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View Full Version : Starting to finish my basement, and have lots of questions



skitzogryphon
05-09-2011, 12:02 AM
Hi All,
I'm a new homeowner, my wife and I had our home built last year. It is a modular/doublewide sitting on a full concrete block basement, which sits on top of the ground because of a very high water table. (Less than 4 inches of the basement is below grade.) I don't have a problem with moisture coming up from the floor, that I have seen, but the 'flood zone' starts right across the street from me, about 30 feet.
We want to start finishing the basement into a living area, and are going to start with the bathroom. All of the drain pipes were put in before the slab was poured. The toliet flange is flush with the top of the slab, and the drain for the bathtub was blocked off with 2x4's when the poured the floor, and just has gravel by the pipe. There are several thin cracks in the slab, going all over the place.
My questions are these:
1) Should I wait to do anything until the floor stops cracking, or is a year long enough for settlement?
2)I want to put linoleum down as the flooring. After I seal the cracks that are there in the slab, should I seal the floor or use some other kind of moisture barrier?
3) For the concrete block walls, I'm planning on gluing blue foam board insulation to the wall, then using tap-con screws to attach treated 2x4 studs to the wall, over the insulation. Is this the correct way to put up an interior wall in a basement, or should I seal the walls first? Before we got gutters, moisture was seeping in on the walls and making the blocks darker, but now I have not noticed this except in one spot on the end of the house, away from where we are putting the bathroom.
4) I asked a guy at Lowes about this project, and he did not know any answers, but he did say that I should parge, of parch the walls with a thin layer of cement. Is he right, and would this seal the inside walls?
5) It appears that the floor mounds up at the toilet flange. I have not measured this, but it seems to be about 1/4th of an inch. How screwed does this make me?

Thanks for any help!

pushkins
05-09-2011, 07:19 AM
It's almost impossible to say one year is sufficient for settling to finish, there are so many factors that guide settling from ground preparation to soil density and foundation work.
Concrete is guaranteed to do two things, stain and crack :D(hence expansion joints or cut lines in the concrete). Having said that, after a year as long as the cracks are not opening up wider you should be safe.
When laying the linoleum follow the manufacturers direction in surface preparation, most companies are the same but there a couple that have different approaches including cleaning of the concrete before application of glue.
Normally I'd say avoid drilling into a basement wall, but in your case your all above ground so I think your approach works well. Make sure you use treated lumber, or my favorite blue wood, it doesn't cost all that much more and gives you another layer of protection from any moisture issues (wicking etc...)
Since your above grade and now have gutters pretty much the only moisture issues you need to worry about on the walls are long rain periods, errant sprinkler systems and misdirected downspouts, painting of the exterior block will go a long way to helping with these.
The concrete sloping upwards to the flange is kinda normal, concretor's job is to concrete they seldom worry about little stuff like that. Ultimately the ring (or a ring extension) will sit on top of the finished floor.

skitzogryphon
05-09-2011, 04:36 PM
Thanks for the information. What is blue wood? I suggested using the composite decking for studs, but I'm not sure how that would work. We're also planning on using treated 2x4's on the floor for the bottom plate of the walls.
My wife wonders if doing something to the inside walls would give us any more protection from moisture? We're going to try and seal the outside of the basement this weekend, if the weather stays nice.

pushkins
05-09-2011, 08:57 PM
Blue wood is just like is name suggests, it's wood and its blue...:D The blue color comes from the treatment the wood gets to protect it from wood rot and almost all other forms of pest infestations.
Composite is a possibility but a VERY expensive option, I bought 2x4 composite material for my own deck and each 12' piece cost $35.
The most cost effective method would be treated bottom plate is a must with standard studs and top plate, if your looking for a medium price range then full treated material plates and studs, try to find and use dry material (Lowe's/HD are very often wet), the biggest drawback with all treated is any fasteners you use in it must be ACQ approved (not just galvanized) and that includes any electrical wire staples etc...
Obviously everything you do to prevent moisture is a plus, IMO the best prevention is to stop it coming in to start with, I'm all about stopping the problem before it's a problem (exterior coating) but with that done and a coating on the inside your 2 for 2.