Monday, December 17, 2012

The Man Cave Phase I

Project #16: The Basement Phase I

Technically this would be the second project for the basement based on Project #1 which actually took place prior to us owning the house.  This project was the reinforcing of the basement walls.  Refer to the post dated 10/4/12 for additional information.  

Project #16 was initiated when we received the opportunity to purchase a used pool table and air hockey table.  We really were not planning to finish the basement for quite a while but once this opportunity arose we took advantage of it.  We knew at some point we wanted a pool table and we just weren't sure if this opportunity would occur again so we jumped on it.  We hired professionals to move the pool table and install it in the basement.  This was quite an art with moving the slate, stretching the felt and leveling the table so we left it up to the professionals.  After a few weeks of playing pool in the unfinished basement Matt got sick of it and decided we needed to finish the basement.  So Project #16 began!

Notice the original wall at the stairs leading into the basement.  This quickly got demolished during a pool game because of the interference it caused.


There was not much demolition for this project other than the stair wall.  So Matt quickly began installing 2x stud walls. He made them all in panels on the floor then lifted them into place similarly to how contractors construct wood framed buildings. 



Once lifted into place we then anchored them into the slab-on-grade and to the floor joists above.

We decided to add a storage room that included the electrical panel boards and sump pump.  Therefore we built a faux wall behind the pool table.  This room also connects to the storage area under the stairs.

In addition to the storage room we decided to frame out a bedroom and a future bathroom.

Once all of the stud walls were secured into place Matt insulated the walls.

 Once the walls were up Matt installed all of the electrical outlets and switches we would need in the walls including all of the wiring for the proposed projector and surround sound speakers to eliminate any exposed wires.  Next we installed the sheetrock.  We utilized 1/2 inch x 8 foot x 4 foot sheets which created quite the challenge maneuvering them down the stairs but we quickly developed a system of standing them up and turning them on the landing. Somehow we managed to not break a single sheet!  I helped hang the sheetrock however the muding and sanding was all Matt.  I lasted about 10 minutes on the sanding and gave up.  There is a reason people hire that out.  I never thought the sheetrock dust would ever vanish, if you have ever sanded sheetrock you understand the magnitude of the dust.  We even had sheetrock dust that managed to find it's way up two stories into the master bedroom.  I couldn't wait for the painting to begin! 


     Once the walls were completed we begin the ceiling.  This created some design work on our part because of the random steel beams, duct work, pipes and electrical conduits.  We also needed to run new electrical for all of the recessed lighting, media equipment and surround sound speakers.  We decided to break the spaces up with pony walls on the ceiling that coincided with the steel beams.  We went with a hard (sheetrock) ceiling above the pool table, air hockey table, bar and in the bedroom.  We went with an architectural drop ceiling above the couch were all of the main pipes, ducts and conduits ran for the house.  This broke up the large space as well as provided accessibility to all of the main lines if we ever needed to access them.  Even with breaking up the ceiling we still had 1,300 square feet of sheetrock to install.  To me it seemed very overwhelming but Matt orchestrated it into smaller tasks.  He installed all of the electrical and lighting in one area, say above the pool table for instance, then we would only hang the sheetrock in this area.  Then we did the same for the next area and so on.  So we didn't have to hang 1,300 square feet of sheetrock all at once but instead in phases. The installation of the hard ceiling was still a chore but we pulled it off!  The ceiling height in the basement is over 10 feet which made it a bit difficult to hang sheetrock when you are 5'-3" (me), in fact even if you are 6'-4" (Matt).  We came up with a game plan of each of us being on a ladder at each end of the 8 foot sheets then we climbed up the ladders with the board and lifted them above our heads and began screwing it into the joists above.  We also utilized 2x wood T's as props to hold up the center of the sheets while we rushed to get screws into place.  Miraculously we managed to install all 1,300 square feet of ceiling without a single argument or broken sheetrock! I would say that was quite an accomplishment both for construction and our marriage! 

Next came the painting of the ceiling and walls then the carpet installation. For the flooring we went with commercial carpet squares.  These were applied directly to the slab-on-grade.  A glue was applied to the concrete and left to dry a few hours until tacky, then the carpet squares were set and a roller was used to apply pressure to the carpet squares to remove seams and adhere to the glue.  We wanted to go with commercial carpet squares for a number of reasons; design, durability and easy removal and replacement of individual squares if accidents occurred.  We were lucky enough to get a fairly good deal!  Thanks Mike!



Once the carpet was installed Matt hung the doors, installed all of the crown molding and then built the new railing where the wall of the stair once was.  He also wrapped the steel columns with wood and trim to dress them up a bit.  Finally the architectural drop ceiling was installed.