A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Getting Your Basement Finished

Thinking about some of the things below will help ensure your basement looks and feels more like an extension of your house and less like a dark dingy cellar.

An icon of a broom with dust plumming to the left.

Dust Control

Try to have a few extra clean furnace filters on hand. Finishing your basement is dusty and your furnace needs to breath. Changing out your furnace filter periodically will help mitigate dust upstairs and help your furnace function the way it should. I’d recommend changing the furnace filter out 3-4 times during the basement finishing process. The most important times to change the filter are:

After your basement has been finished here are some Tips for Making Your Basement Allergy-Free.

 

Electrical

Before your contractor starts construction on your basement, walk the basement with lighting in mind. Think about where you want ceiling lights placed. Once your contractor is on-site, you can walk the project together before the lights get installed. If you have a good idea of where you want lighting etc., it’ll help this conversation go a lot quicker. And you’ll feel more comfortable knowing you’re getting lighting exactly where you want.

Recessed Lighting Tips

 

Framing or “furring” around your HVAC trunk lines.

(If your home has trusses rather than I-joists, you can skip this paragraph.) 

Most basements have HVAC trunk lines, electrical and plumbing lines run somewhere on the ceiling in the basement. They can be unsightly, but you can’t just get rid of them. However, if you’re strategic in how you frame around them, they’ll be a lot less noticeable than if you just “wing it”. Also keep in mind light fixture placement, well-placed lighting is critical when adding lights near areas like fur-downs.

Have you ever walked into a basement, glanced at the ceiling and you could immediately see exactly where each HVAC line is going? Or the ceiling has a bunch of weird/small areas that are framed down/lower or framed up/higher than the rest of the ceiling and it just looks odd? Or even a recessed light placed too close to a framed down section and it’s casting a funky shadow? That’s likely because whoever framed around the ceiling obstacles (HVAC trunk, plumbing lines etc.) didn’t put much thought into how the ceiling would look as a finished product. Things to keep in mind.

Avoid framing EXACTLY to the obstacles. It can look odd if your framing starts exactly where a trunk line starts, turns exactly when a trunk line turns and stops exactly where the trunk line stops. If you do that, sometimes you can be left with an eye-catching (not in a good way) design in your ceiling.

Sometimes it makes sense to frame past where a trunk line ends. Or start the fur down before the trunk line starts. 

Think about where you’re going to place lights in the ceiling. Will the current placement of the fur down create an odd shadow effect? If so, can you relocate the fur down or re-place the light?

You can always go bold and leave your HVAC exposed!

 

If you’re thinking about finishing your basement, start your free estimate today and we can help walk you through these tips.

Sound Dampening Insulation in Your Basement Ceiling – Do You Need It?

In a nutshell, here at Creative Construction Solutions, we offer (3) levels of sound dampening. Think Good, Better, and Best.

*** It’s important to note for the below material to be effective, they need to be installed on top of each other – level 2 sound dampening is a combination of level 1 sound PLUS level 2. And level 3 sound dampening is a combination of level 1, 2 and 3 *** 

What is CCS’s Good/Level 1 option?

Our level 1 sound dampening insulation is a product call Rockwool. More specifically, Safe N’ Sound Rockwool. The main purpose of this insulation is to block sound. When comparing standard insulation (think; walls and attic insulation) to Rockwool, you’ll notice that standard insulation kind of looks and feels like cotton candy (I don’t suggest feeling the insulation, but if you ever have, you know what I’m talking about). Rockwool on the other hand is much denser. If you were to take a piece of rockwool and compress it between your hands, it’s similar to trying to compress something like a piece of packing foam. It’s a dense product and it does a great job at sound mitigation.

How much can I expect to pay for Rockwool in my basement?

A few things factor into the price of having Rockwool installed in your ceiling but, on average, expect to pay about $2.75-3.75 per ceiling square foot.

What is CCS’s Better/Level 2 option?

RC-1 channel, often referred to as “hat channel,” is not an insulation at all. In fact, it’s aluminum.  What RC-1 channel does is separate your basement ceiling joists from the drywall, creating a ½” gap between the two. This creates an effective acoustical buffer between the joists and drywall and it really helps with the low vibratory sounds (think deep base or a war movie with a lot of rumbling).

*** Consideration for RC-1 channel – It does drop your ceiling about ½”. If that’s going to bother you, consider staying away from RC-1. Based on past experience, most people don’t mind the drop in ceiling height. It’s only ½” and most people won’t even notice.***

How much can I expect to pay for RC-1 in my basement?

Expect to pay about $1.00-1.50 per ceiling square foot.

What is CCS’s Best/Level 3 option?

We install 5/8” drywall on the ceiling rather than 1/2” drywall. As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the drywall layer, the better it will act as a sound barrier. Not only is 5/8” drywall thicker, it’s more dense vs your standard ½” drywall. If you were to take a piece of ½” drywall and break it open, you would notice a lot of air voids or bubbles in the drywall material. Most manufactures do this to make the drywall less heavy, easier to lift and install. 5/8” drywall differs from ½” drywall in that 5/8” drywall is a solid compound, thus making it harder for sound to travel through the sheetrock. When you combined Rockwool, RC-1 channel and 5/8” drywall, you get a great sound dampening system for your basement ceiling.

How much can I expect to pay for 5/8” drywall in my basement?

Expect to pay roughly $.85-$.95 per ceiling square foot.

What sound dampening level is right for you?

I’ll try to give you some scenarios that I’ve encountered while finishing basements and the associated solution. 

Example #1 – The home we’re finishing a basement in is a 2-story home, with all the bedroom on the top story. Our clients have (3) teenage kids that would be using the basement to watch TV, play games and have friends over. Since the bedrooms are all on the second story and so far away from the basement, I’d recommend installing level 1 sound dampening insulation in the basement ceiling. 

To hopefully give you a better idea of what to expect with level 1 insulation, I’ve come up with a few “what-if’s.”

Example #2 – The home we’re finishing a basement in is single story home, with all the bedrooms on the main level (directly above the basement). For fun, let’s use the same scenarios as above. Our clients have (3) teenage kids that would be using the basement to watch TV, play games and have friend over. Since the bedrooms are all directly above the entertainment room in the basement, I’d recommend installing level 3 sound dampening insulation in the basement ceiling. 

To hopefully give you a better idea of what to expect with level 3 insulation, I’ll use the same “what-if’s” as above. 

In conclusion, I hope this has given you a better understanding of what to expect from the above products and has hopefully given you enough information to help decide whether or not you need sound dampening insulation in your basement. We can help guide you through the costs of sound dampening your unfinished basement. Get started by filling out our quick free quote form and we’ll message you right back.

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