Getting Started - Building Codes

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Old 01-07-20, 09:17 AM
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Getting Started - Building Codes

Hi - I am getting started on finishing off my basement. A little background... when we bought the house the basement had been previously finished. About 30% of the framing was still there and electrical mostly there. It appears that a previous owner ran into a water issue and had to tear out the old finishing to do the french drain. Now I want to finish it off. Where do I start to find out all the requirements by my city for framing, electric,etc.? Building codes seem so hard to find and to narrow down to the exact requirement. Any help?
 
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Old 01-07-20, 09:28 AM
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Building codes are local, start with the local authority.
 
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Old 01-07-20, 09:30 AM
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They'll tell you which building code they go by. Locally we have to satisfy the 2012 building code. Once you know which code you can look up the particulars online.
 
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Old 01-07-20, 09:31 AM
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The best place to start is contact your city or county's building and inspections department. You should also contact your local zoning department.
 
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Old 01-08-20, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the information. I was able to find the version of the codes. When reading through them some of them seem vague. Like if I am doing furring strips on a non-externally facing concrete wall, what is the minimum depth? If there is electrical, what is the minimum depth?
 
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Old 01-08-20, 10:26 AM
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Well... Don't know where you are or what code you are looking at but current best practice doesnt always meld with the code. Codes are sometimes a long ways behind what's best... Especially in a basement.

Bud9051 is a member here that is familiar with the most current best practice. You can private message him if he doesn't notice your thread.

In short, I would put 2" of foam on exterior walls. Tape all seams so they are air tight... Foam all gaps where it meets the floor. Do several layers on the rim joists. Seal all edges if you are blocking with foam between joists.

Personally I like 2x4 walls in front of that. You can run electrical and plumbing as needed without needing to worry about no nail plates. Then insulate with unfaced insulation... Fiberglass or rock wool, your choice.

Ceiling joists don't need to be insulated unless you want to do it for sound purposes. But you usually want to sheetrock your ceiling perimeter first (before you foam and insulate the walls) as a firestop. So I'd insulate rim joists first... Then rock the ceiling perimeter... Then foam walls... Then put up top and bottom plates and frame the walls.

Steel stud track also works well in basements if you are concerned about a 2x4 wall taking up too much floor space. You can put the steel studs sideways and put a little space between the wall and foam so as to plumb the wall. You only attach the top and bottom plate to the floor and ceiling. But as far as adding strips to the wall goes, i don't like to recommend doing that unless you have a solid poured wall that is nice and plumb. I don't think it's ever a good idea to blast holes in a concrete block foundation.

Electrical code requires electrical in exterior walls so the minimum depth would be dictated by the thickness of the electrical boxes... Generally not less than 1 1/2". Any holes they drill to run wires need to be protected by no nail plates in that case since they will be closer than 1 1/4" from the stud surface.
 
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Old 01-08-20, 02:43 PM
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All advice so far is good.

I'm not a code expert because, as stated by others, every jurisdiction is allowed to select what codes they will follow. Giving us the name of a nearby big city will help with your climate needs but you still need to talk to your local code official. If you continue with work that may have met code when done but no longer does, then you will need to bring everything up to current standards and note, with today's computers they will know everything you do.

Take some pictures down to your local building department and ask about the codes they follow. They will love you for asking which is good.

Bud
 
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Old 04-02-20, 11:08 AM
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It's been a while since I've been working on this project with the start of the year, but being home now with COVID, it has new life. The electrical was originally run in the basement (probably a long time ago) through the block walls. In most of them the wires were ran along the wall and then into the wall right above the outlet. Where it enters the wall there is some sort of putty or caulk. The outlets are then sunk into the wall a bit. They cut out holes in the wall to sink them in. I am wondering if this is a problem and I need to change it before finishing. Any ideas? It seems like I will probably need to discuss with my local building department tough.
 
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Old 04-02-20, 12:01 PM
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That would have been one way to install receptacles on a block wall. A little labor intensive.
Based on your posts..... you will not be using those receptacles as you will be installing new framing.
Your receptacles will be attached to the new framing.
I'd remove the boxes and wire from the block and patch the holes with hydraulic cement.
 
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Old 04-26-20, 09:53 AM
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Sideways Metal Stud

xSleeper - Iíve been trying to picture how I would use metal studs and turn them to save space. I was goin to use those on non-externally facing walls. Would I turn the floor and ceiling track on their sides too?
 
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Old 04-26-20, 09:58 AM
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You use 1 5/8" track if you intend to turn studs sideways. Keep in mind that turning them sideways makes for a weaker wall. I wasn't referring to doing that on interior walls. And prehung doors arent made for thin wall thicknesses on interior walls. It would also hose your electrical on interior walls. Everything would need to be protected in a jacket.
 
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Old 05-02-20, 07:06 AM
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Holes drilled in studs for electrical wiring must have the outer edge of the hole 1.25 inches from the face of the stud. This is to prevent drywall screws from penetrating the hole and damaging electrical wiring.
 
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Old 05-08-20, 07:19 AM
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Currently electrical is run down from the ceiling. Is there any reason it cannot stay that way or does it need to go through the studs horizontally?

Another issue... some rectangle venting is run along the side wall and attached directly to a block foundation wall (externally facing below grade). I would have to redo that whole run to put anything behind it. Is that okay per code? Itís been there a long time. I donít see any mold or other water damage.
 
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Old 05-08-20, 09:02 AM
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Your electric can come down from the ceiling but when it enters the wall it will have to be encased in conduit because there is no way to keep it the required 1 1/4" away from the face of the stud if you turn your studs sideways.
 
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