Nearly two years ago I wrote a post about “my attempt to finish a stone wall basement“. It was shortly after I purchased my first home and was overwhelmed with the desire to start some projects. Well, it didn’t really even get started until about two and half months ago, but the project is now underway. With our first child quickly approaching, I figured it was time to dive in and start the home-improvement basement project while I still had some free time.
It’s the biggest home project I’ve ever attempted, so I wanted to be sure and plan everything as well as I could. I’m not new to construction, but I didn’t want to half-ass it.
My basement is dry, but has a stone wall. That presented a number of unique challenges, and I was not sure of the best approach. I drew up some plans and talked to the local building inspector. He told all about the code requirements and limitations for the “proper” usage of the space. The ceiling was already finished, but is too low to actually declare the space additional “living space”. Instead, it’s going to be used as “storage space”. Granted, I want carpet, drywall, crown molding and an electric fireplace in my “storage” room – maybe I want my stuff to be comfortable. ;)
One of my biggest concerns was the ability for the foundation to breath. I’m going to vapor barrier and drywall, so it’s not going to be very easy to get access to the stone if there is ever an issue or moisture problem. My solution was to build the walls about 3-6 inches from the stone. This allows for a cavity of air between the wall and the foundation. I’m then going to put a ventilation fan at one end of the basement to pull the air from that cavity and vent it outside. This way, I can occasionally turn a switch and change the air. Got stale air? Not me.
The walls are all up, and the framing came out great. 2×4 studs, hung 16 on center. Top plates attached directly to the floor joists on the ceiling, and the bottom plate is nailed to the cement floor. Most of the project is plum, level, and square. There is some areas that are not as good as others, but overall this is coming out great. It used to be one big 1300 square foot room, now it’s broken up into three separate rooms. I can really visualize how it’s going to look now. I’m pumped!
I have some quotes for the electrical work, and I hope to pull that permit and have that done soon. I was going to do it myself, but I’m not insured and I’ve heard horror stories about homeowners doing a little “too much”. I feel confident I could, but it needs to be up to code. I’m doing everything legit, so it needs to be inspected and signed off on.
Here are some pics of the basement before any work (bad quality):
And here are some of the current progress (end of framing)