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7 Important Preparations Before Finishing Your Basement


Posted on Monday, January 21, 2019
Categories: Soundproofing  |  Remodeling

Adding livable square footage to your home adds value to both the home and your quality of living. One of the most popular and least expensive methods of increasing your home’s livable square footage is finishing the basement. It costs much less than building a new addition and can be completed by DIY-savvy homeowners in most cases.

But don’t order your pool table and start slapping studs up just yet! Basements are vulnerable to structural stresses and moisture issues. Failing to plan ahead now, will cost you dearly later. There are plenty of technologically-advanced building materials today that can add value over the life of the home and ensure you don’t get soaked later.

Here are seven important steps to repair, include, and plan for before finishing your basement.

Seal Cracks

Carbon Fiber Repair 

Closely inspect the foundation walls and floor for any cracks. If cracks are evident, make sure to tackle those first with a quality carbon fiber crack repair solution. Carbon fiber is stronger than traditional steel methods, and is fairly easy to install. It provides a lasting solution to the problem and can be used in a variety of applications, including repairing cracks in the floors and walls to reinforcing bowed walls. Ensuring structural integrity is essential before tackling other elements. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, hire a professional foundation repair company.

Plan Your Escape

Egress Window 

Make sure that people in the basement have adequate means of escape in case of emergency. If bedrooms are to be included in your basement plans, they must be located on the perimeter and must include a code-approved egress window and window well, or an exterior doorway. If you don’t already have this in place, it’s not a DIY project. Hire a professional egress contractor.

Insulate Pipes Before Covering Them

Foam Pipe Insulation 

While your water pipes are still exposed and easily accessible, slip foam insulation sleeves over hot-water pipes to prevent heat loss and over cold-water ones to prevent condensation from dripping on the inside of the drywall or ceiling.

Properly Ventilate to Prevent Mold and Mildew

A key step to moisture prevention is adequate air circulation, which reduces unhealthy moisture and mildew. Ventilation methods to consider include natural ones (such as opening windows on a regular basis) and mechanical methods using ducts, fans, and vents. Breathable building materials should also be used, including a good subflooring product that promotes positive airflow and keeps the finished floor raised off the concrete.

Backup and Double-up Your Sump Pump

Double up on your sump pump backup! The most common cause of devastating damage to finished basements is flooding. A battery backup for your main pump – in the event of a power outage – is critical. If your house is hooked up to a municipal water supply, invest in a water-powered backup pump that's juiced by pressure in the supply line. Also, keep a second pump available in case the first one fails. An ounce of prevention is never more critical.

Seal and Insulate Foundation Walls

Insulated Basement Walls 

After you have repaired and sealed your foundation, install an approved poly vapor to the foundation walls. Notched foam panels can be fitted together and glued, clipped, or screwed to the foundation wall as one method of insulating. Another common method is to install a standard 2x4 stud wall next to the foundation wall. This method allows for easier, conventional installation of wiring and insulation.

Always use pressure treated lumber any time the wood is in direct contact with concrete. Use of moisture-resistant drywall is recommended to prevent mold growth on the paper coating.

Install Sound Barrier Insulation in Ceiling

Rockwool Safe-n-Sound 

To soundproof your basement ceiling, add sound-deadening insulation batts without a vapor barrier, like Rockwool’s ‘SAFE‘n’SOUND’ fireproof insulation, between the joists. Then fasten one or two layers of drywall to the joist, using resilient clips and metal furring channels (called hat channels, for their shape). This isolates the drywall from the joists, eliminating vibration and thus minimizing sound travel.

[Sources: ProRemodeler, This Old House]

Tagged:home improvement, soundproofing, remodel, finished basement

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