Things to Avoid When Finishing Your Basement

Updated on April 7, 2016

Concrete & Wood Contact

The framing for your new finished space is one of the most important components. The new drywall will conform to the framing so it must be plumb, level and straight. So you don't want to use bowed studs that will deform your walls. But the quality requirements don't end there.

Since most basements are inherently moist, you need to keep all untreated wood away from the concrete surfaces. Moisture below the slab can wick up into the concrete and get to the base plates of the wall. Therefore, you need to make certain the bottom plate of the wall is treated lumber.

You also don't want the wall studs to come into contact with the foundation wall. The cool concrete wall causes the humid air in the basement to condense on the surface. This moisture will wick into any lumber that comes into contact with it. So, make sure the framed wall has a gap between it and the foundation wall.

Check out our video at the bottom of the page for frame quality check details when finishing your basement.

Visqueen on Walls

A common question people have when finishing a basement is..."Should I use visqueen or plastic sheeting on one side or the other of the framed basement walls?" The answer is no. Plastic will keep moisture from moving through the wall. As we mentioned earlier, the basement is naturally humid because of it's location below grade. So, moisture can and will get inside the wall. If you use plastic, the moisture will be trapped inside which lead to damage to materials and even mold.

No Insulation at Band Joist

When finishing a basement, we want to make sure the area is properly insulated. Make sure the band joists above the walls have either fiberglass insulation batts or foam insulation covering the entire space. The band joist, sometimes called the rim joist, is the wood framing that runs along the outside perimeter of the first floor framing. We want to make certain this area is properly insulated to keep your new conditioned properly. The photo below shows foam insulation used at the band joist on a finished basement in progress. Foam insulation is preferred over fiberglass as it has a higher R-value, is resistant to moisture and creates better air seal.

Cover Up Basement Wall Cracks

Before starting a basement finishing project, every square inch of the walls should be reviewed for cracks and leaks. Obviously you will want to repair any structural problems with the foundation walls prior to covering them up. You will also want to repair any water leaks. But what about cracks in the wall?

A poured foundation wall crack may or may not go all the way through the wall. Even if the crack does go all the way through the wall, it may still be dry. Newer waterproofing materials are more pliable and will many times span cracks to keep ground water out. Unfortunately, there really is no way to tell if the crack is finished moving.

If a foundation wall crack continues to move and the waterproofing seal on the outside is broken, water can enter. This could be disastrous for a finished basement wall. The leak may go undetected for a period of time which can cause damage to materials and possibly mold.

So, it's always a good practice to repair any foundation cracks prior to covering the walls up.

Building a New Home with a Finished Basement

So if you're building a new home there are some items to incorporate into the foundation that will make for a better finished lower level.

  1. Install visqueen under the complete basement slab and tape the joints
  2. Consider adding insulation to the outside of the basement wall - this can serve as protection for your waterproofing also
  3. Waterproof the outside of the foundation wall...don't just use the code minimum damproofing
  4. Consider installing an interior and exterior drain tile connected every eight feet through the footer...this will add redundancy to your drainage system
  5. Add a battery backup to your sump pump
  6. Us the best sump pump you can find (Zoeller makes a good pump)

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)