Finishing the Basement


On Sunday I finally finished the ceiling in our basement.  It only took 5 1/2 months.

I like how it turned out...and Teresa will learn to live with it.

Let me say this, if you ever decide to do a suspended ceiling with recessed tile, you should be aware that the edge panels that need to be cut, take FOREVER.  The cuts need to be notched out, not just cut.  They have to sit recessed below the tracks like the rest of the tile.  It takes about 5 times longer to cut each tile that way, and complicating things were the angled edge panels that needed to be cut in the octagon room.  Those took even longer.

The holes in the panels for the can lights were easy, just used my Craftsman 6 in 1 tool (just like a Rotozip) and the circle cutter.  Nothing to it.  That was the only thing about cutting the ceiling tile that was easy.



More progress...

Teresa's dad was over on Monday night and we put in the bathroom door...easy stuff.  However... we ran into sizing issues with the utility room door.  That door had to be special ordered and will be here on Thursday.  Why did it have to be special ordered?  Because I'm stupid and didn't check to see what interior doors Lowe's had in stock before I framed the door.  I need a 34" wide door for a 36" wide rough opening.  Lowe's (and everyone else) only carries 28", 30", 32" and 36" interior doors.  How unlucky is that?  Not a huge deal though.  I called around and Fischer Lumber in East Alton ordered one for me and it will be here on Thursday.  It will just go in after the carpet is done instead of before.

Charlie was over all day Tuesday working on wiring the lighting.  He does good work, but damn if it doesn't takes him a while to get things done.  He was able to wire the tv area and the octagon room, but has some more work to do to finish wiring the lights in the office area, plus add two eyeball lights above the bar area.  I put three of the rooms on dimmer we have three 3-way dimmer switches in the basement.

Also, I noticed that I may have overlit the basement a bit.  I put 65 watt flood lights in four of the six can housings in the tv area, flipped them on and it was pretty bright in there, and there are two more flood light bulbs to go yet.  I think four lights in each area will be more than enough...either that or use regular bulbs and/or reduce the wattage.

After work on Tuesday I painted the baseboards.  Then Chris came over and we put down most of them.  Charlie let us borrow his large compound miter saw.  Mine was a little small to cut the trim vertically.  We also put up all of the full pieces of ceiling tile, and then cleaned up for the carpet and tile guys who are coming on Wednesday morning.  They'll more than likely be done on Friday.

The areas without baseboard trim are the walkout wall, which is where the tile is going...and the utility door wall, which doesn't arrive until Thursday, so trim is going to wait on that wall as well.  I spoke with the carpet installer and he said not having some of the trim down is fine, he'll just move the tack strips out from the wall a bit on the walls without trim...


Mom & Dad came over today.

Dad helped all day with the drop ceiling, and Mom took care of Zoe.

It took all day.  We got started around 10:30am or so and wrapped it up around 10:00pm.  That included a 45 minute delay while I ran to Lowe's to get more 4' grid pieces, an hour lunch, an hour dinner, and 30 minutes deliberating how to tie together the two areas divided by the duct soffit...but it's done...well, all except for a 3'x5' area in the bathroom that I am going to take care of on Sunday.

I'm really glad Dad was here.  He has installed a couple drop ceilings before, so he knew what he was doing.  I wasn't sure how to attack it.  I just assumed I'd run a bunch of main tracks, 2' apart, and then put 2' grid tracks between them to form the 2'x2' squares...but that's not how you do it.  The main tracks are 4' O.C...then you connect them with a bunch of 4' tracks to form a bunch of rectangles, then you run a 2' track to divide the rectangle into 2'x2' squares.  There seems to be less support wire this way...which means less work and less leveling.

Since the idiots at Lowe's refused to help me, I had to guess on the number of tracks I needed.  I have a ton of leftover 12' and 2' tracks...but I was short on the 4' tracks.  So I'll be making another trip to take those things back.

The tiles can't go in until after the ductwork and electrical are both done in the ceiling...and that stuff should be done on Monday & Tuesday...and then the carpet & tile is getting put down on Wednesday & Thursday...which leaves me a four day weekend to finish up the vanity, toilet, finishing trim, and moving things into the basement.  So hopefully by next weekend, the basement will be more-or-less  finished.


I finished the framing in the basement, the plumbing is roughed in, and the electrical has been run through the walls...and the drywallers were starting on Monday morning.

So I spent Saturday cleaning out my workshop/shed,, throwing a bunch of stuff away, sweeping it out, organizing it, etc.  It needed a good cleaning.  It hadn't really been cleaned since it was shelled.  Whole lot of sawdust, wood chunks, scrap siding, nails and screws all over the place.  Plus it was just cluttered with tools and other stuff from all the work I've been doing.  For the first time, it actually looked like a real workshop when I was done.  Kinda cool.

On Sunday, I needed to make room in the basement so the drywallers could work unimpeded.  So I spent the day cleaning it up.  I moved almost everything out and into the suddenly cavernous shed (due to the previous day's cleaning)...and alas, the workshop is once again full of stuff.  But that's just until the basement is finished, then I get my workshop back.  Then came the sweeping.  And just like the shed...there was tons of sawdust and other little things all over the place from construction.  I don't think I've ever sneezed so much in my life...I was miserable.  The dust was flying all over the place due to my wicked cleaning frenzy.  But it was worth it.  The basement was essentially empty.  I didn't want to slow down the drywallers because of stuff being in their way.  We can't afford any delays at this point.

I spoke with the leader of the drywaller gang (Bob Davis from Davis Reliable Drywall) when he got there on Monday.  He pointed out a couple small framing spots that needed to be addressed to better accommodate the drywall.  He said it wasn't a big deal and wouldn't slow them down, he just woudn't drywall those two spots on Monday.  So Monday night I finished that up.  So the framing is officially, 100% done now.  Ugh... it only took forever.

We were told they will be done in a few days.  Hopefully that is the case.  Ideally it will be painted on Friday so we can hang the drop ceiling on Saturday.

It's finally taking shape...and looking good.


We finished framing the last two basement walls back on Superbowl Sunday (before the game).  Exterior and interior walls are now done.

Now the only framing I have left is boxing in the ductwork, plumbing and a support post.  Although, with the weather getting a bit nicer, I am going to try to finish the shed/workshop, which only needs shingles, siding and doors.




I finished installing the styrofoam insulation board, and went back with some "Good Stuff" spray foam in a few areas (outside & inside corners, around the geothermal pipes), and then taped all of the seams.

Keith came over on Friday night and we got started on the framing.  We must have mis-measured the first wall by 1/4" (too long), because when we raised the wall, it hit the joists with about six inches to go.  I had to use my mini-sledge to get it flush against the wall.  Not sure what happened...we measured first and left about 1/8 of an inch...but whatever.  Let's just say that wall is...solid.  It ain't goin' nowhere.

On Sunday, Teresa's dad came over and we put up four more walls...this time I measured again, and reduced the length of the studs by 1/4"...and they fit much better.  It got a little goofy where the geothermal lines came into the basement, but after some planning, it turned out pretty good.