The Complete Idiot's Guide to Finishing Your Basement


This step-by-step, fully illustrated guide takes do-it-yourselfers through the process of designing, planning, and executing the finishing or remodeling of a basement-one of the most rewarding and popular home improvement projects for today's budget-conscious homeowners.

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This step-by-step, fully illustrated guide takes do-it-yourselfers through the process of designing, planning, and executing the finishing or remodeling of a basement-one of the most rewarding and popular home improvement projects for today's budget-conscious homeowners.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592570584
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 5/20/2003
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Ramsey is a licensed general building contractor with many years of experience helping others reach their home remodeling goals. He is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Building Your Own Home and dozens of other how-to titles for consumers as well as professional builders.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Planning Your Basement 3
1 Expanding Your Home 5
Going Underground: All About Basements 5
What Is a Basement? 6
Pros and Cons of Basement Living Spaces 6
Basement Types 7
Basement Construction 8
Popular Basement Remodeling Ideas 9
Creative Basement Ideas 18
Who Does the Work? 19
2 Finding Space 21
About Living Space 21
Minimum Size 22
Minimum Height 23
Other Minimums 24
In and Out 25
Posts and Support 26
Measuring Your Basement 27
Width and Length 27
Height 28
Estimating Areas Without Access 28
Overcoming Basement Problems 28
Floors 29
Moisture 29
Drainage 30
3 Designing Your Space 33
Functions and Requirements 33
Listing Functions 33
Determining Requirements 35
Making Rough Plans 36
Sketching by Function 36
Sizing Functions 36
Drawing Finished Plans 37
Making Plans 39
Using Design and Plan Software 39
4 Budgeting Your Project 43
Smart Planning 43
How Long Will You Live Here? 44
Is It an Expense or an Investment? 44
How Much Could It Cost? 45
How Will You Pay for It? 45
Estimating Costs 45
Worksheets from Plans 45
Getting Bids 46
Spreadsheets 46
Funding Your Basement Remodel 46
Cash 47
Consumer Loans 47
Mortgages 48
Inspections and Draws 48
About Liens 49
Living in a Construction Zone 49
How Inconvenient? 50
How Long? 50
What If? 51
5 Permits and Preparation 53
The Remodeling Process 53
Remodeling Sequence 54
Contractors and Subs 56
Suppliers 56
Signing Contracts 57
Codes and Permits 57
Building Plans 57
Building Codes 58
Building Permits 58
Preparing for Construction 59
Removing Existing Components 59
Insects and Other Pests 59
Carbon Monoxide 59
Radon 59
Asbestos 59
Sealing Your Basement 61
Part 2 Remodeling Your Basement 63
6 Structural Remodeling 65
Preparing the Subfloor 65
Concrete 66
Wood 68
Remodeling Stairways 68
Installing New Walls 70
Installing Doors and Windows 72
Open Doorways and Archways 72
Prehung Doors and Windows 73
7 Plumbing Your Basement 79
Planning the Plumbing 79
Extending Pipe 80
Running Uphill 80
Selecting Piping 81
Installing Supply Lines 82
Installing Drain Lines 83
Installing Fixtures 86
Materials and Tools 86
Installing a Water Heater 86
Installing Toilets 87
Installing Sinks 87
Installing Other Fixtures 87
Installing HVAC 88
Tying In to Ducting 88
Independent Systems 89
8 Wiring and Lighting 91
D-I-Y or Electrician? 91
Adding Electrical Service 92
Analyzing the Existing System 92
Calculating Requirements 94
Installing Subs 95
Running Wire 96
Installing Fixtures and Switches 97
Installing Other Wire 102
9 Finishing Ceilings 105
Ceiling Systems 105
Before Closing the Ceiling 106
Installing Ceilings 107
Installing Drywall Ceilings 107
Installing Suspended Ceilings 112
10 Finishing Walls 115
Wall Systems 115
Selecting Insulation 118
Flexible Insulation 118
Loose-Fill Insulation 119
Reflective Insulation 119
Rigid Insulation 119
Other Insulating Stuff 122
Installing Insulation 122
Installing Drywall 122
Selecting Drywall 122
Mounting Drywall 122
Installing Doors and Windows 123
Installing Paneling 124
Installing Trim 125
11 Remodeling Floors 129
Planning the Flooring 129
Sizing 130
Materials 130
Buying 130
Preparing the Subfloor 131
Patching 131
Leveling 131
Surfacing 132
Installing Flooring 133
Painting the Floor 133
Installing Wood Flooring 133
Installing Vinyl Flooring 137
Installing Tile Flooring 138
Installing Carpeting 140
Finishing Flooring 141
Part 3 Decorating Your Basement 145
12 Painting or Wallpapering Your Basement 147
Selecting Paints and Tools 147
Selecting Paints 147
Selecting Tools 151
Preparing Surfaces for Paint 152
Painting Your Basement 152
Painting Drywall 153
Painting Wood 153
Painting Masonry 153
Cleaning Up 153
Wallpapering 154
Preparing Walls 154
Installing Wallpaper 154
Adding Trim 155
13 Furnishing Your Basement 157
Installing Cabinets in Your Basement 157
Selecting Cabinets 159
Setting Cabinets 160
Installing Countertops 162
Placing Furniture 163
Installing Entertainment Systems 166
Installing Cable or Satellite 167
Installing Sound Systems 167
Installing Business Furniture 167
Placing Office Furniture 168
Installing Computers and Networks 168
Installing Phone Systems 168
14 Final Touches 171
Installing Security Systems 171
Selecting Components 172
Installation Steps 173
Installing Communication Systems 173
Installing Telephone Systems 174
Installing Intercom and Other Systems 174
Installing Wireless Systems 175
Decorating Your Basement 176
Enjoying Your Basement 179
A Basement Remodeling Glossary 181
B Basement Remodeling Resources 195
Index 202
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 12, 2010

    An Empty Basement and Don't Know How To Start?

    If you're like me and you have a basement that is just sitting there doing nothing but collecting dust bunnies and empty boxes, and your family needs more living space, then Finishing Your Basement is the book you need.
    I have never done any do-it-yourself stuff before but when I picked up this book I felt that this task wasn't beyond my abilities.
    Dan takes you through the step-by-step process in such a way that you feel that you can achieve it. From the getting planning permission (I hadn't even thought of doing this so that in itself was a cost/time saver) to how to design around what shape you have. This book takes you through it in a no rush pace.
    The little ideas are also a big help, after all if you're looking at making the most of the space that you have available then that's what matters in the end.
    This book is definitely one that I'll be keeping on my bookshelf in the future as we move around quite a bit and have left basements bare before - never again! I feel that I can conquer any basement from now on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2010

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