Starting Basement Project - Level? Waterproof?

iristyleSeptember 25, 2007

All -

I'm about to start finishing my 800 square foot condo basement. When my unit was built, I had it rough plumbed and I had the HVAC guys install a zone with all the ductwork. I figured I was better off having pros do that kind of work. Framing / drywall is IMHO a lot easier than that type of work.

In any event, I plan on putting down tile (I've been looking at concrete tiles), and will likely do a CeilingMax / CeilingLink type drop ceiling. The first big problem that I have, however, is very uneven basement floors. The corners where floor meets wall in particular cup upward quite a bit, so they will need to be levelled to accomodate the tile floor.

However, a good chunk of the worst part (where the floor meets the wall on the outer walls all the way around) is going to be covered by unfinished portions. I will need an unfinished closet for my hot water heater / sewer / water panel in one section. I'm thinking of putting a finished closet next to that. Then I have another unfinished utility section under the stairs / in the corner for access to the furnace / AC and the sump. Butted up against that will be where the bathroom is framed (which will also have tile installed).

My question is this. What's my order of operations here -- and how should I proceed with doing the job right?

Do I frame first and then level what will be the finished part of the floor with something like Dash Patch? Perhaps I can add some furring strips along the bottom of the wall to push the floor /wall out from the corner of the concrete and hope that that assists with leveling?

Or do I level the whole thing first with Dash Patch and then waterproof and frame? I want to do the job right, but I also don't want to waste time / money unnecessarily leveling something that doesn't need it.

Also... a question about waterproofing. My basement is half-underground and is a walk-out. The walls to the outside of my building are part concrete / part wood. I've noticed 0 problems with water in the basement to this point (after 2 1/2 years) -- although I do run a dehumidifier down there. Am I wasting my time applying a sealing waterproofer to the floor?

Before I put down the tile, I plan on putting down Platon or DriCore under a plywood subfloor. With that being the case, how crucial is leveling with something like Dash Patch? Is this overkill?

Thanks for reading... and any input that you might have.

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I can answer one of my own questions after reading the DriCore FAQ. It states to not apply any waterproofing sealer to the concrete. It also makes this statement regarding tile:

"Tile - DRIcore is designed to act as a floating subfloor. It is not recommended that ceramic tile be directly attached to DRIcore as the movement of the floating subfloor will cause tile and grout lines to crack.

In the case of a ceramic installation, prepare concrete floor by applying liquid concrete leveling compound to the concrete floor surface to eliminate concrete floor height variances. Fasten each DRIcore panel with four, flat head and countersunk, concrete fasteners to the permanent concrete floor to prevent movement or shifting of the finished ceramic tile floor. Dab silicone in the fastener openings to seal these holes.

DRIcore panels must lay perfectly flat without bounce or deflection. Install a ¼" underlayment or ½" cement board suitable for ceramic tile installations on top of DRIcore. Follow the underlayment manufacturerÂs installation guidelines for fastening to a subfloor.

Please note that we also do not recommend gluing underlayments or other wood flooring materials to DRIcore. "

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 3:52PM
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Due to slope and imperfections, I decided to paint our concrete floor for our basement finishing job. (I figured tile is cold anyway.) So I TSP'd it twice, rinsed, and painted.

You could also seek a concrete resurfacing outfit for a more detailed application, such as faux tile or other designs.

We also had cupped edges near our walls. Those came up easily for me with a cold chisel at a low angle. (So it was applied separately in our case.)

The only other leveling I did was the bathroom, which I did that by ripping PT 2x4's at the necessary slopes, etc. I layed down a moisture barrier on the floor, fastened those through the barrier with a ramset, and layed down the subfloor, then sheet vinyl. Tile wasn't an option since there's still a bit of deflection (minor) in the subfloor. Sure, I could have tiled to the concrete directly, but there was too much slope to deal with leveling - about 1 1/2 inches over 5 feet in both directions.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2007 at 8:02AM
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