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Basement studio walls

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Little Ricky, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. Little Ricky

    Little Ricky Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I am refinishing my basement, starting with cinderblock walls and existing framing, which previously held luan-type wood paneling. Cement floor.

    I have minor efflourescence on the lower seams of the block wall in one corner, so moisture is a concern. I've never had actual flooding down there. I also have a dehumidifier which drains to the pipes in the half bath in that area.

    I'm planning to paint the walls with drylock first, put hard pink insulation between the existing framing, then put up walls.

    My question is, what are the pros and cons of various materials - drywall (mold resistant variety), paneling, plywood...any others you know of?

    Main considerations are the moisture and that I'll be using this as a music studio, mostly rehearsal, maybe some recording.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    ij10aq3QTKyhlWFQK7id2Q.jpg I'm insulating my basement right now. This is the third basement I've done this way. The basement is concrete and I'm on high ground so no moisture/flooding problems. The bottom plate rests on 1 1/2" x 3" wooden blocks on edge so that there's an air space below the bottom plate. The blocks are anchored to the concrete floor by drilling a 1/4" hole through the 3" wooden block and drilling 1" into the concrete floor. Then I drop a 4" galvanized nail into the hole. This keeps the wall from kicking out. The bottom 2x4 (1 1/2" x 3 1/2" actual measurement) wooden plate is screwed to the 3" block. I use 3" deck screws instead of nails for everything. No nails. Easy to take apart if need be.

    Behind the studs, there's 1"x2'x8' styrofoam sheets with the seams taped with red Tuck Tape. By the way, the blue Tuck Tape is much stickier.

    I'm going to use Rockwool (Roxul) green batt insulation between the studs. It's made from slag. Waaay better than the pink fibreglass stuff. It doesn't absorb water, settle or develop mold spots if there's moisture. Google it for more info. This is the stuff used on the huge furnaces and piping in oil refineries to keep the heat in. NO vapor barrier. I'll use beaded-board (1/4"x4'x8') panels instead of drywall. What I like about panels is that if I had a moisture problem, I could easily remove the panel(s). Plus, there's no taping, plastering, or sanding involved as with drywall.

    Those wedges behind the studs: those are temporary. I run a back-and-forth bead of PL Premium caulking onto the concrete wall before I put the styrofoam sheet on. Not too thick though. The wedges push the styrofoam up against the concrete wall until the caulking sets up. PL doesn't eat the styrofoam. The cheaper PL100 would probably have worked just as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  3. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The studs WERE 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" (2x4s). The concrete wall has a slight inward bulge in the middle so I ripped them on the table saw so they are 1 1/2" x 3" to allow for the bulge. If you look closely at the blocks under the bottom plate, they are actually two 1 1/2" blocks stacked on top of each other. I have since switched to a 1 1/2" x 3" by 4 1/4" block. The block extends past the 2x4 (actually 3 1/2") bottom plate to give the styrofoam something to rest on. It doesn't extend down to the floor.

    I've found the best way to deal with basement creepy crawlies is to put those 4" x 10" (?) mouse glue traps under the bottom plate here and there. Before you know it, they're full of creepy crawlies.
     
  4. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I like that you use a dehumidifier. Pretty much a must for a basement. Right now, the humidity is really low but in spring and fall when it's been raining, I always fire up the dehumidifier and keep it running until the humidity gets down to 35 or so and the reservoir (I don't use the hose to drain it) stops filling up.
     
  5. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    If it seems like that room is gonna be loud and require acoustic treatment, you’ll want to be mindful of the pricing of that, if you haven’t already. It can get expensive quick. If there is going to be a drum kit involved, it is more of a necessity.

    A fellow I played with gave me this idea that was cheaper, doesn’t look awful and works decent enough for my purposes; go to harbor freight and get those thick ol moving blankets ($7 ea), get some hand hammered grommets there too ($5 for a bag) and some screw hooks ($10 a box) from the hardware store. Install a few grommets along one edge of each blanket and start hanging them with a 1 inch air gap between the blanket and the wall. That air gap helps knock down more sound, apparently.

    It ended up quite a bit cheaper than building panels and traps with Roxul or old school Owens Corning insulation. I dunno if the blankets work as well as doing it legit (I suspect not), but that might be something worth pondering when the cymbal crashes begin to whittle away at your sanity.
     
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  6. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Interesting. Totally agree about those cymbals as I have a set of drums in the basement for drummers who may come by.

    There's a YT video on making soundproof panels from bath towels and with a wooden frame. The guy tested these panels against the expensive store-bought acoustic panels using a meter of some sort and the homemade panels were superior. I don't have a link to it.
     
  7. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Hey @telestratosonic, down in Virginia (where I used to live and built for years) the building code called for pressure treated lumber anywhere that touched concrete. This is supposed to keep the wood from rotting for longer. I thought this was IBC? Is it different up there in the Great White North?

    I like the idea of the styrofoam against the outer walls, incase you do get any sweating... and rock wool to keep the sound down! The moving blankets held off the wall is a good idea too.
     
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  8. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This is the kind of posting/response that makes this forum great. Ask a question get the right answer. Thanks.
     
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  9. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    Avoid mold as your first priority, its easier to prevent then get rid of. If theres a friendly resturant that serves a lot of eggs, egg cardboard cartons are good baffles. A friend got some from a Crepe and Omlet place for free and used them in his studio.
     
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  10. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My home is built on/around a bunch rock outcroppings. Looks real nice but it contributes to my basement's moisture issues. (Rock doesn't absorb much moisture!)

    When we re-did the basement we sealed the walls and floor with a DryLock type treatment, re-insulated etc. but what really made the difference was putting in a real heavy duty automated dehumidifier (Therma Stor). It's piped out of the basement through garage so no water reservoirs to dump and clean. It cost about 1700.00 USD but made all of the difference in the world.
     
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  11. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    I'm at the start of a similar project. I started by addressing the moisture issues; a drain in the patio on the garage/basement roof needed to be routed out and sealed. The other problem is moisture coming up through the concrete floor, which I can't fix without removing the floor. I will build a wooden floor over it, keep it ventilated and get a dehumidifier (or similar system). I'm thinking of routing the air exhaust duct under the floor, then out through a baffle. Need to calculate the volume, but this may work.
    This house is new to me, so I am still trying to find out where moisture is coming from. The house is on a slope at the bottom of a hill in a rainy area. I'm pretty sure that a big part of the solution would be to dig a very ambitious french drain.
     
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  12. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    Nice work. I'm going to let this inspire what I need to construct.
    Are the styrofoam sheets acting as a vapor barrier? If mold developed between the styrofoam and the wall, are they meant to keep it from entering the room?
     
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  13. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yes, the styrofoam is intended to act as a vapor barrier and as a thermal break. It's -23C (-9F) here right now at 9:53 am MT and the sun is shining brightly. The weather here in winter is similar to that of North Dakota; warm/hot in summer with some rain in spring and fall but nowhere near that of the west coast. Winters are cold and very dry so humidity is not a problem. When it's really cold here, the inside of a concrete basement wall above grade is really cold as well. I used to live in Saskatchewan before retiring and I used this method on my basement walls there. Imo, it made quite a difference.

    As I said above, we have a dehumidifier which gets fired up in the spring and when it's been raining quite a bit. The dehumidifier will get the humidity down to 35% and will get rid of any moisture in the basement.

    This is not an original idea. I read about this online. I'm sure if you google 'vapor barrier or no vapor barrier when insulating a basement' or some such thing, you'll find info on this. Plus, I use Rockwool (formerly called Roxul) insulation instead of the Owens Corning pink and yellow batt insulation. If the pink or yellow stuff gets wet, it loses its loft and looks like a limp, wet rag. The Rockwool green insulation doesn't absorb water or settle or develop mold spots.
     
  14. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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  15. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

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    What will you be doing to sound proof the air ducts and outlet boxes?
     
  16. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Any wood that is in contact with concrete should be preservative treated.

    Oops, I can see that was already mentioned. It is in the International Building Code and that code has been adopted by all the states. A state may have its own version of the IBC, but I can't see why this provision wouldn't still be in effect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  17. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    IMG_2886.JPG
    We moved to southern British Columbia from Saskatchewan around the time I retired in 2015. It was a small town east of Osooyos and just a few miles above the US border (Washington state). Although hot and dry in summer, we did get rain in spring, fall, and sometimes in winter. Temperatures went down to 12F on a real cold night but generally hovered around freezing most days. The humidity was considerably higher.

    On this basement I used treated 2x4s directly against the concrete walls. Then Rockwool insulation. No vapor barrier. I covered the wall with sheets of beaded-board (the stuff with the pin stripe groups every few inches) paneling. I removed a panel a couple of years later to have a look-see and all was well. I also kept the bottom plate 1 1/2" off the concrete floor. When I ripped out the old walls, I found a little mold here and there on the pink insulation where moisture had become trapped between the basement wall and the vapor barrier. Where the bottom plate rested on the concrete floor, this is where I would sometimes find spiders lurking, possibly feeding on something which was feeding on the wood or whatever (I'm not an entomologist, lol).

    This house had a Williams free-standing natural gas space heater. They're made in California. The house was a 950 sq. ft. bungalow and had vents in the floor above the space heater to allow the heat to rise and warm the main floor floor. This is radiant heat, like having a wood stove without the hassle of wood. it also warmed up the basement walls and the concrete floor. I'm now a big fan of these space heaters. We sold the house and moved to Alberta. It's cheaper here (5% sales tax instead of 12%) and my three adult children live close by. The first thing we did in the new (to us) 850 sq. ft. house was to rip out the old, forced air furnace and install a 65,000 BTU Williams space heater in the basement. If the electricity goes out in a winter storm, we'll still have heat, enough to bring water to a boil for soup, etc. if need be. And it's radiant heat, unlike a forced air furnace which just blows warm air around.

    I'm attaching a photo of the finished basement in BC. I couldn't find one with just the studded walls.
     
  18. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    On the basement I insulated in British Columbia, I used preservative treated 2x4s. I used treated 2x4s on the basement in Saskatchewan even though I had a 1" styrofoam thermal break between the concrete walls and the studs. This was overkill on my part. Right now, I'm using regular studs over the 1" styrofoam which is against the concrete.

    Here's a picture of the basement in Saskatchewan from 2012 or so. IMG_0541.JPG
     
  19. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    There aren't any air ducts. We tore out the old, forced air furnace and the ductwork. Right now, we have a new, Williams 65,000 BTU freestanding natural gas space heater in the basement. I've been enlarging the floor vents on the main floor to 10"x12" so more heat can rise from the basement and warm the main level. The ceiling in the basement is also open - no insulation or drywall/paneling. The heat from the Williams space heater also warms the main floor.

    Up here, the winters are cold. If a basement is not insulated, there's a lot of heat loss. I'm not building a soundproof studio. My reason for insulating the exterior basement walls is to prevent heat loss and to save money on my heating bills. I know from previous experience that when I finish insulating the basement walls, it will be really warm down there.

    Here's a picture of the Williams space heater. IMG_0352.JPG
     
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  20. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    I am just suggesting that you change out those little blocks at the wall bottom plate. Aren't they resting on concrete? Aren't they only wood you have in contact with concrete. I would cut up pieces of preservative treated and coat the ends with a suitable product.
     
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