Read these 9 Basements Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Improvement tips and hundreds of other topics.
When you finish your concrete basement, use the right kind of lumber for the walls. The sole plate (the bottom 2X4 that sits on the floor) should be CCA treated lumber. That way, it won't be affected by any moisture that could leech up through the concrete floor.
The rest of the wall (the upright 2X4's and the top plate) are standard kiln dried dimension lumber.
The top plate is nailed to the joists above. This is no problem where the new wall is perpendicular to the joists, but what about where the wall is parallel to the joists? Cut a 2X4 block to fit between the joists above the wall. The blocks are nailed between the joists every 24 inches. The top plate is nailed to the blocks. Be sure to plumb the walls before nailing.
To fasten the sole plate to the concrete floor, run a bead of construction adhesive on the bottom before you stand the wall. Once the wall is plumb, you can drive nails into the concrete with a powder actuated nail set - sometimes called a Ramset. You can rent one from your local rental yard for a few dollars a day. Drive a nail at every other stud space and as close as possible to every door stud.
If your basement has that damp, musty smell, you can make a cheap air filter that actually works! Buy two or three bags of charcoal (not the Match Light kind) and cut them open on the floor. Aim a fan at the bags and leave it for a couple of days. The charcoal not only removes the odor, but also helps dehumidify the air.
It is much easier to install a suspended ceiling if you use a laser level. You can rent one from your local rental yard for a few bucks. After you decide on the height of your ceiling, attach the first piece of wall angle. Then mount the laser level to the angle, and let it spin, marking the correct level for the angle completely around the room.
When installing sheet rock on walls or ceilings, be sure to stagger the seams at the butt joints. If the butt joints are all on the same stud or joist, they will eventually crack. For example, when hanging 8' rock on a 12 foot wall, hang the first piece at the top left. Then hang the 4' piece at the top right. Then start the bottom left with a 4' piece so that the seams don't line up. Then hang the last 8' piece at the bottom right.
When you remove carpet in order to replace it with laminate flooring, it is tempting to use the carpet pad instead of the correct pad for the new floor. Resist the temptation. Carpet pad is too thick and too soft to work correctly. If you do leave the carpet pad, the new floor will be mushy.