Basement Finishing Techniques

Finishing a basement is an extremely complicated undertaking and only a professionally-trained basement finishing contractor has the knowledge and experience to avoid the mistakes commonly made by those less experienced.

Finishing the basement is one of the best way to expand your living space, but ...

Is your basement dry enough?

Only dry basements are good candidates for finishing. A dehumidifier can eliminate minor moisture issue, but other basements have moisture problems that need to be fixed before considering a basement finishing project.

Is your basement warm enough?

It's not a bad idea to have a secondary heat source in your basement, such as a wood burning stove, a fireplace, or a floor warming system.


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.


Use plush carpets and drapes sparingly, if at all. Surfaces that don't absorb moisture are best. Also, be careful about storing clothes, linens and books in a basement. For floors, area rugs are ideal because they can be removed, cleaned and dried. If you must have wall-to-wall carpeting, consider a low pile commercial or indoor/outdoor type.

Floor covering

- Carpet Pad
If you decide to install carpet on your basement floor, consider spending a little extra on the thickest carpet pad you can get. It helps smooth out the small irregularities in the concrete, especially around the walls and jackposts.

- Padding for laminate floors
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.

For more information on floor coverings visit