Basement Wallboard questions/options...


  #1  
Old 07-28-03, 10:18 AM
edbreyer
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Basement Wallboard questions/options...

Iím redoing my basement and have three questions regarding the wallboard material I should use:

1) On the exterior walls (50% below/50% above grade) is there any benefit to using greenboard (i.e. moisture resistant drywall)? I donít have any seepage issues and will use proper vapor barriers but am willing to use greenboard if there is any potential benefit.

2) Just in case I should ever get a few inches of water in the basement (e.g. failed sump pump) should I use cement board instead of drywall for the bottom 1 to 2 foot of the walls (Iím using steel studs and beadboard on the lower half of the walls)? If so, should I use foam panels to insulate the walls so it would dry out more easily (versus fiberglass)? Or is this all in vain (i.e. the walls would have to be torn open for even an inch or two of water)?

3) The basement stairwell is rather narrow and takes a lot of abuse (knicks, scrapes, gouges). It has knotty pine right now but I think just painting it will result in cracks in the paint between the tongue and groove panels. So, is there a better, more durable material that can be used instead of drywall? I seem to recall hearing about something called Hardiboard and/or Homosote. Are these viable options to drywall in a high traffic/abuse area?

Thanks in advance for your response!
Ed
 
  #2  
Old 07-28-03, 11:06 AM
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edbreyer,

It seems like you are going to extremes to try and prevent problems and the expenses are getting higher and higher. The issues of what you are are doing seems to be all in vain, per say.

It sounds like you haven't pulled a permit for all this work as the questions would have been already answered in your drawings to the City, is this true? The only reason for all this "overkill" appears to be that no permit was pulled and thus means no replacement of damage issues in the event of a flood. Your insurance company would be asking City Hall if permits were pulled for all the work that is being done, no permit, no claim.

1. You do not need to install greenboard as this will not do anything for you. When this stuff gets wet - which it is not designed to get wet - it is Water Resistant not Waterproof! Standard drywall is sufficient and this does dry and may not have to be replaced if water is evacuated immediately.

2. With this fear of water, you should be investing in a Water Powered Emergency Sump Pump Backup system - not a battery backup type unit. Cement Board is overkill and again the expenses are going higher. Finishing this will be tiresome to make it look good.

3. Paint is cheaper than going with another product but again I am assuming that the T & G is applied directly over studs. Whatever you use here, then a backer is required, 1/2" drywall normally. It sounds like like you want to make everhything resistant to "water". Hardiboard is a fiber cement board - requires painting.

http://www.homasote.com/products.html - they have some decorative panels, take a look at this link.

Hope this helps!
 
  #3  
Old 07-29-03, 09:20 AM
edbreyer
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Thanks Doug

Actually, I've worked pretty closely with the village on my recent addition and found that I tend to exceed their minimum requirements. Although I have indeed not pulled a permit for this job I know for a fact that I am once again exceeding their minimum standards. As for insurance - that's not an issue because I (and most people) are typically not covered for the type of flooding (rain/sewer) that would damage the basement redo.

When I refinished my last home's basement I discussed all of this with my agent (who I still have) and quickly came to the conclusion that the increased premium (several hundred dollars/year) for the flood damage coverage was much better spent on a backup sump-pump - which I did install. Besides, with the advent of the CLUE insurance database and insurance companies viewing water damage claims as a future liability (mold) which they feel warrant higher premiums or dropping the policy - reporting water damage to your insurance agent is not advisable if you can afford to repair it on your own.

I've always taken the approach that a little extra research and minimal extra expense can go a long way to saving headaches down the road.

For example, I always use the higher quality blue label copper pipe versus the thinner red label when plumbing; I never bother with 14 guage wire (only run 12 or better); and use at least one dimension larger lumber than required by code for framing.

With that said - I am probably overthinking some of this basement stuff and will probably just use drywall throughout the basement (except ceilings). After all - in the (hopefully) unlikely event we get water down there - it can be fixed. As you may recall from my previous postings - my concern started with termites - nothing like termite damage to get you paranoid ;^)

By the way - why do you prefer water powered pumps over a properly maintaned battery back-up? I'd never considered one.
 
  #4  
Old 07-29-03, 10:17 AM
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Ed,

Just to help you out with the back up sump pump, please read the article attached.

Thanks for clarifiying what you're doing and if you can afford to exceed minimum requirements, then you are better off than most.

Not withstanding the money issue, it is not necessary to go overboard with construction methods and/or products without clear cut justification to do so.

I guess if I were you I would not even consider a "Battery Back Up Sump Pump". Reason you may be asking is that it is not a guarantee that they will work when needed. As with most homeowners, we don't always check on things when we are supposed to. If it is out of sight, it definitely is out of mind!

I would recommend a good water powered sump pump backup like the Guardian, normally available through a plumber since they don't sell these over the counter through a plumbing distributor. They are not cheap, runs about $450 - $500 but this must be plumbed into a 3/4" line, and installed before going to any fixtures or tees. Labor on these can be $350 plus. The water pressure from the city powers this and does quite well - for every gallon of water used, 2 gallons is pumped out. It requires a 1 1/2 PVC pipe for discharge.It does come with a Backflow Preventer for the water inlet pipe but you will need to get a check valve for the 1 1/2" PVC line. It can lift the water up to 15 feet at 407 GPH. At 10' it is 580 GPH. It does have an adjustable float that is placed adjusted just above your existing sump pump. So when the power does come back on, your's would kick on and the back up automatically shuts down. Simple and very effective.

I am an advocate of this and have installed many, especially after a client calls and says their battery back up failed. What usually happens is the batteries fail or if wired in on its own circuit, the power goes out, breaker trips and it doesn't recharge. Other cases, the batteries have just failed. If you don't check on it, you will have problems. At least the water pressure is more of a guarantee than the battery backups. I stress this is just used as an Emergency Back Up.


The issue of permits and insurance is an issue for debate and after being called in to "bear witness" to some nasty losses, owners have lost alot by not pulling permits. Again read the below article which explains this and all of this can be verified with an insurance agent, private home inspectors and Contractors. Jack the Contractor can attest to this as well. It seems strange that if you worked so closely with the village on your addition but you didn't pull a permit for your basement, why is that? Seems to be some contradiction on when to pull one and when not. Especially after saying you go beyond the "minimum" in what you build, why then avoid getting a permit for the basement?

Pulling a permit or not, is not the question that should not be asked, the question should be why not pull a permit? You can say that you are doing it by the "book" or that you know what you are doing but the issues are more involved than that. Most common reason not to get a permit "My property taxes will increase". Then I hear them say that "the improvements will increase my property value but I don't want my taxes to go up!?" You can't have everything or can you?

Homeowners Insurance becomes an issue. In the event of a loss, obviously your improvements that were done without a permit will not be covered. Once an adjuster sees that there was work that was done without a permit, he just may deny the entire claim. Not knowing what other work may have been done and never got inspected you could be facing a major problem. Investing in a $50 or $500 permit is a minor item when it relates to a home that is worth $200,000! Why risk it?
Selling the home down the line...there is a form that must be filled out by the seller..a "Disclosure Statement" which will cover anything and everything that is documented on the life cycle of the home including "your projects". They might involve something minor or something that should have had a permit. Lenders may deny your buyer's loan because of no permits obtained due to the liability that could jeopardize the integrity of their "collateral". Not disclosing the items is a violation of the law and you can be subject to civil or criminal actions that will just ruin your day. What you think you can get away with now will haunt you later, I guarantee it!
"Reduced sale price of home" could be a real issue. Most properties sold now may be subject to state-licensed Home Inspection Services. These services are excellent as they go into attics, crawl spaces, extremely thorough. All questionable areas are noted on their reports. These may be required within your state or within a specific county or municipality. These can be mandated by the Lender regardless of state/local requirements. In some cases, they can be requested by the Buyer. Lenders may not even approve a loan if permits were not obtained. You may have to take a $20,000 or $30,000 hit for an example on the sales price of the home! Can you afford this? More and more buyers are hiring an inspector due to those that fail to get permits when required. Failure to allow the inspection will not be in your best interest. These inspections will involve everything on the home to include all structural and mechanical systems. Everything must meet the "current local codes".
What happens if I get caught without a permit? You might have to pay double fees for the permit plus possibly a code compliance inspection fee, plus .... You may indeed have to remove any improvements that were done without permits and trust me, they can do it!
In summary, Permits...who needs them?!! Everyone!! Ask yourself this...Isn't your family's safety, enjoyment of the improvements, the benefits reaped at time of sale more important to justify the need for a building permit when required? It's your choice...maybe.

Hope this helps!
 
  #5  
Old 07-29-03, 11:23 AM
edbreyer
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Permit Info

Thanks for the details. I'm not pulling a permit for three reasons:

1) My recent experience has been that the getting the inspections set-up is a real hassle and causes me to take time off of work.

2) From an advice perspective the inspectors in our town bring little/no value to the table - I have (very gently) had to clarify the code requirements for them because they hadn't really understood some of the details. Electrical inspections are a total joke - they insist on coming in to make sure the conduit is in place (Romex not allowed here) but for the final inspection do not check to see what type/gauge of wire you pulled or the circuit breaker amperage. The inspector simply walks around with a 3 prong tester that tells her if the polarity and grounding are correct. For all they know I could have pulled lamp cord and hooked it to a 30 AMP breaker 3) My basement was already "finshed-out" previously - so this redo will be transparant to all official records. I'm just tired of knotty pine without insulation. I appreciate and respect your perspective. However, based on my experience with my previous homes - all have which have passed home sale inspections with flying colors - I'm pretty confident that in this instance pulling a permit would just be another contribution to the local politicians' slush fund ;^)
 
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Old 08-02-03, 01:13 PM
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Building Permits

More and more prospective buyers and lending institutions are requiring proof of permits and inspections. Without proof, homeowners face redoing or removing their work.

Building permit fees are based on construction costs, including materials and labor. A few hundred dollars for a permit could save thousands in the future. Plumbing, electrical and mechanical (heating and cooling) permit fees are based on the number and type of installations.

Penalties can be levied for those who refuse to comply with the law. If alterations meet Code, then the project will be approved. Inspectors won't approve anything they can't see and may require sections of wall or roofing be removed. Sometimes changes have to be made. Sometimes changes are difficult to accomplish.

The permits provide a permanent record of the work performed and inspections conducted on the project. Permits assure that work done to a home was done in such a way that its inhabitants will be safe.
 
 

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