Andrew P Watson

Web Developer

Finishing a Stone Wall Basement – First Room Done

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 19:25

I’ve had some people email me questions about my basement project. Specifically, how I decided to frame walls over a stone wall foundation. Well the project is not complete yet, but I have at least one room that is 95% finished. I wanted to post a couple pictures and explain what I did.  So far, I’m very pleased with the results. It took a long time, but it was primarily me doing all the work (occasional help from friends) when I could find time.

First off, when I bought the house the basement was a completely open chamber. It had a semi-finished ceiling, but otherwise no walls, outlets or anything. It was cold, dingy, and full of cobwebs. When we looked at the property, I saw through it – and knew I could make something of it.

Stonewall basement before finishing

Pic 1 (Above) – The basement just before we purchased. It’s a blurry picture (cam phone), but I think it gets across the basic feel and layout. The window in the near-center of the room is important, use that as reference.

Framing a stone-wall basement

Pic 2 (Above) – I started framing walls around the exterior of the basement. The walls do not contact the stone wall at all. There is a cavity ranging from 4inches to 8inches all the way around the room. I did this because I’m installing a ventilation system (fan) near one of the windows that can be switched on to move the air and vent the airspace between the stone and insulated wall. It should be noted that I do not get any water in my basement. In three years, I’ve had one minor “seepage” and addressed that issue.  I just want to be able to let the stone wall foundation breath, and change the air out every now and then. The window in this picture is the aforementioned window above.

Finished basement room

Pic 3 (Above) – The nearly finished studio room (230 square feet). The walls and ceiling are insulated with r-13 (with vapor barrier), and both have 5/8 firecode drywall. I did all this because of the sound-insulating properties. I wanted to be able to play music in this room, so I planned ahead. Wiring includes 7 outlets, and  two switched recessed lights. The flooring is a sheet of poly (6mil) with carpet padding and cheap carpet. After all said and done, the floor is soft, the lights are bright, and the room holds heat VERY well.

Good Stuff!

Basement jam room


Looks great Andrew!

Looks great. You will enjoy jamming there. All bought at Home Depot. LOL….. miss seeing you there but I sure do enjoy retirement…..

Hi, I'm planning on doing this exact project at some point in the future. I think your plan to maintain a gap between the foundation wall and your new framed walls with mechanical ventilation was great, but did you also create a built up floor with vapor barrier so your floor does not wick up any moisture? Also, I can't tell if you used pressure treated lumber, did you? From the pictures it looks great! How has this been working for you? Thanks, Mike
andrew's picture

Hi Mike. So far it's been outstanding. I have zero water issues, and air quality is great. The vent fan runs all the time, and I have to assume thats making a huge difference. I didn't use any sub-floor because I don't get any water at all. I did put down 6mil plaster in two layers, then padding, then carpet. I love it!

we are going to be redoing my parents basement which is old rock wall basement I was wondering if you had to fill in the rocks first because of the moisture ?
andrew's picture

The basement had moisture issues in the past, and yes they were all dealt with as best we could. Most of the issues were from problem with the drainage outside. The basement was bone dry for nearly a year before we started the project. Just in case there was moisture, I installed a low-volume fan to ventilate the air cavity between the framed wall and the foundation. We never had water issues.

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