What are the Steps to Finish a Basement
Planning, Framing, Electrical, Plumbing, Drywall, Paint, Flooring
DIY Steps to Finish a Basement.
This page What are the Steps to Finish a Basement is part of the Basements101.com website.
First Step to Finish a Basement
Planning and Design is the first step to finish and create a beautiful basement. It is important to measure your basement space
and decide what you want various areas used for. Planning for your basement is also an important step to creating an inviting living space.
Your goal is to make the best use of that basement space. You do not want to design your space to look like a boxed in chopped up basement
in any way if possible.
Some basements can be very complicated to plan due to duct work, pipes, poles and other obstructions. You want to try
and plan for a nice flowing open floor plan that fits your lifestyle, budget and ideas. Following the steps listed on this website
will help you with planning a basement that will fit your individual space.
Step 2 to Finish a Basement
Marking the walls...Begin by deciding exactly where the wall will go. Use a framing square and a chalk line to mark its location on the floor.
For long walls, check for square using the 3-4-5 method. Using a framing level and a straight 2x4 that is as high as your basement
ceiling, mark the wall location on the ceiling, joists, or cross bracing. These marks will help you position the wall before you plumb it.
Make sure there is adequate framing in the ceiling to which you can nail the top plate.
Cut and mark the plates... Using your floor layout as a guide, mark and cut 2x4s for the top and bottom plates. Place them on edge
beside each other and mark for the studs. The first stud will be at the end of the wall. The remaining studs should be 16 inches on
center, meaning that from the edge of the wall to the center of each stud will be a multiple of 16. Make a mark every 16 inches; then
with a combination or speed square draw lines 3/4 inch on each side of your first marks. Draw an X in the middle of the marks to show
where to nail the studs. Read more....
Step 3 to Finish a Basement
Yes, you can do you own electrical. Electrical can be one of the more expensive parts of finishing your basement but if you tackle
this step yourself you can save a ton of money. Now it is very important to know the rules for the area where you live. Some cities
will allow you to do only part of the electrical work and you need to call in a licensed electrician to do some of the steps. You should
always check the rules before you start. Electrical can also be very dangerous so don't attempt it unless you really know what you are doing!
This is one step to finish a basement where you should really consider calling in a pro.
Now if you decide to tackle this step by yourself, you should make every effort to educate yourself and make sure you have the proper tools
before you start. There are many books about home wiring (I'm going to list just a few of my favorites below) and there are also many videos out
there but please keep in mind that anyone can post a video and many of these DIY videos can actually show the wrong way to do something! Makking a
mistake while working with electricity can be very dangerous! Read more....
Step 4 to Finish a Basement
Basements in many newer homes are built with basic plumbing drains and vent stacks built into the basement. This is commonly called
stub-outs or stubs. If you see pvc plumbing pipes that look like they just go into the basement floor and lead nowhere, you may already
have basic stubs for plumbing. Stub-out plumbing in a basement could include drains for a toilet, tub and shower drains as well as a
bathroom sink drain and a vent stack for the future basement bathroom. Don't worry if you don't know which pipe is for plumbing.
We will go over some basic plumbing terms on this page. Pictures and video of basement plumbing will also be included at the bottom
of this page as well as links to other helpful plumbing resources for your basement.
If you have an older home or a basement where plumbing stub-outs were not included during construction, you can still add whatever
plumbing fixtures you need and tie them into the existing home plumbing. Installing a bathroom with toilet or a shower will require
you to break up the concrete to run drain lines and you may have to install an ejector pump to drain the waste. Most important is to
have a plan before you start. Draw your plumbing layout and fixtures on the basement floor with chalk, Make a blueprint or whatever you
have to do to figure out where the basement plumbing will go.
When installing plumbing it is important to know what codes your area requires. You can usually get this information by calling your local
building dept. You may need a licensed plumber to check your work and also to be present during rough-in or final plumbing inspections.
Requirements can vary for different areas so be sure you know what is required in your basement before you start. More details on Plumbing
and some of the tools you may need to do your own plumbing can be found on other pages of our website. Read more....
Step 5 to Finish a Basement
The installation of Drywall, or sometimes hanging drywall as the professionals usually refer to the installation, can be done by the homeowner.
Having said that, it is usually best carried out with two or more people as it takes a large amount of lifting of heavy material.
Mudding and Taping can also be performed by the homeowner, even so these tasks require some practice and artistry.
Measuring and Ordering Drywall
Before you actually hang the drywall, you will need to measure all walls, order the drywall material and have it all delivered.
To figure out how much material you need to order you will need to measure all surfaces where you will be installing the drywall.
Start with the ceilings first and then the walls. if you calculate the total square footage and then divide this number by 32 you will
come up with the number of 4x8 sheets you will need. Most professionals also add 10% to this number to account for some waste that you will
have with every job. It is always easier to throw a few scraps away and not have to pay for another delivery. You can purchase drywall in
larger sheets but I would not recommend it for a do-it-yourself project. Larger sheets are much heavier and their added lenghth makes them
much more difficult to get into your basement. Sometimes the larger sheets will not make it inside your front door and very rarely will they
make it down the stairs to your basement project.
For installation in bathrooms, around tubs, showers or other wet areas a special type of board called cement board or greenboard
must be used to combat moisture problems. Standard drywall will soak up water and mold very easily so it should never be used in wet areas.
The cement board used around tubs and showers could also be called Wonderboard or Durock. These are brand names but many professional
contractors will call these materials by their brand.
You will also need fiberglass tape and joint compound for taping and mudding. Joint Compound can be picked up in ready-mixed containers
at most home improvement stores or you can get a dry mix and add water to mix your own. I would suggest ready-mix for your first project.
You will need approx 5 gallons for every 500 square ft. of drywall but you could use more or less depending on your seams and how you
apply the compound. Paper and or fiberglass tape can be used for joints. Paper is smoother and easier to cover but the fiberglass tape
holds the joint compound together and produces a stronger seam. You can pick up a few rolls of each and decide which is easier for you to
install. Read more....
Step 6. to Finish a Basement
Painting can easily be done by the do-it-yourself homeowner. Listed below are basic instructions and how-to tips and tricks for painting.
Follow these instructions and you will see how simple it is to get great results.
Step 1 — Clean Ceiling and Walls
Remove dust, dirt, and grease spots (which can ruin a smooth finish) with water, a little mild dishwashing detergent,
and a cellulose sponge. Rinse ceiling and walls with clean water to remove the soap residue.
Step 2 — Cut in Around Edges
Beginning at the corner of the room, use a two-inch or 2.5-inch trim brush to "cut in," applying a three-inch strip of coating
along the perimeter where the wall and the ceiling meet. Cut in a section at a time, alternating between cutting in and painting
the ceiling to maintain a wet edge and prevent a visible line between the cut-in area and the rest of the ceiling.
Step 3 — Rolling the Ceiling
Before you begin painting the ceiling, remove excess paint on the roller by slowly rolling it back and forth over the ridges of the
paint tray. Start painting near the corner of the room, blending the coating into the ceiling line painted previously.
Paint across the width of the ceiling, rather than the length, and make sure to roll in a motion across your body, rather than along
your body, to avoid straining your neck and back.
Step 4 — Painting the Walls
Once your ceiling is dry, return to the spot where you began painting. Use a trim brush to carefully cut in along the
wall-ceiling line. Extend out two to three inches from windows, doors, and moldings. Once you've cut in around an
entire wall area, use a roller to fill in the field. For efficiency, start in the corner of a wall and roll on a
three-by-three-foot W pattern, then fill it in without lifting the roller. Continue in sections until you're finished.
Paint one wall at a time. Read more...
Step 7 to Finish a Basement
Installing flooring in your basement can easily be done by the do-it-yourself homeowner. Listed below are a few basic basement flooring
options. Keep in mind your basement is not like the other floors in your house. Most basements with concrete floors will have some
moisture and this limits the types of flooring you can use. Before considering flooring you should check your sump pump and back-up sump
pump for proper operation and maintenance. A little bit of water can ruin a very expensive floor quickly. Your primary thought with
basement flooring should always be moisture and how to avoid it coming into contact with your new floor.
One of the better flooring choices for basement flooring. It comes in both sheet goods or vinyl tile pieces. Sheet goods may be less
expensive for large areas but you may have to make seams which can be a tricky project for the average homeowner. Tile vinyl
flooring on the other hand comes in squares that can be easily installed by homeowners and if a section of tiles gets wet, they
can be removed and replaced without removing the entire floor.
Stone Flooring Tiles also called Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) look just like real stone, both in appearance and in texture. Many times LVT
is designed to look just like slate, travertine, marble, and other popular stones, yet it is actually vinyl or some mix of hard vinyl
and or plastic composites. This type of flooring often can be up to twice as thick as normal tile which results in better insulation
against cold coming up from your concrete basement floor. Read more....
Tools You may Need
There are some tools you are gonna need if you decide to follow the steps above and finish your own basement. many of these tools you may
already have but there are a few you may not have used before and when you need them you will be glad to have them! Even something as simple as a
drywall bit can save you hours of labor and having the right tools also makes the job go smoother.
For your convenience, I'm going to list some basic tools and maybe a few books below but you can always find the tools that will make your
project easier listed at the bottom of each page when you click the Read more... links in the steps above. Of course if you want to see all the
tools needed to finish a basement you can just ..click here.. for my full list of favorites. Please remember that your basement project is going
to be unique. I cannot possibly list all the tools you may need but looking at the tools I use may be helpful. Also a quick note about where I buy
my tools. Most of my tools come from Amazon and this is because I really hate standing in line, especially for returns! It takes me about 20 minutes
to drive to a home improvement store, maybe 20 minutes to find exactly what I am looking for, 20 minutes standing in line and then 20
minutes back home. And then if I want to return something, I have to do it all over again and did you ever notice how many extra questions they
like to ask when you return a tool?? Amazon on the other hand is no questions asked. if I want to return something, I just check a box, print the
return authorization myself and put the tool right back in the box it came in and put it on the porch for pickup. Couldn't be easier!
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