ideas for finishing basement

Joe89September 6, 2012

I am planning to create some finished space in my walk-out basement and am looking for some ideas and suggestions.

It is a walkout basement. I plan to leave the "back" side (away from the walkout section) unfinished and create two rooms on the "walkout" side. I have sliding doors and large windows on that side.

For flooring, I am leaning towards Tyroc subfloor. While moisture is not an issue, I like the idea of some moisture protection. It also provides some insulation and a "softer" base than the bare concrete. On top of that I am looking at a laminate floor.

Ceiling height is about 12 ft (unfinished). I am thinking of finishing to a 9 ft height and leaving the area above that open. This is one of the things which has me wondering how to proceed.

I was thinking of extruded poly sheets (XPS) on the concrete and framing inside of that. Do I need to XPS the entire height of the wall? Just to the top of the areas which will be framed? Or simply above grade (which will be different heights along the walls)?

For wall framing, I am deciding between metal and wood studs. I am used to wood, but see that metal offers some advantages. Any pros/cons on these two choices?

If I go wood, are there any altermnatives for the toe plate? I really dislike the idea of wood on a basement floor. While water isn't an issue now, there is always the possibility of a washing machine malfunction or other catastrophe.

How to best secure the framing? The toe plate can be secured through the subfloor to the foundation. Since I am not going the full 12ft+ to the joists, what is the best way to secure the top of the framing? I am thinking it can be anchored to 2x3 or 2x4 "furring strips" secured to the foundation wall. If so, should those strips be placed over the XPS?

Finally, I am wondering how to best insulate. I know fiberglass batting is "standard" for such projects, but would prefer an alternative. This home is in the country and mice are an issue. They seem to love the batting as a nesting place and I am trying to find an option that might not be so friendly to these critters.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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There are lots of acceptable ways create thermally efficient, moisture resistant subfloors and walls.


* Where Mickey is a problem, XPS (extruded polystyrene) or EPS (expanded polystyrene) are good choices for the wall insulation. Expanded is cheaper but you need more of it, reducing living area.

* Steel framing is neater to work with than wood and provides warp free walls.

* Put one-inch strips of XPS under the baseplate to protect the wood in case of minor water intrusion. It's also a good idea under steel; I've torn apart old renos where the steel plates were practically non-existent due to rust.

* Any wood on the wall should be to the interior of the foam board insulation.

Extruded polystyrene board used to insulate basement walls.

* Foam board insulation works equally well above and below grade. Boards or spray foam should also be used on the rim joists instead of fibrous insulation.

* Be sure to tape and/or caulk all insulation joints. The goal is to keep warm basement air off the cold concrete wall where it will condense into water.

John Straube of Building Science Corp. relayed to me a technique to keep the boards tight to the wall: use cedar shims between the framing and the boards where they're not tight to the foundation wall.

Foaming rim joists

Thanks for the info on Tyroc. I had never heard of it. It looks like it works the same asDelta FL or Dri-Core (or their competitors) providing a pressure equalization area under the flooring that allows moisture to evaporate away slowly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Inhsulation Systems

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 4:43PM
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