Starting the basement planning

Old 07-26-04, 11:25 AM
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Starting the basement planning

Last week the local city code guy effectively nixed our plans for finishing the attic of our newly purchased house built in 1918. Needing to add headroom in the stairwell, upgrade the floor joists, and requiring a second entrance/exit besides the egres window made the cost a bit unpractical. So... now we're looking at finishing about 1/3 our basement. I have a couple of questions.

1. The cement floor down there is contoured towards a central floor drain. Does it need to be flattened? If not, how do I resolve joining the curved floor with the straight bottom plate of the future partition and keep everything level?

2. The current joist girder is a 5x6 running down the center of the house supported by 5x6 posts every 6'. One such post would be right in the middle of the room which is a problem. I'm guessing the easiest solution would be replacing the girder with a steel beam so we can remove the post, perhaps only in the offending section. Is there a better way of doing this? Does anyone have any experience with doing such a thing? How much would something like this cost? Hundreds? Thousands?

3. Also dealing with the floor I'm a bit paranoid about putting carpet directly on concrete. I saw at home depot that they had these 2'x2' osb panels with a plastic raised surface on one side, I'm guessing to isolate/raise them up from concrete. Is there a reason I shouldn't use these?

Thanks a lot. I'll be doing the patch test this week to evaluate seepage from the floor and walls. None of it feels or looks wet, but there is a musty smell if our dehumidifier is off for more than 2 days.

Old 07-27-04, 05:37 AM
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Sorry about your setback. C'est la vie

Now for the questions:

1. Don't level the floor. It was designed to move water to the drain, so if you level it you've just defeated the purpose of it and any future spills will just puddle. To make the sole plate level, just use shims (cedar works well as it won't rot) and then fill the bottom gaps with expanding foam.

2. You are talking about a major structural change. If it can be done at all, it'll cost a mint. I would try to live with the post. You can sheetrock it, wrap it in cloth or drape an American flag over it I have a lally column in the finished part of my basement. It's in the way sometimes but you get used to it.

3. You are talking about Dricore. Other than cost, there's no reason not to use it. Keep in mind though, it takes away from the headroom, which is usually like gold in basements.

Good luck.
Old 07-27-04, 07:32 AM
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In a basement of the kind you're talking about, rather than dricore (which will swell and be worthless the first time it gets really soaked, I would go with something that can get wet. Tile would be my first choice, which can usually be laid in a relatively square pattern even with the slope (you can diagonal cut a few tiles near the drain to ease them in.

A glue down indoor/outdoor carpet would be better than regular carpet over dricore. They actually have nice patterns now. Very non-astroturf looking.

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