Basement - advice need before I get started

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Old 12-09-18, 10:33 AM
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Basement - advice need before I get started

Hey. I'm about to start my basement renovation project for my home in NY and I'm looking for advice before I get started. This will primarily be a utility/games room with some storage. I'm based in the Greater New York area, I obtained few from contractors ranging from quotes ranging from $25k for a basic finish to $70k from a basement finishing specialist! I've decided to do this project myself.

Below are some picture of my current basement, excuse the mess. Key points to note, there's no major water damage, we recent had HVAC installed and you can also see the insulated radiator pipes.

I have two main questions:

1. How to finish ceiling - my thought is to probably leave this total open in case repairs are need to HCAV or plumbing. I was thinking of paint spraying it all matt black.
2. How to frame the walls around the duct work and pipes? This is giving me a bit of a headache particularly where the main trunk is positioning. There's little to no room between the existing stone wall and the duct?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts and feedback.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 04:23 AM
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You need to first address the signs of moisture near the floor on external walls. If not, any new wall against the external wall will develop mold. . Due to the vertical location of pipes and ducting, it appears any type of ceiling would cover the basement windows. This may not be allowed by code if the window is considered a means of exit in an emergency. Your 3rd pic show how you construct a wall around obstacles. Good luck.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 06:15 AM
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Is that a field stone foundation? Before starting to finish the basement, IMO I would take the time to check out what kind of exterior waterproofing is on the foundation, and repair any issues. Even if you're not noticing any water issues, once the walls are insulated and sealed, any moisture currently coming through the wall and evaporating into the basement will have nowhere to go and will begin to cause issues.

The pipes and HVAC can all be moved if they are in an awkward place. When our basement was finished that was one of the fastest steps. Once moved you just frame bulkheads around them. If they're a real pain to move like a drain then you could just leave them exposed and paint them.

For the ceiling, you could go with a dropped ceiling but you would lose ceiling height and might cause issues for your windows.

Are there any registers or returns in the basement?
 
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Old 12-10-18, 09:16 AM
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You have a lot of work ahead of you my friend. If you have the time and know-how, then I say go for it. I agree with the others that any moisture infiltration needs to be resolved first.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 05:45 PM
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Thanks for the comments, some points to note:
  • We've lived here for 18 months and no noticeable water leaks. There have been a couple of significant storms where neighbours had minor flooding but we had no issues.
  • The home is on a downward pitch (i.e. back of the home is lower) so water runs away from the home towards the back of the house.
  • Home is 1920's colonial, it's difficult to comment on what the dark marks on the walls are whether it's previous water damage or not.
  • Certainly lots of humidity in the summer as there was quite a bit of mould on bag that we stored. I assume this can be fixed by having a dehumidifier?
Another option to keep things really simple would be to not finish the walls and simply paint these, spray the ceiling and change the flooring.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 06:03 PM
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I don't want to pour water on your plans, but I will just say you should probably keep it as simple as possible. It doesn't look like a good investment to me. If the basement was deeper- maybe, but to do that you are talking big bucks.
 
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Old 12-11-18, 08:22 AM
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If it were my forever home, I might go ahead and do a full-on finishing, starting with addressing the moisture issues. Even if you haven't had any flooding, I'm guessing that unless the foundation has been sealed from the exterior at some point that there is moisture coming through the walls. This is not a big issue right now because it can evaporate into the house, but would be an issue if you insulate and seal the walls. You may also be getting a significant amount of moisture wicking up through the floor.

In our area, a finished basement does not add much to the sale price of homes. If I were planning to move eventually, I would do what you suggested and just pretty it up by painting the walls and ceiling and possibly leveling the floor and putting down some kind of water resistant flooring like vinyl planks. Is there any ventilation down there? I would consider adding registers and a return. But even just tidying up cables along the ceiling and changing the lighting fixtures in a basement can also make a huge difference in how the space feels.
 
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Old 12-11-18, 05:58 PM
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Thanks for all the sound advice. This certainly is not our 'forever home' and so for the reason many of you have outlined, I think we will simply go the quick tidy up option. Over capitalising is the last thing we want to do as we will likely sell in the next 2-3 years.
 
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