Basement remodel - walls and floors

Old 06-30-03, 03:07 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Basement remodel - walls and floors

I am putting together a plan to remodel my 1950's basement. The existing basement is finished; walls are 1/4" painted plywood fastened to 2"x2" "studs." The 2x2's are fastened to the concrete wall. No insulation and no vapor barrier against the concrete. The exterior soil line is about 5 feet above the basement floor. I am not aware of any moisture problems in the basement since I have been in the house (25 years). Ceiling is acoustical tile over sheet rock. The floor is wall to wall carpet over the original lineolium tile, which is over concrete.

My plan is to:
1. Remove the carpet, walls and ceiling.
2. Replace and relocate lighting and outlets.
3. Finish ceiling and walls in sheet rock.

From what I have read in this forum it appears as if the correct approach to replacing the walls is to construct a 2"x4" stud wall with a treated bottom plate. The stud wall should be 1" off of the the concrete wall with a moisture barrier tacked to the back of the stud wall. Fiberglass insulation between the studs with 1/2" sheet rock finish.

Does this sound like the correct approach?

Secondly, and likely a bigger issue, is the floor. I would like to better understand the benefits of putting in a wood floor over the existing concrete versus just replacing the existing wall to wall carpeting. Your experience will be greatly appreciated.

Old 06-30-03, 03:23 PM
Doug Aleshire's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 4,455
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts

I assume you are referring to what I have written before...if you haven't seen it, here it is....

I guess this is the best and most economical way to construct walls that would be placed on the exterior. I prefer to see 2x4 but as mentioned by others they can get 2x3's. You still need that W/T BOTTOM PLATE. The best way is to attach WOOD TREATED BOTTOM PLATE to the concrete is to use either...
Concrete nails - Sometimes this is hard and time consuming!
Tapcon Screws - Relatively easy but again time consuming!
Hilti Gun with ramset nails - Rent the gun, buy nails and charges - Very fast and holds great! - No adhesive is needed.
Doing the wall framing 16" O.C. provides a solid base for your 1/2" drywall. If using traditional framing method, frame your new wall 1" from the vertical block/masonry surface if using R-13. The reason to keep the wood out from the walls is the moisture that could damage them. If using insulation like R-19 and only 2x4 studs, the insulation would touch the walls. I have stated before that if a homeowner did put thicker insulation in, and the wall was only 1" from the masonry surface, I have recommended hanging a vapor barrier between the back of the wall and masonry surface. This doesn't allow for the insulation to touch the wall and air movement is not restricted but at least you won't create damage to the insulation or wood.
Vapor barrier should be placed directly under the drywall. The warm inside air containing water vapor can get past the wall finish and insulation and condense inside the colder wall cavity. If enough of this happens, and the water cannot escape, wood rot, mold, and other moisture-related problems are likely to occur. For this reason, building codes often require installing a vapor diffusion retarder on the warmest side of the wall cavity. This is what is required in Minnesota;

"A 4 mill poly vapor barrier must be placed against all concrete or block exterior foundation walls prior to applying furring strips for full height of the wall. Another 4 mill poly vapor barrier must be placed over furring strips and insulation prior to covering with finish materials. (State Energy Code Requirement)" - MINNESOTA CODE


If you do want to increase the R value, move the wall out further or use the R-13 and then apply a rigid insulation over the studs (warm side) then drywall (not paneling) *Code advises a 15 minute fire rated material over any rigid insulation - 1/2" Drywall*..

Kraft Faced insulation is fine to use in the above scenario. No need for the poly and you can do everything easily. You may find this easier and I would do this versus unfaced and vapor barrier because I don't like to play with it any more than I have to.

If you want to build your own subfloor......

Begin by covering the slab with a 4 mil vapor barrier.

***OPTION: Asphalt felt or building paper: first, prime the slab and apply cold, cut-back asphalt mastic with a notched trowel (50 sq. ft. per gallon). Allow to set for two hours. Unroll 15-lb. asphalt felt or building paper, lapping the edges 4" and butting the ends. Over this, apply a second similar coating of mastic and roll out a second layer of asphalt or paper in the same direction as the first, staggering the overlaps to achieve an even thickness.***

Polyethylene: Cover the entire slab with 4 to 6 mil polyethylene film, overlapping the edges 4" to 6", and allowing enough film to extend under the baseboard on all sides.

When moisture conditions are more severe, prime the slab and apply cold, cut-back mastic with a straightedge or fine-tooth trowel (100 sq. ft. per gallon). Lay 4 to 6 mil polyethylene film over the slab, overlapping the edges 4 to 6".

In either case, roll the film flat or "walk" it in, stepping on every square foot to ensure adhesion. Puncture bubbles to release trapped air.

Install the plywood after the vapor barrier is in place. Loosely lay a nailing surface of 3/4" 4' x 8' exterior plywood panels over the entire area, leaving a 3/4" space at the wall line and 1/4" to 1/2" between panels. Cut plywood to fit within 1/8" near door jambs and other obstructions where finish trim will not be used. Lay plywood diagonally across the direction of the finished floor to help prevent cracks along panel edges.

Fasten plywood to the slab with power-actuated fasteners, securing the center of the panel first, then the edges, using nine or more fasteners.

Do not use power-actuated fasteners or concrete nails when radiant heat pipes are embedded in the slab. Instead, cut the plywood into 2' by 8' planks and score the backs 3/8" deep on a 12" grid. Lay panels in a staggered pattern with at least 2' long planks along starting and finishing walls. For systems other than radiant heat, the plywood planks may be glued to the plastic with asphalt mastic. Spread using a 1/4" by 1/4" notched trowel.


Flat, dry, preservative-treated 2" x 4" sleepers in random lengths (18' to 48") can also serve as a nailing base.

Begin by sweeping the slab clean, applying an asphalt primer and allowing it to dry. Next, embed the sleepers on their flat faces in rivers of hot (poured) or cold (cut-back) asphalt mastic, in rows 12" on center, at a right angle to the direction of the finished flooring. Stagger the end joints, overlapping the ends 4", with 1/4" space between.

Before installing the floor, loosely lay an additional vapor barrier of 4 to 6 mil polyethylene film over the sleepers, overlapping the edges on top of the 2 x 4s. Avoid bunching or puncturing the film, especially between sleepers.

Nail the finished flooring to the sleepers through the film.

A member wrote this update.....

Before you go spend a lot of money, please look into this. I'm glad I did.
First I found this product called subflor, which appears to be very similar to the Dricore product.
Then I found that they wanted $9 a 2x2 piece (4 sq feet). WHOA. So I got some rolls of Delta-FL and 4x8 sheets of 5/8 OSB which came out to be about a buck per square foot. I'm sorry I can't remember the actual price per sq ft for the Delta product, but I do remember it being less than a dollar.... Screwed it down with some tapcons and I'm good to go! Made my own 'Subflor' for half price!
I've looked into these two products as well. And had one comment. The big difference between dricore and delta-fl is that the dri-core panels will 'float' with thermal expansion and wouldn't take as much effort to 'level' them to irregularities in the concrete. Dricore is a subfloor on is own, But with deltams you need install a sub floor on top of it before your final finish.
I installed Dri-core, solid, VERY EASY to install subfloor!!! It took me and my wife (yes, my wife) about
5 hours for 300 sq. ft., with some cutting around pipes support poles etc. I thought it went well anf it looks and feels great. Just follow the installation instructions and ther will be no problem...Need to do the other 1/2 next weekend...will be putting wall up after that..i will keep all informed on how it goes...But I would recommend this floor to anyone...Thanks for all your input..
I like the idea of putting the walls on top of the dricore, which i will be doing..Should I get any dampness, (which I shouldn't bu if), the walls and toeplate are off the cement. I used 1x3's as spacers and the 3/4" space is just right. . Dricore suggest fatening the toe plate to the flooring and then fastening the flooring to the concrete with 3 fasteners every 16 ft. I think itll work out nice. Let me know what you choose..and I'll keep you up to date on how the walls go up. In addition, i am not using baseboard heat so I did not have that worry, I am using a gas fireplace. Good luck..

I never contacted a flooring contractor about dricore. I bought 2 panels to show my General Contarctor, and he liked it, he had never seen it. From my understanding, it is made in Canada and is only available exclusively at Home Depot in the US. It is $4.97 for a 2x2 panel.

Advantages is that it is easy, solid, incorporates your vapor barrier and sub floor in one piece, allows the panel to "breath" underneath should you get dampness. I will now feel much more comforatble putting down carpet. Another point, it is dricore is only 7/8" high, where a true subfloor with sleepers etc is 2-2 1/4"..a big deal for me because of my ceiling height...

Had to use a few piece of leveling kit near the sump hole..$3.97 for a package of 20 pieces...

Don't forget about the building permit!

Hope all this helps!
Old 07-01-03, 08:54 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the information. I would appreciate any comments regarding the benefits of a sub floor system over my existing concrete floor which has never had a moisture problem. I assume that my exisitng concrete floor adds some humidity to the house because concrete is porous and there is no plastic between the the concrete and earth. If I use the method you described (mastic and plastic) it should give a better seal than the subflor membrane you referenced since the mastic and plastic would essentially seal the floor.

I can't help but wonder if this is a bit overkill if I don't have any moisture problems? Will a wood subfloor with moisture barrier make that much difference in a dry basement?

Thanks for the advice,
Old 07-01-03, 09:04 AM
Doug Aleshire's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 4,455
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts

You mentioned the following "I would like to better understand the benefits of putting in a wood floor over the existing concrete versus just replacing the existing wall to wall carpeting." Basically this is a personal choice and what condition your concrete floor is in.

As such, I provided different methods used and you are right, one is overkill but it provides the ultimate protection. The DriCore product is the other alternate for wood flooring.

I have placed some links in this post to provide more insidght to what you may want to do. Again, you need to decide what you are using for flooring and how to ensure that it lasts.,87335,00.html

Hope this helps!

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: