Your basement can be more than a utility and storage area. With some forethought and good techniques, you can make it as warm, comfortable and inviting as any other room in the house. But, make no mistake about it: Finishing a basement is a big job. In this article, we’ll focus on the framing and some unique problems, such as:

Finishing against cool masonry walls without creating moisture problems.Framing around obstructions like posts, heating ducts and pipes.Keeping access to valves and cleanouts.Framing and finishing a wall that’s half masonry and half wood frame. You only need basic carpentry skills for framing and one special toola hammer drill for concrete fasteners.

Submit Building Plans

Make a scale drawing of your plans to submit to your local building inspections department.Note: Your plan should include wall dimensions, window and door sizes, and each room’s purpose (e.g., family, bedroom, etc.) along with any special features like fireplaces. Some rooms may require large windows, called “egress” windows, for fire safety. Ask your building inspector if you need them. Also measure the future finished ceiling height and low-hanging pipes or ducts that’ll lower headroom. Sketch the details of the exterior wall construction you intend to use as we show in this article.Pro tip: If you’re uncertain about the best use of space, hire an architect to help with the design. If you choose to do your own electrical work, draw up and submit that plan as well.With your plan and permit in hand, clear everything out of the basement and you’re ready to go.Pro tip: Walk around the basement with caulk and cans of spray foam and plug every gap you can find between framing and masonry and around pipes or wires that penetrate the rim joist or exterior walls. This is your last chance to seal air leaks from the inside.Read More