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- Basement Finishing and Family Space > Episode 4: Basement Finishing System and Custom Windows
Completing the Basement Finishing System and Repairing the Basement Stairs
The Melrose, MA, basement remodel enters the finishing phase now that the mechanicals, plumbing, drainage, and moisture-proofing upgrades have been completed. Sheet-metal tracks are screwed into the concrete floor and up into the joists as carriers for new steel studs that are trimmed and doubled up for a sturdy, moisture- and mold-proof framing system. The Owens Corning Basement Finishing System™ is installed using PVC lineals that allow for nail-free installation. These polyolefin-covered fiberglass panels are rated at R-11 for energy efficiency and may help save up to 25 percent of current energy costs. A suspended ceiling, trim, molding, and doors give the space a clean, finished look. The stairway is strengthened with posts drilled into the concrete and up into the stringer, and stiffened with plywood backing and reinforced tread-to-riser connections. Harvey Majesty custom, energy-efficient clad windows are installed once the old sash has been removed and voids filled with foam and caulk for a tight, efficient installation. As Bob learns about the costs associated with purchasing a total finishing system like this, Suzie Mitchell of Owens Corning explains that studies show 90 percent of the costs associated with finishing a basement can be recouped in just one year.
- Part 1: Recapping the Remodeling and Converting an Unfinished Basement into Living Space
- Part 2: Completing the Basement Finishing System and Repairing the Basement Stairs
- Bob talks with Frank Palmeri and Suzanne Mitchell of Owens Corning about the basement finishing system that has just been installed in the Melrose, MA, home. Palmeri explains that the system is unique because of the use of a structural lineal made of PVC that snaps together without nails, screws, or fasteners. The system does not support moisture or mold growth because it is made of PVC and fiberglass. The wall panels are easily removed if the homeowner needs to get behind the wall. Mitchell explains the walls give great energy-saving benefits to the homeowner. Studies show an insulated basement can provide up to 25 percent savings to whole-home heating costs. Palmeri explains that the ceiling is suspended so that anything above the ceiling is easily accessible. Mitchell points out the ceiling also muffles up to 95 percent of sound, a handy feature in this home as the father is a professional musician. The deep-well window frame is made out of birch and set to fit the existing window frame. The trim is set to the window. Palmeri explains that the lighting units were installed by a licensed electrician and set according to the local building ordinances. A fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector were also installed. Bob explains that the staircase doesn't meet contemporary codes so structural repair was required. Carpenter Cyrus Beasley of Sweenor Builders shows how a portion of the staircase is completely unsupported and requires a support post. Beasley applies building adhesive to the base of the post to ensure it will not slide or move. Decking screws are drilled in to completely fasten the post to the floor. Plywood is secured to the existing staircase treads to reinforce the structure. The plywood is secured using adhesive glue and decking screws. The treads are then secured to the risers using decking screws. This should add rigidity to the stairs. Bob notes the staircase is now secured and complete with wallboard and trim to marry the old staircase into the new basement system.
- Part 3: Replacing and Installing Windows and Costs of Finishing a Basement
Also from Basement Finishing and Family Space
<p>In Melrose, MA, a family with two young sons needs extra room and looks to Bob and his team to repurpose their damp basement for expanded living space. Homeowner Sarah Monzon shows Bob the backyard of the 1921 gambrel with a stone retaining wall they created to manage the slope for the kids’ play yard. She explains how the exterior has water intrusion and moisture buildup problems. Inside, Cyrus Beasley rips out the under-stair closet and assesses the stair support required while the plumber disconnects the old soapstone sink. The Monzons then clear out years of junk and demolition waste before calling 1-800-Got-Junk to stack, sort, and dispose of everything to donation centers, recycling sites, and the dump for a set price. Larry Janesky of Basement Systems reviews the exterior drainage problems of the home with Bob and then explains how they will reduce moisture on the inside. The crew breaks up the concrete floor to create an interior drainage trench, applies Clean Walls to isolate the stone walls and send moisture runoff to the drainage trench and sump, installs Thermal Dry radiant barrier behind finished walls to prevent moisture transfer, and creates a hole for the sump.</p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:DocumentProperties> <o:Template>Normal.dotm</o:Template> <o:Revision>0</o:Revision> <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime> <o:Pages>1</o:Pages> <o:Words>221</o:Words> <o:Characters>1265</o:Characters> <o:Company>Blue Iceberg LLC</o:Company> <o:Lines>10</o:Lines> <o:Paragraphs>2</o:Paragraphs> <o:CharactersWithSpaces>1553</o:CharactersWithSpaces> <o:Version>12.0</o:Version> </o:DocumentProperties> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG /> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves>false</w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridHorizontalSpacing> <w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing>18 pt</w:DrawingGridVerticalSpacing> <w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayHorizontalDrawingGridEvery> <w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery>0</w:DisplayVerticalDrawingGridEvery> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> <w:DontAutofitConstrainedTables /> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx /> </w:Compatibility> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]-->Bob and Larry Janesky of Basement Systems review the work being done to cut a drainage trench in the concrete around the perimeter of the basement floor. Water will be channeled through the trench to a sump – dug at the lowest spot in the basement – where it can be pumped out of the home. <span> </span>A triple safe power pump protects the home even if there is a loss of power.<span> </span>Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing once all the waterproofing and flood-prevention measures are put in place in the basement. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing Corp. first cut the pipes into sections for easy removal and demonstrates some of the specialized work he does to install the pipe, including using oakum, a joint runner, and poured hot lead to form a joint seal. Old brass water pipes are replaced with PEX tubing, creating more headroom in the basement and the sink and laundry lines can be easily relocated.<span> </span>Bob talks with Dan Driscoll of Rinnai about the new on-demand water heater being installed. The heater is a whole-house system sized for a three-bathroom household, laundry, and cleaning. An on-demand, tankless water heater saves basement space <span> </span>and is energy efficient because it does not store hot water. Driscoll opens up the water heater to show how the system works. Once the water is turned on, sensors detect the amount of water being used and the temperature of the incoming cold water. The on-demand system is about 40% more efficient than gas-fueled tank water heaters and 70% more efficient than electric tank water heaters.</p> <!--EndFragment--> <!--EndFragment--> <p> </p>
<p>Bob is in Melrose where John Ambrosino of Total Temperature Control installs the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Because of clearance issues, the unit is installed horizontally and tied to the joists with steel rods. Ambrosino explains how the unit pulls air in for exchange, to be heated or cooled, then pushes it through a fan and into the ducts for circulation. The 16 SEER unit is very big for maximum efficiency, quiet operation, and up to 45 percent savings over current energy costs. Mark Hagan shows Bob the Trane CleanEffects whole-house three-stage air-cleaning system that cleans the air of 99.98 percent of particulates, filtering first for large particles, then charging the small particles and capturing them in a collection filter for healthy indoor air. Don Adams of Bond-Tite Tank Service shows Bob how they move the oil tank, reattach it, set it in a trough to catch leaks and drips, and apply Tank-Guard to isolate condensing water and prevent tank corrosion. Bob talks to Howard Brickman about how to control squeaking floors either by drawing the wood floor tight against the subfloor with screws, connecting blocking to the joists and subfloor from below, or shimming the space between the subfloor and joists.</p>
We've already done the hard work of getting rid of the old pipes and stuff. And today we are showing you how we're installing some new windows on the basement, as well as the new walls , and the ceiling.
Stick around. I think you'll love it.
It's a great day at our basement finishing project where we've been converting what was once very dingy and junk filled space into a great playroom for a couple of kids.
But this 1921 1921 house needed a lot of work before we could even consider putting up these walls.
First, we wanted to be sure any moisture problems are a thing of the past. We dug a perimeter drain and installed a triple pump inside, then put a vapor barrier over the field stone foundation walls, to be sure that any moisture that gets trough them stays away from the finished space and gets channeled right into the drain.
We even added a special waterproof coating to the slab to be sure no moisture gets through the concrete.
Next we tackled the outdated plumbing and mechanicals, we had to move a few things to make room for the finished space, like the oil tank, heating ducts, and the kitchen drains.
Our plumber, Al Leoni, did a great job updating the cast iron waste stack and running pex tubing for all the water lines in the house.
We got some space back and saved the home owner some energy dollars by replacing their 40 gallon water tank with an instantaneous water heater, and trane came in to install a state of the art furnace and air conditioning system with the latest in air cleaning technology.
So, not only is this going to make a much more comfortable house to live in during hot steamy summers and our cold New England winters, but when you think about the health implications of replacing all the old junk in a basement, all the old duct-work from ancient heating equipment with new equipment. You're getting rid of so many, so many moldy agents that really effect quality of indoor air, and that's what leads to allergies and colds and all those other illnesses.
And then of course the other thing that we've done that's very important is to get rid of the old drafty leaky windows that were here. The original single pane sash from the 1921 house and replace them with an Energy Star window. We'll learn more about that later, but I know right now we got the guys from Owens Corning basement finishing systems who have been busy inside working on putting up the framework for the walls as well as the grid for the ceiling.
Let's check in.
The first step was to lay out the steel stud wall just inside the perimeter drain and allow bump outs for the mechanicals that couldn't be moved, like the water meter and the waste stack.
The bottom sheet metal track is attach to the slab by drilling a pilot hole and pounding in concrete nails specially designed for this.
Once the bottom track was in, Federrico used two magnetic levels stuck together to get a plumb line to the ceiling joists and mark off where the top track should go. It's kind of a neat trick, since its hard to find a level that reaches floor to ceiling.
The top tracks just screwed into the ceiling joist. It doesn't have to be level since it'll be hidden by the drop seal. The steel studs are actually doubled up in the basement finishing systems to provide a good surface to the linnials which will see later.
Federico cuts the studs to length with tin snips, screws them together They are back to back and installs them 16 inches on center before screwing them into the bottom plates.
The magnetic level comes in handy again as he adjusts the studs at the top for plumb, and attaches them.
It's an efficient way to frame the walls, and because it's steel, the framing won't be affected by any moisture that still gets into the cavity between the old walls and the new. And it won't be providing food for mold.
The area will eventually be a nice place to house an entertainment cente , and Federico and his son, Marco, did a great job framing it up symmetrically between the two front windows. Once the walls were framed, the ceiling was next.
Owens-Corning uses a suspended ceiling system that's attached to the existing joists with wires, so that it can be adjusted for level. Those old joists were never meant to provide a ceiling and they're way off. Okay, so now it's starting to all come together.
Let's go inside and get together with Frank Palmeri. Who comes all the way from Owen's Corning's headquarters in Toledo, Ohio to tell us all about it.
Oh my, what progress indeed! And Frank is accompanied by Susie Mitchell who's also from OC. Hi guys.
Doesn't this look amazing?
It looks great!
Yeah, good to see you.
Good to see you.
What's the most important element of the whole system?
Well, the unique part of this system really is the structural lineal, and that's where is all starts.
The structural lineal. And that's this thing here?
That's this thing here. It's made out of PVC, and the flange that goes up against against the wall has a tongue, the trim snaps in just like that. It's that simple.
So that's really what makes it possible to kind of create any kind of enclosure or space without having to use fasteners, nails, or screws or anything like that.
Absolutely. It's because of this system is why we can finish just about any basement out there.
And then the other key component is the fact that we're using fiberglass here, right?
What are some of the properties of fiberglass that make for a better finish?
Well, Bob, the whole entire system is made of fiberglass and PVC. There are no organic materials in here, so organic materials is what mold feeds on, so we remove the organic material and the source for mold.
The panel is made out of fiberglass and this is a poly-olefin fabric, basically plastic.
So there's nothing for any kind of growth to...
What about if you have to get behind the wall, if you have some sort of damage or something?
Well, the cool thing is that these batten , cold moldings and base moldings basically just pop right out. Then you can remove the wall panel, access the foundation, and when you're done, snap it right back in.
Now, Suzy, one of the big advantages of fiberglass is that there's energy savings, right?
Yeah, absolutely. The fiberglass walls offer an R11 insulation, which is a great insulating value.
And that makes a big difference here in a basement. in an 80 year old house where there wasn't any insulation in the first place.
It makes a huge difference. In fact we have studies that show, independent studies that show that if you insulate the basement, you can save up to 25% in whole home heating cost.
And in fact , currently our system is the only basement remodeling option that qualifies homeowners for up to $500 energy credit under the energy policy act.
OK, that's great news. Let's talk a minute about the ceiling because we' ve got lots of different options here, right?
Yeah, the ceiling basically comes in two options, this is a nice reveal ceiling. You can see there's a reveal edge. It gives it a really nice homey feeling about that. It is a suspended ceiling so we can't access anything that's above the ceiling, whether it be utility or...
Or the wood studs that are up there.
And of course the whole package put together has an ability to kind of muffle sound.
It does, and it absorbs up to 95% of sound.
Yeah , and this is a home where the daddy is a professional musician.
It will come in handy.
Yeah, yeah, so it'll come in very handy.
Now, let's talk a little bit about the trim, because you said there's the batons are the pieces in-between and then I see there's cold corner moldings and there's a nice molding at the top where it meets the ceiling. What about when you're trimming out an existing window, like behind you right here.
What we have here is a plain birch plywood. Owens Corning also created a PVC jam extender but this is a nice deep well . So, we used plain birch plywood.
We cut it to fit. We match it right up to the window and we marry the trim right to the frame of that. It really does accentuate the beauty of the window.
And again, you're doing the whole thing by snapping it together. No need for any tools in this whole assembly, other than a saw.
Other than a saw.
That's cool. Lets see how it works out around the old staircase.
Alright, the stairs is one of those funky things in any remodel where this is a 1920 staircase and it caused a lot of trouble and actually, we're in an area here where we can still talk about some of the the stuff that goes on above.
Tell us about the lighting package and the electrical part of this thing.
Well, Bob, the first thing that we do is we hire a licensed electrician to come and install the lighting units to the local building ordinances.
We first set the grid and you can see we put a small smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in there. Because we are the experts in basements and we realize this is a safe-- we need to make this a safe environment.
OK. So all of these things essentially vary from locality to locality. Depending on what the code is like.
Absolutely the locality and actually the scope and size of the job.
Now getting back to the staircase, if I can get by you here, oh the doors are included, too, right?
Yes they are.
Yeah, right. Getting back to the staircase, what we have here. A grandfathered situation. The original staircase doesn't meet contemporary codes in terms of clearance and the size of it. But in order to keep it we had to a little bit of structural repair and we had carpenter Cyrus Beasley here, who told us what was wrong with it and how to fix it.
We're gonna address the first problem, which is just the basic structure. As we saw before, this thing is completely unsupported, so I've got a post over here which I'm going to set under this corner. And I'm leaving enough space next to this stringer so that I can sister on another piece, because this one is missing some pieces at the top.
Construction adhesive...will never move. And fire.
I'm using decking screws to hold this in place for a little tighter hold on the stairs, especially when things are moving around. Keep it from squeaking.
And I like the decking screws because they countersink themselves and pre-drill their own holes. So you don't have to spend all day drilling holes to make it work.
Gluing up this plywood to go up underneath the existing treads was a tongue and groove. So de-board, and our little Sketchy so we're going to beef them up with another layer.
So the next step is to get a good attachment from tread to riser, so what I'm doing is I've got my decking screws again and I'm going right through the back of the riser and into the tread.
And then I come around to the front and screw the tread back down to the riser below it.
And, it's really that connection between the treads and the risers all the way from the top to the bottom that it's going to add a lot of rigidity to these stairs. You can see it sucking right down.
So the stairs are pretty sturdy and of course we had to do a little bit of additional work here, the carpenters, well basically, they furred this out, they put up wall board and trim to marry into the basement system.
And of course we had the window problem, and Paul Villiet was here the other day, he had a lot of fun taking out the old sash. Let's watch.
Well this is a typical replacement window installation. What we're going to do first is pull out these stops here, which is not going to be very hard to do with this window. Which is not typical, usually we'd be shaving these.
We're just gonna cut these sash cords here and let the weights fall into the pocket. Now the sash is ready to to come out. Lets clip that to the side there, and we are gonna remove this sash. Sometimes you can take the whole divider off, sometimes you can't. This one, though, it 's been here for quite some time so it's easy to just pull the catch out I'm going to save this, which will go back in. This one here we want to take, actually the weights right out.
Slap that in and seal it. That will just about do it. Let's see what we got here. That's pretty much it right there.
After the window's been installed we were left with this gap on the exterior and just to neaten that up a little bit, we're going to install a sliver of PVC that's been fitted into there. We're just going to seal that in there with some caulking, and that will be enough to hold it in place. Once this is painted, everything will look nice and neat.
Just a little. And the final step before painting is with a bead of caulking. Seal this. You want to make sure they use a paint that will caulk.
Alright! And they look great once they're installed . Ken Henderson is here from Harvey Industries. Thank You. Now tell us about some of the features of this window.
Well this is a Harvey Industries majesty custom fad window. And what we have here is a replacement application. The advantage of a replacement application, Bob, is that we don't have to disrupt any of the exterior trim. The interior trim usually can come off and then be re-installed.
A lot less carpentry.
Yeah, now this is a very big deal when you're looking at replacing windows in an older house. This 1921 house, the sizes are not necessarily standard that you don't want to have to do too much carpentry. Either infill or, you know, re-framing in order to install a new window, so that's a very good news.
These are manufactured on the quarter inc , so that a particular opening can be matched perfectly. Again, less carpentry is involved.
So you've got one big pane of thermal glass.
And then you've got the appearance of muttons with these applied moldings on the outside. And what about on the inside?
On the inside what we have is we have a permanently applied PineGrid, that can be finished either with paint or with stain.
In between there's actually another component, an aluminum component in there, just to give more depth to the assembly.
This actually is high performance glazing in that it is a low-e coating with a krypton gas. What that gives you is an Energy Star rating.
So you do have Energy Star rating...
Which is of course the way the federal government rates all of these windows in terms of energy efficiency, and of course you got the bottom screen.
What we have here is we have a locking screen. It's an aluminum mesh A locking screen is a nice little feature, it just keeps it nice and tight down to the sill no insects can get in there.
Very nice and neat. Thank you Ken.
Thank you so much.
Ok, so this is getting closer to finished, and there's a couple things I wanted to ask about. Suzy, is it easy to maintain these walls? Whatever, you got kids and dirty hands and stuff?
These walls are perfect for kids. They're durable, they're not going to dent and they are also stain resistant because of the poly-olefin material. Most dirt comes off with just soap and water or maybe a little bleach and water. Perfect for kids.
You know. It's so simple that I almost want to say it'd be a perfect do-it-yourselfer's project. But somehow...
Basements are really difficult remodels, actually. Of course we think that nobody knows basements better. But no matter what you do, just make sure, we advise consumers to just make sure that they cover themselves. They're going to hire a remodeler, make sure they have insurance. Get everything in writing. What's the R value, the fire rating.
Right and Frank the guys that put this together.
They have been through a training program, right?
Absolutely, we have a certified training program that's run out of Gamble, Ohio at our science and technology center. Everybody who touches the basement, being that they designed the basement or if they installed the basement, has to go through our certification training.
And what about the cost?
The cost of the basement finishing system is pretty much in line with normal basement remodeling. Depending on the scope of the job and the size of the job it could run from $40-60 a square foot.
But value is the interesting thing , right?
Yeah. The value of a basement remodel is amazing, cost the Modeling Magazine's cost versus value report...
Reported that you can recoup up to 90% of the cost of the basement remodel in the first year.
Sounds good. Thanks for coming on.
We're out of time. Next week we're going to be repairing the porch. Until then I'm Bob Vila.
Thanks for joining us.
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