estimate painting the ceiling. Estimated labor was $600.  That's way, way over what I thought. I am probably going to DIY that.

Hoping to get this done in the next 1-2 weeks.

affordablehousing

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2020, 11:25:56 AM »
So jealous of the cheap costs there.

MayDay

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2020, 05:29:29 AM »
So jealous of the cheap costs there.

Yah I was thinking this was a smoking deal!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2020, 07:14:44 AM »
So jealous of the cheap costs there.

Yah I was thinking this was a smoking deal!

Based on Your Money or Your Life, and my own napkin math, I value my own eight hours to be worth about $400.  The thinking goes that if I "make" $400/day, that's about $125k for the year.

Painting the ceiling is a one day job, so paying $600 for the labor alone is past my own time value of money. So I'm just going to do it myself.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2020, 07:23:07 AM »
You're not just paying for the labor, you're also paying for the tools.  Do you have an airless sprayer you can use or rent?

Sibley

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2020, 10:52:49 AM »
You're not just paying for the labor, you're also paying for the tools.  Do you have an airless sprayer you can use or rent?

^ This. I've looked into sprayers, and the cheap ones all seem to have crap reviews. The good ones are expensive.

martyconlonontherun

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2020, 11:33:18 AM »
You're not just paying for the labor, you're also paying for the tools.  Do you have an airless sprayer you can use or rent?
This along with balancing learning and waste. Some DIY I have been proud of and think of it as a learning experience. Other times, I wish I wouldn't paid the extra to have it professionally done.  I think tiling could be something that DIY could go wrong. You spend all this time and money on materials and there could be very visible flaws. You saved on labor, but it looks like crap.

Probably depends on if a few factors: 1. Are you learning a new skill? Will you ever use the sprayer again whether on a different portion of the house or a friends house? 2. Is the basement just for you or are you planning on making it a hangout for guests?

-$600 seems low for anything that needs an in-house estimate, honestly. He/she probably spent an hour driving over, checking it out, and providing a quote. I would assume the company would need to charge at least $400 to break even after the initial quote process, factoring paint/consumable supplies and sending another person to do it.

partgypsy

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2020, 11:53:20 AM »
If you are painting all the surfaces of the ceiling (the pipes, beams etc. That is a pita and will take longer than you think. And yes I would go lighter.

I also like the idea having fabric hiding the ceiling, or a dropped ceiling which is what my family did. For a number of years the basement was kept basic (concrete floor, open) and us kids loved it (my sister and I would roller skate downstairs). At some point some rooms were made with low pile carpet. Yes to the ping pong table.





ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2020, 12:08:49 PM »
I'm relatively surprised people on here are against DIY. Not the forum I would expect that kind of rebuttal.

I cannot imagine this being that difficult. Pain in the ass yes, but not difficult. Keep in mind I am painting the walls afterward so I am not at all worried about being accurate. I figure it is one night of prep, then a one day job (each coat taking 3-4 hours).

I can rent an industrial air sprayer from Home Depot for $91 per day. I've watched videos of this thing and it's an absolute animal. Huge hose, goes straight into a five gallon bucket, etc.  Again, I can't imagine this taking too long.

I already have my paint quoted by my paint guy and that's $120. Other supplies I will call $50.

So I can DIY this for about $275 or pay a painter $775. 

I'll let all of you know how it goes.

And thanks again @partgypsy for reaffirming light ceiling -- I was having second thoughts but now I'm all in.

partgypsy

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2020, 03:54:52 PM »
If you are going to rent a paint sprayer, that is one thing. I thought u weren't. Spray painting won't be nearly as bad. But you don't want a black ceiling I would think.

Sibley

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2020, 06:59:11 PM »
Ok, renting that isn't bad. But I would double or triple your prep time estimate. If it takes less time, great! But I've never had a paint job take less prep time than I thought.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2020, 07:31:20 AM »
My brother came over to help scope everything out. We came up with the idea to add drywall in select spots.

We decided to drywall a partition "L" wall around the HVAC (with plenty of space for a contractor to get down there). This saves the eyesore of that HVAC, blocks the noise from over there, and will also provide more storage room, which my wife wants.

Also, since we are doing that drywall, I think it will look cool to drywall the long wall when you come down the steps.

So basically half the walls finished, half unfinished. I think it will look sharp.

JLee

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2020, 02:59:21 PM »
My brother came over to help scope everything out. We came up with the idea to add drywall in select spots.

We decided to drywall a partition "L" wall around the HVAC (with plenty of space for a contractor to get down there). This saves the eyesore of that HVAC, blocks the noise from over there, and will also provide more storage room, which my wife wants.

Also, since we are doing that drywall, I think it will look cool to drywall the long wall when you come down the steps.

So basically half the walls finished, half unfinished. I think it will look sharp.

If you want to block the noise, consider soundproof drywall - it may be worth the extra money.

terran

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2020, 03:03:03 PM »
My brother came over to help scope everything out. We came up with the idea to add drywall in select spots.

We decided to drywall a partition "L" wall around the HVAC (with plenty of space for a contractor to get down there). This saves the eyesore of that HVAC, blocks the noise from over there, and will also provide more storage room, which my wife wants.

Also, since we are doing that drywall, I think it will look cool to drywall the long wall when you come down the steps.

So basically half the walls finished, half unfinished. I think it will look sharp.

If you want to block the noise, consider soundproof drywall - it may be worth the extra money.

Insulating the room would also help.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Help Me Finish My Unfinished Basement
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2020, 04:19:00 PM »

If you want to block the noise, consider soundproof drywall - it may be worth the extra money.

Insulating the room would also help.
Agreed.  It doesn't even need to be the expensive mineral wool (like Roxsul (sp?)) to have a sound-deadening effect, although rock wool is more effective.  I put fiberglass batts in the walls of the bedroom I built in the basement, and it's quite effective.