Want to finish my basement...

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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I want to finish an area of my basement that's relatively small. Nothing fancy. Just four walls, a ceiling, and carpet. Is this a royal pain in the ass or something that your average Joe can tackle with a little tenacity?
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
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Have you ever had water problems down there at all? If it's below the ground level, seriously consider having it treated by a professional before you put a lot of hard work into finishing it.

As for the job itself. If you have to put up walls and have cinderblocks, you'll want to put in some studs....like 2X4s...turn them sideways if you can, but keep in mind this will limit you to shallow electrical boxes. It will allow you to add some foam insulation and maybe electrical outlets if you don't have any. Once you get your studs up and secured to the cinderblock, you can start on the sheetrock and drywall. Use drywall screws, then add your joint compound. The only thing you have to do then is sand and paint. Use a good coat of primer and you can save money on the actual paint since it costs more than primer.

You can then buy enough carpet to do the job. Get some adhesive like Liquid Nails and lay the corners and edge of the carpet if you're dealing with a concrete base. After this bonds, continue to roll it out and seal the rest of the carpet. Make sure it's pulled tight with no wrinkles. Once the adhesive sets, you're going to have a tough time moving it....this is why the sealant phase is so important. Water damage can ruin carpet and it's a lot easier to remove carpet that's been there 10 years because the adhesive will break down easier.

Edit: BTW....I would probably hire someone to do the ceiling. That kind of job isn't fun, though you can do it...you'll just need a few people to help you hold up the sheetrock while someone attaches it to the ceiling. Be sure to add any ceiling lights or fans/supports, etc...before you start putting it up.
 

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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Thanks guys... what I'll probably do is frame it myself and let the pros do the rest. No bathroom. This is just a small-ish area for me to use to contain all my hobby sh*t (R/C, slotcars, etc).
 

KB

Diamond Member
Nov 8, 1999
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I think your avaerage Joe can do it. Buy a good framing book and review before starting. Then plan, plan, plan.
Also is the ground completely level? If not you are in for a world of frustration.
 

zixxer

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Jul 6, 2001
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Personally I would frame everything - do plumbing and electrical - and let someone else hang sheetrock and do the ceiling.


I'm in the process of some semi major remodeling - my basement is finished, and im moving the washer/dryer into the garage, tearing down half of the laundry room, and turning that into a kitchen. I've got the plumbing almost done. woopee.. bleh
 

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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How hard is the electrical? There's no plumbing to do, which is nice. The electrical scares me. I'd have no idea what the crap I was doing.
 

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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I know this is a pretty open-ended question, but the area is about 15' x 10'. Knowing that the finishing is only going to consist of a few electrical outlets, drywall, ceiling, and carpeting, what $$$ am I looking at?
 

wyvrn

Lifer
Feb 15, 2000
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For plumbing and electrical, I would hire someone. This will ensure code enforcement and it's not worth dealing with problems if you don't do it right. You may be talking tearing out walls in 6 months.

For the finishing stuff like carpet and walls, you can do it but it does take a fair bit of skills. For instance there is a world of difference between a good and mediocre tape, bed, and texture job. Plus you need the right tools to make it look good. Don't try to install carpet without the stretching tool and a good blade to cut it to size.
 

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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Sounds like I'd basically be able to do the framing and that's about it. No biggie. It's nice to have a hand in the project, but if it's more trouble than it's worth...
 

wyvrn

Lifer
Feb 15, 2000
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Not to discourage you. If you can frame it you can probably do the 'finesse' stuff, but they are different types of skills. Your basement might be a good place to practice if you plan on doing other rooms.
 

QED

Diamond Member
Dec 16, 2005
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I would have the carpet installed by pros myself-- when I bought carpet for the basement of my last house, it was just $50 for them to deliver and install the carpet so it didn't make much sense for me to do it myself.

Have you thought about putting in a raised floor? I'm not a big fan of putting carpet on bare basement floor-- it's way too damp even in the dryest basement.

And the ceiling is something you should be able to do yourself with the help of a friend-- if you're doing a drop ceiling.

Do you have a lot of electrical to do? Are you just adding/changing a few light fixtures to the basement, or are you essentially in need or rewiring the whole basement? It's pretty easy to add a few lights and outlets to an existing circuit if it has enough spare capacity. If you have run a whole new circuit, I would let a pro do it.
 

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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Originally posted by: QED
Have you thought about putting in a raised floor? I'm not a big fan of putting carpet on bare basement floor-- it's way too damp even in the dryest basement.

I'm only going to be living in the home for another 5 or 6 years, so I don't want this to be more of an investment than necessary. My goal is to get about 90% return on this. I just need the living space.

Originally posted by: QED
Do you have a lot of electrical to do? Are you just adding/changing a few light fixtures to the basement, or are you essentially in need or rewiring the whole basement? It's pretty easy to add a few lights and outlets to an existing circuit if it has enough spare capacity. If you have run a whole new circuit, I would let a pro do it.

There's not much electrical to do at all. There's a tap to an unused circuit right above the area. I just want 3 or 4 outlets placed around the area. No permanent ceiling lighting will be installed. There are two existing light fixtures (bare bulbs) that need to be worked around, but that's it.
 

wyvrn

Lifer
Feb 15, 2000
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And you could replace the lightbulbs with the the long flourescent fixtures, they are pretty cheap (~$50 each).
 

Stuxnet

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Jun 16, 2005
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Well, after doing some Intarweb searching, it looks like the cost per square foot ranges between $20 - $30, depending on the size and whether or not there's a bathroom going in. I'm guessing ours will range about $25 per square foot. We don't have a bathroom going in, but it's a relatively small area (< 200 sq. ft.). My guess is that we could get a real good job done for around $5,000.

As you can see, I'm leaning towards a contractor. I have a couple appointments with people this week. This is something I'd like to do myself, but the more I look into it, I just don't think I have the time or patience (I'm the kind of guy that, once something is in his head, wants it done yesterday).
 
Jan 18, 2001
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Originally posted by: jbourne77
How hard is the electrical? There's no plumbing to do, which is nice. The electrical scares me. I'd have no idea what the crap I was doing.

It is not hard to run new circuits assuming you have space on your box. HomeDepot has a book "Wiring 1-2-3" that will step you through it.

 

markgm

Diamond Member
Aug 23, 2001
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I finished mine myself. I started back in March with the framing and now tonight I hope to finish the sanding on the drywall. That's the biggest pain the butt. I used waterproof paint to seal everything just in case (it's a new house) and insulated it with R-13 insulation. I ran wires for my projector and surround sound, ducts for heating, relocated a couple of pipes and the gas line. It was all pretty easy and do-it-yourself. The only part I'll have someone else do is the carpet. The drywall isn't too hard to do if you have a drywall lift, the hardest part was cutting out for the recessed lights, which I wound up installing 12 of. It's about 650 sq. ft. I picked up a set of Porter Cable air tools which made everything go a lot faster.
 

BatmanNate

Lifer
Jul 12, 2000
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You can rent a sheetrock lift that will hold in place the cieling while pieces you secure them. Having a drill with one of those drywall clutches around the bit is handy too. I'd probably get the carpet and the texture done professionally since carpet won't cost much for that area and texture is hard to do correctly.