New basement

gila_dogApril 19, 2007

We are currently designing a new house and I would like for it to have a basement and a wood floor. We've never had a basement or a wood floor. Always slab on grade. Here are some questions I have. Knowledge and guidance would be appreciated.

Walls material. Concrete filled block, or poured concrete? Concrete is expensive here, labor isn't. These walls will also be load supporting footings for the main part of the house, above.

Wall sealing. What's the best way to seal the walls? This area is dry 98% of the time, and absolutely soaked 2% of the time.

Wall insulation. What's the best way to insulate the walls? I want to avoid anything that pollutes the air we breath with formaledhyde and other evil things. I would like to add wiring and then sheetrock the walls.

Any warnings, must do good ideas, or other info would be helpful too. Thanks.

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You cannot put real wood floors in a basement. Most laminate wood floors can be used there.

I would do poured concrete. You want a water proofer, not a damp proofer, applied to the outside of the walls. It is sort of like sprayed on rubber.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 5:32PM
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I used a wood basement because I have a friend that is excellent at building them. If I hadn't gone with it, a Superior Wall basement is what I would go with. For the basement floor, some folks use rigid foam beneath the slab or have closed-cell foam sprayed before the cement is poured. Even then, I don't know that you can put a wood floor down.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 9:49PM
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There are ways to put wood floors down on concrete, but you must first build up a sublfoor. You can put plywood on sleepers (something like 2x4 laid flat). There are also a couple of premade products that have a dimpled plastic base with plywood on top(Dricore is one). You then put the wood floor over the plywood. An engineered wood floor may work better (as opposed to solid wood).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:45AM
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We toured a home with a walkout basement and a oak floor in it. It was lovely, but my husband said he'd get an insurance rider on the basement (which by the way only covers $10,000 here max, and that wouldn't buy a new wood basement floor if it flooded).

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 12:25PM
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I have a radon pump system in my basement that I inadvertantly disrupted when I pulled up the insulation surrounding the perimeter gap (which serves the purpose of a channel to mitigate flooding) around my basement. Since then I've tested high for radon (17). Since then, my contractor has put up 2 walls (studs and drywall) limiting my access to reseal the gap along 2 walls. I have a few questions:
1) what is the best way to seal the 1" perimeter gap between the wall and slab--will pipe insulation and caulk suffice? or is that too porous? I've heard simple sand may do the trick, but that sounds too porous as well...any opinions on using foam sealant--although I don't want to completely fill the gap--so that water can still be channeled.
2) any recommendations for the 2 walls that I don't have access to? or any recommended systems if my existing pump is no longer useful?

Thanks in advance for any advice

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 12:49PM
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If you're working with an architect, make sure he knows of your plans to eventually finish the basement. Consider the placement of mechanicals. It might cost a little more now in terms of pipe and ductwork but it's better than having to work around them later. If you're going to put in a bathroom, do the rough plumbing as part of the new construction. Make sure the electrical panel is sufficiently sized to accommodate additional circuits/load. A deeper basement is better, especially if you'll eventually use some kind of sleeper system for the floors but the deeper you go the more likely you run into water problems. If you can, talk to neighbors to see if they've been having any problems.

I'd also suggest waiting a full year before finishing the basement. That way you go through all four seasons and it should give you a good indication if you will have any problems. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) to fix, say, a leak before the walls go up.

Enjoy your new home!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 7:58AM
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