Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our DIY Finished Basement

We purchased our 3 bedroom home in November 2012 with an unfinished basement. We ended up using the basement for storage during the next year. When we found out my wife was pregnant, we knew we needed some more space. The third bedroom housed the office and took up the entire room. All the stuff would be moved downstairs, into the basement. One problem: our basement is unfinished. After receiving estimates of ~$20,000 to finish the ~600sqft basement, my wife and I decided to take the task ourselves for much less hopefully. My wife is pregnant, and we already have twin boys, so in reality, it was a one man job for all the heavy work :) We were in no rush to complete the project, as long as we had enough time to furnish the baby's room before her birth. The basement finishing project started November 2013. We didn't have any tools so we factored the price of tools into the overall budget. We did not want to spend more than $9,000 on the entire project because after that point, we might as well have hired it out. The basement was finished with all necessary permits and inspections required in Anne Arundel count, Maryland. 

Future kid's play area
Future kid's play area
Future office with storage area

We ripped out all the old insulation. In hindsight, we could have left it on, which would have saved us $300. Oh well, it was old and nasty anyway. We left the old insulation inside the storage/electrical room and the mechanical room. We started framing using regular 2x4s for the studs and 2x4 PT wood for the sole plate.

Office storage area
Office Storage area
Framing work in progress
Framing work in progress

We cut that door to create an open entryway. Bought a sawzall from Lowe's which made that job super easy.
No electricity so I used a flashlight whenever I needed light.
Finally cut the door down! It was the middle of winter so our electricity bill went through the roof until we installed insulation.

Did I mention the basement was former storage area?
We have two storage areas: underneath the stairs and in the office. The office storage area also contains the electrical panel and water main.

We started framing in November 2013, and the framing and insulation inspection passed in January 2014. Also, I finally got to encasing the red pole in 2x4, something my wife absolutely required. We used Roxul and fire foam for fire blocking. We used up the rest of the Roxul insulation as regular insulation so it didn't go to waste. We also added a cold air return at the bottom of the basement to keep the air moving. Red pole finally framed out. I didn't realize adding the wall around the pole would require another outlet. Our electrician was nice enough to add it in after we had another recessed light added.

Yay! No more $350 electrical bill!
I ended up cutting a hole in the ceiling of the basement/floor of the dining room in order to move the drywall into the basement. Nothing the circular saw couldn't handle. Luckily my brother lent a hand and helped me move the 4x8 pieces of drywall. We ended up putting the old plywood back in with 2x4s supporting it.

We needed 45 pieces, but I bought 55 just in case. As we were finishing up screwing the drywall in, we came to the conclusion that we were about 5 short. Luckily, we had just enough complete pieces in the basement to finish the wall. The other pieces for the soffit and small parts of the wall I had to measure, go to the garage and cut, then bring back down. This probably added a few days of work, especially since I was already working at a snails pace.

I absolutely hate mudding now. Due to my regular job and the time it takes to mud, there were multiple times I thought of just putting the drywall knife down, and hiring someone to finish the drywall. I actually had a company come and give me a quote! But in the end, after numerous coats and sanding, we moved onto priming and painting! 

We finished mudding early March 2014. My wife did all the priming and painting work over the span of a week. I was pretty hesitant about her painting considering she was almost 6 months pregnant, but she insisted and it turned out great! The drywall turned out much better than we expected as you'll see in the finished pictures. Glad we continued on and finished mudding ourselves. Saved us $700.

The baseboards were installed before the carpet. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Thanks to a cheap $80 miter saw from Harbour Freight, it took me 2 days to cut and caulk the baseboards. My wife painted it the day before the carpet was installed. While away for work, we had carpet installers come by and lay some carpet down! There is 8lb padding with built in moisture barrier underneath. Total came to about $1600 for ~500sqft.
Feet and Fresh Carpet!
Entryway into basement. Entire stairway needs to be primed and repainted.
Got all the doors installed. It took me a day to install two 30" doors and one 48" double door. The double door and a 30" had to be cut down to about 72". All the doors are slightly out of plumb. All the doors close fine but one corner of the door sticks out. Oh well.

The window got replaced and finished out. The same door trim was used for the window.

I already spent money on buying the network stuff for the basement so I decided to just mount the equipment inside the office storage room. This just makes sense since the Fios ONT is right there. Also, there is a CAT5 telephone line which goes to the kitchen. I ended up replacing the RJ11 port to a RJ45 for the WAP in the kitchen. Service is being provided from the ONT data port to the router. The router is connected to the Ubiquiti UniFi AP and GigE switch. The switch is connected to all the ports in the basement. Overall, networking cost ~$300. This includes 500ft of Cat6, jacks, router, switch, AP, etc.

Here is the office. Everything is slowly going into it's place. Hope to upgrade this area in the next year or so.

Custom built itx gaming PC and unRaid NAS.

With a 10% coupon, I got this Vizio E550I-B2 55in for about $650. This will get mounted about a foot or so higher so the kiddos don't try and hit it.

Wall mount from Amazon. Videosecu I believe. 2014 Roku HDMI stick to keep with the wall mount theme.

Finished product with kid's mess! The only thing left we have to do is add some crown moulding to go with the baseboard, and that will complete our basement project! We don't no how much value it added to the home, but the space is invaluable to our growing family. Thank you for reading and hope we can help other people tackle their finished basement project!

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