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Basement Finishing

Here's a video overview from this project.

These customers have two kids and needed the basement finished off for more play/entertainment space. As part of the project, a 2-peice washroom was constructed, as well as a rough in for a future wet bar.

This first picture shows a 'before' shot of one area. The insulating blanket seen on the foundation walls is typical of new homes. The builder is obliged (through the building code) to install at least R-8, two feet below the outside grade. Unfortunately, the way it is installed, most of the 'R' - or Resistance - factor is lost. No worries, as when I do the finishing work, I always build exterior stud walls that allow for a full R-12 of insulation. Along with that, I usually leave the existing insulation on the wall, just removing the vapour barrier form it, to have that little bit extra insulation for a more comfortable living space.

Here, the walls have been framed up, wiring is done and ready for insulation. Note that I installed braces on the back side of the walls where required to keep the insulation from falling backward over time.

As is the case with most production homes, the stairs leading down to the basement seem like more of an after thought than an integral part of the house. That's ok, as I'm always happy to work it into more of a showpiece than the eyesore that builder left behind.

Here's a shot of the typical framing I provide in basements. Starting at the floor, there is a 2" x 4" pressure treated base plate (with plastic vapour barrier on the underside) which is nailed to the floor. Then, a 3-5/8" metal track is screwed to that to accept the metal and wood studs, which are installed a minimum of 16" on centre. The wood studs are installed wherever an electrical outlet or switch is to be installed, as well as around all window and door openings.

In the background, you will notice the insulation and vapour barrier installed to the exterior walls. The insulation is always installed in the correct manner - a good friction fit, being not too tight as to lose it's insulating value, or too loose that it's letting air movement through it. The vapour barrier is then applied with a bead of caulking along the base plate to further deter air movement.

The natural gas fireplace was installed on a 45 degree angle in one corner. The customer thought a small niche above it with a pot light would make a nice touch.

A final note about the framing. No matter whether it's nailed, screwed or glued, I ALWAYS use lots of nails, screws and glue. Do it right and make it tight!

Drywall is all done and primed.

The finished job. The customer on this project didn't want the steel support posts covered up, but painted instead. Black was the colour of choice, as she thought it was in keeping with a more modern look that was used throughout the basement.

A close up view of the fireplace and niche. Smart.

Let's take a close look at one of the windows to see how they are finished off. Most builders install really small basement windows that are tucked way up high, in between the floor joists. They do this for two reasons; they (the windows) are cheap and they (the builders) don't care.

To help make the windows look larger than they really are and to let in as much light as possible, I frame the openings 12" - 16" below the actual window. This way, the bright white trim colour allows the incoming light to reflect inward more and with the 'step in' feature, it's easier for the homeowner to actually reach the windows.

The finished staircase. The sides were opened up at the bottom with the support posts encased and painted to match the trim. A simple railing kit and oak railings finished it off nicely!

Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have!