How do I ensure that the basement framing is done properly and safely?

The best possible solution for framing-in a basement renovation would be to hire a licensed, professional contractor.  This is a job you can do on your own, but skilled professionals understand the use of soleplates, floating walls and cripple studs better than the layman, so the renovation may pass your municipal inspection easier with a contractor’s experience behind it.  The Reno Pros is an example of one such contractor in the Toronto area that can come in and make your vision a reality.  Framing a basement is not rocket science, but if not done properly it can cause you a great deal of headaches down the road.  However if you can do a good job, basement framing can be a valuable renovation without too much expense.  Initially the materials you will need include:
  • Basement Renovation FramingDrywall
  • Joint compound
  • Drywall nails
  • Lumber (2x4s are ideal)
  • Insulation
  • Toolbox – hammer, tape measure, level, chalk line, utility knife, drill, drywall screws
  • Circular saw
  • Air compressor
  • Keyhole saw
  • Safety and hearing protection
  • Sledgehammer

These tools will get you started off on the right foot, but your preparation must also include a professional inspection to confirm no moisture is present in the basement and that all walls, ceilings and floors are water tight.  Upon securing the tools and getting the inspection you are ready to begin your basement framing renovation.  The following steps are used by all renovations companies to some degree and businesses like The Reno Pros rely on them to create solid framework for their building jobs.

  1. Seal your foundation walls with a waterproof, roll-on product to prevent seepage through the concrete.
  2. Nail a 2×4 baseplate/soleplate to the floor along the foundation wall and also use blocking to create braces between overhead joists for securing a similar, top wall plate.
  3. Use spray adhesive to the foundation wall and attach a foam moisture barrier to the foundation wall.
  4. Attach 2×4 studs to both plates approximately 24 inches apart along the wall. These will press into the foam moisture barrier.
  5. Plan any and all electrical outlet boxes and attach them to the closest vertical stud. You will want to run the wiring up along the stud and into the space that will be eventually covered by the ceiling drywall.
  6. Fill all remaining space between each stud with fiberglass insulation.
  7. Use a keyhole saw to cut out space for the electrical boxes in your drywall sheet.
  8. Attached drywall to studs with drywall screws
  9. Mud and tape any seams, then sand them
  10. Re-mud, sand, texture, prime and paint.

This is a very rudimentary set of instructions for basement renovation framing, but it is a tried and true method.  The major drawback to framing with 2x4s as opposed to 2x2s is the amount of extra square footage you lose within the room, but a homeowner with minimal experience may find the extra cavity space for positioning electrical boxes and plumbing is a godsend. Framing a basement renovation is not terribly difficult, but doing it correctly will ensure the wall serves you well and is safe and secure.  It is important to note that there is no shame in hiring a professional either, companies like The Reno Pros are more than willing to assist with your project and teach you a few things along the way.