Finishing Our Basement


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Old 04-25-16, 06:03 AM
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Finishing Our Basement

Hello - I am new to the forum and looking for some help and suggestions. I am a do-it-yourselfer with no construction background. I'm going to have experienced family members help me finish my basement. However, I need help with the plans and the do's and don'ts before we begin. I have attached a drawing of my proposed basement plans and could use a few suggestions on if this will work and if there is a better way to do this. The basement is currently unfinished with only the cellar and furnace room immovable. I'm struggling to make everything fit without being too crammed. I want to have a spare bedroom, bar, family room, and pool table. Also a small storage room for misc items (labeled Matt's room). Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 06:32 AM
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Before construction starts you need to understand the moisture issues. All basements have moisture passing through the concrete and once you cover those walls or create individual rooms you alter the current drying which is making everything look dry. At least we hope it looks dry. Any water issues are a major concern.

If you search this forum you will find countless posts about issues related to finishing a basement. It isn't impossible, but done wrong can be a real disaster.

I'll add a link for some reading.
Understanding Basements | Building Science Corporation

Bud
 
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Old 04-25-16, 06:50 AM
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I'll mention a couple of points that are often overlooked:

The window in the bedroom will need to meet the requirements for an egress window. It is not good enough to have the sliding door in the other room, you have to have secondary egress from the bedroom.

The furnace room has to have provision for combustion air (unless it's all electric). If the appliances all currently draw their combustion air from outside it's not a big deal. But if they draw air from inside there are requirements for combustion air vents between the furnace room and other spaces.

As Bud points out, moisture management, along with insulation are big concerns with every basement finish job; it is not a place to take shortcuts as it is very expensive to correct problems after the fact. Fire stopping is another area that requires attention during construction.

If you are on a septic system, adding a bedroom and/or bathroom will probably trigger an evaluation of your septic system to make sure it's adequate, since septic system sizing is usually based on number of bed/bath rooms, not number of occupants (since that can change).

Finally, I don't see a door for Matt's room. That may prove inconvenient (especially for Matt)

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 04-25-16, 06:57 AM
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Thank you all for the input. Currently the exterior walls are framed and insulated by the contractor who built the house. The window size is sufficient for code. It's the same size windows as the other 3 bedrooms in the house. Matt room does need a door. I'm struggling on where to add that and put the door for the spare bedroom to maximize space but not add them in an area that would be inconvenient. I will look over some of the other posts as well. Thanks again.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 07:37 AM
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@mh "Currently the exterior walls are framed and insulated by the contractor who built the house."
I was afraid of that. Unfortunately, that greatly increases the chances it was built wrong rather than right, and despite the cost and inconvenience, NOW is the time to confirm it is right or make it right. Some insurance companies will not pay for mold remediation if it was caused by you. And, mold issues can be far more expensive than the finishing costs.

I'm not trying to be hard nosed, but that space under your house is one of the more challenging places to finish off. Pull your permits and start from the landscaping on the outside and plan for moisture on the inside. Proper moisture management can make this a success.

Bud
 
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Old 04-25-16, 07:48 AM
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Thanks bud. We ran a dehumidifier in the basement for a year in a half. This was recommended by our builder. We ran it until the humidity was around 50 and the dehumidifier stopped running.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 10:02 AM
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It sounds like past tense "We ran it until the humidity was around 50 and the dehumidifier stopped running." Although there is some drying involved with a new home, basements rarely dry out. Even with the tar on the exterior, moisture vapor will flow from below the footings up through the walls, plus the tar approach never works perfectly to begin with. The problem with moisture vapor is it flows from wet to dry so when your soil outside is moist it will always be trying to equalize with the dryer basement. If a vapor barrier or restriction is introduced then the moisture level will slowly increase until it equalizes.

I would recommend you pick up a humidistat and monitor the humidity and temperature down there to determine when the dehumidifier should be used. 50% in the middle of the room may be 60% near a cooler exterior wall.

Bud
 
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Old 04-25-16, 10:51 AM
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Will do. I'm not sure that its too big of an issue as it didn't run for about 6 months when I shut it off. The dehumidifier would run automatically to adjust the humidity to 50%. It was below that for quite some time. I'm not overly concerned with that at this time. Thank you.
 
 

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