Home Frequently asked questions

FAQ ~ Frequently asked questions.

1. How much does a basement renovation cost?

How much does a car cost? It’s all relative. Quality is paramount to me. I refuse projects on the basis of not compromising quality, nor the time required to accomplish the task. My average project will cost between $50 to $65 per sq.ft. The larger projects can take up to 3months or more to complete as well. They may even take longer the older I get. ;-)

2. Why do you use steel over wood studs?

Wood is an unreliable product as far as maintaining it's form throughout the years. It is cheaper to use, but it takes up more room on site and requires many loads to have stacked and ready to use. If we relied solely on wood studs we would end up with screw pops, shrunken in corner beads and wavy walls.

Steel is more costly to use, easier to handle and will maintain it's form over many years of normal use.The method of our stud installation is custom to residential requirements, not commercial.

The rule is if the drywall screw requires compound and paint to hide, the screw must be in steel. If the screw used to affix drywall is in wood it should be in an area covered by trim. An example is door casing.

3. Should we use tar paper on the foundation walls?

The only it should be used is if any wood product is going to be anchored to the wall. Over the years, virtually every time I've demoed a basement, the tar paper was a haven for bugs... I don't want them in my basement!

4. What's the point to adding more insulation?

Try to think as the new rooms and divisions as separate entities. It’s a new environment built within an existing space. That existing space is already insulated to code, either R8 or R12, which is fine for the unfinished basement. In most cases you can’t feel the air movement or pre existing drafts.

This is one argument for spray insulation.

Once the new environment is built, with the new partition’s interior side installed 3.5 inches (thickness of R12) from the existing insulation, insulate from ceiling to floor with R12 and seal with “Super Six” vapour barrier. Prior to this step, ensure that any existing vapour barrier is sufficiently compromised to guard against “vapour lock”.

Now the space in the lower half of the cavity behind the new partition will have some air movement which will aid in the freshening of the air in behind the wall but not influencing your ability to control your new environment with your modified HVAC system or a supplemental heat source such as a gas fireplace or in-floor heating.

Another benefit to some air movement is the drying effect should the foundation develop a crack in the future and possibly leak. Please read What makes your framing different?

5. What makes your framing different ?

Exploiting the benefits of steel framing, I use the perimeter walls as an interior damn. This is accomplished by laying down a generous bead of clear silicone and then applying the steel track directly on top. Once the framing process is completed, I caulk the entire framing with a bead of “PL Premium”, embedded into the varying gaps due to the surface inconsistencies common to concrete floors. I also use strips of ¼” OSB screwed on the back side of my framing as a stiffening aid.

6. How can I make my basement as comfortable as possible?

Taking advantage of your home heating system is a start. Leaving the existing vents in the ceiling is inadequate. I bring all my venting down the wall cavities often using oval pipe to accommodate the stud depth. The bottom of my heat vent and return air opening are installed to be 2 inches above the baseboard. A good rule of thumb would be to ensure each midsized room has at least one heat vent and return air.

Seal your concrete floor with a clear latex sealer before any work is begun. This will aid in the humidity control.

I hope this information has helped. Regards, Bill Ballantyne



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