Handyman Help: Framing and Insulating the Basement

couple reviewing renovation plansTurning an unfinished basement into a comfortable, beautiful, and functional living space can increase the property value of a home by thousands of dollars. Utilizing the space for a family room, office, workout area, or even a bedroom is possible with some framing and insulation work. This handyman project is easier than you think.

Necessary tools include a utility knife, speed square, sawhorses, safety goggles, hammer, tape measure, circular saw, caulk gun, cordless drill/driver, chalk line, level, drill bit set, dust mask, hearing protection, hammer drill, and stepladder. Most of these items may be purchased from EquipSupply.com. In terms of materials, you’ll need extruded polystyrene insulation, foam adhesive, treated 2×4 lumber, 2×4 lumber, 2×2 lumber, construction adhesive, 2 ½” concrete screws, 1-5/8” screws, ½” plywood, 3” screws, fiberglass insulation, 8d nails, and 16d nails.

Once your plans have been approved by your local building inspections department, cut ¾” extruded polystyrene insulation to fit against the rim joists. Spread a ¼” bead of adhesive on masonry walls and stick the insulation sheets into place. Seal potential air leaks by caulking all gaps and seams between the framing and the foam along the rim joists.

Snap caulk lines 4 inches away from the insulation on the exterior walls. Cut 2×4 bottom and top plates. Lay out stud locations every 16 inches on each plate. Add a ¼” bead of construction adhesive to the bottom plates. Position the bottom plates. Predrill the plates with a hammer drill and anchor with concrete screws.

Nail 2×4 blocking about every 3 feet into the first floor joist to support the top plate. Plumb from the edge of the bottom plate to the blocking with a straight 2×4 – ensure it is level. Snap a chalk line and screw the top plate to the blocking with 3-inch screws. Next, measure between the plates at each layout mark and cut each stud to length. Toenail the studs into place at the top and bottom with two 8d nails in one side and a third centered on the other side.

Cut half-wall studs to ensure that the finished wall is slightly taller than the masonry. Lay the stud locations out on the plate and nail the studs in place with the 16d nails. Angle the knee walls up and fasten to the floor. Next, fasten the blocks through the foam into the masonry at every third stud with 3-inch concrete screws. Plumb and screw the studs to the blocking for a solid wall.