Author Topic: Finishing a Basement  (Read 1829 times)

StashthatCash

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Finishing a Basement
« on: June 12, 2017, 01:48:39 PM »
First off, not sure if this thread should be here or in the DIY.  If it should be DIY please feel free to move it. 

DW and I purchased our house and it has an unfinished basement I'd like to finish someday.  Where do I even start?  A simple internet search returns a vast majority of ways to go about it but was hoping some of the smart folks here have done it before and have recommendations. 

Cwadda

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Re: Finishing a Basement
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2017, 02:00:49 PM »
Do you plan to completely DIY? Partially DIY? You could always start by asking a few general contractors what it would cost. Then go from there.

For example, I am uncomfortable with doing new plumbing and electrical work (from scratch). I subcontract that work out.

Chris22

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Re: Finishing a Basement
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 02:04:54 PM »
First off, not sure if this thread should be here or in the DIY.  If it should be DIY please feel free to move it. 

DW and I purchased our house and it has an unfinished basement I'd like to finish someday.  Where do I even start?  A simple internet search returns a vast majority of ways to go about it but was hoping some of the smart folks here have done it before and have recommendations.

First, understand what you want.  What is finished?  Drywall, carpet, drop ceiling or drywall?  Add a bath?  Are you making rooms or just putting drywall around the perimeter?  Are you limited by anything hanging down from the ceiling?  Need to move furnace/water heater/etc or just enclose?  Are you going to DIY or hire it out? 
Make a plan and sketch it sorta to scale on graph paper and figure out what you want to do.

Second, need to mitigate any issues; do you get water down there?  Better fix that first.  Are you enclosing things that need to remain open (ceiling electrical boxes, ductwork valves, etc)?  Do you have windows and if so, how do they affect your intended floorplan (i.e., need 2 points of egress for a bedroom, if you're adding a bedroom you need to make sure a window is in it.) 

From there, I suggest mapping out your layout to scale on your floor with masking tape.  Where are your walls going?  Do you have clearance for things like doors and such?  Note that a wall with two finished sides is 4.5" wide before baseboards (3.5" for a 2x4 + 2x 1/2" drywall).  How are you accessing electrical panel and HVAC and other appliances down there (i.e., laundry?)  If your water heater or furnace shits itself, did you put it in a place where you can move it in and out of the house or do you now need to take down a wall?  Are you leaving yourself enough storage space (finished or unfinished?)

Then you need to consider finding a contractor if not DIYing it, and if you are DIYing most of it, consider where you might want a contractor (electrical?  plumbing?  drywall?)  And consider what permits are required, or if you are going to wing it with no permits and what that means for risks and such.  You'll still want to build to code even if you aren't permitting, to avoid headaches of all types later. 

This is the stuff that will get you started.  But there are a lot of big questions in there (DIY or not?  Scope of job?  Plumbing or HVAC or other significant changes?) that will direct everything else. 


Edit fixed width of 2x4 typo
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 03:19:37 PM by Chris22 »

LiveLean

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Re: Finishing a Basement
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 03:16:57 PM »

I'd argue for finishing sooner than later. I know so many folks that have been in their homes 20-plus years and have never finished off their basements mainly because they can't/won't deal with the mini-Hoarders episode they have created. They justify it by throwing an old sofa and carpet down there, putting a TV out and calling it a rec room. Uh, no.

It's a shame, too, since there's probably no better ROI than finishing off a basement. Financial ROI, to say nothing of the value of the extra space.

My parents had a basement finished off when I was 11, just moved into a house. I shadowed the workers for the 6-8 weeks it took. Picked up a lot of useful skills I continue to apply today.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Finishing a Basement
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 03:27:21 PM »
Make sure your sewer line isn't falling apart and your house doesn't flood first :)

big_slacker

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Re: Finishing a Basement
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2017, 04:22:06 PM »
Wasn't there a super amazing basement thread on this forum somewhere? Thread was called million dollar basement or something?

Woodshark

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Re: Finishing a Basement
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2017, 07:22:54 PM »
I would recommend viewing some free videos on youtube by "basement finishing man"

He is a contactor that specializes in it and has a lot of good suggestions, from design to completion. He sells a more indepth access but his free videos are great, especially if you plan on doing the work yourself.


We are in month 8 of finishing our basement. Not a standard drywall and carpet project, we added lam-beams, removed support posts to open up the space (a stuctural engineer was involved) moved walls, tore out the back wall, enlarged window openings and wired for a home theater.

We are working on this off and on as time permits. This month is tileing flooring and building the bar. I'm hoping to be done by Labor day.